I married this beard
In film the presence of a beard is often synonymous with evil and we often see pointy bearded, moustache twirling villains on our screens. However, in reality, many of the great and good historical figures have merrily sported facial fuzz: the baby Jeebers, Santa and Brian Blessed, for example, so I think that proves what a silly generalisation that is and we can rest assured that beards come in many colours, shapes and sizes, and varying degrees of evil.
I have decided to celebrate my appreciation of the beard in all its glorious forms by sporadically (as and when I remember one and/or when I can be bothered) presenting the beards I have known and loved in some manner of written and/or pictorial format.
Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss)
I was born just a little bit after Jaws was released which makes me and Jaws more or less the same age, though I like to talk about our 35ths less than Jaws, but regardless, for that reason I have a big soft spot for Jaws. That and it being totally awesome. My mother saw Jaws at the time and I’m fairly certain (though I will have to seek verification of this fact) that Ma Jinx (or Mothra) has not been further that ankle deep in open water since this event. I think this says a lot. About the impact of the movie, that is, not about my mother, though really it probably does.
These important facts out in the open I would like to present Richard Dreyfuss and his beard as the first entry in horrific beards I have known and loved. Dreyfuss’ beard is undoubtedly impressive. It sashays onto the screen declaring one thing and one thing only ‘I am a ichthyologist, I spend a lot of time at sea, I know my shit, lead me to the nearest shark.’ Ok, that was several things, but you get my point. I mean, really, would you have taken that young upstart seriously without the beard? I think not. You’d have said ‘thank you very much, young man, but I think the grown ups have it from here. Have a carbonated beverage while we call for your parents.’
Without the beard ichthyologist Matt Hooper is just a nerdy kid turning up at the big boy’s party hoping no one asks for ID. Hooper needs the beard so he can proclaim important plot detail like ‘It’s a carcaradon carcharias. It’s a Great White’ and we’ll believe him. You see, just like the shark itself, the beard is fundamentally essential to the movie. It also serves as a robust and fashionable protection mechanism for such activities as wreck diving in areas prone to high shark traffic, general and more specialised shark baiting and any submerged anti-shark cage antics. It is believed it could have further non sharky applications and is currently being tested as part of the PPE gear for divers, police officers, the military and zombie wranglers.