A Ganache On The Street Report: Don’t Go In The Water
Our good friends at Connecticut Cult Classics threw a curveball this year, by announcing a July event in between their normal bimonthly scheduled shows in June and August. This in itself is cool enough, getting to spend an extra Saturday night hanging out and watching a fun double feature, but when Larry Dwyer, Emperor of all things Cult Classics announced the headline film for this event, I just about lost my shit. Jaws. Yes, if you know me, you know that I often and loudly will tell people of my love for Spielberg’s classic, as it truly is my favorite film of all time. I was born about 4 months after it was released so I had not seen it in theaters until a few years back. Fathom Events, a company that specializes in showing classic films in theaters nationwide had run a limited engagement of Jaws in 2015, for the 40th anniversary. I was fortunate enough to catch it then, and thanks to wish granter Larry, I was going to get to do it again.
With Lloyd on family vacation and Jon unable to attend, I picked up Silent Tony and we headed to our normal pre show ritual, crushing burgers at Five Guys. Loading up is important on these evenings, as the films tend to run into the midnight and beyond section of the clock. I noticed that Tony gets a very simple set of toppings on his burger, lettuce and tomato, mustard and ketchup, and some how that just seemed to match Tony’s no nonsense demeanor. Meanwhile I get everything from bits of glass to used band aids on mine, which fits precisely with my roundish shape. We headed to The Strand theater after decimating our shared French fries (don’t judge, those containers are huge, and they fill the bag with an extra scoop! If you each buy an order of fries there and don’t share one, you must be a Rockefeller) and got in line with the rest of the near sellout crowd.
After talking to Larry and some other Cult crew, and saying hi to friends we have made through these shows, we sat down to watch the first film on this dangerous waters themed night, 1978’s Piranha. I had never seen Joe Dante’s film before, and had fun with it despite it not being really very good at all. There were some funny moments sprinkled throughout, and it was cool to see faces that the director used more times throughout his career like Dick Miller and Kevin McCarthy, but I was getting ready for the real deal, the 25 footer in the ocean, my boy Bruce.
After a brief intermission to give out raffle prizes (Tony won a beautiful original copy of the soundtrack on vinyl) and use the seemingly always occupied bathroom, we got to our second feature and the main event. Jaws is a film that transports me completely inside the story. Despite having seen it easily 100 times in my life, I still get apprehensive, and it still can surprise me with little things never noticed before. Larry and his programmer Mike Simonetta, who is key in putting these shows together, started the film with a quick deleted scene known to Jaws fans that sets up Quint’s…ummm difficult personality. I quickly realized we were surrounded by several viewers that as the movie unfolded became very clear had never seen this classic. I awaited the moment when Hooper jars loose Ben Gardner’s head from a hole in his boat’s hull, a Hall of Fame jump scare in cinematic history. When I watched the movie upon it’s Blu Ray release many years ago, I laughed as my wife convulsed on the couch during this moment. Well, I was not disappointed in this crowd, as I heard many gasps, had the back of my seat kicked and saw the young couple in front of us jump up. On the ride from Seymour to our hometown of Wallingford at night’s end , Tony told me he jumped too, as not surprisingly if you know him, he had never seen Jaws in it’s entirety before either. In a testament to it’s ability to draw viewers into it’s grasp since 1975, Tony ordered the Blu Ray on Amazon that night and rewatched it a few days later.
I hope Larry figures out a way to make Jaws a yearly summer event for the showings, maybe pairing it with other aquatic horror films such as Orca, or even one of the sequels. In any case, another great night was had at a Connecticut Cult Classics event, $10 for two films, cheap snacks and drinks and rad raffle prizes too. If you are anywhere near the Connecticut area, you owe it to yourself to check one of these nights out at some point soon.