We Watched It For You: Syfy's Sharknado

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In Native American culture a trickster frequently takes the form of a coyote; for the rest of us the trickster most often takes the form of the Syfy channel. Again and again Syfy pranks us all, luring us in with excellently titled original movies only to then deliver mind-numbingly unfun, unentertaining pieces of garbage that are simultaneously exhausting and intensely boring. Will we ever learn? No, because much as the coyote is crafty, so too is Syfy. It KNEW that allowing The Asylum to slap together a "movie" with the title-slash-premise Sharknado, casting Tara Reid, and then releasing the result in the middle of a summer internet buzz drought would make a meme of it. But if you're anything like me, you were naively excited for a fun, trashy exercise in badness, but then got like two perhaps three minutes in before your heart sank and you remembered, "Oh right, these things are unwatchable." Sorry, friends. It's like a Who song on opposite day: We've been fooled again.

After having sat through the entirety of Sharknado, I have several questions:

1. What's going on in this lady's life that she would be this excited about Long John Silver's?

2. Does Joe Rogan still get in fights with people on Myspace?


3. WHY?


Those are the only questions I had during Sharknado. Nothing else about this film made me wonder anything. Oh well, I guess we might as well talk about the feature presentation, too.


Sharknado was not a very good film. But at least it opened with a sharknado.

Let there be no misunderstanding as to what this movie was about: Sharknado was, first and foremost, a movie about a tragic holocaust of innocent sharks. Sharknado was secondarily about Tara Reid staring off into the middle distance. Thirdly, Sharknado was about a tornado that was HELLA wet.

Also Sharknado was about some kind of Yakuza tugboat heist? I'm really not sure.

Yeah the first scene had nothing to do with anything: Two shady guys fought over a tackle box full of cash and also at one point a shark hopped onto the deck and slurped down a human man like an Italian noodle.

Then a sharknado arrived and exfoliated the captain's face probably TOO much.

So yeah, that was the first scene. Only a thousand more hours to go!

Meanwhile, on a beautiful and popular Los Angeles beach:

Two familiar looking dudes shared a nice Sea-Doo ride out into the ocean to catch some rip curls and put their toes on their nose or whatever. Surfing.

The lad on the back was the "star" of this "movie", some guy named Ian Ziering who was on a teen soap your grandparents used to watch in the '90s. Riding shottie was the Australian guy from Baywatch who is apparently still allowed to be on TV despite not appearing in swimwear or being in his 20s.

Listen, don't freak out, but at this point a shark attack happened:

But the sharks weren't just feasting on randos, it had bit Baywatch dude on the calf also!

He was fine, don't worry. Ian Ziering had to get back to his job as a bar owner at a bar placed precariously on the edge of a wharf. Oh and look who his best customer was:

THE DAD FROM HOME ALONE! Where was Kevin???!! LOL J/K

This lady was named Nova and she had a shark bite next to her butt and also wore a bikini top with a macrame shirt on top and was in love with Ian Ziering even though he was busy making a phone call to his ex-wife Tara Reid. See, a hurricane was supposed to arrive in a few seconds, so he needed to make sure everything was cool.

Tara Reid did a very good job in this film. Probably her best scene was the part where she appeared in a headshot in the background:

I felt like she really came alive during this part where she was a headshot in the background.

So then Ian Ziering's bar got flooded and almost immediately sharks were hopping through windows and attacking patrons. Nova stabbed a shark with a pool cue, but then outside she tried to shoot one with a shotgun and Kevin's dad had to beat it away with a bar stool:

GET OUTTA HERE, Shark!

Have you heard of a movie called THE JAWS? If so you might appreciate this "nod" or "homage" to The Jaws. The Baywatch guy stuck a tank in the shark's mouth and Ian Ziering shot it until it exploded.

Something like that happened in Jaws right? I don't know, I haven't actually seen it and I'm not sure how to look it up now that Alta Vista went out of business.

Then a ferris wheel attacked a building.

Then our ragtag group of boring jerks got in a car and drove around L.A. which was flooding like crazy!

