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As a blogger/film critic, a common question I get asked at social gatherings is "What's your favorite movie?" It's a inquiry I've grown so accustomed to that I have the tendency to blurt out Jaws before the asker has even completed the sentence. Yes, Jaws. Always and forever Jaws.
It's a movie I've seen more than probably any other. I vividly remember the cold sweat that overtook me when I first watched it surrounded by older, eager friends as a kid, curled up on a carpeted living room floor I'm fairly certain I left claw marks in. Steven Spielberg's Jaws not only instilled in me a love of horror movies (and a deep fear of the ocean) but also continues to thrill me every single time I watch it. It just never gets old. And the lush release of its Blu-ray last year offered fans of the groundbreaking blockbuster boatloads of extras that took us behind the scenes of the problem-plagued production.
There was the previously released two-hour documentary The Making of Jaws as well as a new feature-length doc called The Shark is Still Working, which boasted never before seen footage and interviews with Spielberg and the iconic thriller's stars, Roy Scheider and Richard Dreyfuss. Then there was a doc about the film's restoration process, plus storyboards, production photos, deleted scenes and outtakes. What more could a Jaws devotee possibly ask for? For that we turn to Jamie Benning, a documentary filmmaker who makes "filmumentaries" about movies he deeply adores for no profit.
Taking passion project to a whole new level, Benning has created docs about Star Wars (Building an Empire, Returning to the Jedi, and Star Wars Begins) and Indiana Jones and The Raiders of the Lost Ark (Raiding the Lost Ark), but his latest creation is all about Jaws. Clocking in at 2 hours and 29 minutes, Inside Jaws--formerly titled Jaws Bites Back--features interviews with Spielberg, Dreyfuss, screenwriter Carl Gottlieb, composer John Williams, and castmembers like Lee Fierro, who played slap-happy Mrs. Kitner, Craig Kingsbury, a local fisherman who played the ill-fated Ben Gardner. Some selections are snagged from previously released interviews, but others are all new, the results of Benning conducting a string of phone interviews for his passion project. And for an added bonus, Benning has a title track that peppers the doc with fun facts, giving background on such wide-ranging topics as actors' royalties to the origins of the Mayor of Amity's fabulously flashy blazer.
You can check out the doc in its entirety up top for free. It's unofficial in that Benning has owns no copyrights to Jaws, and describes his work as "non profit making projects." It seems because he doesn't charge for the films he's created using their source materials, the production companies that lay claim to the iconic inspirations for these docs have yet to contact him over copyright infringement. So that's a win for fan art.