Tuesday, July 15, 2008

COMING SOON: "Dancing With the Devil"

"Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moon light?"
--BATMAN, 1989

Alfred Hitchcock once said that a story is only as good as its villain and Roger Ebert echoed the sentiment in his review of Star Trek II. While such a notion may be an oversimplification (some stories simply don't have conventional villains), the basic principle is essentially true: namely, that the level of involvement and emotional investment audiences have in any given story is almost directly proportional to the degree of difficulty the main character must endure in said story's central conflict (since all drama is made of conflict). In other words, the higher the stakes, the greater the obstacle, the more satisfied we are when the protagonist eventually overcomes it... or, conversely, the more saddened we are when the protagonist fails or gets defeated.

Consequently, one could just as easily say that a hero is really only as good as his/her villain. The more challenging the opponent a hero faces, the more impressed/relieved we are when that hero eventually triumphs over the adversary. This is why throughout history storytellers have wisely paid particular attention to their villains. Great care has gone into fashioning suitably formidable and sinister antagonists and the result has been some truly great fictional baddies, in literature (Dracula, Simon Legree, Bill Sykes, Professor Moriarty, Inspector Javert, Voldemort, Iago, etc), in cinema (Norman Bates, Hanibal Lecter, Darth Vader, the Wicked Witch of the West, etc) and in all other mediums... including comic books.

In less than a week, the latest big screen incarnation of that renowned comic book hero Batman hits theatres. Chris Nolan's The Dark Knight pits Gotham's guardian angel once again against that dreaded foe known as the Joker (this time payed by the late Heath Ledger) and it is sure to be a monumental battle. Joker's appearance in this new series of Batman films has been highly anticipated since the final scene of 2005's Batman Begins (I recall a very audible reaction from the crowd when Batman turned that playing card over) and I think we all know why. Batman may be known for having an impressive rogue's gallery of memorable villains such as Penguin, Riddler, Two-face and so forth, but most people would agree that the Joker is easily his most threatening, and thus most popular, enemy. Some would even posit that the Joker is the greatest of all comic book villains (beating even Superman's notorious nemesis Lex Luthor). Well, not only do I agree with these opinions, but I'm going to take it a step further. I think the Joker is one of the best villains ever conceived.

Some might disagree with that statement, but I doubt anyone will disagree with the enormous level of fascination that we all seem to have with this character. Everyone--and I mean everyone, even non-comic book fans--knows who the Joker is. In the AFI's list of 100 greatest movie heroes and villains, Jack Nicholson's Joker came in 45th place and in a recent Movifone survey Heath Ledger's Joker came in 5th. There is no denying, I think, that there is just something endlessly engaging and appealing (yet simultaneously chilling and repulsive) about this character.

So, my question is this: Why? Why is the Joker a character that we so love to hate? What is it about him that continues to attract and repel (or otherwise captivate) us so completely? Well, in an attempt to answer these questions, and in celebration of the release of The Dark Knight, I thought I would devote three lengthy posts to this iconic character, examining his origins (both inside the world of Batman and outside of it in our world) in the first part, looking at the different actors who have brought him to life in various audio-visual media in the second part and, finally, ending with an examination of the "essence" of the character itself in an attempt to hopefully ascertain just what it is precisely that makes the Joker so damned special.

So, stay tuned. Or as the Joker himself would say, "Not laughing yet? Just wait 'til I get to the punch line. It'll kill you! HaHaHaHaHaHa!"

Friday, July 04, 2008

Sunday, June 15, 2008

DON'T call me "Junior!"

Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there!*

*and welcome back, Indy. We missed ya.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

"The name's Jones, Indiana Jones."

The following post is my contribution to the Indiana Jones blog-a-thon over at Cerebrial Mastication. Some of the ideas I posit here were originated in a conversation I was engaged in over at Piper's Lazy Eye Theatre in a post entitled What Say You: Old Heroes.

It is no secret to anyone that Indiana Jones owes a great deal to James Bond.

