Intensities in Ten Suburbs

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Posted by Andrew Unterberger on August 24, 2008

“First, we’re going to–“

Deep Blue Sea is an exceptionally mediocre movie. The cast is mostly bland, the suspense is fairly minimal, and the plot can be most easily described as “Jaws meets Alzheimer’s Disease.” It’s a movie that’s barely even worth watching on USA at 1:00 on a Sunday afternoon. However, the movie endures at least as a pop culture historical footnote, primarily for three reasons:

  1. It proves that there was in fact a time when actor Thomas Jane was considered leading man material.
  2. Along with Jane’s character, it is the sassy, religious ship cook played by LL Cool J that stands as the last survivng cast member, not the record-breakingly worthless female lead played by Saffron Burrows (who I thought was Rachel Weisz for some reason).
  3. Samuel L. Jackson gets eaten by a mothefucking shark.

So what, you may ask. After all, it’s a movie in which the primary action involves sharks (super-smart ones, no less) eating people, and by any approximation of a One-Cast-Member-Picked-Off-At-A-Time movie rulebook, SLJ’s relatively ansillary character (some sort of corporate executive) would have to be one of the first ones to go. But you probably wouldn’t really ask that, because if you’re reading this blog, I’d like to think the the chances are pretty good that your mind has been blown by this scene as much as mine has. And you know that it’s not just that Sammy J goes down, or even that he goes down so early (2nd to go, after Stellen Skarsgaard)–it’s that he goes down in a way that, for such an otherwise by-the-book movie, is incomprehensibly (and rather impressively) unexpected.

Watch the scene above, if you’ve somehow managed to avoid doing so in life thusfar. Now imagine that the scene comes barely halfway into the movie. Jackson starts to give The Inspirational Speech–a cliche relatively familiar to OCMPOAAT enthusiasts, in which the protagonist makes his or her leadership and control of the situation known to the rest of the cast (this is, of course, not to be confused with The Fuck You Guys i’m Outta Here Speech, which results in death for its pontificator on average of 40 seconds within its delivery). All the trademarks are there–the slowly-evolving close ups, the swelling majestic music in the background, the gradually increasing intensity of SLJ’s vocal cadence. This should be the turning point in the movie, in which the crew starts to think clearly and work together under Jackson’s leadership, until it eventually comes down to Sam and the final shark in the movie’s grand finale.

Nope. Instead, some screenwriter apparently had a brilliant revelation while smoking pot and cursing the fact that he had to write this shitty fucking movie, and asked “hey, wouldn’t it be awesome if while he’s giving the lame-ass speech, the shark just jumped up and ate him?” And under some miraculous confluence of the Cable Movie Gods, no one ever shot the idea down, and sure enough, Jackson’s exit from Deep Blue Sea doesn’t even get to finish his final sentence before one of the Super-Sharks rudely interrupts him. Now, there is mild foreshadowing of this–a few minutes prior, one of the crew members cautions him about standing too close to the tank, but he ignores it, and you figure hey, he’s Samuel L. Jackson, fuck does he need to worry about that? If you saw actually this one coming, good for you, though it doubtless means you have never seen a terrible horror movie before.

It’s funnier, scarier, and more jaw-droppingly how the hell did they get away with this than all of Snakes on a Plane, and I just gotta watch it when it’s on. After that, it’s straight to the remote, of course, but the scene is basically enough to buy Deep Blue sea 20 years’ worth of re-run worthiness.

5 Responses to “O-Watcher: “I GOT ATE BY A MOTHERFUCKIN’ SHARK!!!””

  1. Kyle said

    My head is like a shark’s fin

  2. when i was a kid i thought he was actually morgan freeman

    really uncomfortable scene to watch in a crowded movie theater full of SLJ fans

  3. Jason L said

    Great stuff, although I think you’re vastly underrating “Deep Blue Sea” as a fantastic Saturday afternoon cable movie. C’mon, LL Cool J as the preacher cook with a parakeet? Michael Rapaport as Panicky Guy who gets torn to shreds? Some great B-movie special effects, too, especially at the beginning of it, when that helicopter crashes and the huge ship thing sinks (SO MANY EXPLOSIONS). Besides “The Faculty”, I can’t think of a terrible 90’s people-getting-picked-off-one-by-one flick I’d rather watch.

  4. Alex said

    It was around 2001 when on a lazy saturday night we decided to rent this movie to amuse ourselves (sometimes, anything that has monsters and explosions in it matches the criteria) and were shockingly, unexpectedly and totally blown off by this scene. Now I know i’m not alone. I have enjoyed greatly reading this post. My p2p will be busy tonight… i definitely have to re-enjoy this shit on a 2008 hi-def, home theater equipment.

  5. Remember when MTV’s “Making the Video” dedicated an entire half hour to the filming of LL’s video for “Deepest Bluest”? The only thing I remember about this movie is that 22 minutes on MTV and that LL had to painfully wear all black contact lenses to make his eyes look like a shark.

    This movie will be on my Netflix now.

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