If I'm being real with you (can I be real with you for a second?) the first half of this movie should've been called Sharknami because it was mostly just about how everything was flooding for no reason and sharks were swimming around in the brackish, two-foot-deep water. Like, sharks were so prevalent at this point that they were showing up in the stock news footage that had been edited into this movie! 

Anyway, it was pretty cute to see Beverly Hills get ruined. 

And Prada!

And the place where I do all MY shopping: Family Mart! Oh no, Family Mart, all your sales and deals, simply drenched.

Then at some point everybody got out of the car to help some people on the freeway and Kevin's dad used his bar stool to break a CGI window and free a dog. Unfortunately then a wave came and swept Kevin's dad away. 

Poor Kevin's dad! Remember that time Catherine O'Hara had to ride in the back of a truck with John Candy just so she could reach Kevin in time for Christmas, but Kevin was fighting off all the robbers via inhuman torture and then his neighbor hit everyone with a shovel? Anyway, R.I.P. Kevin's dad.

So then the gang drove all the way up to Beverly Hills to go check on Ian Ziering's ex-wife Tara Reid, plus Tara Reid's new yuppie husband and also Ian Ziering and Tara Reid's thirtysomething daughter. It should go without saying that the yuppie husband ALSO gives good headshot:

It should also go without saying that the yuppie husband walked by a window only to have it explode inward, instantaneously flooding the house with five feet of water and also he was bitten to death by a shark in his own foyer.

Then a shark tried to bite everybody but they held him off with an Ikea bookshelf.

After Nova destroyed a half dozen sharks with a shotgun, the Baywatch guy looked at this bloody scene and said, and I'm not making this up, "Looks like it's that time of the month." If any of you know what this means, please explain it to me in the comments below, thx.

Then Tara Reid's house exploded.

Then as they were driving to, uh, somewhere, Ian Ziering saw a school bus parked in 18 inches of water and decided that he needed to snap into action. So he set up an elaborate rope system (a rope was tied to his car) and rescued the kids one by one.

Sure, a shark jumped up and tried to climb up the rope after him, but that's because sharks are rascals. Anyway, the shark was cut loose (swim along, fella!) and then when Ian Ziering climbed to the top, the Hollywood sign came loose and one of the letters crushed a school teacher to death. Pretty standard sharknado stuff, really.

Then as if our heroes weren't already totally annoyed with all these flying sharks, one bit a hole in the roof of their car!

It was VERY scary! It was like that one Billy Ocean song "Get Out of My Car and Get Into My Nightmares." I agreed with Tara Reid here:

Fortunately Nova was able to shoot the shark's head off with a shotgun and nobody suffered any hearing loss whatsoever.

Then the car exploded.

Later they all went into a liquor store and Tara Reid looked at all the products.

Then the gang stole a Hummer and found themselves in a high-speed police chase through a post-apocalyptic wasteland!

But the po-po didn't know that our gang had a TRICK up their sleeves! 

Hit that booster!

Oh yeah, you better believe they outran that fuzz. Sorry 5-0, we don't pull over when there's sharknados to deal with.

I liked this part when the actors all looked in different directions even though this was right in front of them:

Damn, now THAT'S a sharknado!

For me the movie really began when we met the full-grown son of Ian Ziering and Tara Reid because he was instantly a thousand times more charismatic than anybody else and also he sort of looked like Chris Zylka which was CLOSE ENOUGH. Also he'd been hiding in a closet with a couple of hunks, which seemed pretty cool in my opinion.

At this point the gang started to arm themselves using whatever they could find, but mostly gardening tools and homemade bombs.

That's when we got a little bit of character development. Specifically Nova finally revealed the story behind the obvious shark bite scar near her butt. But instead of ME summing it up, how about I just reproduce her speech verbatim so that you can truly savor the writing and perhaps use it as your next audition monologue?

