Yesterday, I was visiting with family for the holiday and the TV happened to be on. American Movie Classics was showing a “Jaws marathon” and “Jaws 3-D” was on. (Why they still insist on calling it 3-D when regular TV allows nothing of the kind is a mystery.)
I had not seen this movie in years, and frankly it was even worse than I remembered, and that’s saying something. “Jaws” never should have been a franchise. As far as I am concerned, the original still stands alone, which is the way it should have been. I mean, the sequels that followed make the “Jurassic Park” follow-ups look good by comparison.
But what really struck me is the comedown in standards over the years as to what movies are broadcast on a station that calls itself “American Movie Classics.” I mean, if we were only talking about the original “Jaws,” there would not be any problem. But any “Jaws” film with a number in its title, in my opinion, has no business being called a classic.
There was once a time when AMC only showed movies of quality. But over the years, that has changed. After a while, the various “Halloween” sequels started to be shown ad infinitum and ad nauseum. I’m not sure what went on behind the scenes at AMC, but these days they may as well call it “American Movie Crap” because an increasing number of the films they run consist of just that. Watching movies on commercial TV is bad enough, but trying to convince us that lousy sequels deserve to be remembered and treasured years from now is worse.
And “Jaws 3″ is particularly bad. I’m sure Dennis Quaid would prefer to forget that he ever had anything to do with it. Then there is the rest of the cast, with their pedigree in bad 1980s TV series. Louis Gossett Jr. from “The Powers of Matthew Starr” and Simon MacCorkindale from “Manimal.” Remember those television gems of yesteryear?
The special effects were not exactly up to par as it is, and are made even worse when you watch them on regular TV without the 3-D effect added in. The whole concept of a shark picking off people at Sea World … don’t get me started. And then there’s the way they kill the shark. (I’m sure I’m not spoiling anything when I say that the shark ultimately gets killed. Not to worry, it would be back in the next film looking for revenge.)
I’m not saying bad movies can’t be enjoyed. But maybe we need a special channel more appropriately named. Something like “Schlock,” which sort of has a nice ring to it — like “Spike,” the “guy channel.” This could be a home for any number of cinematic abortions. All those movies hosted by Elvira alone could fill up weeks of programming time. And the films don’t have to be limited to horror and science fiction, because bad movies, as we know, can transcend all genres.
The more I think about this idea, the more I like it. I hope someone among the cable TV powers-that-be decides to do it.