Outside of the fact that both characters are prime examples of the archetypal male hero (they are both strong, capable and brave individuals who wage war against malevolent forces for the sake of the greater good) it has become a rather well-known footnote in film history that Steven Spielberg's desire to direct a Bond picture (or some form of globe-trotting adventure with a larger-than-life character at the center) helped bring into existence the imaginings of fellow filmmaker George Lucas. Thus, Indiana Jones was more or less "born" via a handshake between the two friends on a beach in Hawaii in 1980 and over the course of the next 30 years the two of them would be responsible for four Indy movies--the most recent of which opens this week--filled with even more associations to Bond. These include, among others, the character's collection of female companions, Harrison Ford's introduction wearing a tuxedo in Temple of Doom and the presence of former Bond girl Allison Doody in Last Crusade. Probably the most blatant homage to the world's most famous secret agent would be the choice to cast the first "official" 007, Sean Connery, to play Indy's father (thus acknowledging Indy as Bond's true "heir").

However, a closer inspection of both characters and their respective franchises reveals that while there are certainly a number of undeniable similarities, there are also many significant differences between them (and not just on the surface). It is those differences which are of particular interest to me right now; the qualities that make Indy and Bond appealing in their own unique ways. Indiana Jones and James Bond may be "cut from the same cloth," but they're not the same article of clothing (just as a Ford Model T and an Aston Martin DB5 may both be cars--with wheels, seats, an engine, etc--but they are certainly not the same car).

One of the things that can help illuminate their individual "identities" is an examination of the genesis of each.

Conceived during the Cold War by author Ian Fleming (who would be 100 years old this month) and captured in a writing style reminiscent of noir, James Bond was first and foremost a literary creation. In a time when people read more than they do today, Bond's introduction to the world came through the medium of the written word. Granted, Bond's main cultural effect--Bond-"mania" if you will--didn't reach its peak until producers Albert R. "Cubby" Broccoli and Harry Saltzman (with the help of the aforementioned Sean Connery) made Bond a "movie star," but to this very day Bond's big-screen adventures are supremely indebted to the printed page. Indeed, Bond's most recent excursion (Casino Royale) is directly based on the first Ian Fleming novel and the current producers (Cubby Broccoli's daughter Barbara and son-in-law Michael G. Wilson) along with actor Daniel Craig, are attempting to bring the character back to his literary roots.

Indiana Jones, on the other hand, might have been inspired by literature (especially the pulp kind) but was never directly adapted from it. In truth, Indy's heritage is almost purely cinematic in nature. A mere cursory look at the admitted sources of inspiration for Indy's first big screen adventure confirm this. Lucas has expressed that his intent was to create a thrilling experience akin to the Saturday matinee serials of the 30's and 40's (where frequent Indy opponent the Nazis were often the villians), Raiders screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan modeled his interpretation of the character after Humphrey Bogart in Treasure of the Sierra Madre and even the affection for James Bond that Spielberg has expressed is directed quite noticably at the films and not the original books. There is simply no getting around the fact that Indiana Jones was specifically created to be a movie hero by men raised on the language of the moving image.

This leads to another major difference between the two characters. Since James Bond's existence pre-dates his big-screen debut, the character is consequently bigger than any one actor. Most folks tend to agree that Sean Connery was, is and always will be the best Bond, but since other actors have portrayed the dashing superspy after him (with varying degress of success) it is not inconceivable for audiences to see someone other than Connery uttering that immortal line: "The name's Bond, James Bond." Like Sherlock Holmes, Zorro, Superman and other heroes with literary origins, there is no one "definitive" James Bond.

With Indiana Jones, though, there were no preconceptions concerning the character prior to the release of Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981. Nobody had even heard of Indiana Jones before his emergence from the shadows in the film's opening scene. Thus, the connection between the character and the actor who brought him to life (Harrison Ford) is inseperable. Harrison Ford is not just the temporary "vessel" of Indiana Jones. He IS Indiana Jones. Period. Nobody else can play that part.*

Because of the character's identification with a particular actor, Indiana Jones can do something else that James Bond can't do: he can age. In the latest Indiana Jones adventure, there are apparently numerous lines of dialogue referencing the fact that Indiana Jones is much older (not to mention how many reviews mention that Ford himself is much older). This allows the filmmakers to explore the themes of the passage of time and how it can make on feel "out of place" in the world. In fact, two other recent entries in ongoing movie franchises to have successfully dealt with this subject (Rocky Balboa and Live Free or Die Hard) also happened to feature heroes who have been indelibly linked with the actor playing them. Just as Harrison Ford IS Indiana Jones, Sylvester Stallone IS Rocky and Bruce Willis IS John McClane. In some ways, Indy may have more in common with these characters than with Bond (although not in the area of popularity or cultural import naturally).

