Fug the Fromage: Sharknado


fug-the-fromage

A note before I begin: It’s a shark movie, so yeah, some of these shots do have blood in them, but I chose mild ones — nothing I think is overtly disgusting or that isn’t also being painfully, comically fake; also, the budget was so low that they couldn’t linger on any of the chompy stuff anyway, or else the cheapness would be further exposed. So. You’re pretty safe here, is what I’m saying.

Listen, there is a chance people missed Sharknado. Maybe they don’t like sharks. Maybe they hate tornados. Maybe they don’t have Twitter, or cable, or were themselves caught in a sharknado. For those who meant to watch but forgot and can’t decide if they want to DVR a re-run, I am here for you. For those who did watch but want to relive the experience through the magic of screen grabs, I am here for you. For those who didn’t know about it or didn’t feel like watching or rampantly don’t care, I am here for you, because now you can digest a quickie version without having to miss out on seminal, pivotal moments like this:

That’s so flat, it’s practically graffiti on the building. Like a Banksy painting but without the wit.

And now, inspired by the physical sacrifice of the erstwhile (yet forever) Steve Sanders, let’s plunge into this thing, motorized prongs at the ready for optimal slicing and dicing. You’ll enjoy — I hope — that this wasn’t watchable on my iPad, so I had to go old-school and take photographs of my TV. Ergo, this recap will look as low-budget as the movie itself — a fitting, if accidental, tribute.

The movie starts with a really pointless set-up about an Evil Fisherman With An Accent and some dude who’s trying to hoodwink him. The dialogue all appears to have been re-dubbed and is slightly out of sync, and it’s even worse than all those times Dylan McKay went into comas and saw the devil. But we do get to see a tornado suck sharks up from the water and hurl them around like marbles. And when those sharks land on the ship, they are HUNGRY.

It’s tough to see, but that shark on the left there is in the process of inhaling a crew member. Seriously, the shark is about as LONG as the crew man is tall, and yet the shark just hoovers him without so much as a bite. So actually he’s probably a Dyson.

As the wind whips up, one of the sharks blows across the face of Evil Fisherman and somehow turns him into a zombie:

This is EXACTLY how Kelly Taylor felt when she got caught in that fire, y’all. Too bad he dies before he gets to choose himself.

But that’s nothing compared to the most terrifying sight of all:

That’s right. Strap in, because Tara Reid is going to do some acting. And by acting, I mean standing.

Steve plays the best surfer in the world, who is named Finley — or Fin — and who runs a bar named Fin. Guess what else has fins? Are you feeling it yet? YOU ARE. We credit that nuance to Mr. Thunder Levin here, whose only piece of trivia on IMDb is, “Thunder is his real name.” BUT WHAT ABOUT “LEVIN,” SIR? Anyway, if you enjoy Mr. Levin’s work here on Sharknado, then I’m sure you’ll devour Mutant Vampire Zombies From The ‘Hood! Punctuation his.

Jaason Simmons, a.k.a. the long-haired Aussie lunkhead from Baywatch (when he looked like this), plays Steve’s friend, whose name is It Doesn’t Matter. These two are sitting on a jet ski in front of a green screen, surveying the beach, being best mates and demonstrably not being eaten by sharks. Ian Ziering had better get Jaaason to do a guest spot in his Chippendale’s show while Sharknado is still a thing.

Cassie Scerbo from Make It Or Break It plays the bartender Nova, Not Her Real Name For… Reasons, who is in love with Steve Sanders despite him being a hundred years older than she is — which actually isn’t that different than any of his romantic arcs on 90210 — and who is wearing a bikini and fending off the teasingly yet still grossly grabby hands of boozy regular Jon Heard:

“They told me this was the sequel to Beaches. I was good in Beaches. Yeah, that’s right, there were men in Beaches.”

This is a shot of Cassie Scerbo’s totally realistically perfect-looking leg scar, which is obviously supposed to be a shark bite, given that whenever people mention sharks she slips into middle-distance rumination. I’m pretty sure all shark bites heal into exciting hieroglyphs.

This is a shot of a person totally realistically being eaten by a shark when a bunch of them flood the ocean around the Santa Monica pier.

This is a totally realistic shot of Jaaaason Simmons passing a kidney stone. Or I guess being bitten on the leg by a shark while he’s jet skiing. The sad truth of this movie is that the special effects are SO cheap and SO bad, they can’t let the camera linger on any of them.  They don’t even show this happen in a long shot, or a medium shot — the only one they have, the shark is on the other side, hidden by the jet ski. It’s terrible.

So that means we only get choppy, intolerable shots of a a truly stellar moment: Steve Sanders, in shark-infested waters, swimming over to save his friend from having his leg bitten off and saving the day by simply ramming his surfboard into the shark’s profile. And all I can get is a blurry grab of it. If I knew it was that easy to get a murderous, hungry shark to give up and swim away, I’d carry a surfboard with me ALL THE TIME.

Question: Why is Joe Rogan still doing things?

I hope they make Joe Rogan question that. And this: Why would you make Tara Reid do a scene in front of a photograph of herself in which she looks markedly better than she does on camera?

