‘Sharknado’ keeps TV real

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I just watched a film called Shark-nado.

And suddenly TV
revealed a different side
to me.

I sat through two hours of Shark-nado!


I remembered why it is,
cheesy shark movies exist
to please.

Say it loud and there’s people screaming.
Say it soft and it might have some meaning
but I’ll never stop saying Shark-nado.

Sharknado, Sharknado, Shark-naaaaaddddoooo.

You just have to love the crazy monster movies that SyFy delivers on a semi-regular basis -- you know what you’re getting. “Sharknado,” arriving Thursday night, is not the name of some gangified evil-doer or a club where young gals go missing; it is a tornado, several actually, brimming with sharks that hit Los Angeles -- to the death and dreadful amputation of those silly enough to party at the beach or take the 405.

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“I hate the 405,” says April (“Make It or Break It’s” Cassie Scerbo) as she and her friends take to the freeways after hammerhead-filled waves drive them from the nifty Santa Monica Pier bar owned by Fin (get it?), who is played by “Beverly Hills 90210” original Ian Ziering. Fin needs to save his hateful ex-wife (“American Pie’s” Miss Tara Reid) and snotty daughter, who would rather argue with him on the doorstep than acknowledge the sharks roiling up from a nearby culvert. The 405 line is there to nail the situation down firmly in reality.


Which it does, actually, because as any Angeleno knows, the surface streets are never any better. In this case, a short afternoon rain, combined with the freaky wave situation, is sending water chockablock with sharks up through the storm drains and over the traffic barriers.

If nothing else, after even the briefest glance at “Sharknado” you’ll never complain about your morning commute again.

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And if there is any doubt what has gathered the world’s sharks into one spot -- the opening scene involves a lot of shark murder by a guy with an accent working for an Asian businessman on the high seas--and pulled them heavenward in the phoniest looking tornado since my elementary school’s production of “The Wizard of Oz,” some fictitious news station standing in for KTLA explains all: Global warming is to blame.

So forget “An Uncomfortable Truth.” Environmental activists need to set up screenings of “Sharknado.” My fellow Americans, is this the legacy we want to leave our children? A shark on every rooftop?

Oh sure, it’s easy to pick holes in a story about a weather system that makes it possible for sharks to fly and take to the streets, but that’s the whole point of movies like this: fabulous in-home commentary. Often accompanied by the consumption of many alcoholic beverages.


And as television struts and preens with its new-found status as the hottest screen in town, it’s important to be reminded of its humble roots: play-acting in the backyard. It isn’t just the lowly production values (rubber sharks, Etch-a-Sketch storm clouds) or how the actors react to airborne sharks with the matter-of-fact casualness of porn stars stumbling upon a laundry room orgy (Oh, hey, watch your foot). It’s the whole over-the-top insanity of it all, the splendid and glorious belief that if you say even god-awful lines firmly enough, if you look hot while drawing some weapon with which you clearly have no familiarity, if you acknowledge the yawning chasms in plot by saying things like “This is crazy” and “Do you trust me?” often enough, your audience will stay with you.

Which is the creative spirit that drives this town, shared by the masterpiece and the utter mess alike.

Presented here, plus sharks.


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