I love SyFy original movies. I’m not ashamed to say that. Not in the least. I love everything about them. I love the big, stupid plots that sound like they’re the product of a dartboard and torn-out pages of an animal encyclopedia (“DinoCroc vs. Supergator,’’ “Mega Python vs. Gatoroid,’’ “Dinoshark’’). I love the special effects that look like they come straight out of an operating system running Windows 95. I love the casts, sprinkled with C- and D-list celebs you know from somewhere but have to bring up their IMDB page to confirm. I went through 3/4ths of “Mansquito’’ (guess what that one was about) before realizing that the film’s lead was the guy from “Parker Lewis Can’t Lose.’’
Most of all, I love the fact that these movies don’t try to be anything they’re not. They’re just absurdly entertaining z-level cable flicks, perfect for hungover Saturday or Sunday mornings, that – frankly – have a lot more watchability than half the flotsam shoved into cinemas on a weekly basis. I’d sure as hell rather watch “Triassic Attack’’ for free (featuring a pre-Dany Targaryen appearance from Emilia Clarke) than pay $20 for a steaming pile like the fourth “Transformers.’’
“Sharknado’’ was a phenomenon when it hit last year, a perfect storm of an irresistible title, hysterically diverse cast (Tara Reid! Ian Ziering! The Dad from “Home Alone’’!) and the weekday TV watching habits of a generation whose parents sat them down to watch “Jaws’’ and took them to see “Twister’’ in the theater. A sequel was inevitable, and now, it’s finally here. I might be more excited for this than I will be for the new “Star Wars’’ next year.
Time for some hot, shark- and tornado-infested live-blogging. We’re entering the suck zone!
8:59 p.m. – Here I am in front of the television, armed with one work computer, a G-Chat group window with a few friends for maximum shark snarkiness, and a six-pack of the finest American IPA that I can afford for $10. Just when I think I may have made some poor choices in my personal and professional life, I just realized I’m getting paid to write about the sequel to a movie that culminated with a “90210’’ cast-member jumping inside a tornado-flung shark whilst armed with a whirring chainsaw. Let’s do this.
9:00 p.m. – This is the greatest opening to any movie ever. Our heroes from the last film – Fin (Ian Ziering) and April (Tara Reid) are now published authors (“How to Survive a Sharknado’’) and they’re on their way to New York City to promote the book. There’s some blatant Coors Light product placement and Kelly Osbourne as a purple-haired flight attendant and then OH MY GOD ROBERT HAYS IS THE PILOT OF THE PLANE! Ted Striker himself from “Airplane’’! And his co-pilot is Dave Chappelle’s girlfriend from “Half-Baked’’! I want to marry this film already. There are a whole boatload of “Airplane’’ references (“Always get the chicken on a plane!’’) as the plane flies right into another sharknado. Poor Robert Hays doesn’t survive this one. Neither does Kelly Osbourne. Tara Reid gets Jamie Lannistered, as a shark munches off one of her hands. Luckily, Fin manages to land the plane safely, his flying skills as honed as his shark-killing skills are. Jack Bauer, you’ve got a competitor.
9:15 p.m. – Mark McGrath sighting! He’s playing Ian Ziering’s brother-in-law. I’ll confess that I still have “Runaway’’ on my iPod. He looks like he’s aged about 50 years since “Fly’’ was on the radio. Also, Kari Wuhrer appearance. Serious crush on her since “Sliders’’ came out. I’m a lot more excited for their cameos than the hulabalooed Matt Lauer appearance, which comes right before Michael Strahan and Kelly Ripa make their cameo. I’d have liked to seen a shark eat the former before a certain game in 2008. Nope, not bitter at all.
9:17 p.m. – Um, Billy Ray Cyrus is in this as a New York doctor who’s apparently stolen Mac’s beard from “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.’’
9:26 p.m. – The newest sharknado is heading right for Citi Field, where Fin’s brother-in-law and nephew are busy watching the Mets play. I’d make a Mets joke here, but … considering the Red Sox are getting hammered by the Blue Jays and are about to ship out Jon Lester for a few prospects, I’ll hold off.
9:27 p.m. – Judd Hirsch is Fin’s taxi driver. Originally I thought this was an “Independence Day’’ reference. Then, I realized I’m an idiot.
9:29 p.m. – Judah Friedlander from “30 Rock’’ and Vivica A. Fox are also in this one. That’s two “Independence Day’’ alums in two minutes, after Hirsch’s appearance. That can’t be a coincidence.
9:32 p.m. – Ruh-oh. This sharknado is going to wreck the Mets worse than an Adam Wainwright curveball! It’s too bad Citi Field’s going to get demolished. What a nice place. On a related note, I’m going to have to issue a lot of apologies to my friends from New Jersey soon.
9:43 p.m. – Ian Ziering and Mark McGrath have put away their feud and learned to work together. That sentence could have easily been written in People in 1997.
9:45 p.m. – Kari Wuhrer tasers a shark to death. Just wanted to see that sentence written out. “The seven train is WAY more crowded after a game, airborne shark attack or not,’’ my NYC-based friend tweets to me. Suspension of disbelief only goes so far, SyFy.
9:48 p.m. – I’ve given up being surprised by this movie. I don’t even bat an eye when Jared from Subway shows up, eating a sub on, um, the subway. Oh, and poor Judah Friedlander is devoured. I can’t wait to see the next ironic hat he’ll wear.