Tara spends this whole scene looking pained, like she is trying not to breathe in through her nose. She is Steve’s ex, and she hates him, and nobody bothers to tell us why. There are implications that he asks her for money sometimes, I guess, but if you’re looking for sensible backstory — or even ANY backstory — then you are watching the wrong movie. Tara screeches that Steve should NOT come to try and save her or their daughter, because he is stupid and bad weather doesn’t come to the Hollywood Hills. Girl, come on. Don’t give Fate a lap dance.

Cassie, by the way, did not know Steve has an ex-wife and a child. And she’s forced to deal with her pain while wearing a fake shirt. It’s a veritable sharknado of emotional wounds.

Yada yada, sharks start flying around out of the water and the beach gets evacuated and everyone starts running, and Cassie almost gets eaten. Until Jon Heard, who fled with his barstool, whacks it over the head.

Okay, so now I need to carry a surfboard and a barstool at all times? I need to go to the gym.

Jaaaaason Simmons, meanwhile, avoids Certain Death by shoving an oxygen tank into a shark’s mouth. You guys, I cannot carry a surfboard, a barstool, and an oxygen tank. My purse is not that big. Come up with smaller solutions, please.

“And… ACTION.” “Okay, so what, we’re just running?” “Yeah.” “What are we running from?” “Eh, something big, or sharky, or… we’re not really sure, but just, you know, keep running, but not too fast, because our camera guy is pretty slow and we can’t put him on wheels.” “So… just sort of JOG urgently?” “Yep, we’ll make it look great in the edit bay.” This concludes today’s chapter of Lies That Are Told.

What they are, in the end, trotting away from with middling urgency is the ferris wheel on the Santa Monica Pier:

Joyride go boom. Refund?

So now the pier is decimated, but there is a lull in the sharknado that’s long enough for everyone to contemplate their own mortality and/or that of the meteorologically harassed marine life. Steve’s restaurant is completely totaled.

“Wow, this totally harshes my Steve Sanders ladyboner.”

“This also totally harshes MY Steve Sanders ladyboner.”

“It’s all right mate, I’ve still got enough Steve Sanders Ladyboner for three.”

As they drive toward Tara Reid, because for inexplicable reasons Steve doesn’t want her to get eaten, they notice sharks swimming in the streets. And under the car. Jon Heard is also there, because, you know. He WAS good in Beaches. A shark floats under the car in a totally non-exciting moment that they use as an act-out. They are all, “It swam under the car. WHERE DID IT GO?” Um, under the car? Just a guess.

Then there is this completely weird scene on a 405 onramp, or something, where they weave through a traffic jam — and past an asswang who sneers that people in L.A. are soooo lame and don’t know what real weather is –only to discover that Sharknado is revving up again. It is the Rihanna-Chris Brown of weather systems: reviled, toxic, and never as over as you think it is.

This product-placed Chevrolet SUV is about to get ROLLED by that tidal wave coming in from the left. It’s really thoughtful of the director to take the time to focus on this car, just so we know that when Sharknado comes for real, we’d better not be in a Suburban, or a Tahoe, or whatever, because unlike Steve Sanders’ tiny Datsun junkheap, Chevrolet cars are wearing wussypants.

“OMG, I didn’t know they made wussypants in that size.”

“I did.”

And then Steve sees the sharks in his rearview mirror, swimming toward the people behind them (they’re on a slanted ramp). Everyone is remarkably composed about the influx of sharks. They’re just sitting there instead of driving, pondering their next move and chit-chatting about why Jon Heard lives in Beverly Hills, when Steve is like, “Oh, hey, inland sharks. They’re going to eat all those people behind us. I should probably help.”

See? PEOPLE ARE DYING. I don’t know who, other than the Cranky Asswang I mentioned earlier, but this is a lot of blood. And the sharks are really having a fun time hopping around snacking on humans, so that must explain how the blood flew out of the water near the ground and all the way up into the air, so that it could then come back down and splatter someone’s windshield.

Somehow, nobody there is smart enough to run away uphill — and out of water — so that’s what Steve and Jaaaaaason and Cassie have to tell them all to do, while Jon Heard questions the wisdom of getting out of the car. Everybody, please, always listen to the local boozehound.

I don’t totally understand how the sharks are getting to the people who are downhill without sliding down the ramp past Steve’s car. I have no idea where they are entering this scenario. That will not be the last time I have this problem. But this whole sequence makes no sense, and serves only three purposes:

1) Lady has dog trapped in car who needs rescuing;

2) Jon Heard gets to use his trusty barstool again;

3) Jon Heard almost forgets said barstool, and in his haste to get it, ends up being attacked and eaten by an airborne shark. We just see it fall onto him here and then there is a hilariously petulant off-camera, “Owwww,” and then he bleeds out down a storm drain and that’s it for Jon Heard. Ladies and gentlemen, Jon Heard, father of a child with Melissa Leo and ex-husband of six days to Margot Kidder, and now a proud owner of a Sharktopus duffel bag.

Now Steve and Cassie and Jaaaaaaason are driving through Beverly Hills.

Parking on Rodeo Drive is only open to powerboats today.

Things are quiet at the curiously fake Family Mart.