While Indiana Jones grows older, James Bond has remained more or less the same age (late 30's to late 50's) for more than 40 years. Because it's been established that audiences can accept a different face as Bond, the filmmakers are able to re-cast a younger actor in the role every decade or so. Bond's perpetual youth (his "immortality" if you will) almost makes him more of a symbol than a character. The fact that Bond's adventures always exist in the present lends credence to this. A passing reference to Bond as a "relic of the cold war" in Goldeneye is probably the only indication made in the entire series of his antiquity. Bond continues to stay relevant because the purposeness of his existence is not restricted to the Cold War. It might have given birth to him, but it by no means defines him. Bond's adventures continue to be successful and resonate with audiences long after the fall of the Iron Curtain (with him tackling a very contemporary and very real threat in more recent films: namely, terrorism). There has, of course, been one attempt to depict an older Bond on screen (in the "unofficial" Never Say Never Again) with the one actor who could possibly be most identified with Bond (if there were to be one), Sean Connery, but again the success was minimal compared to other Bonds.

There are many other differences between Bond and Indy that I could mention, and I'm sure I'll find even more after seeing Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (a film I've been looking forward to for quite some time). In fact, I already know of one major difference based on a spoiler that I unfortunately stumbled across on the internet (don't worry, I won't reveal it here) concerning the film's ending. Furthermore, the new Bond film Quantum of Solace comes out later this year and will no doubt provide even more fodder for discussion on the similarities/differences between these two iconic heroes. For right now, however, I am content to leave it at these few brief remarks about aspects of each character.

So, I will conclude this piece with a bit of a personal statement: in addition to becoming important characters in the modern cultural concsciousness, both Indiana Jones and James Bond are very important to me. I grew up watching these movies (Spielberg and Lucas, in particular, were essentially the filmmakers of my generation; they helped me fall in love with movies in the first place) and they were seminal in my development not only as a cinephile but as a human being. These two characters happened to be among my all-time favorite fictional heroes (some others being Superman, Batman, Spider-man, the Lone Ranger, Zorro, Robin Hood and Sherlock Holmes). In fact, they still are. As I have gotten older and tried to leave "childish" ways behind, I find that their significance in my life has actually increased rather than decreased. Their strength, intelligence and tenacity are still qualities that I admire and try to emulate, but it is their flaws that resonate with me more than ever. Their weaknesses reflecting their humanness, giving them depth and making them all the more compelling. We need heroes. We've needed them for thousands of years to help inspire us to do good, to try hard, to fight the good fight (even though we can sometimes fail in that endeavor). James Bond and Indiana Jones are just two of the latest creations to embody an idea that goes back as far as Odysseus, Hercules and others.

We need heroes... or at the very least, I need them.

*Incidentally, I do realize that Indiana Jones has also been played by such actors as River Phoenix, Sean Patrick Flannery, George Hall and Corey carrier, but that doesn't affect my point that Harrison Ford is the standard by which any interpretation of the character is measured. It is striking, I think, that none of these other actors play Indiana Jones at the same age that Ford plays him. They're either extremely young or extremely old. It demonstrates, I believe, that the filmmakers realize audiences wouldn't accept another actor as Indy if Ford were able to do it. Also, none of these other actors were widely embraced as "real" incarnations of Indiana Jones. Phoenix would be the only possible exception and he is, significantly, the most like Ford of all of them.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


"I love you, honey."

"I know you think you do, Mother."

Monday, April 28, 2008

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tomorrow is Today!

This is a big week for my sister Debra. Not only did she get married on Sunday, but her third album Tomorrow Another Day officially gets released today. I know it's impossible for me to be objective, but I think this CD features some of Debra's deepest and most mature work in her career as an artist so far. Here is a rather favorable review of it by Northwest Noise.

