Sun, Surf, Cinema and… Bruce

By Steven Libowitz   |   July 9, 2024

It was almost half a century ago, but I can still remember driving home after seeing Jaws in the movie theater on a rainy night in New Jersey – so much so that when we came to a freeway underpass that had flooded with several feet of water, I was happy that the police were diverting traffic – lest I need to confess, to my similarly quaking date, my fear that a man-eating great white shark was lurking within. I mean, we knew there wasn’t a shark on the road 35 miles from the ocean, but still. 

That, of course, was long before Universal Studios created a ride where you could actually see the mechanical shark (whose name, we learned, was Bruce) jump terrifyingly out of the water; long before VCRs, DVDs or streaming let you pause to visually dissect the SFX. But there’s no doubt that Jaws can still jar the senses, and the movie remains one of the ultimate summer films in history, making it the perfect opener to UCSB A&L’s 2024 free outdoor summer film series, “Sun, Surf and Cinema,” screening on July 5. 

The seven cinematic splendors bring the thrills and delights of beach and ocean life, from action-adventure to rom-com and fantasy, every Friday evening through August 23 (save for Fiesta week) under the stars at the County Courthouse Sunken Garden. The events are a party as much as a celebration, with picnics and pop music preceding each projection on the giant inflatable screen set up on one edge of the lawn. Coming attractions include Point Break, 50 First Dates, Blue Crush, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Mamma Mia!, and Crazy Rich Asians. Get all the descriptions and details at www.ArtsAndLectures. or call (805) 893-3535.


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