And the Sharknado does NOT wear Prada.

Neither does Tara Reid:

Tara greets Steve’s arrival at her home with a level of emotion unequaled in the rest of the movie. She watches gruesome things happen, confronts death, and wades through human blood and viscera, and is unfazed; stick Steve Sanders on her welcome mat, though, and FORGET IT. GO-GO-GADGET ACTING.

Face Motion Achievement: Unlocked.

“Are you shitting me with this?”

Tara won’t let them in, of course, because she hates everyone and is awful.

So a shark considerately drops out a drainpipe, requiring Cassie Scerbo to shoot it dead with the shotgun Steve handily keeps in his truck. Her shorts are hanging together by only about three more threads than Britney’s omnipresent cut-offs of yore.

Steve’s daughter Chelsea clearly got coached by Tara Reid for all her scenes, because this is all she can manage. She hates Steve, apparently, and doesn’t ever want to see him — and although we will get a half-assed explanation for some of it later, basically, we still have no idea why he is perceived as a terrible father, whether it is true, why he and Tara divorced (other than awfulness), etc. Chelsea’s real problem here is that she’s bitter about her lack of backstory.

And Tara greets her arrival as if she’s never seen her before, which is possible, given that this movie certainly feels like it cast several people ten minutes before they were due on set.

Like this guy:

Smuggy McMullet is Tara’s boyfriend, and he is every bit as ridiculous as you imagine. Ian Ziering can barely bring himself to act opposite him. He just sort of stands there staring skeptically at this guy the whole time, while the guy orders him out of the house and then promptly doesn’t believe Cassie when she notes that a shark is swimming in the pool.

For his trouble, he gets eaten. This whole scene is SUPER confusing and blurry — again, I blame the poor effects for the fact that they can’t linger on any shots — but basically he goes to look through the window RIGHT at the moment Sharknado knocks on the door with a Candygram. And WHOOSH, the house floods, and the sideways-v-shaped thing on the left chomps down on his torso.

Amazingly, Steve and Jaaaaaaaason and Cassie go and try to yank him OUT of said shark, despite the fact that he’s FACE FORWARD inside this thing’s gullet. Planning, you guys. It’s okay to let him go. Nobody liked him and he really needed a haircut.

So naturally, all they do is pull out his severed leg, and Tara Reid groans as if she’s just mad that her rug is messed up now. What you need to know here is that they decided to record an extra joke for Jaaaaaaaaason and lay it in over this shot, and that joke — which they thought was so great that they needed to add it later and jam into the action — is him saying, “Guess it’s that time of the month.” ARE YOU KIDDING. (If I misheard it, I apologize, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t.) That is the type of ill-considered, idiotic thing a Big Brother contestant would say. Separately, if a Sharknado could besiege about 80 percent of the current Big Brother cast, I would appreciate that very much.

But hark, the shark is still in play. What to do?

Steve and Jaaaaaaaaaason see a bookshelf full of prom pictures and coffee mugs and four World Book Encyclopedia volumes from prehistoric times, and decide it’s expendable and would make an ideal weapon for fending off a shark.

“Sniff. I really liked that bookshelf. And I never did find out how ‘T’ ended.”

“Joke’s on you, suckers! This varnish is LOUSY with Phthalates!”

“PHTHALATES ATE MY MOTHER, YOU BASTARD.”

Cassie Scerbo decides this action sequence is long enough, and shoots the shark five or six times in the face. Because if there’s one thing we know about bullets to the face, it’s that you need at least four to make your point properly.

Poor Smuggy. We hardly knew ye, and we won’t remember ye. The touching thing is, though, that everyone gets to wade out of the house through a giant pool of his blood and viscera, and yet none of them gets so much as a stain. Even Steve, who gets stuck creating a diversion for the shark and ends up attacking it with a lamp and SUBMERGING HIMSELF IN THE BLOOD OCEAN, pops out the front door looking completely clean. Sharknado, man. It cleans up after itself.

Also the house implodes and falls down the hill. Please call your insurance company and ask for Sharknado coverage.

So then everyone gets back in the car, because there’s nothing more exciting than a movie about people being stuck in the car. This is secretly what I hope four of the new 24 episodes are — just checking in with Jack every ten minutes and seeing him honking at some idiot trying to change lanes across a jammed 405 freeway. (Actually I think I read they’re abandoning the real-time format, which is both a blessing and a curse. It’s such a great way to write people out, but they never took advantage — “Yeah, your character isn’t working, so we’re putting him on a plane to Australia that doesn’t have in-flight WiFi.”)

Okay, refocus: The only reason to be driving right now is so that Steve can see a school bus being terrorized by monkeys. Just kidding, it’s totally sharks. So he RAPPELS OFF A BRIDGE TO THE RESCUE, because he also keeps rappelling gear in his car, because he is not a real person.

All the kids get out safely, but Steve gets a moment where a shark LEAPS out of the water, with ups that would make Michael Jordan jealous, and tries to snack on that famous Steve Sanders can. Steve evades it, much like Brandon evaded a lifelong commitment to that bigot he dated for three episodes.

An ill wind starts to blow just as the rescue ends, solely so that we can see the Hollywood sign get ripped apart.

