So some Star Trek nerds are making a fan film
dedicated to, well, Star Trek. I'm sure I'll upset some people when I deride this project but hear me out.
I cloy up when I imagine being in a room with these people ironing out their uniforms, trading glib in jokes, and generally bathing in a glow of esoteric, clammy handed, bowlcut wearing, contorted hand smugness, all the while nervously pulling their costumes down over their bellies. The remnants of a sardine sandwich glares out from in between the teeth of the lead actor as he scarfs down his lunch, and beetroot stains the napkin he has tucked into his shirt the same way he has since his mother fed him as a baby. Those involved with the film will talk of an air of excitement emitting from the whole project, they speak in understated terms and smile nervously at the camera, but it is clear that when they say "It's just a bit of fun, we're just acting out a fantasy", they really mean that they will be flabbergasted if they are not nominated for at least the same number of oscars as Peter Jackson.
What really bugs me though, is that deep down, I know I'm one of them.
No, I don't like Star Trek, but I do know what it is like to want to make a movie about a movie you adore...As many of you may know, my favourtie movie is Jaws. I could go into why all day long; I love the story, the characters, the score, the whole fucked up nature of the man vs nature thing, and it scared the bejesus out of me when I was a kid. When I went to university I met like minded people, we didn't have a club as sorts, we were a group of friends who all loved Jaws...we didn't watch it every week, but we would probabaly reference it daily, and definitely thought about it a great deal... it was not enough to watch it, to watch the extras, to buy the sound track, to gaze for hours at the sea in the vain hope that a tell tale fin will flicker across its surface...no, we needed to be a part of it, to be it, to breathe it...we decided we needed to make a film about Jaws.
A script was downloaded and printed off, characters were assigned; as one of the founders of the project, I was given the honour of portraying Hooper, the shark expert, played by Richard Dreyfuss
. Others were cast, one of my best friends and then flat mate who is now a professional actor was to be the shark itself; as part of this role he would swim about in the sea with beer cans on string streaming behind him to re-enact the thrilling finale. We had everything sorted, we even had someone to play the chum.
The plot was to loosely parody and mimick Jaws itself, we thought of a few scenes which we thought would be funny but really never agreed on a general direction. I always wanted it to be a Blair Witch style documentary of loser students making a film about Jaws while in the background they are actually being stalked by a shark, or the spirit of a shark, whatever shit works, and this would eventually engulf the cast whilst they are busy out to sea filming the "finale". The end shots would be of whispered shots of the sea at night rapidly taking over the flimsy craft, with the sound of "farewell and adieu to you fair spanish ladies..."
echoing over the waves...
We ended up filming a grand total of 10 minutes footage. This consisted of 5 minutes of the sea lapping at the shoreline, and a further 5 minutes of us throwing stones at the water before wheeling away whooping a hollering in delight. Why? I don't know, it was that kind of film. I do know that on the way back my friend Ben got run over by a car. He was fine, but very shook up, we took this as an omen the project was jinxed, and it stopped there. Never, for one second however, will I say that it is dead.
I loved loving a movie so much I wanted to be in it, so why do I mock these Spock a likes? I've bought two Jaws DVDs, one was the 25th anniversary edition, the other the 30th edition; did I complain? To the contrary, I signed a petition DEMANDING the latter be released. I have looked up the Jaws website to scan for news on any forthcoming sequels, and even read a TERRIBLE script by a fellow Jaws fan. I know I have scorned those who try and get in on the Jaws act who are merely tourists; when I was lucky enough to dive with sharks I remember going out in the boat. I made a number of obscure references under my breath as I scanned the horizon for the apex predator. One of my fellow divers enthusiastically belted out the Jaws theme tune and everyone laughed; I hated this obvious catch, and I was glad when he vomited due to sea sickness (I had already given back my lunch previously that day).
And yet, I'm not a complete buff. Recently (last year), was the 30th Anniversary of Jaws. They held a special event called Jawsfest
in Martha's Vineyard, where the movie was shot. I really wanted to go. There was a ton of good shit, some of the surviving cast, models of the shark, and lots of other fun stuff. I knew that I wouldn't be able go but it tore me pretty rotten. When it was over, Jeff showed me a report from Aint it Cool News
. I read it and realised that even though a lot of it made me squeal like a clubbed seal (a happy one mind you), I was not a fanatic, or a fin
atic Jaws fans refer to themselves. I do not want to be known as a finatic, I don't want to take it to that level; I feel I would've been overwhelmed by the amount of detail, the uniform reverance, the collective personal, esoteric experiences; for me, what would've been perfect would be to go to Martha's Vineyard, with a few like minded souls, sit out on the beach a while and soak up the Jaws water whilst everyone else went on their daily business. The one thing I really missed was the showing of Jaws on the beach, which I'm not even sure they were even to do anywho...
So that's it, I'm not convinced anymore. I thought I could see where the line was between myself and these nylon turds, but can I? Hell, I salute these pasty faced geeks, they've succeeded where I failed. Is there a measuring stick for obsession? Maybe mine just burns a little slower, but with no less heat.
I'm going down to chum some of this shit, slow ahead Hooper, if you please.