Film Junk Premium Podcast #50: The Jaws Franchise

Smile, you son of a bitch! Following Shark Week and the July 4th holiday weekend as we head into the thick of the summer movie season, we decided to revisit the franchise that gave birth to the summer blockbuster phenomenon itself: Jaws. Starting with Steven Spielberg’s 1975 classic and following on through to Jaws: The Revenge, we explore what could very well be the biggest drop in quality across a series of films ever. Points of discussion include John Williams’ iconic score, the brilliant casting and rich themes of the original film, the impact of Jaws on the movie industry, as well as the time-honoured bar game standoff. So is Jaws a perfect film? Is Jaws 2 a misunderstood classic or just plain bad? More importantly, what is the top speed of a Great White shark and do they have a telepathic connection with humans? Get out the blankets and download this month’s premium podcast below.

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This series of premium podcasts was created to help support the regular weekly Film Junk Podcast. Head on over to Bandcamp and download full episodes for a minimum donation of just $1. As always, let us know if you experience any technical difficulties or if you have any other suggestions for future specials. Thanks for your support!

  • Samb

    Another enjoyable premium ‘cast, gents, thanks. Richard Dreyfus is my favorite thing about the original…his general amusement and lightheartedness is a great counterpoint to the doom and gloom.

  • Tommy

    Yo Frank, I think Stevie’s been saying the shooting star shot was a complete surprise they didn’t catch till screening dailies. Just God smiling down on young ‘bergo.

  • Melaniemschmitt3


  • Indianamcclain

    The opening scene with the girl being dragged by the shark was actually day for night. So that might explain why the lighting is slightly off.

  • Sam

    Quint octopus talk is gold.

    Thanks for another solid premium guys!

  • MichelleDOrman


  • Colin

    Loved the Quint impressions, definitely one of the best segments ever.

    Kinda feeling like this was a bit of a short premium. Should have included Orca or Day of the Dolphin or something else to move it at least past the 2 and a half hour mark.

  • devolutionary

    The darker script for Jaws 2 would’ve been far more interesting (closer to the book). They initially wanted to focus on the aftermath and Chief Brody’s falling out with the town, despite saving it. Amity was to be abandoned and create a larger division within the community. Like the first, the full reveal of the new shark wouldn’t be until much later.

    Unfortunately the studio wanted to dumb it down into the slasher it became. Needless to say, Roy Scheider hated his time on the film.
    Fun episode circling the drains last night.

  • milan

    frank will love this: jaws if it would be scored by his buddy hans zimmer!

  • iammattz

    Hands down one of my favourite premiums, thanks guys. I must say it’s very big of Frank to look past the cheap, anyone-can-do-that, bottom-shelf jump scares of Jaws 1 and still see the cinematic masterpiece that it is!

  • frankw35

    Another great premium, with one nails-on-a-chalk-board exception. Frank, since you’re the one who pointed it out I’m surprised that you were the worst offender. The shark is not named Jaws. “Jaws” is the title, a descriptor of the threat, but it is always a freaking shark, not a named character. Being old enough to have seen this the first in theaters (on a massive screen–it was huge, great, Trumpesque), I remember nobody calling the shark by that name in its initial release but it quickly caught on after some lame parody songs and comedy sketches. I don’t blame you, you probably grew up with incredibly ignorant friends who used that name, but it is an abomination, worse than shelving your Blu-rays intermingled with DVD’s or logging a TV show on Letterboxd. Can you imagine any serious film fan talking about “And then Psycho comes in and kills Janet Leigh in the shower!”? So great premium, but penalty box for this infraction.

  • Sam

    After watching Orca for the first time this week, I think the discussion for that would have been amazing as well

  • Johan_W

    Great great GREAT premium. Thanks!

    Frank: PUHLEEEZE stop calling the SHARK “JAWS”. What’s up with that??

  • Johan_W

    Love the white paint on “JAWS”‘s nose when emerging underneath Brody.