The school bus driver, who said he wanted to be an actor, dodges flying metal letters and then celebrates his survival by standing all by himself, which is movie code for, “You are going to die.” And they paid for this entire scene SOLELY so they could have him shout, “My mom always said Hollywood would kill me…”

… and then get killed by the last letter.

“Everything I’ve seen is almost as disturbing as that time I left a Lean Cuisine pizza in the microwave for three days.”

Speaking of disturbed: Cassie was not best pleased to learn that Steve ALSO has a son, who is in Van Nuys. The part that upsets her is the Secret Son thing, by the way, and not the fact that now they have to drive to Van Nuys. If you’re going to be caught in a Sharknado, it’s not a bad gamble to go someplace where there are no major landmarks the chaos can target, unless you count Costco and a bouncy-house birthday party place.

So, onward they forge, pausing for a very The Californians moment of discussing what road to take because the freeways will be just lousy, and this time, they court death from above:

This imprint will make a marvelous dental record, for when the time comes to ID this shark and locate its next of kin.

I am devastated that I couldn’t get a clear screen grab of Steve’s dumb car cruising through Beverly Hills with a shark hanging out the top. On the plus side, now Steve has a sunroof.

Tara is still calm. Just another Thursday, y’all.

Cassie shoots the shark off the top of the car, and somehow this means they end up needing to run away so that the car can explode. Tara Reid checks in on FourSquare as the mayor of Contrivance.

So now these people are watching the news, pretending to understand it. Tara Reid appears to think they’re actually waiting in line to buy gum, for real, and Steve’s kid is just pissed that the liquor store worker won’t turn on Y&R. Jaaaaaaaaaaason points out that to continue this mad odyssey of driving everywhere — listen, it IS true that you spend a lot of time on the road in Los Angeles — they will need another car.

Brings new meaning to the term “convenience store.”

So now they’re in a massive Hummer, although I was hoping they’d have rented the Batmobile, or the van from Argo. Which I didn’t remember was a thing, until we went to the July 4 fireworks on the CBS Radford lot, and a prized part of the car show was “van from Argo.” Thrilling for adults and children alike.

Tara Reid, busy daydreaming about what would’ve happened if Ben Affleck directed this movie, does not notice that they’re in a moderate-speed chase with some cops who don’t want people going to Van Nuys at a time like this. And Steve’s kid is so busy not having a facial expression that SHE misses the conversation where Steve notices the “nitrous” button on the car and Jaaaaaaaaaaaason hits it so they can REALLY jack this sucker up to 88 miles per hour and time travel back to a place where tornados only have witches and rocking chairs in them.

That boy right there is Matt, Steve’s son. He’s played by a guy it took me FOREVER to place; turns out I know him from Pretty Little Liars, although IMDb helpfully notes he played a character named Steve on the new 90210 a couple years ago. He may be the only person who performs as if he’s aware what movie this is. And that woman is inconsequential, because she is the Doubting Thomas in this scenario…

.. and gets punished for her disbelief and curiosity by being sucked out a skylight, which I have expertly illustrated for you.

Again, if you think that’s scary, you clearly aren’t emotionally ready for THIS.

That is Tara Reid holding a chainsaw, and Ian Ziering probably got four days’ worth of hazard pay just for being in this scene. Which is: They’re all at a surplus store, conveniently located next to the Van Nuys airport where Matt works, stocking up on things they can use to “stay and fight,” as if a tornado funnel is something you can defeat through sheer force of will and expert hedge-pruning.

Matt comes up with the idea to fly up and bomb the Sharknado, and the actor has the good grace to deliver the line while drooling with excitement, which is SO tonally at odds with the way everyone else is performing that it makes it amazing. Cassie wonders if this will work.

So Jaaaaaaaaaaaaason pops in with his sledgehammer and explains that yes, certainly, tornados can be neutralized by bombing them, because warm air and cold air are blah blah blah whether this science is true or not it is going to give a lot of suggestible people some REALLY bad ideas.

Matt finds a helicopter outside that will work, so he decides to fly up and drop the bombs himself. With Cassie’s help. Tara Reid greets the news that her son is headed for almost certain doom the way any parent would:

“Cool, can you pick up some Certs while you’re out?”

The actual scene is so abysmal, though. Tara asks Matt if he realizes he could diiiiiiie, and her performance must have been SUPERNATURALLY dreadful because THEY DON’T CUT TO HER ON THAT LINE. And that is a line where you SHOULD be with the utterer for at least a second of it, but no. Well done, all.

And then she gets all huffy about how altruistic Matt is being, and sneers at Steve that Matt is obviously just like Steve. Tara Reid’s acting choices are not something I speak fluently, because I believe it they are actually from a dead language. If you interpret that statement as genuine anger, then she’s cranky because her child (and in the comparison, apparently also her ex) is a selfless person. If you interpret it as sarcasm, then she’s needling Steve for NOT being a nice person, even though he saved a busload of children, and in fact also her and their other child. Either way, she is a complete jerksack.