Anyway, give it a listen and if you like what you hear, feel free to order it either from Debra's website or from CD Baby.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The "Ultimate" Wedding movie

"I used to think a wedding was a simple affair: a boy and girl meet, they fall in love, he buys a ring, she buys a dress, they say 'I do.' I was wrong. That's getting married. A wedding is an entirely different proposition." --Steve Martin, Father of the Bride

Tomorrow afternoon, on the stage of the Majestic Theatre in Corvallis, my baby sister Debra stands up there and gets herself married. She's the first member of my immediate family to undertake this commitment (well, aside from my parents) and I get the honor of running the lights for it. I know that in the past few months my sister has been working very hard organizing this event and a few weeks back she came into the video store to check out the Steve Martin comedy Father of the Bride (the remake of the 1950 film with Spencer Tracy and Liz Taylor). I suspect that Deb did this because she needed to laugh at the sight of someone on screen enduring the horrors that she is currently experiencing in real life.

At any rate, she reminded me of a phenomenon that I've observed in my many years in the video business: namely that Father of the Bride is generally considered to be the "ultimate" wedding movie (or at least ultimate wedding research movie). People only seem to want to check it out when they or someone they know is preparing for a wedding. I jest not. In the fifteen years I've worked at a video store, I have personally seen Father of the Bride go out at least a couple dozen times and whenever a customer brings up the box to the counter to rent it, I always ask the same question: "So, who's getting married?" Everytime--and I mean EVERY time, without fail--they have an answer. "Oh, it's my brother" or "my daughter" or "my cousin" or "my friend."

It's certainly not be the only film to deal with the subject of weddings (just off the top of my head I can come up with Betsy's Wedding, My Best Friend's Wedding, Muriel's Wedding, The Wedding Crashers, The Wedding Date, The Wedding Singer, The Wedding Planner, Runaway Bride, 27 Dresses, etc), but somehow, somewhere along the way, Father of the Bride became the cinematic "authority" on weddings. Does it deserve such a position? Sure. I don't see why not. I mean, I've watched the film numerous times and I still think it's utterly charming. I like the way it finds humor in the process of putting on a wedding (and they go the whole thing too, from beginning to end), highlighting the foibles, the frustrations and, not least of all, the finances of it all, while still maintaining a sweet and sentimental tone. True, some would characterize it as being "saccharine", but Father of the Bride is funny and, at times, poignant without being edgy or cynical and that alone makes it somewhat of a rarity among Hollywood comedies nowadays.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Bunnies! Bunnies Everywhere!

A few of the more famous rabbits to appear on the big screen:

"Falling Hare," 1943

Harvey, 1950

Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 1975

Watership Down, 1978

A Christmas Story, 1983

Who Framed Roger Rabbit, 1988

Donnie Darko, 2001

Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit, 2005


Monday, March 17, 2008

Gimme a break. It's not easy being green.


Incidentally, I realize this image has nothing whatsoever to do with St. Patrick's Day. I just didn't want to be like everyone else and post something about Darby O'Gill and the Little People. Plus, I just saw the trailer to the Hulk sequel and thought it showed promise. I wasn't the biggest fan of Ang Lee's original (although I didn't hate it) but this one certainly looks different and possibly superior. Here's hoping anyway.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

They don't make trailers like they used to

A few days ago I posted a short blog about my reaction to the new Indiana Jones teaser trailer. Since then a newer "version" of the trailer has been brought to my attention by Ted Pigeon of Cinematic Art in his piece Indiana Jones and the Trailer of Digital Nostalgia. This version has taken most of the footage from the real trailer and re-edited it in the style of a 1980's trailer. Here is the "old school-style" trailer:

Ted's observations about the difference between these two trailers, and which one is more "effective" in capturing the spirit and aesthetic of the original movies, has gotten me thinking about a few things. First of all, Ted's piece reminded me of another fan-made trailer I once stumbled upon which was produced well before any footage of Indy IV was released. In fact, given that the trailer promotes it as Indiana Jones and the City of Gods, it's clear that it was created before the movie's official title was even revealed. When I first saw this on youtube, I actually thought (for about half of it) that it was the REAL teaser because it's almost exactly how I imagined the teaser would look (shots of a bullwhip, a gun, etc). When I finally saw the official one, I was mainly just pleased that we got to see any new footage at all. Bizarrely, though, this teaser still manages to (for the most part) work for me.

