Greetings readers and why does it seem I feel yet AGAIN I need to apologize for the lack of keeping something consistently posted each week. The Summer has been SO relatively sparse film-wise, and I must admit dropping the ball a bit on posting my Actor/Actress “Spotlight” entries, which I will truly strive to remedy here soon. Life loves to distract us at times with things that really DO distract us from other priorities and things we enjoy…so time to start getting back on track. And with that said, what better way than to post a slightly different review, which still INVOLVES a film, but has a nature of its own. Therefore, I provide my thoughts of “RiffTrax Live-“Sharknado””.
For those who may not be familiar with the RiffTrax crew, they are basically the zany trio behind the original TV show “Mystery Science Theater 3000“, or “MST3K” for the initiated. It involved one human and two robots who were trapped in an orbiting space station by a mad scientist and forced to endure viewing some of the TRULY WORST B (and C….and D…and…well, you get the picture) movies ever conceived, mostly Sci-Fi and horror schlock from the 40’s and 50’s. And while watching said stink burgers, the three of them would quip and rail on the film as it played, and it turned out to be one of the most hilarious shows I know I have ever seen. While the show itself is now defunct, the 3 main creators, Michael J. Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy, created a website called “RiffTrax” where they continue the madness of ragging on films, now ranging from old to some of the newer films out, and where you can buy DVD’s of them doing so. Periodically each year, they now also do live events, called (imagine this!!) “RiffTrax Live!” which they broadcast all over the country via satellite in theaters who choose to show it and do their film skewering live in person for the enjoyment of the masses. I have attended several of these events locally and they are a RIOT. Usually, before the MAIN film is dug into, they will often show (and hence rag on) one or more “shorts”, usually from the 40’s/50’s as well, and usually ones that just BEG to be made fun of, even though they were very much serious messages being communicated when originally released.
So, with that small bit of background, this event gave the boys an opportunity to FIRST provide us, the viewers, with a just SILLY short, “A Case of Spring Fever” about what would happen if the world was devoid of……springs. So cue this poor slob who randomly one day, in trying to fix his couch at home, wishes that springs didn’t exist. Enter this weird animated “spring guy”, named Coily, who grants him his wish, and suddenly this poor dude finds out how many things in day to day life no longer function correctly because they all use springs. So when he wishes that springs would come BACK, and Coily grants him that, he then spends the rest of the short tormenting his three long-suffering buddies on a golf outing about WHY springs are so important!! It was a TOTAL laugh-fest, especially when you DO consider this was a SERIOUS short filmed back in 1940. But, as usual, the audience is waiting for the MAIN feature, and so the three hosts presented us with the 2013 SyFy Channel “new classic”, “Sharknado“.
Ok…..now, I understand that by FAR, not EVERY film that’s out there (whether TV or Theatrical) is going to be a massive success. Overall, given the TOTAL number of films released every year, there are ultimately more “failures” or straight to video offerings that almost no one will know about than bonafide hits. BUT…HOW is it that some studios decide it’s actually worth putting ANY money into some projects?? Taking place in Los Angeles, the film begins to take its absurdity and shove it in our faces without hesitation..as a freak tornado is formed out of a Pacific hurricane and happens to somehow sweep up a TON of sharks into it and carry them along toward the populace of the City of Angels…but not before we are introduced to many of our main characters….ex-champion surfer/now seaside bar owner Fin Shepard (Ian Ziering), his head waitress Nova Clark (Cassandra Scerbo), Fin’s best friend and fellow surfer Baz Hogan (Jaason Simmons), and perpetually drunk bar patron George (John Heard). After the initial scenes with Fin and Baz at the beach checking out the local ladies and trying to catch a few waves (until several predatory fish decide to come calling as the storm approaches, wounding several people) and spout some truly silly dialogue trying to mask itself as acting, the storm hits and all chaos breaks loose and storm surge brings more and more of the nasty beasties pouring onto the streets of Santa Monica and toward L.A. So, of course, Fin decides it would be good to get in touch with his ex-wife, April Wexler (Tara Reid) and daughter (Heather Jocelyn Blair) and advise them they MIGHT want to get out of town. Fin and crew end up at the ex’s home and, of course, somehow, the storm water manages to get to them and provide plenty of additional ridiculousness of sharks and mayhem. As the film progresses, people are eaten, Fin insists on being the hero in EVERY situation, April is a TOTAL ditz, her son Matt (Chuck Hittinger) is even MORE of a goof than SHE is, sharks are running rampant through the streets of L.A., the massive scientific inaccuracies presented, and the solution as how to STOP the “sharknados”…in the words of George Takei “Oh my!”. Need I go on?? It is SUCH a BAD film….and yet, it is EXACTLY why the “RiffTrax” guys chose it.
And it IS that fact that made this event SO worth going to!! They absolutely eviscerated this film, and the one-liners they came up with throughout the film were an absolute stitch!! Nelson, Murphy, and Corbett are just so adept at their humor from doing this for so long, everything they say just FITS so well to the film being tore apart. And I must say, AGAIN, that the film so deserved it. I was absolutely cracking up the whole time!! The film’s writing was just BAD, the acting was REALLY bad, and the effects were sub-par at BEST. So much of me cannot grasp WHY these films are not only made, but that they are actually successful in their own right. SyFy Channel has definitely tapped into SOMETHING here, as they continue to release these types of films multiple times a year….and keep getting the viewership with them to come up with SEQUELS!! “Sharknado 2: The Second One” (YES, that IS the title) comes out July 30th, 2014. The fact that Ziering and Reid’s careers have come down to this….oy. It’s hard enough trying to keep getting work, much less when you DO….it’s material like this?! And seeing them try and say the dialogue (IF you can truly call it that) and say it SERIOUSLY, is a feat in itself. And sorry, but the kid playing Reid’s character’s son….I swear there was a moment when he literally forgot his lines. And when he DID open his mouth…OMG…just horrible writing, even by B-movie standards!! BUT, regardless of what I (or you) think of the film itself overall, GET onto the RiffTrax site and make arrangements to see one of these live events, because it WILL be a way you can actually STAND to view one of these films and get a great laugh out of it! I do know the next events are August 14th, 2014 where they are tackling 1998’s “Godzilla” and then October 30th, 2014, when they take on 1997’s “Anaconda“. It IS worth the time to watch and listen Nelson and friends take on some of the worst film has to offer!
As always, this is all for YOUR consideration and comment. Until next time, thank you for reading! 🙂