And so is Steve’s daughter Claudia, who picks this precise moment to tell Steve that she’s upset because he’s never there for her, and why can he and Tara work together to get to Matt when they can’t even be bothered with her problems? Child, you are not paying attention. On several levels. Also, hush your mouth. Steve does have the sense to be like, “Um, NOW?” but then also tells her, “I came for you first,” because the way to handle sibling resentment is to help then create a scorecard.

Matt doesn’t care, though. He’s too busy staring at Cassie’s breasts while she tells the stirring tale of her scar: When she was seven, she went on a fishing trip with her grandfather and some other people, and the boat went down and they put her in a life raft and so sharks ate everyone but her. And then when the coast guard rescued her, a shark delivered a parting shot by leaping out of the water — seriously, sharks in this movie belong in the NBA — and biting her. She then intones, “THEY TOOK my GRANDFAAAATHERRRR,” as if the sharks are terrorists hatching a kidnapping and not simply creatures following an innate to feed that they did not choose to have, and sniffles that she really hates sharks.

“Aw, man. Now I hate sharks too.”

You think that’s me being jokey, but no. That is his actual line. Delivered with this actual expression, and a tone of voice that suggests, “Aw, man, the McRib isn’t back until next week.” I told you this kid is in a different movie than everyone else. I really want to see that movie.

After the bombs are built — has anyone asked Matt why he is so facile with makeshift explosives? — Tara Reid says what might be her last farewell to her beloved child, and it is as moving as you’ve come to expect from her here:

“Yeah, yeah, kid. Fix this ’cause I’ve only got two more Xanax left.”

For real, I don’t think anyone told Tara Reid the camera was on.

And, Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaason: He makes the Hummer into a giant bomb and tells Steve he will… do something with it… so that Steve can stay there and protect his family because “they’re a good bunch.” No, Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaaason, they are not a good bunch. The ladyfolk are jerks and they all hate each other and are brimming with resentment and possess no underlying love or connection or even moderate affection, and there is not a single reason in the world why any of them should ever be in a room together ever again, unless it is an emancipation hearing. Don’t be a hero, Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaason. Certainly not for these people.

Except obviously, this is poised to be Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaason’s hero moment, right? The one where he hurls himself into the abyss screaming something like, “YOU LIKE BITING ME SO MUCH, WELL, COME AND GET IT,” before he dies in the name of The Cause?

That is exactly what happens, if you take all those words I wrote and replace them with, “The one where he is tying something to the car and an air shark lands on him and nibbles on his leg and he struggles a little and then gets blown away by the wind to die, even though they aren’t close enough to any of the tornados for that to happen.” Farewell, sweet Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaason. My “a” key will miss you.

Sigh. These two. I don’t even care. They’re going to throw bombs into tornado funnels, and Steve is shooting sharks that are flying through the air, and Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaason’s broken, digested remains are about to land on the roof of the bounce-house place I told you about (seriously, that IS right next to the Van Nuys airport), and there are no emergency reponse units of any kind doing anything anywhere, but you know what plot thread I really need to check up on?

Thank God the filmmakers are psychic. And things at the mysteriously fake Family Mart actually look a whole lot better than last time we saw it. The moral of this story is, in times of natural disasters and crises, don’t go looking for your actual family. Go buy a new one at Family Mart, where everything is peaceful and also metered parking is free on account of the Sharknado.

Back at the airport:

Random Extra No. 2 is standing up in the parking lot when an air shark whips past him and successfully rips off his arm on the way. Then he falls down and the air shark lands and goes to town on his leg.

“Huh.”

And THEN the sharks land in the pool of the nearby old folks home. Since it’s not raining and there is no flood danger, and chlorine is not good for sharks, so they would probably be stuck in the pool and/or imminently dead and therefore not a real threat, Steve decides he can only deal with this by setting the pool on fire.

Oh, STEVE. California is DRY. Do you really need to add wildfire danger to this cocktail?

Meanwhile, Matt and Cassie have successfully bombed two of the Sharknado funnels, and they dissipated. But they missed on the third. And then something tremendous happens that was IMPOSSIBLE to get a grab of: An air shark latches onto the helicopter, so Cassie whips out a knife and starts stabbing it. And while trying to revenge-murder that shark, she slips and falls…

… STRAIGHT into the mouth of ANOTHER shark. I mean, she tumbles out of the chopper and that fish swings by and she goes down the hatch as quickly and cleanly as a college student doing shots of tequila. Matt’s reaction is a wonderful, “Oh, GOD,” befitting of a person watching for the first time that scene in Back To The Future where Biff’s truck gets covered in manure.

The weather part of the movie ends with Steve Sanders driving Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaason’s car bomb into the third tornado, which is back in Beverly Hills, which is apparently a hundred yards from the Van Nuys airport because his family is watching:

Can you feel the love and concern? Matt is like, “What the f’ am I even supposed to be looking at in this scene?” And Tara Reid is shouting out her coffee order to a PA and Claudia is all, “Has the movie started?”

Needless to say, Steve dives out of the car before it gets swept up into the tornado, which gratefully eats it and then stops moving so that Steve can live, and THEN the car explodes and dissipates it.

And all the air sharks that were part of the weather have nowhere to go, so they come crashing down, which one might argue is a worse fate for the people in Los Angeles than sharks being (largely) kept up in the air by the Sharknado. So thanks a lot, Steve. You and your son and his illicit backyard bombs and stolen helicopter just caused a Sharkalanche.

