Those who know me well, know that I love, love, the movie Jaws. I can’t tell you many times
I’ve watched it or how many more times I will, but it is one of possibly only a few movies (Sideways being a close second) that I know I can always turn on and fall into, and never grow weary of its journey.
Last night, having dinner with friends, our host asked me what it was about the movie that made it so watchable to me. I didn’t hesitate. The pacing, the plotting, the writing (yeah, even the really stinky cheese lines!) but most of all, the characters and their chemistry with one another. The three unwitting musketeers of Brody, Hooper and Quint. The tender union of Brody and his wife. And I haven’t even touched on the music yet…
I can quote nearly every line, every gesture. The Indianapolis speech still gives me the chills, as does the look on Roy Scheider’s face when he learns his son is “in the pond.”
In my mind, it is a perfect film.
But the question got me thinking–and it occurred to me that my reasons for watching Jaws over and over aren’t so different from why I re-read certain books. Clearly, I know the punchline. I can’t recreate that final moment of will-he or won’t-he nail-biting suspense that I endured the first time watching it (though that doesn’t mean I don’t still find the tension palpable), anymore than I could re-read Fight Club with a fresh innocence about its mind-blowing ending. And yet, I could and have re-read Fight Club. For the same reason I have re-read The Shipping News and The Shining. Because these are books that are so well-crafted and written that I know I will always glean something from my journey with them. Sometimes it is something new, other times I am delighted to report it’s because it’s exactly what I remember.
What about you? What books have sat on your night table more than once? And what about them makes you always come back for more?