Surviving ‘Jaws’ in the water

Spoiler alert: You’ve had four decades to see the movie discussed below. If you haven’t…well, first of all you’re just stupid. And second, if you don’t want to know what happens take your business elsewhere. OK then:

Seeing “Jaws” on dry land when you have a seafaring option — or at least a lagoon-floating option — is for sissies. That’s why the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema’s Rolling Roadshow screening on the lake of the now-40-year-old classic is one of its most notorious events. According to legend if not fact, back in the day they had scuba divers submerged to grab movie-goers’s legs. Good times.

It’s no surprise, then, that they’ve revived and revamped it. Saturday’s first screening at Texas Ski Ranch in New Braunfels featured no divers (at least nothing nibbled my wife and I) but it did have a couple of surprises and showed what the Alamo does best: Craft a gimmick that works brilliantly with the film. This is why the Alamo is one of Austin’s great gifts to the world.

I mean, c’mon, floating on the water while watching people getting eaten in the water? With beer and fish tacos? That’s worth a drive on a warm July night. Saturday’s setup involved a bit of red tape, though. Everybody had to sign a waiver and they were handing out colored wristbands like crazy. If you were drinking you wound up with three. It took longer than it should have. Maybe opening night complications.

But then you got to watch one of the great movies of the ‘70s. There was Hooper, the nervy nerd. Quint, the Ahab of Peter Benchley’s tale. (People cheered his speech about being on the doomed Indianapolis.) And Brody, the coward-lucky shot-unlikely survivor. Everybody seems to remember one of his famous lines as, “We’re gonna need a bigger boat, right?” In fact, it’s “You’re gonna need a bigger boat, right?” The implication being the chief will have no part in subsequent shark-snuffing runs.

Given the trauma he endured, it had to be one and done for Brody. (About “Jaws 2” we shall not speak.) But the Alamo is screening the film again for you sea dogs, and it’s selling out. Details here.

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