“La la la la. Nothing to see here. I can’t wait to tell my friends that I got cast in one of those American Pie movies!”

Naturally, because Claudia thinks Steve doesn’t care and Steve inexplicably wants her to like him, he shoves her out of the path of that falling air shark. And then Steve fires up his chainsaw and completes the flying leap of his life:

Personally, my choice for the 90210 alum who should dive chainsaw-first into the belly of a shark is… gosh. It’s tempting to say Donna, but really, it’s Andrea Zuckerman all the way. Actually, it’s nice to imagine recasting this entire thing with old BH9′ers: Brenda as Steve’s bitchy ex; that kid who played Dylan’s little sister — either actress — as Steve’s daughter Claudia; Dylan as surfer pal Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaason; David as Jon Heard; Brandon, of course, as Steve’s ex-wife’s smug and douchey boyfriend; Scott Scanlon’s sister Sue as Cassie; Ray Pruit as the Asswang; Donna as the weather person who keeps spelling her name and then dies on-air for her trouble; Emily Valentine as the first person to run afoul of a shark while surfing… that leaves Andrea, Jesse Vasquez, Jackie Taylor, Felice and Dr. Martin, Mel Silver, and the Walsh parents as the old-age pensioners at the home, Nat from the Peach Pit as the owner of the Family Mart (we will beef up its role, naturally), and Val or Gina as Girl Who Gets Sucked Through A Skylight. Kelly Taylor won’t be anywhere because she chose herself, so she’s busy doing that. As for Matt… well, what is Scott Scanlon himself doing these days?

Anyway, clearly, Steve’s family are suitably distraught that he just plunged himself into a literal shark cage.

“Oh hey, shit, I liked that chainsaw, we were going to hang out after and maybe catch Man of Steel.”

“I have profound questions about the physics of this situation but mostly I’m just appalled because I realized I’m old enough to play the mother of a teenager.”

Don’t worry, though, folks. If this movie has taught us anything, it’s that sharks don’t chew.

In a sequence that they fetishize for about thirty seconds, a chainsaw pokes through the shark’s skin, again and again, and again, and then more again, and reactions from people, and then more sawing again for the againth time, as if there is ANY suspense about who might be emerging from within, and THEN:

The shark’s abdomen gives birth to a bouncing baby 50-year old who appears to have eaten his own placenta.

“Shit, dude, my watch!”

“HA. Kidding. It’s just Cassie.”

So yes. Steve ended up in the mouth of the same shark that ate Cassie, and by “ate,” I obviously mean “housed.” Not such a bad deal considering what rents are these days.

Everyone is super happy about this, and not at all traumatized by the length of time anyone spent living, breathing, and marinating inside a shark’s stomach.

“Hey girrrrrl.”

I’d like to point out that those two only knew each other for the last fifteen minutes of the movie, practically, and yet their romantic arc is more complete than this one:

For absolutely no reason at all except that apparently she’s gone insane from shock, Tara halfheartedly wipes the innards from Steve’s mouth…

… and plants one on him, and he responds hungrily, because he’s actually probably hungry. It’s very funny, and surely at least PARTIALLY intended to be? But still. Dear filmmakers: You DO know nobody was rooting for this, right? Absolutely nobody watching this movie was thinking, “Oh, I hope those two find their way back to one another, because there’s still a lot of love there.”

The best part, though, is that Tara Reid was clearly horrified that she had to do that, because she pulls out of that kiss SO FAST and almost starts laughing. It’s quick but tremendous. That must have been the only usable take they managed to get, and still her mouth is all puckered and she can’t keep herself together. I really wish they’d gone with that — the whole idea of her kissing him is so absurd ANYWAY, much less when he still has blood and guts on his mouth, that it would’ve been GENUINELY really funny if she’d wiped his face, kissed him, and then been like, “Oh no, bad idea.”

And they all stand arm-in-arm and survey the damage, and I can’t see Claudia. She might be there, but in movies just as in her family life, nobody cares about her because Matt is way better.

The end. See what they did there? Oh, Thunder Levin and Company, you cheeky rapscallions.

Fuggery: 2 out of 10. I WISH there had been a mid-crisis shopping montage, so that people could’ve changed clothes more, but alas, Sharknado is not that brand of awesome.

Fromage: 6 out of 10. Very low, for a movie called Sharknado, but I’m not sure they tried hard enough to milk this for what it CLEARLY was. Of those involved in this film on any level, I can’t tell which were self-aware, and which took it seriously. Jon Heard clearly knew. Jaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaason, I’m not sure; Tara Reid may not realize she was even in it at all. You’d think Ian Ziering would have an inkling, as he has commented on how he couldn’t resist a movie where he got to cut his way out of a shark’s belly, but his performance did not have any special sauce that would elevate this to camp-classic status. He didn’t need to PUNT on it, or anything, but he was shockingly bland until that final moment. Fromage fail.

