Those indelible moments that mark the passage of time: Sharknado
Editor’s Note: This post is being written late at night in the afterglow of one of the greatest two hours a person could ever experience. Please, forgive the inordinate amount of typos and grammatical atrocities sure to follow. Once you read you’ll understand.
Everyone and every generation has one of those days or moments that we will forever remember, and often those times are so meaningful that we actually mark the passage of time in reference to them. For some it’s a personal moment or a great achievement like running a marathon or finishing a novel. For others it’s a “I remember where I was” moment like the day Kennedy was shot or when man first walked on the moon. I think my moment finally arrived yesterday after 43 years on this earth, and it was none of the above.
For me, it was viewing the masterpiece of cinema called Sharknado. After watching last night, I tweeted this:
Now, normally when I write about a movie or TV show that people may have not seen yet, I post a spoiler warning. Here’s the thing though. Sharknado is so thoroughly, completely a tour de force of “so bad that it is good” cinema that merely reading about what happens cannot in any way spoil watching it on TV, because even after I tell you some of what happens, you won’t believe me anyway until you see it with your own eyes. It transcends belief in a way that I’ve never experienced before. So, feel free to read even if you haven’t seen Sharknado for yourself, and fear not – your life is about to improve in every possible way.
The first, and really the only things you need to know, is that the name of the movie does not lie one single iota: There are sharks, there are tornadoes, there are tornadoes with sharks in them. What else do you need, right? Well, try this on for size: Tara Reid is in it and she is exactly as you would expect her to be in a low budget movie on SyFy.
What’s that? You’ve seen MegaPython vs. Gatoroid with Tiffany AND Debbie Gibson (and Mickey Dolenz!) and you’re going to need more than flying sharks and a wooden has-been actress (you guys realize that Tara Reed was once in The Big Leobwoski, right? And now’s she’s starring on Sharknado. I’ll just let that sink in for a minute.) to get you to dedicate two hours of your life to a movie. Ok, I was saving the big guns until the end anyway as a surprise. Why don’t you sit down? Get real comfy.
All good? Ok, here it goes. Sharknado, in addition to sharks, tornadoes and tornadoes with sharks and Tara Reid, co-stars, IAN FREAKING ZIERING. Yes, Steve Sanders from 90210. And he looks exactly like Steve Sanders, with more hair than he had at West Beverly, if he was going through a John McClain/Die Hard stage. You’re on board now, aren’t you? I thought so. There are some other people in this movie, but really, who cares? They are little more than shark food anyway, as if you couldn’t guess that already. Quite frankly the ONLY casting addition that could have made this movie any better would have been the addition of Billy Zabka (Sweep the leg, Johnny!), but that’s really such a minor quibble.
Now that we’ve established that IAN FREAKING ZIERING is an integral piece of this cinematic puzzle, here’s the plot. Los Angeles it seems, is being hit by a hurricane/storm of the century event so severe that the Pacific Ocean is swallowing up the city, causing massive flooding, and washing ashore a plague of killer sharks of all kinds. This is in and of itself is pretty hilarious, as IAN FREAKING ZIERING and the rest of the cast have to fight off sharks in stairwells with everyday household items like bookcases after the sharks have attacked and mangled a comically awful stereotype of a uber-rich Hollywood Hills d-bag. This particular attack was portrayed by merely showing a lamp in the corner shaking violently while lots of people scream, in a move that I’m sure was an artistic decision and not forced upon the production by its $19.99 budget.
In the end IAN FREAKING ZIERING and his bookcase were no match for the vicious man-eater, and it was up to the female character toting a shotgun who just happens to have a touching, shark vendetta back story, by the way, (I loved that so much), to save the day by blasting the shark in question approximately 26 times with said shot gun at close range. I know, I can feel your pulse racing from here, it’s ok.
Well, I know what you are thinking now. These flooded household shark attacks are all well and good, but where’s the Sharknado you promised, JLo? Oh don’t worry, things are about to spiral out of control, pun intended there.
By now the survivors have piled into IAN FREAKING ZIERING’s SUV (I’d try to explain who these people were, but it’s kind of confusing/unclear. Tara and Ian were married once I think, and have a daughter who’s there and they have a complicated relationship, and they are on their way to pick up their son who may or may not being in flight school. And there’s the random girl with the shark vendetta back story, and a possiblly insane guy with an accent of some kind, and one or two others. Again, it’s kind of confusing and I was laughing so much that I missed a lot of the dialogue to be honest. Anyway, end of parenthetical digression.) and are trying to flee to high ground, or possible the desert. But definitely not Van Nuys, because that’s where the storm is getting really bad, but WAIT! IAN FREAKING ZIERING’s son is in Van Nuys and is possibly in some kind of flight training and this information was being withheld from IAN FREAKING ZIERING and gives IAN FREAKING ZIEIRNG and excuse to looks upset. And the group discovers that he IAN FREAKING ZIERING has a lot of ammo in the car and was apparently a Marine of some type, because he keeps shouting catchphrases in Latin. (Semper Sharknado, sadly, was not one of them.)