While it eventually becomes obvious that this is a fan-made trailer employing only amatuer footage (those are clearly not Harrison Ford's hands), the mere fact that this so closely resembles a professional-looking trailer could be seen either as a testament to the creativity of these young filmmakers or an indictment of the movie marketing industry as a whole. It's almost as if they're saying: "Hey, we know how you guys get us to WANT to see a movie. We understand the tecchnique for selling a product: the tricks, the 'formula,' etc. So, here's what we realize your teaser trailer is going to look like. We're just gonna do it first." They even predict (with eerie accuracy) the shot of Indy picking up his signature fedora, dusting it off and placing it on his head. Granted, Spielberg's staging includes a more artistic "Michael Curtiz-style" shadow of Indy donning his hat, but the idea behind both is exactly the same and it clearly didn't take a genius to think of it.

Secondly, as someone who has always been interested in movie publicity (particularly posters and trailers), it has long been apparent to me that trailers look, sound and just plain feel different than they used to. I realize, of course, that this is not news to anybody, but Ted's piece made me realize that while the primary intent of trailers is (as it always has been) to promote the films they represent, they really do function differently in our culture than they used to. We, as moviegoers, seem to perceive trailers and their significance quite differently than we did 20 or 30 years ago (let alone 50 or 60 years ago). Ted makes an excellent point about the release of trailers themselves now being "events." In 1989, I heard stories about people buying tickets to whatever movie they heard would feature the Batman trailer beforehand and then walking out before the movie itself had even started (apparently folks did the same thing up until as recently as the Phantom Menace trailer). I happened to catch the Batman trailer on the big screen as well, but in my case it was purely by accident. Thus, I didn't leave the theatre after the trailer finished because it played before a movie that I actually wanted to see (although interestingly, and probably significantly, I don't recall what film that was). Here is the trailer I saw as an adolescent:

I also remember that when I was working at the video store in high school, one of my favorite practices was to stick in a copy of the latest release and see which trailers were at the beginning of the tape. Of course, in the digital age, when trailers are available for free on the internet, such behaviors are unneccessary and unheard of, but they nevertheless clearly demonstrate a shift in the way people approach trailers (particularly trailers for big "event" movies which audiences are so eagerly excited to see). Nowadays the trailers are anticipated with as much fervor as the films themselves. I don't know that anyone could've ever predicted that trailers would, like movies, have actual "release dates." In a documentary on the special edition Batman DVD, excitment that surrounding the film's trailer in 1989 is discussed and Kevin Smith makes an excellent point. He says that it really could've been just a guy walking out and writing Batman on a chalkboard and everybody would've still freaked out. In point of fact, the teaser for the upcoming Dark Knight movie is little more than that.

In a way, films like Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Dark Knight don't even need trailers. As continuations of incredibly successful movie franchises they more or less of "sell" themselves (anyone who has seen the teaser trailer for J.J. Abrams' reinvention of the Star Trek series knows exactly what I'm talking about). So, one can't help but wonder then how we arrived at this place. How did we get to a point where our teasers are essentially just the title of the film appearing on screen with music behind it? Where we consider ourselves "lucky" if we get to see actual footage from the movie itself? Where hordes of people scrutinize every millisecond of a trailer rather than simply getting a general "impression" of the film it promotes? Where anyone can make a trailer that is just as good (and sometimes even better) than what the professionals are putting out?

I'm not sure, but it's worth thinking about and discussing. I suspect that in the coming days I will continue to pontificate on the ever-changing nature of trailers and share my ramblings here. I may even take the opportunity to mention one or two of my favorite (as well as some of my least favorite) trailers and what makes them so. Through the process, a topic that will no doubt be broached (as it was in the comments section of Ted's post) is whether a trailer can be a work of art or not. This question will, of course, be a divisive one (just as Ebert sparked a huge discussion about video games with his assertion that they're not art) because it inherently leads to the more fundamental question of "What is art?" and we all have different ideas on that. I'm not sure I've satisfactorily answered that question for myself yet, but I will say that I am currently leaning toward the perspective that movie trailers (as well as posters and just about any aspect of movie marketing) are art... or at least, they can be. Granted, perhaps the majority of the time they're not, but just as I think a TV commercial or a music video can be a work of art, so can a movie trailer.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The "Indy IV" teaser trailer is here!

The teaser trailer for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom and the Crystal Skull, the fourth and no doubt final entry in the immensely popular and lucrative Spielberg-Lucas film series, was officially revealed on Valentine's Day. While there are admittedly one or two things about it that rub me the wrong way, my overall reaction was a positive one. To quote Allison Doody from Last Crusade I was "giddy as a schoolboy" watching it.