I was raised by my grandparents. When I was seven my grandpa took me fishing on one of those day-charter deals with his friends. We wound up hitting into a reef and the boat went down. My grandfather took me and put me inside this little life raft for safety. Everyone else was just kind of swimming around trying to stay up and suddenly all these sharks just started swarming and then they tried to protect me but by morning they were all gone. So I floated out there for two days until those coast guard helicopters finally spotted me. I thought I was safe but suddenly this shark just leapt up and bit my leg. Six people went into the water and one little girl came out. The sharks took the rest. They took my grandfather. That's why I really hate sharks.


Powerful stuff. Also, in case it wasn't clear yet, Nova began the movie very much wanting to bone Ian Ziering, but by this point she was pretty much ready to sit 'n spin on his son. No judgment here! What happens in a sharknado stays in that sharknado.

So that's when Ian Ziering's son got a great idea: He would fly a helicopter up to the sharknados (there were three sharknados now) and throw bombs in them. Problems solved! Tara Reid thought it wasn't a great idea, but cool it, Tara Reid. All you're doing is nag-nag-nagging when some people are busy chopping sharks in half with a chainsaw:

So yeah, junior and Nova took off and they had a plan.

AND IT WORKED! The propane bombs killed tons of sharks and also dissipated a tornado!

Unfortunately this tiny victory made everyone get cocky, and when you get cocky that's when mistakes are made. First of all, the Baywatch guy got sucked up to Heaven. Then the son's hunky friends who didn't get lines, only tight sweaters, had misfortunes befall them as well:

Poor Tara Reid. Her Sphinx-like expression could not help but betray vague hints of human emotion. Who could blame her?

So then a swimming pool exploded. I know why but it's a secret.

Then just as Ian Ziering's son and Nova were going to throw more bombs into the rest of the sharknados, a shark jumped onto the helicopter and she had no choice but to stab it in the face with her knife. But I guess she lost her balance and this happened:

That's right, she fell out of the helicopter and was swallowed whole by a megalodon! Or something. I don't know. Just a very big shark.

Then the sharks started getting cocky and one even left a print in the cement in front of the Mann's Chinese Theatre. Oh please, get real, shark!

With all that had happened, Ian Ziering was left with no choice but to load up all the rest of the bombs into his Hummer, turn on the nitrous boosters, jump out, and watch the whole kit and caboodle get sucked up into the sharknado. Enough was enough.


And it worked! And we were treated to THIS haunting shot, best scored to "Ave Maria":

But the sharks weren't finished! No, there was still a huge one flying down trying to eat Ian Ziering's daughter!

But Ian Ziering being Ian Ziering, he had the situation HANDLED.

Yes, that's right, he and his chainsaw jumped directly into the shark's open mouth. And then this happened:

And then, like a symbolic recreation of the birth of all mankind, Ian Ziering erupted from the bloody carcass of a shark.

But a surprise twist! He hadn't been alone in there!

Nova was alive! Phew, for a second there I was worried she wasn't going to get to bone Ian Ziering's son, but now it seems like a lock. Congrats, everybody.

This was a very romantic moment:

They had done it. They had saved Los Angeles from the scourge of sharknados. This time. But next time? We'll just have to wait and see.

Meanwhile all the sharks in the world died. A truly sad day for sharks.

Guys, Sharknado was not a very good film. It was probably the most boring thing I've had to sit through since the new season of Arrested Development. I know I'm supposed to be like "it's so bad it's good" but (a) that phrase is meaningless because (b) the line between good art and bad art became blurry so long ago and this movie STILL didn't even approach it, and (c) it was so badly made and self-consciously bad therefore not funny and just deadly boring. Why does Syfy keep doing this to us? Let's be generous and assume it's just a money thing... imagine if this premise and minuscule budget were handed over to the teams behind Eagleheart or Childrens Hospital or something like that? Certainly we could get a low-budget, funny event movie out of it that didn't make us feel like we were all having communal mental problems. I mean, the editing. The color correction. The camera work. Unwatchable! I just don't get it. I really don't. Oh well, at least the CGI was perfect. 

OKAY BYE


QUESTIONS:

... What was Tara Reid's best scene?

... Did any of Sharknado strike you as implausible?

... What is your favorite Syfy movie of all time?

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