Recently I watched Jaws. I love Jaws and rarely need an excuse to watch it. It might be one of my favorite movies and for the most part, I don’t really care about sharks. Jaws is fun to watch in the summer because it’s essentially a summer movie and you know, when in Rome. But it’s great to watch any other time of year also because if nothing else, it makes you think about summer, and studies have shown that thinking about summer is never a bad thing.
For the record, I have never seen any of the Jaws sequels and never intend to. If they rebooted Jaws today (give it time,) I’d have to really think about it in regards to seeing it. In the end, though, I can’t imagine I’d see it. I never saw the Point Break reboot so you best be sure I’d dip out on a Jaws remake. I’ve also never seen Godfather 3 and I love the first two.
Sometimes it’s just best to pretend some things don’t exist so as not to diminish something you love.
A reboot is one thing but when watching Jaws this past weekend, I started thinking that it’s madness that no one has ever kicked around the idea of doing a prequel that is a Quint origin story. Prequels are like Hansel these days and it seems like with each passing day, a new one is announced. Prequels are something of a workaround for mining existing IP. It’s not a cheap out likely simply rebooting something and can be passed off as original storytelling because, in some ways, it is. It’s also not but also, kind of is. It’s a little bit of gray area.
Yet the point remains, Jaws is a timeless classic and one of the best films of all time and Quint is the film’s best character. And for the most part, we don’t know a hell of a lot about him. In fact, what we do know barely merits a bullet-point list (but let’s do one anyway.)
- His name is Quint
- His hat has seen better days
- He likes what I think are crackers
- He lives in a large, open floor-plan boathouse
- He hunts sharks
- He’s apparently pretty good at hunting sharks
- He served in the Navy and saw some shit
- He got in a fight in Boston on St. Patrick’s Day (who hasn’t)
- He died
But as some like to say, there’s a lot of meat left on the bone there story-telling wise, kid. I mean, how old is Quint? Is Quint from Amity? WHAT THE HELL IS HIS FIRST NAME OR IS QUINT HIS FIRST NAME AND IF THAT’S THE CASE, WHAT THE HELL IS HIS LAST NAME?
Can you make a living being a shark hunter or like a lot of people who live in summer communities up north, does he do handyman work during the winter months? I found a website that says he ran a distillery and ran a whale oil business, although neither of those things can be independently verified. We first see Quint interrupting the shark-planning meeting followed by Brody tracking down at his place of residence where he had the jaw of something boiling in a pot. I didn’t see anything that could point towards his other gigs as a bootlegger and/or whale oil businessman but who knows, maybe I missed that.
Quint’s apex in the movie is probably his monologue about the horrors he experienced when the ship he was serving on during World War II, the USS Indianapolis, sank and the majority of the crew were eaten by sharks.
It’s a gripping story and an equally gripping moment in the film. In just a shade over three minutes, you get a clearer picture of who Quint is and why he’s the way he is, hardened and stoic, not keen on dealing with those that he feels haven’t paid their dues.
Yet even still, if we’re to assume that Jaws takes place around the time it was released, 1975, then there are about 30 years of living for Quint in between the Indianapolis massacre and his death hunting Jaws. And, if like most soldiers fighting in World War II, Quint was either in his late teens or early 20s when he was enlisted. So that would give you at least 18 years on the front end and 30 years on the backend to play with, to tell the story about a vet living his days haunted by ghosts and demons, spending his time trying to get his revenge.
What kind of man lives a life like Quint’s, hunting sharks and possibly making booze? Does he spend most of his time alone or at some point, did he take up with a woman (or man?) Does Quint have kids somewhere? Maybe he spent some time in jail, either before or after the war? Imagine the possibilities of traveling through American history from 1920 something to the mid-seventies through the eyes of Quint? It’d be like Forrest Gump but just with more drinking, swearing, and potentially some casual racism. Probably less ping pong too. Quint seems like more of a darts man.
And because a good prequel needs a twist, what if the Indianapolis story never happened? Or if it did, it went down much differently than Quint’s account? What if Quint was somehow at fault for it happening and that guilt led him to a life of isolation and reclusiveness? He hunts sharks not because they killed his friends but because, well, they did, but so did he and he pledges to spend the rest of his life atoning for the mistake he made all of those years ago?
Or it did happen that way and we just get an origin story about the best character from one of the best movies ever.
Either way, it’s a win/win, chiefy.