F*ckwittery: 7 out of 10. The execution of relationships and backstories was terrible, but the rest of it… I mean, driving is boring, but what else are you going to do in a Sharknado? Tall buildings seem like a scary place to hide, the beach isn’t going to happen… frankly, I’d have driven straight to Vegas, but then again, I’m not related to any of the dullard children Steve decided to save. Still, on balance, if you eliminate that the entire SCENARIO is deliberately ridiculous, stupider stuff probably happened in Mannequin. At least nobody followed suspicious noises into darkened basements without turning on any of the house’s other functional lights.

Overall: 5 out of 10. Worth catching if it’s on while you’re home and bored, but contrary to how hard Twitter swooned for it, you are still capable of leading a happy, fulfilled life without ever watching it.

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Comments (48):

  1. Frances
    +30

    Holy smokes, Heather. I know what you were working on this weekend! Well done. With all the hoopla about this cinematic tour de fromage, I was curious about it. Thank you for saving precious hours of my life by sacrificing your own. The true hero of Sharknado is you.

  2. Maria L.
    +14

    Heather, thanks for taking one for the team. Never have I been so happy that I gave up cable.

  3. Carrie On
    +4

    Tara Reid is holding hedge trimmers and not a chainsaw . . . not that that is any less terrifying!

    • Vandalfan
      0

      I’m glad I’m not the only chainsaw aficionado who noticed that.

    • cek
      +2

      I was going to point that out, too! HEDGE TRIMMERS!!! Those things can barely cut HEDGES let along SHARKS. They get jammed, like, every 5 seconds!

  4. Anna
    +16

    James Franco should have starred in this.

  5. Stacie
    +6

    I can’t believe that you did not note that the bus driver is Cousin Oliver from the Brady Bunch!
    Sharknado!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • GFY Heather
      +1

      I have never seen a single episode of The Brady Bunch, so I had no way of knowing that! It didn’t air where I grew up, or at least, not that I ever saw.

      • Heather
        +5

        Heather, I totally respect that you missed out on the BB as a young’un, but you must now get caught up on this deeply significant cultural milestone. I’m sure all 12,000 episodes are streaming somewhere, so get to work girl! Otherwise how will you ever answer the profound question: Greg or Peter? :-)

    • HelenBackAgain
      +1

      The bus driver is COUSIN OLIVER?

      Where’d they dig him up from?

  6. LB
    0

    Luckily I missed this so I appreciate your very in depth recap. I did, however, get to watch Birdemic this weekend which is awful along the same lines but with nobody you know in it.

  7. filmcricket
    +6

    Oh my God, Heather, thank you for this. I nearly laughed Diet Coke up my nose at your description of John Heard’s “Owwwww.” I think I’d like to see just that scene alone, for the rest I will feel satisfied with your excellent recap.

    •  ErinG
      +3

      I misread Jon Heard as Jon Hamm a couple of times (no clue why) and have reached the conclusion that Sharknado + Hamm would have been EPIC. Sequel maybe? Sharmmicane?

  8. Jodi
    +2

    Well, after all of that it seems the movie can be summed up in one word: “Sharknado!” Its in the same category as “Snakes on a Plane!” We have to have something to yell at each other each and every summer. I can’t wait for 2014 when it will be “Guacamole Spiders!” or some such.

    Tara’s hair looks very nice, blowing gently in the breeze.

  9. Mouse
    +7

    I watched this with my husband who was LOSING IT through the whole movie (and this is a guy who has happily scheduled time to watch MegaShark, Crocosaurus, MegaPiranha, and permutations of “vs” between those as well).

    Our favourite was when sharks were attacking the helicopter and Steve Sanders was shooting those airborne sharks with a pistol and hitting them….from about 2 miles away, with little visibility.

    Also, while his son is bombing sharknados and the rest are holed up in the old folks home, the following interchange occurs:
    Old Lady: Who is flying that thing? (looking up at the helicopter
    Steve: That’s my son!
    Old Lady: You must be so proud.

    Oscar. Worthy.

    • Woosterphile
      +2

      My father and I have made a tradition out of watching these delightfully awful Syfy flicks together. During the moment in the old folks’ home, my dad responded to “Who’s that?” with “That my co-worker! and oh yeah, my son.” I sincerely enjoyed every moment of this movie for my dad’s comments alone.

  10. Sandra
    +3

    Amongst all the gems of f**kwittery in this film, the one I tripped over is the part about bombing a tornado. I”m pretty sure you can’t fly over a tornado and dog knows you can’t fly a plane through one. What kind of hell-broth are they drinking in LA these days? Because somebody approved the making of this schlock. And it isn’t even good schlock.

  11. Katty McNiley Ripley
    +3

    I’m so relieved that Tara Reid finally found a gig whose production values are as low as her career…

  12. MKKS
    0

    Emily Valentine.

  13. Kristy
    +2

    The most shocking thing to me is THAT’S THE GUY FROM BAYWATCH!!!!?? Granted, I could only make it to the 20 minute mark of the movie.

  14. Kris
    +7

    Thank you for taking the hit for the Fug Nationals who chose not to watch this!

    My favorite part of the recap were the additional aaaaa’s added to Jaaaason’s name!!!

    • Donna
      +7

      Mine too! It never got old.

