Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Little Cultural Research (Part 2)...

Today I'm continuing my theme on culture as I try to figure out what makes a culture work (or not work).

This week I watched another movie from decades ago - JAWS. This Steven Spielberg directed film debuted in 1975 (the year I was born), was the first movie to be released simultaneously nationwide (creating the Summer Blockbuster genre), and was the first movie to gross over $100 million (which is still a lot of money;).

And even though it is over 30 years old, it is still a great movie. Somehow it overcomes dated special effects and movie making techniques to continue to be a relevant and entertaining film.

My favorite scene is where shark hunter Quint, marine biologist Matt Hooper, and Police Chief Brody are sitting around on this little boat sharing scars and stories. There is something transcendent and real about this interaction that drives to my core.

So the cultural question of the day is:

How does something like Jaws continue to be culturally relevant while other things (see my previous post) do not?

Happy commenting and God bless!

1 comment:

Dave Farquhar said...

Tough call, but one thing that jumps out immediately is that Jaws was considerably more original than Roxanne, which was nothing more than a Hollywood remake. Even though it was a remake of the timeless Cyrano de Bergerac. Spielberg, if you'll forgive the cliche, caught lightning in a bottle with Jaws, and trying to duplicate its success became an annual summer ritual.

And in the case of celebrities who stay on the A list vs. falling to the C list or lower, one possibility is what's left when someone younger and better looking comes along. Some actors and actresses are able to age gracefully and just slide into age-appropriate roles. What did Michael J. Fox have that Joey Lawrence didn't?

So why can Julia Roberts still take a starring role and Daryl Hannah can't? Maybe Roberts comes off as more likable, has more charisma. Maybe she's just a more versatile actress. Certainly both played roles where appearance was the primary concern, but Roberts does just fine today in roles where someone else is supposed to be the young starlet.