The Meg is Closer to ‘Jaws’ Than ‘Sharknado’

MOVIE REVIEW When Steven Spielberg’s Jaws opened in theaters in 1975, it took the world by storm. Not only was the movie hugely popular as it was genuinely scary, it actually affected society in a strange way. Audiences began to have an irrational fear of sharks even when swimming at a lake. When Jaws 2 came to theaters three years later, everyone knew the catchphrase, “Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water…” Since then, it’s been hard for movie studios to be able to drum up the same excitement with their own Jaws knock-offs. Shark movies became a joke. Even Jaws 3 and Jaws: The Revenge were met with disdain (and with good reason). But sharks are still a popular subject, just not one that we take very seriously anymore.
This brings us to next big shark movie, The Meg which judging from the trailers alone, looks like another campy knock-off movie and while it indeed is campy, it isn’t as much as you would think. When comparing movies, The Meg is closer to Jaws tha…

This Day in Pop Culture for November 23

"Close Encounters of the Third Kind" opened in theaters on November 23, 1977.

'Close Encounters of the Third Kind" Opens in Theaters

The Science Fiction film that partially saved Columbia Pictures, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, was released to theaters in a limited number of cities on November 16 and on this day in 1977. Directed by Steven Spielberg, the film starred Richard Dreyfuss, Melinda Dillon, Teri Garr, Bob Balaban, Cary Guffey, and François Truffaut. Though Spielberg received full credit for writing the story, he was also aided by Paul Schrader, John Hill, David Giler, Hal Barwood, Matthew Robbins, and Jerry Belson. Dreyfuss played Roy Neary, an everyday man living in Indiana, whose life changed when he encountered an UFO. Close Encounters was scheduled to be released during the summer of 1977, but was pushed back because of production problems. Spielberg wanted to release it during the summer of 1978, but the studio needed the film to get out to theater sooner rather than later. Initially, Spielberg told Columbia that he estimated that the film would cost $2.7 million to make. It ended up costing $19.4 million and if the studio had known at the beginning of the project, it never would have been approved since the studio was close to being bankrupted and didn’t have the money. Fortunately for everyone involved, the film made about $300 million worldwide. The film was nominated for numerous awards including eight Academy Awards but ended up only winning one for cinematography. After the success of the film, Spielberg went back to Columbia asking to make a director’s cut of the film. They agreed on the condition that he would include a shot from the inside of the spacecraft. Given $1.5 million, Spielberg added seven minutes of new footage that helped to develop the characters better and took away ten minutes from previous scenes. The “special edition” of the film was released in August of 1980 and Spielberg was happy with the final product except for the interior scene of the spacecraft. He felt that it should have remained a mystery.

Debut of the 'New' LIFE Magazine

Originally a humor and general interest magazine, LIFE began publishing in 1883. However, it wasn’t until this day in 1936 that became the photojournal magazine that it is known for. Henry Luce, founder of Time magazine purchased LIFE earlier in the year and shifted its focus to news. He believed that pictures could tell stories instead of just illustrating text. Photos were printed on thick glossy paper. The format was a success. The first issue was published during the Great Depression and instead of focusing on the war, the first cover showed the Fort Peck Dam in Montana photographed by Margaret Bourke-White. By the 1950’s the magazine started to lose reader due to the popularity of TV. On December 29, 1972, LIFE printed its last weekly publication.

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