Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sharknado 2: The Second One

Syfy's Sharknado proved to be last summer's most unexpected success story, bursting forth from the sad, pasty ghetto of shark-based horror aficionados, and devouring the mainstream viewing public like so many cartilaginous, predatory fish caught in a whirlwind. Such was the impact of this motion picture that even the nanobots could not ignore it.

Well, here we are, barely even a year later, and Syfy (Lifetime for nerds) has its bottle open again, hoping to catch that same bolt of lightning for a second time. Ian Ziering (Ian Ziering from Sharknado) returns as the former surfer, turned former bar owner, turned current unemployed guy, turned probable future reality TV star, who is traveling to New York City with his still ex-wife (Tara Reid, also from Sharknado) in order to visit his sister's family. This cozy, domestic affair is interrupted, however, when the Big Apple is rocked by a violent, anomalous storm. We think we know where this is going...
  • In a bid to give even less of a shit than the original, Sharknado 2 makes no attempt to explain where all the sharks came from. = +8pts 
  • Three minutes in and we see our first shark. Sadly, the usage of D list celebrities hasn’t been so judicious. = -10pts 
  • Pilot: “As we descend, expect some turbulence, so fasten your seatbelt.” Because under normal circumstances, the crew would be indifferent to your seatbelt usage during landing. = +4pts 
  • Tara Reid loses a hand to sharks; unfortunately, survives to be in the rest of the film.= -12pts 
  • Ian Ziering quietly updates his LinkedIn profile to add “pilot.” = +5pts 
  • The guy from the Airplane! movies is sucked out of the plane, and the actor with the most credibility checks out of the film. = -4pts 
  • Until…. Judah Friedlander! (We consider ourselves nerds.)  = +8pts 
  • Movie cliché #1: Devoted mother and sassy teen daughter. = -7pts. 
  • "All play, all day, me and you" is exactly what our uncle said to us at the beginning of that weekend that we spent four years of therapy trying to recover. = -11pts 
  • Ian Ziering really wants people to know that he and Tara Reid are divorced, which is understandable. = +4pts 
  • Ian Ziering to Tara Reid: “If that shark had known you, he would have run the other way.” Sharks and casting agents. ZING. = +3pts 
  • “Why did you marry me?” -Tara Reid “Because you had both of your hands.” – Ian Ziering = +8pts 
  • “Former MTV VJ Downtown Julie Brown, this project is beneath you.” – a thing we never thought we’d say. = -14pts 
  • Everyone in this movie is older and fatter than you remember. = -3pts 
  • The only other thing we’d rather watch less than Sharknado is baseball, and this movie is willing to call our bluff. = -8pts 
  • Cousin Andy from Curb Your Enthusiasm shows up as a washed up baseball player, as the number of characters in this film officially surpasses that of War and Peace. = -2pts 
  • Shark eats the face of a woman; gets tazed. = +6pts 
  • In a movie about a shark-filled tornado, Ian Ziering making out with Vivica Fox somehow feels like the most unrealistic thing. = -10pts 
  • If the filmmakers had put some of the movie's budget for stunt-casting into sound mixing, we might be able to make sense of some of this dialogue. = -11pts 
  • A New York sanitation worker eaten by a sewer gator, eaten by a shark. = +3pts 
  • A clean, well-lit New York City subway car full of sane people. = -9pts (for plausibility) 
  • Hoping that Judah Friedlander comes back as a shark zombie. = +15pts 
  • Because Subway references only work in Community #sixseasonsandamovie. = -6pts 
  • If only he hadn’t been so concerned with material possessions, perhaps the businessman wouldn’t have been struck down by the disembodied head of the Statue of Liberty as he went back for his brief case. = +8pts (For teaching us an important lesson in prioritization). 
  • Al Roker argues with Today Show co-host about shark weather-related naming conventions. = +20pts 
  • Solid advice from Al Roker on dealing with Sharknados: “Avoid them.” = +4pts 
  • Hunting for weapons in Time Square. In 1980 = +13pts; In 2014 = -13pts (A wash) 
  • Upon navigating from the hood of a submerged cab to safety by jumping across the backs of a bunch of sharks, Ian Ziering 's estranged best friend informs him that he has just "jumped the shark." Leave the hilarious meta-commentary to the professionals, guys. = -6pts 
  • Movie cliché #2: “Are you sure this is going to work?” Once we hear “The science checks out,” our night will be complete. = +9pts 
  • Al Roker: “We could be talking about unprecedented devastation in the heart of New York City.” Um, Al, hate to go there, but… 9/11? = -11pts 
  • Weather prediction: Two inches of sharks per hour. = +5pts 
  • Vivica Fox: "If we had been married, I'd never have let you screw that up." That sounds like more of a threat than a declaration of love to us. = -4pts 
  • Here's an idea, what about putting the bombs together INSIDE of the building, rather than on a shark- and wind-battered rooftop? = -7pts 
  • Tara Reid coins a new word: "Ialmostlostyouonceandimnotgoingtodoitagain." = +6pts 
  • Inspiring pre-climactic scene speech. Not quite Bill Pullman in Independence Day, but it works. = +18pts 
  • Slo-mo shark bisection = +20pts 
  • There's a plan to electrify the lightning rod to ignite a bomb made of freon which will freeze out the tornadoes and blah, blah, blah science. We think this all adds up. = +3pts 
  • Tara Reid with a circular saw for a hand: For those movies where Bruce Campbell just isn't in the budget. = +6pts 
  • Vivica Fox sacrifices her life to insure that the cables she rigged to the building's lightning rod stay connected, which is fine, considering that, since she can't be with Ian Ziering, her life is pretty much meaningless anyway. = -27pts 
  • Ian Ziering fishes a severed arm clutching a gun out of a dead shark's mouth, uses it to shoot a flock of incoming sharks, and then strips the diamond ring off of it to propose to Tara Reid for a second time. Who says Romance is dead? = +16pts 
  • If Crispin Glover isn’t in Sharknado 3, what’s this all been for? = +??? (It really all depends on whether Crispin Glover is in Sharknado 3
Total Score = +17pts
Available On: The Syfy Channel

Turns out the Sharknado movies are an homage to Moby Dick, answering the age-old question as to whether nature is indifferent (spoiler: it’s pretty vengeful). Despite the bigger budget and an extensive cast of people whose plastic surgeries have not improved with age, Sharknado 2 is not able to top the madcap insanity of its predecessor. The original Sharknado was a unique and beautiful snowflake that managed to swallow a mostly forgotten '90s actor, only to have him chainsaw his way out of its belly. How the hell do you reproduce something like that?

Score Technicians: Amanda Hemmerling and Joe Hemmerling

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