    • HKS
      +2

      That’s what I loved the most about the recap! I am such a dork that I started counting to see if you were adding an A each time. And of course you were. You’re a professional.

  15. Lynn
    +3

    You had to have watched that more than once. You deserve some sort of recognition for heroism. Thanks, too, for giving me “asswang” to add to my list of awesome insults. It ranks right up there with “asshat.” :)

  16. kathotdog
    +7

    Tara Reid’s lip gloss was shark-proof.

  17. Elizabeth in SF
    +16

    I admit I didn’t catch this one on TV, but my Twitter feed was a raving hilarity for about three hours. My favorite exchange was between Wil Wheaton and the SyFy twitter crew:

    @wilw I’m not so sure about the science in this movie you guys. #SharkNado
    @SyFy @wilw The science was checked out by, um, top minds. Really.

    I sort of love the twitter team at SyFy now. Um, really.

  18.  CremeBrulee
    +1

    Between this and Linda Holmes’ recap on Monkey See, I know everything I need to know.

  19. deanna
    +2

    “This is EXACTLY how Kelly Taylor felt when she got caught in that fire, y’all. Too bad he dies before he gets to choose himself.” Between this and “sharknado coverage”, you’ve made my morning.

    Fin.

  20. Mara
    +4

    I watched this with my friend T, who commented, when Cassie Scerbo explained away her scar as an injury she sustained while shaving: “Was she shaving WITH A SHARK?”

    Also, I knew Cassie had to die when she ran a stop sign. She’s lucky Steve managed to avoid her with his chainsaw.

    Also, also: Jaason was awesome.

  21. Jenlwb
    +4

    Heather & co, you need to read this short interview with this Thunder guy over on io9:

    http://io9.com/we-asked-the-writer-of-sharknado-some-very-serious-ques-736131336

    I think i love him…

    • Frances
      +4

      That was a great interview!

      Q – What would happen if you spliced a shark with dark matter?

      A – You’d have a sequel!

  22. Maria
    +2

    My sister and I have been discussing the merits of watching Sharknado vs. doing pretty much anything else. Problem solved, in a most hilarious way! Thanks for that!

  23. Nora
    +4

    “Sniff. I really liked that bookshelf. And I never did find out how ‘T’ ended.” – Love it! You are brilliant! Great summary. I am so sorry I missed out on this cinematic event!

  24. Maryrose
    +3

    You totally got that “time of the month” quote correct b/c I had the exact same reaction but yelled “REALLY????” very loudly at the TV.

  25. bookworm1973
    +1

    I just looked up Claudia on IMDb, and she’s apparently in the new Nic Cage movie filming in Mobile, which is just down the road from me. All my buddies have been posting pics they’ve shot of Nic and now I want to go see if can find Claudia lol

  26. esther p.
    +4

    “Sharkalanche” got a very loud laugh in a very quiet apartment. lol

    Also, this:
    “You guys, I cannot carry a surfboard, a barstool, and an oxygen tank. My purse is not that big. Come up with smaller solutions, please.”

    Y’all are the best, seriously. :)

  27. Sajorina
    +2

    GFY Heather, you had me at “So actually he’s probably a Dyson.”! HA!!! Thank you! Oh, and I’ve never missed an episode of “Pretty Little Liars”, but can’t place “Matt” in it at all! Although, I recognized him from another masterpiece… The Lifetime Original Movie “Stalked st 17″, which is awful! But watching awful Lifetime movies is one of my guilty pleasures!

  28. Cait
    +1

    Awesome recap! I watched the movie last night and rewound so many parts to laugh! Your recaps always make my day and this was no different. Did you notice that Tara Reid and the kid who plays her son, Matt, were also in American Reunion together?? Must have been pretty upsetting for her to be playing his MOTHER! all in all, hilarious recap for a hilariously terrible movie.

  29. fashion don't
    0

    Thank you so much for fugging this fromage Heather! I laughed so hard reading this. Just what I needed on a bummer of a Monday!

  30. Danielle
    +2

    I loved how the end credits scrolled so fast you couldn’t read them. Almost like the crew didn’t want anyone to know they’d worked on it.

    Also, Sharkalanche has to be the sequel.

  31. Jilly
    +2

    Ugh…we made it through the Joplin tornado in ’11…I will not be watching this train wreck. Plus, Tara Reid is in it. Double NO.

  32. karen
    +1

    And SyFy has just ordered up ‘SHARKNADO 2″!!!

  33. daisyj
    +3

    Given the age of their “son,” I figured the problems in their marriage were probably somehow related to the fact that he got her pregnant when she was about twelve. That can’t be a very good foundation for a long-term relationship.

    • HKS
      +1

      I was wondering about that too! Tara Reid and the guy who plays her son look the same age! The daughter doesn’t actually look all that much younger. So I looked it up. Couldn’t find the daughter, but apparently, in real life, the actor who plays Matt is 8 years younger than Tara. And really only about 15 yrs younger than Ian. So, your theory works for me.

  34. Switz
    +1

    You guys might like this review by a columnist in our local daily. It features the following:
    “In a nutshell – which would be a larger container than the plot requires…”
    http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/local/blood-sweat-and-shame-215785071.html

  35. drik
    0