From Jaws to Gums

by Kenneth Francis (August 2019)

Watson and the Shark (II), John Singleton Copley, 1778




The last half-decent Hollywood movie I saw was Misery, starring Kathy Bates and James Caan. That was almost 30 years ago in a small cinema in London. I can’t imagine a similar Hollywood movie being made today, depicting a likeable, masculine man abducted by a violent, nutcase woman who breaks his ankles with a sledgehammer to prevent him from leaving her. It seems nowadays, political correctness has stifled the creativity of any potentially good movie. No more ‘toxic’ masculine males or crazy women, like those also portrayed by actors Michael Douglas and Glen Close in Fatal Attraction.


Read more in New English Review:
J.G. Ballard’s The Atrocity Exhibition and Postmodern Dystopia
How the Left Wins the Arguments by Narratives, Postmodernism, and Greater Moral Significance
• Dead Zones


The other night, I was watching Jaws on TV. I must’ve seen this ’70s Hollywood blockbuster over a dozen times and I always enjoy it. For anyone not familiar with this movie, welcome back from Pluto, but here is a brief summary of the plot:


There’s a seminal scene in the movie with the men in the boat drunkenly exchanging stories about their assorted scars. Quint talks about how he survived the USS Indianapolis. His chilling five-minute monologue about the time the Indianapolis went down in the sea, and how he was one of more than a thousand men in the water, makes for great cinema. When rescuers eventually arrived, Quint explains that two-thirds of his fellow sailors had been killed by sharks. This scene of Quint’s monologue is shot at night in the boat’s cabin. It would be difficult to imagine a similar scene played so well if such a movie were made today or within the last decade.


In recent years, Hollywood studios have found it quite difficult to find masculine, traditional male leads for their movies (in fact, they probably discourage it). Contemporary stars mostly consist of boyish-men who remain wimps even into their late-40s. The White Male in contemporary culture is also portrayed as a clumsy cuck, who relies on his female partner/wife to guide and rescue him from his patriarchal blunders.


Classic movies like Moby Dick, if remade today, would probably change Captain Ahab’s name to ‘Mick’, as a fleet of Greenpeace rubber dinghies pursue a toxic ‘Dopey Mick’ seeking revenge on an innocent ‘Moby Dick’. And with that in mind, who could play the masculine ‘toxic’ Quint in a modern-day version of Jaws? It’s hard to imagine someone like Eric McCormack (Will and Grace) playing a rugged Quint. Or what about Pee-Wee Herman playing John Rambo in First Blood? But it could be worse: Pee Wee, sounding like he just inhaled helium, playing Ben Hur as a slave rowing in the boat’s galley, shouting at one of the commanding officers: “Hey! The coffee’s cold and my seat is too hard!” As for a movie about the Civil War, who could play General Custer, who was in his 20s when he led an army into battle and was played by Robert Shaw in the 1967 movie, Custer of the West?


Also, ‘Quint’s’ dialogue would no doubt be wall-to-wall virtue-signalling, including, “We’re gonna need a smaller boat, in order to appease that person-eating elasmobranchii.” The same would apply to Brody and Hooper, played by Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss, both of whom are quite masculine, despite the Hooper character being a bit nerdy.


And in a #MeToo culture, why does it have to be three male actors playing the part in a remake of Jaws? But it might look a bit odd with three female ‘fisherpersons’ in a boat wearing Pussy Hats, and Kathy Bates playing Quint, trying desperately hard to bludgeon the shark over the head with a sledgehammer. Animal’s rights groups would also ensure that the shark be a protected species, regardless of how many humans it savages, because, being a minority, automatically confers moral superiority on the ‘noble’ fish.




With the mentality of college frat boys, the three beta involuntary celibates, sipping lattes, sit on fluffy beanbags near a window in the attic of SQUINT’S mother’s house by the sea. The trio are on antidepressants, with BLOOPER and BIRDY unemployed, while SQUINT works as a pro-abortion activist at a local clinic. They also hate God and can’t get Him out of their heads, even though they don’t believe in him. (The sound of the tide flowing outside, creaking of wood and a whale-call in the distance, make the room seem like a boat anchored on the ocean. Meanwhile, BIRDY is looking at a small white patch on SQUINT’S forearm, as they compare each other’s’ tattoos.)



pointing at Squint’s arm)

What was written where that tattoo used to be?



So, I had it, like, taken off 10 years ago.






Tweets and Milkshake Wars 2019.






So, you were, like, part of the Great Tweets and Milkshake Wars after the Bad Orange Man became president? Wow . . .





Close on SQUINT (Unlike QUINT’S gravelling voice in ‘Jaws’)


SQUINT, sounding like a teenager trapped in an adult’s body, delivers his monologue in an irritating, millennial, vocal-fry voice with an uptalk intonation at the end of each sentence. He holds a cup close to his chest, as if to get some heat from the coffee. A slogan on the cup reads, ‘Fish Hooks Hurt Worms’.)





Who’s he?







Suddenly, there’s a loud banging on the wall. The three men look startled. Could it be a killer shark? The sound of Squint’s mother calling him: “Squint! Have you brushed your teeth yet?”





Read more in New English Review:
Isn’t it Amazing?


However, C.S. Lewis said: “No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good . . . That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness—they have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means—the only complete realist.”


Finally, Christ would certainly make the crew of the Orca look rudderless in a shark-infested sea of doubt. The Bible tells us Jesus got into the boat and his disciples followed him. ‘Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey Him!”.’ (Matthew 8:23-27)



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