9:52 p.m. – Chop off the “shark’’ in “Sharknado’’ and you get exactly how I say my last name (not the strictest French-Canadian pronunciation, of course, but it’s close). My mom, the friendliest home economics teacher on the East Coast (or at least in New Jersey) texts me to say that a few of her students call her “Mrs. Shark-Nadeau.’’ On a related note, I’ve figured out my Halloween costume.
9:57 p.m. – A slam on Jersey from Judd Hirsch, followed by the line “I’m gonna throw a bomb into the tornado!’’ from Fin. That clip should be on YouTube any second now. They’re driving around New York looking for a hardware store to get shark-killing supplies. Online, my friend from NYC is outraged – apparently, there’s a Home Depot on 23rd.
10:02 p.m. – I’ll give Lauer and Al Roker some credit – they play their cameos completely straight. They must have had a blast doing this. Probably beats interviewing one of the Kardashians or reporting on the best low-fat yogurt.
10:05 p.m. – Biz Markie, as a pizza restaurant owner / buddy of Fin named “Vinnie,’’ just stabbed a shark to death. Then Fin whacked it into an oven. Every one of my friends starts making “Just a Friend’’ jokes.
10:10 p.m. – Biz Markie’s acting makes his rapping look competent. Mark McGrath helps to make squirt guns full of lighter fluid at a bodega (“The well-stocked supplies in that bodega are the least believable thing about this movie!’’ that NYC friend states). Oh, and the gang gets medieval weapons to fight off the sharks. Hello, my name is Fin. You ate my friend. Prepare to die.
10:14 p.m. – Yikes. Tara Reid’s had so much plastic surgery that her face barely moves when she tries to emote – it just looks like she’s trying to remember something. This is runing “Van Wilder’’ for me.
10:17 p.m. – Judd Hirsch is eaten. The aliens couldn’t get him, but the sharks could. A moment of silence, please. Of all the cameos in the movie, he was the best. By far. So sad.
10:21 p.m. – These horrendous graphics get approximately 10% better with every beer. By the time I start raiding my roommates’ stock, this movie’s going to look like “Avatar.’’
10:25 p.m. – Product placement rankings: 1) Subway, 2) Coors Light, 3) The New York Mets, 4) CitiBike, 5,909,153) Tara Reid’s plastic surgeon.
10:31 p.m. – These are the most stationary tornadoes I’ve ever seen. I’m choosing to believe that this movie is the accurate one and “Twister’’ was full of crap. What the hell did BIll Paxton and Helen Hunt know, anyway? They just sit there and let Fin and the rest of the gang slingshot flaming bottles at them. Lazy, stupid, shark-filled tornadoes.
10:40 p.m. – Courageous of Matt Lauer and Al Roker not to have evacuated New York City as this windy shark orgy converges on them. We’re heading for a climax. Fin’s gotta blow up a building or something to burn up the sharknadoes – honestly, I got lost in Mark McGrath’s acting here.
10:44 p.m. – Kurt Angle shows up as a NYC official, looking like he’s in the Mickey Rourke stage of his career. This is the wrestler you got, SyFy? I mean, come on. I think King Kong Bundy and Bob Backlund are still hanging around.
10:45 p.m. – Fin delivers an “Independence Day’’-style inspiring speech that should go right on the end of this YouTube clip. Then he chainsaws a shark in half. God, this is invigorating. I feel like I could take on the whole galaxy myself.
10:48 p.m. – Tara Reid has a circular saw for a hand now. I still think Ash from “Army of Darkness’’ would win in a fight, but at least it’d be close.
10:51 p.m. – Blowing up a bunch of freon in a building defeats sharknadoes. Something to remember for that day when all of our worst fears come true. Oh, where did Billy Ray Cyrus go? He’d better show up at one point before this thing’s over.
10:57 p.m. – Yes! Michael Strahan gets eaten! See, that’s what you get when you collude to get a cheap record! Meanwhile, Fin survives getting sucked up into a sharknado, chopping through one shark with his chainsaw (and retrieving Tara Reid’s eaten limb, complete with a ring finger), and then riding another one down to the ground like Slim Pickens. Then he re-proposes to Tara Reid. True love survives sharknadoes, that’s the real message we should all take from this movie.
11:00 PM – It’s over, in a hail of fireworks. I’m almost in tears over the prospect of waiting another year for “Sharknado III.’’ “Sharknado With a Vengeance’’? “Return of the Sharknado’’? “Revenge of the Sharknado’’? I solicited suggestions for the actors who should appear in the next one. Here’s what I got:
– “Every member of ‘The Breakfast Club,’ but they have to be the first ones to get eaten’’
– Ernie Hudson, Jose Canseco, the Snapple Lady, the “Dude, You’re Getting a Dell!’’ guy, Gary Busey, Flava Flav and Brigette Nielsen, Alex Rodriguez, Tila Tequila, Justin Bieber and Orlando Bloom, Daniel Day-Lewis, Joe Thornton, Arturs Irbe, Sarah Palin, Norm MacDonald, Jon Hamm, Noel and Liam Gallagher, Manny Ramirez and Zdeno Chara.
If we get even half of that cast, I think SyFy should put this out in theaters for an Oscar qualifying run. I have no idea what would possibly beat it.
Anyway, this has been fun. Until the next SyFy phenomenon!