Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Rifftrax: Sharknado

On Thursday, July 10th, I showed up at the Clarks Pond Cinemagic ready to hand over my ticket and subject myself to one of the most infamous movies that SyFy (which still feels weird to type) has ever created.  I was ready to see Melody from the Josie and the Pussycats movie team up with Vinnie from Biker Mice From Mars to fight a weather phenomenon so outlandish it must be true.

I was there to see Sharknado.

Sadly, it was cancelled.

To the movie theater's credit, they did refund me.  And it might not have been totally their fault, as the DirectTV dish on their roof wasn't working.

So I moped about that for a while, went home, and planned on attempting again on the encore presentation last night.  This time, I even took the extra precaution of driving up to the Brunswick movie theater showing it, just in case that dish wasn't fixed yet.

Now, from my limited understanding of comedy, it appears to me that one of the hardest things to do is tell the same joke over and over again and keep it feeling fresh.  We've all seen a comedian who has all of his jokes so ingrained in his head that you can feel the enthusiasm for telling the next one drain out of him no matter how the crowd responds.

So when the first part of the show was a showing of the classic public domain video about springs, I was hesitant.  I didn't want to see the same jokes over again, I have the show on DVD for that.  Fortunately, the humor was updated, and the new jokes in place of classics were surprising enough to keep the short fun and exciting.  Anybody who's seen the short enough times knows some of the great jokes by heart, and having the timing suddenly be mixed up brought new life to it.

Afterward was a preview of their Godzilla riff coming up in August (which I'll be going to), as well as a preview of Sharknado 2.  I might actually try to watch that before the Rifftrax version comes out.

Then came the moment of truth.  Sharks, tornados, and three men riffing their hearts out.

First, about the movie itself.  I had caught bits and pieces of it before, and considering it was the same studio that put out Transmorphers and Bermuda Tentacles, I had a hunch it had to be slightly self-aware and was going to be slyly winking at the audience the whole way through.  I also know it's really hard to mock a comedy, because you're trying to layer jokes upon jokes.

However, I've seen Tara Reid act before.  Well, if you can call it "acting," anyway.

This was not her attempting to do comedy.  She was putting everything she had into making this movie really dramatic and intense.  Bless her heart.

The movie is bad.  Thinking back on it now, I can honestly say that you could read the expression on most of the actor's faces saying "I'm so happy I'm getting paid to do this," because River City Rumble had more heart put into it.  I'm not sure whether it was the stock footage from other locations being used, the fact that the hurricane sweeping over everything managed to leave blue skies overhead when the camera was on the characters, or the mostly hilarious attempt at CGI that cinched it for me, but I can honestly say that Sharknado quickly becomes a movie you stop having the slightest bit of empathy for and instead becomes the film equivalent of those news stories that lead with "a would-be robber was surprised when..."

This isn't to say it's a horrible movie.  It isn't Manos: The Hands of Fate which actually physically hurts you when you try to watch it without the jokes overlaid.  It even hurts you with the jokes.

I will say, though, that Mike, Kevin, and Bill were in rare form.  I enjoyed the earlier shows I saw, but the timing was sharper, the jokes were paced better, and I laughed harder at this film than I did at the other ones I saw.  Despite the fact that the creators of the movie apparently enjoy the guys enough to actually send them the special preview footage of the sequel, the guys held nothing back and unloaded on the cast, the plot, the editing, the script writing, and anybody else who dared be involved with the movie.

I will also say that one of my favorite points of watching the movie was when a guy behind me thought he'd be clever and loudly made a bad pun during one scene just to have everybody else in the theater "boo" him.

It was an extremely enjoyable evening, and I look forward to seeing Godzilla put through its dues in August followed by Anaconda in September.

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