Even though it's only been a few days since its unveiling, the internet is aleady "abuzz" with talk about it. Bloggers are praising, critiquing and performing in-depth analysis of every second of this teaser. For example, over at his superb film blog Burbanked does a rather extensive evaluation of it, raising points of concern that no doubt hordes of fans and non-fans alike will have. As a fellow appreciator of film publicity, Burbanked not only examines the content of the trailer but the trailer itself. His opinions are perhaps a bit more critical than mine, but they're nontheless fair and lucid. Burbanked's point that he is not yet convinced it's a film that "needed to be made" is, I think, a particularly valid one. The truth is I'm not sure I feel convinced of that yet either, but having seen this trailer now, I do feel something that I haven't felt since word of a fourth Indy film first surfaced: optimistic. I had always known that Spielberg, Lucas and Ford could pull this off (if anybody could), but I wasn't necessarily confident that they would. My confidence, however, is building. Once the actual theatrical trailer is released, hopefully, it will build even more.

Monday, February 11, 2008

You might need a bigger boat, but you're never gonna need a better actor

In his autobiography Born Standing Up Steve Martin shares a lesson he learned about doing comedy; namely, that "it was easy to be great. Every entertainer has a night when everything is clicking. These nights are accidental and statistical: like lucky cards in poker, you can count on them occurring over time. What was hard was to be good, consistently good, night after night, no matter what the circumstances." I think Martin's observation is an astute one with regard not only to onstage performing but with any endeavor and I recall Martin's sentiment mainly because when I heard last night about the death of Roy Scheider I was struck by the fact that although I've never considered him a "great" actor (like, say, Marlon Brando or Daniel Day-Lewis), when I reflected on his body of work, I couldn't come up with a single bad performance.

I don't think I ever fully appreciated Scheider's ability to be, as Martin characterized it, consistently and reliably good. The fact is that he gave 100% to each film, he devoted himself equally to every part he played, whether it be in a masterpiece like Jaws or The French Connection a relatively forgettable family film like Disney's Tiger Town (which was actually the first time I ever saw Scheider in anything).

According to IMDB, Scheider died yesterday University of Arkansas Medical Sciences hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas. Though an official cause of death was not released at press time, a hospital spokeswoman stated that the actor had been treated for multiple myeloma at the hospital's research center for the past two years. Scheider is survived by his three children and his second wife, actress Brenda King. He was 75.

Scheider's film career was incredibly varied. He could play supporting roles in significant movies like Klute, Naked Lunch and Marathon Man or he could play the lead in a lesser-known, but still decent, piece of work like Blue Thunder, 52 Pick-Up or The Seven-Ups. One of his most memorable performances was as the screen incarnation of dancer/choreographer/director Bob Fosse in All That Jazz. The DVD features iterview with Scheider wherein he relates some rather profound stories about his working with the ailing Fosse and his awareness of who he was playing and why it was significant.

But the movie that first seems to pop into most people's minds whenever Scheider's name is mentioned anymore would naturally be Jaws. The character of Martin Brody, one of the first in a long line of Spielbergian "everymen," is a wonderful creation of Scheider's. While Richard Dreyfus has always been my personal favorite character, Brody is clearly unequivovally the film's "audience incarnate." Spielberg invites us all to experience the film's frightening and dramatic events through the eyes of Martin Brody and the humor, fear and just general humanity that Scheider embodies help makes that a plesant experience for the watcher. Finally, of course, the line of dialogue spoken upon Brody's first glimpse of the shark ("You're gonna need a bigger boat.") has become one of the most quoted* lines in movie history (Ted Pigeon beautifully describes Scheider's performance in that scene, as well as in another important scene, over at his blog The Cinematic Art). It is a declaration which has become identified with the reality of being faced with a situation where you feel ill-equipped and unprepared. Apparently, as it is revealed in the Laurent Bouzereau-directed documentary on the Jaws 30th anniversary DVD, the line was improvised by Scheider himself on the day of filming. How's that for being in the moment?

*It is also, alas, one of the most misquoted lines of movie history, ranging all the way from "We're gonna need a bigger boat" to "We gotta get a bigger boat." Scheider himself recalls it incorrectly in an interview for the aforementioned DVD "making of" feature.

So, rest in peace, Roy.

ROY SCHEIDER (1932-2008)