“We’re supposed to hate Jaws now?” He was responding to “Did These Chinatown Viewers Understand?” And I replied by summarizing Peter Biskind’s “Easy Riders, Raging Bulls” as follows:

The huge primal successes of Jaws (6.20.75) and Star Wars (5.20.77) slowly bland-ified the moody, anti-establishment ‘70s thing that had permeated Hollywood…the New Experimental Anti-Conventional Hollywood Party Era that began with Bonnie and Clyde, The Graduate and The President’s Analyst (all released in ‘67).

Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, the directing maestros behind Jaws and Star Wars, pretty much killed the cool kidz party by injecting (a) a win-really-big greed jackpot virus into the Hollywood bloodstream and (b) a strain of thematic infantilization into movies in general.

These guys didn’t didn’t suck the creative oxygen out of the room deliberately or maliciously, but the massive success of their historic blockbusters gradually introduced the idea of “high concept” and suppressed the commercial intrigue factor among industry folk and audiences alike for adult movies like Night Moves, The Conversation, The Outfit, The French Connection, Z, Easy Rider, Mean Streets, Rosemary’s Baby, Raging Bull, Scarecrow, Get Carter, The Day of the Jackal, Dog Day Afternoon, Godfather I & II, That’ll Be The Day, Stardust, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Chinatown, The Hospital, Network, Prince of the City, The Ruling Class, Quadrophenia, The Last American Hero, Performance, Don’t Look Now, etc.