  • Johan_W

    Link to that please. Those shots are obviously day for night aswell (at least the shot with the Orca) and the meteors were added in post.

  • LordAwesome

    Why isn’t STAR TREK: TNG movies the next premium? To hell with Ghostbusters, and get in Reed!

  • Sean

    We have been considering either Bourne or Star Trek: TNG for August, although we’re still exploring other options as well.

  • Kyle

    You gotta get to Dirty Harry at some point. Don’t really see much interest in a Bourne one.

  • Kenneth Serenyi

    Michael Caine on Jaws: The Revenge “I have never seen the film, but by all accounts it was terrible. However I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.”

    The Jaws main theme also sounds like Dvorak – Symphony No. 9, Movement 4, although I doubt Williams was thinking of this piece when he composed the music.

  • Mark Stevens

    Well, Frank once again proves that , as far as film music goes, he doesnt know his ass from a hole in the ground. (But, then, I’m not here for perceptive film commentary but a taste for quirky Canadian conversational ramblings.) Thank God, Jay usually has something intelligent to say to counter Frank farting through his teeth.

    JAWS really put Williams on the map and, along with his Oscar for it, paved the way for his doing STAR WARS, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, SUPERMAN, and RAIDERS.

  • Oso Jugo

    I think I heard Jay mention video essays in the latest podcast. I’m not sure if he was joking or not but I’ve been wondering recently why he doesn’t do a Room 237 type documentary. It certainly must be an inexpensive way to do a compelling documentary. It had a budget of around $5000 dollars and it pulled in about $300,000 at the box office.

    Check this out.

    Jaws is essentially an exorcism film. The devil threatens to possess and destroy the entire town of Amity. A local, old world, Irish exorcist type Quint promises he can banish the spirit of evil. Foreign, big city, new world, modern scientist Hooper arrives with space age technology to do battle with the demon. Local lawman Brody hires both out of desperation. Enmity quickly arises between Quint and Hooper over competing philosophies. All three men go out to sea to do battle with the monster. Hooper brings the spirit of modern science, represented by the oxygen tanks on the voyage. One of which, helps Brody to finally defeat the threat; but not before one rolls over Quint’s fingers, making him lose his grip, giving him up to the jaws of the evil shark.

    The theme continues in Jurassic Park. The villain of the piece, the blood sucking lawyer—or lawgiver–introduced at Mano de Dios, who appears to walk on water, and prays to the Virgin Mary before the dragon devours him from a toilet throne.

    Dreyfus in Close Encounters goes up the
    mountain like Moses but it’s the devils tower.

    Elliott is possessed by E.T. It’s right in the title. E-lliot-T.

    Etc etc, $300,000 at the box office.

    Not sure if the dude who made Room 237 believed in any of the theories posited in that film but I don’t think it makes a difference in the end if you’ve got a hook. People love this stuff. Get the right musical choices in there for the montages, find a place in there somewhere to put a clip of Jeffrey Dahmer admitting that Return of the Jedi inspired him to try and construct an altar of skulls, and you are golden.

  • Oso Jugo

    More thoughts if I may belabor the point. The opening scene in Jurassic Park is a replay of the ark climax in Raiders of the Lost Ark. The cage holding the raptor is the ark, and once this ark is opened by the officiating officer, death quickly follows. You can also look at it like this, Muldoon is the Kali witch doctor from Temple of Doom who is offering the Costa Rican man to his demon raptor god, upon the altar-like cage. Also, as it would happen, the raptor paddock looks like a temple.

    Another thing. One of Spielberg’s first projects was the TV movie Something This Way Comes? A title which is arrived at from a line in Macbeth, a play in which two Scottish nobles offer themselves up to the demons and witchcraft, in exchange for worldly gain. A movie that is abundant with discussions about the devil and in which there is an actual scene where a small boy named Steven is placed in a magic circle by his mother and given up to the spirits as an offering. Is it coincidence that Steven Spielberg quickly shot to fame soon after its making? Whether you believe it or not, observations like these and more would surely make for a killer documentary.