MEMORABLE MOVIE QUOTES: JAWS 2 (1978)
Welcome to another edition of MEMORABLE MOVIE QUOTES, that column where we look at memorable quotes from some pretty neat movies.
Up today, since we’re winding down summer and I’m not in a hurry to see it end, we look at quotes from JAWS 2 (1978).
I still remember seeing JAWS 2 at the movies on its opening night back in the summer of 1978. I was fourteen, and I was incredibly excited to see this sequel, since I had seen JAWS at the movies on its first run in 1975, when I was just eleven, and it scared the stuffing out of me, and then some! I wasn’t the only one who was excited to see JAWS 2. The theater was packed and the audience was buzzing with energy, and I still remember when Roy Scheider’s name appeared in the opening credits, the audience cheered, just like they had done when he had finally destroyed the shark in the original JAWS. The movie had been that intense.
I loved JAWS 2 when I first saw it on that opening night way back in 1978. Of course, I was just fourteen years old. Nowadays, I realize it pales in comparison to the first JAWS, but it remains the best of the three JAWS sequels, largely because Roy Scheider returned as Sheriff Martin Brody.
So, as you would imagine, most of the best lines in JAWS 2 belong to Scheider’s Brody. Let’s take a look at some of these lines of dialogue from JAWS 2, screenplay by Carl Gottlieb and Howard Sackler, based on characters created by Peter Benchley.
Actually, my favorite quote from JAWS 2 isn’t a quote at all, but the tagline from the movie:
Just when you thought it was safe to go in the water—
This line proved so popular it actually became somewhat of a catchphrase for the movie. This line might be the most memorable part of the entire movie, which really isn’t all that good. But Roy Scheider is good, and he makes the most of his scenes in his reprisal of the role of Chief Martin Brody, the sheriff of Amity Island, once again faced with the prospect of a hungry great white shark on the prowl at his beaches. This doesn’t really make much sense, which is the biggest problem JAWS 2 has, that its plot isn’t all that credible. To make matters worse, there are hints in this film that perhaps the second shark has arrived at the island to seek revenge for the death of the first shark. This might have been more interesting had this idea been better developed, but it’s not. It’s hinted at here and there, but nothing really comes of it.
Anyway, Scheider’s Brody does get the best lines in the movie, like this one when he’s trying to once again convince the mayor and the town council to close the beaches, in a speech that was featured heavily in the film’s original trailers:
BRODY: But I’m telling you, and I’m telling everybody at this table that that’s a shark! And I know what a shark looks like, because I’ve seen one up close. And you’d better do something about this one, because I don’t intend to go through that hell again!
Even though Murray Hamilton reprises his role as Mayor Vaughn in JAWS 2, he’s not the main thorn in Brody’s side, as he was in the first film. He seems to have learned his lesson and is much more sympathetic and understanding towards Brody this time around. The pain in this movie is local businessman Len Peterson (Joseph Mascolo) who wants no part of closing the beaches and refuses to listen to Brody.
Brody tries in vain to convince Peterson that the picture he is looking at shows a shark in their waters.
PETERSON: Brody, this is nothing! Seaweed, mud, something on the lens—.
BRODY: Lens my ass!
PETERSON: You’re damn right it’s your ass!
Also returning from the original JAWS is Jeffrey Kramer as Deputy Hendricks, Brody’s deputy, and once again he’s involved in some of the movie’s more comical scenes, such as in this scene where Brody wants to get out of an annoying conversation with one of the islanders:
BRODY: Oh, Hendricks, good! Right this way. Excuse us, please. I want you to come in here and er, check out this 908.
HENDRICKS: What the hell’s a 908? I’ve never heard of a 908!
BRODY: 908 means get me outta there!
In this scene, Hendricks is in the police launch with crusty fisherman Red as they drag the ocean looking for evidence.
RED: We’ve been over this a dozen times.
HENDRICKS: I know, I know!
RED: How much longer?
HENDRICKS: Until we find something!
RED: But I’m cold, bored.
HENDRICKS: You’re bored?
Later, when Brody and Hendricks are both on the water in search of the group of teens who had gone sailing and are now missing, Brody asks his deputy for directions.
BRODY: Where the hell are they?
HENDRICKS: About ten degrees off your starboard bow. You take—.
BRODY: Don’t give me that shit. Point!
At one point, a dead killer whale washes up on the beach, with massive bite wounds prominently exposed all over its body. Brody examines the dead whale with scientist Dr. Elkins.
BRODY: Better check the bite radius.
ELKINS: The what?
BRODY: The shape of the mouth.
ELKINS: The whale’s mouth?
BRODY: Shark’s mouth.
ELKINS: What shark?
BRODY: The shark that did this.
And moments later:
BRODY: It’s obvious that a big fish took a bite out of— this big fish.
ELKINS: This is a mammal. Not a fish.
BRODY: Don’t quibble with me! Is it a shark bite or isn’t it?
ELKINS: Possibly. Again, this is a killer whale. It would have to be a shark of considerable size.
And when Brody tries to insinuate that perhaps this shark might be there because another shark was killed in the local waters, Dr. Elkins replies:
ELKINS: Sharks don’t take things personally, Mr. Brody.
And we finish with Brody’s line to the Helicopter pilot, as Brody is in a boat all by himself searching for the missing teens, and of course this is an issue for Brody because not only is he fearful of the shark, but he’s afraid of water in general. He’s speaking on the radio with the helicopter pilot, hoping that the pilot will find the teens before he does.
HELICOPTER PILOT: That you, Brody?
BRODY: Listen, did you have a fix on those kids yet?
HELICOPTER PILOT: Negative. I’m still down.
BRODY: Well, you’d better get the hell up because I’m out here all alone!
JAWS 2 is an okay sequel, nowhere near as good as the original, yet it remains mildly entertaining in spite of its silly premise, mostly because of Roy Scheider’s performance as Sheriff Brody. I still enjoy watching Scheider time and time again.
Well, that’s it for now. Hope you enjoyed today’s column, and I’ll see you next time when we look at memorable quotes from another fun movie.
Thanks for reading!