After debating which route to take to get to Van Nuys in the midst of a shark enhanced storm of the century (remember, never take the freeway), the group hears the weather advisory warning them that tornadoes are breaking out all over the place and discovers, to their collective horror, that these tornadoes are in fact teeming with live sharks swept up in their midst. Nothing else, mind you, no other debris of any kind, despite the fact that these tornadoes are ravaging the worst CGI representation of Los Angeles possible, but, who cares! It’s Sharknado game on! (Also, Tara Reid trying to make a call using Siri. That is all.)
The group fights their way to Van Nuys airport, where they meet up with IAN FREAKING ZIERING’s son, who has it seems actually completed some type of flight training. He and the girl with the tragic shark vendetta back story somehow deduce that if they can only fly up into the tornado and drop a homemade bomb made from a propane tank into the midst of the Sharknado, the sudden change in air temperature will somehow dissipate the Sharknado and save THOUSANDS OF LIVES (this point was emphasized many, many times. And yes, they know their plan is dangerous.)
Oh, and in the meantime, IAN FREAKING ZIERING has armed himself with a chainsaw. I nearly wet myself when that happened.
So here’s how the rest of this plays out, just as you probably knew it would. Son and shark back story girl go up the nearby helicopter armed with their homemade bombs. IAN FREAKING ZIERING is firing a pistol from the ground, and picking off sharks flying around in the sky with uncanny accuracy. He makes the characters in The Walking Dead, who can fire headshots from moving vehicles with their eyes closed, unless, you know, they can’t suddenly, look like Storm Troopers his aim is so true. Occasionally a shark flies out of the sky and mauls one of the random characters on the ground, and each one is every bit as hilarious I hoped it would be. The first bomb is successful! But oh no, you can’t stop now, there are multiple Sharknados wrecking havoc! And one is threatening a retirement home, where, despite their being a storm of the century going on the sun is shining brightly and water aerobics is taking place in an outdoor pool that OH NO has just been deluged by falling sharks from the second successful bomb detonation. But wait, here comes IAN FREAKING ZIERING to evac the pool and toss the remnants of a conveniently located gas can in the pool and light the pool and OMG it blew up!
Whew! That’s a lot of action. But wait, there’s more! Oh so much more!
And now they are back outside and OMG there’s a shark falling right for IAN FREAKING ZIERING’s daughter and despite their complicated relationship he really loves her and pushes her out of the way and fires up the chain saw while simultaneously assuming some type of ninja pose with the chain saw over his head and O-M-G! he just sawed that shark directly in half did you see that! That was awesome. But now there’s only one more Sharknado and it’s the biggest one of all and despite IAN FREAKING ZIERING’s awesome pistol shooting there’s still tons of deadly sharks and OOOOO-MMMMM-GGGG! the girl with tragic shark back story has fallen out of the helicopter and was SWALLOWED WHOLE in midair by a giant Great White and now another shark has hit the helicopter and it’s going down all is lost but wait the guy with accent has piled a bunch of bomb stuff in his car and is driving into the tornado and he blows it up and Hurrah! the last Sharknado is gone but Oh Nos! it’s raining deadly sharks and people are getting crushed by them or eaten it’s horrible! Horrible I say!
Need to catch my breath here, because what followed almost defies description.
IAN FREAKING ZIERING looks up and sees a shark falling right at him and he’s got a lot of emotion built up because of the tragic Sharknadoes and stuff, and you can SEE the emotion in his face and the shark is (and holy crap it’s late I almost just accidentally deleted this post and that would have not been cool so let me save it real quick like. There, back to the exciting conclusion of Sharknado!) getting closer and it’s giant mouth is open and oh man that shark is massive and OMG! it’s the same shark that swallowed the girl with the tragic shark vendetta back story! And now the way is clear for IAN FREAKING ZIERING and clearly he saw the Avengers because he pulls an Iron Man and flies right into the mouth of the beast and lets it swallow him too but remember he’s got a chain saw and after a couple of seconds dramatic pause where everybody thinks IAN FREAKING ZIERING is dead he starts to cut his way out of the shark from the inside. Read that again. He cut his way out of the shark from inside. And he’s out! And he’s fine! Covered in disgusting red goo but otherwise fine! And he’s avenged the girl with the tragic shark vendetta back story! But wait! Now he’s reaching back into the shark and pulling something out and OOOOOOO-MMMMMM-GGGGGG it’s the girl with the tragic shark vendetta back story and, wait for it, waaaait for it, she’s miraculously alive! There’s a celebration of some kind! Sharknado is over! Huzzah!
And then, Sharknado did the only thing it could have, it flashed a dark screen with an impressively type faced “Fin” on it, just like it was a Fellini film or something. Of course it did, it’s Sharknado and it DOES NOT PLAY BY YOUR RULES, SOCIETY. Don’t forget that.
Now go watch. And you’ll see that I’m not lying. This was a very real thing that happened, and not some sort of chemically induced dream that I had. Promise.