[ToC]

 

FILM SCHOOL

Chase Burke

 

 

"The patient zero mosquito from Jurassic Park is impossible. Amber is a color and a medium, but I don't believe in mediums. I went to the science laboratory of our humble university and asked them to explain Michael Crichton's ridiculous mindset, and all they did was escort me la di da out of the lab. I wasn't, they said, wearing the right shoes. I can't be bothered to go back and accost them re: Crichton-by-way-of-Spielberg's pseudo-babble because there are other films for us to watch. This is the only class that will ever matter to many of you, because it will be the last class you take as a filmmaker. It is here that your careers are stopped, cut, torn out like Marshall Teague's throat in Road House. Only a few of you will move on. Honesty is worth more when it's blunt. Ask Crichton about honesty, or Spielberg—the former is all fake science masturbation and the latter is all fake sentimental manipulation. Minus Spielberg's Jaws, a real masterpiece made realer by the literal failure of machinery. There's a film that can be everything to everyone. Take the Marxist reading, that the shark is unfettered capitalism coming home to feed. Or, Biblical, that Roy Scheider's Brody is a figurative Christ up there on the mast at the film's end, only he isn't crucified: he blows the shark up and swims away through the blood of God's most efficient killing machine, amen. Spielberg is hollow like his CGI monsters but Jaws is perfect because the monster is hardly there. The monster is what's inside humanity: Freudian reading. The monster is what's disappearing from the the water: ecopoetic reading. The monster is the water, encroaching on man-made shores: anthropocentric reading. Etc. You get it. I believe that our reckoning has already been filmed. It's every film. There's a pattern somewhere in the reels, a Fibonacci sequence spiraling out from every unspooled roll. Or maybe it's something more dire, some madhouse Argento mirror reflecting back at us all of the things we have ever been and ever will be. So many possibilities, so much movement, and then there's that mosquito suspended in the amber of a fucking cane, as if that was the source of humanity's undoing, hubris, damnation. Are you hearing this? Are you listening? Get out your pencils. Better yet, get a lighter."

 

 

 

 

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I was ten the first time I went to Universal Studios in Orlando, and I became obsessed with [the Jaws ride]. A few years later, I watched the film for the first time, and I loved it. (How could I not? It's perfect.) When I was maybe thirteen, we went back to Universal Studios, and the ride, in all of its schlocky, goofy glory, terrified me. The movie, perfect fiction, had changed how I experienced that little bit of reality. I think about that change a lot, and about how we remember what we've seen. They closed the ride in 2012; I believe they replaced it with a Harry Potter attraction.