DID YOU READ

“Jaws” documentary writer J. Michael Roddy explains why “the shark Is still working”

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Considering the fact that “Jaws” continues to be popular even in its 37th year, it is easy to see that Steven Spielberg‘s first feature film is as effective as it’s ever been. Or, as documentary producer J. Michael Roddy would say, the shark is still working.

Roddy used to work as Universal Orlando’s Manager of Show Development and Senior Show Director, so it is easy to understand why he has a stake in the company’s back catalogue. But it was clear when speaking to him at the press day for the upcoming “Jaws” Blu-ray, out Tuesday, that he’s been a longtime fan of the classic. Back in 2007, Roddy created a documentary called “The Shark Is Still Working” that included new interviews with Steven Spielberg, John Williams and Richard Dreyfuss, and fans are going to finally get to see it on the Blu-ray release that will honor Universal’s 100th anniversary.

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“When we interviewed Steven, he’s fantastic. He’s a film geek. He’s a walking knowledge base of film, and it was such a wonderful time, we just had a blast. But you think about it and you think about the films he’d done before that — he’d done a lot for television and he had ‘Duel,’ which was a TV movie, and then also ‘Sugarland Express’ — but all of those were very different types of films,” Roddy explained of his experience making the documentary. “‘Jaws’ really established the style of Steven Spielberg that we know today. That’s the film I think we can hearken back to and say, ‘There’s the beginning of the man that made “Raiders” and the man that made “E.T.” and all the films that we love so much.'”

Roddy cited Laurent Bouzereau’s 1995 documentary “The Making of Steven Spielberg’s ‘Jaws'” as the reason he went out and got a laser disc player at the time, so it’s clear that he wanted to create something that would have a similar effect on a new generation a decade later. Since Bouzereau had focused on the production of “Jaws,” Roddy explained that he wanted to focus on what happened after that: its legacy, its impact on society, and the fact that it has inspired and terrified so many people since.

It’s not news that Spielberg and the rest of his cast and crew had a difficult time bringing “Jaws” to the big screen, but Roddy said he was still taken aback by the fact that they had no idea back in 1974 just how big the movie would become a year later. “I don’t think any of them really understood,” he said. “They were like, ‘It’s a hit! That’s great!’ And even now, all the interviews, there’s still kind of this shock and awe that it’s this entity that’s lasted 35 years.”

Roddy continued, “I think ‘Jaws’ came out at the right time for America and the world. We had just had a devastating war that was wrapping up, and also the films of the early ’70s were very gritty and real. Fantastic, but they weren’t entertaining, per se. And ‘Jaws’ is a piece of entertainment. I mean, it’s pure Steven Spielberg entertainment.”

In addition to that, it’s a film that many can relate to. Shark attacks are a valid fear, though they don’t happen as frequently as one might think. Spielberg capitalized on that terror and turned it into a quality thriller that is rooted in reality while also being pure fantasy.

“The shark still works because every generation will discover ‘Jaws’ and be terrified by it,” Roddy said. “The shark didn’t work in 1974, but when it hit theaters, that shark worked really well. It worked amazing. It created a whole genre called the summer blockbuster. And now, some 37 years later, here we have the Blu-ray released and it looks better than ever.”

The Blu-ray production returned back to the original 35mm film of “Jaws” and lovingly transferred the movie frame-by-frame to a digital format. Because of that, Roddy believes that it will open the movie up to a whole new generation while making it even more accessible to those who have been fans since the beginning.

“I think ‘Jaws’ is a signature piece. It is Steven Spielberg’s first film that really put his name out there. It also was the creation of the summer blockbuster,” Roddy explained of the film’s legacy. “‘Jaws’ was a piece of entertainment that said to families, ‘Go to the movies in the summer. Don’t just send your kids. Everybody go, and we are going to scare the heck out of you.'”

“Jaws” hits Blu-Ray on August 14.

Do you plan to pick up the Blu-ray of “Jaws”? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

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“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar

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IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

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IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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