Let’s Talk About Trailer Park Shark (dir by Griff Furst)


Oh hell yeah!

Listen, if you ever find yourself being unexpectedly menaced by a shark, you’re going to want a redneck around.  Trust me on this.  I may not be one myself but I’ve grown up around rednecks and I feel a lot safer around them than I do with sensitive types from up north.  Seriously, if you’re under shark attack, who do you want protecting you?  A guy with a gun and a cooler full of beer or someone who drives a Prius?  Elon Musk may be smarter but, when it comes to sharks, Trace Adkins is going to be more helpful.

The other great thing about rednecks is that there’s nothing that they can’t do with duct tape.  Give a redneck enough duct tape and a weather satellite and I guarantee that he’ll find a way to stop climate change.  There’s a name for that: redneck ingenuity.

When I was watching Trailer Park Shark on Wednesday night, I was impressed with the amount of duct tape on display.  As the main character, a redneck played by Thomas Ian Nicholas, was using duct tape to solve yet another problem, I tweeted that I was enjoying the music playing in the background.  To me, it sounded like something that Ennio Morricone would have come up with for a spaghetti western.  It fit the scene perfectly because Trailer Park Shark is a film that make duct tape feel just as epic as the final cemetery confrontation in The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.  Andrew Morgan Smith, who did excellent work on the film’s score, informed me that the musical cue was called “Redneck Ingenuity.”

That’s a perfect name because, while Trailer Park Shark is about a lot of things, it is ultimately a celebration of redneck ingenuity and the never-give-up attitude of  life in the Southern bayou.  The characters in Trailer Park Shark have a lot to deal with.  Because of a freak rains storm and some evil plotting by mean old Mr. Deconnard (Dennis Haskins), their trailer park has been flooded.  And with the flood has come a shark!  It would be easy to give up, especially when people and horses start getting eaten.  But no one surrenders to fate!  No one gives up!

It’s a lot of fun, as any movie about a shark attacking a trailer park should be.  All of the characters in the park are memorable in their redneck way.  Even with the majority of the park underwater and neighbors getting eaten left and right, they’re still just as likely to be fighting each other as they are the shark.  While I personally have never lived in a trailer park, I’ve lived close to a few and I’ve spent a few nights visiting and this film gets the atmosphere just right.  Griff Furst, who is something of a specialist when it comes to bayou chaos, brings this location to life.  From the very first tracking shot to the film’s action-packed finale, the bayou feels alive.  You can easily imagine this location and these people existing long before the cameras started rolling.  The relationships feel real.

Speaking of feeling real, I always suspected that Dennis Haskins had the ability to play a really evil character.  Seriously, go watch the earliest episodes of Saved By The Bell and you’ll see some hints of darkness underneath Mr. Belding’s goofy exterior.  That said, Haskins does such a good job playing this film’s villain that you eventually forget that you’re watching Mr. Belding threatening to kill people.  Instead, he’s just a very bad man with an interesting preference in weapons.

(Speaking of weapons, Tara Reid also shows up, playing a trailer park resident who has a wide variety of weapons at her disposal.  Though her role is small, her appearance allows for some playful poking at the Sharknado franchise.)

I liked Trailer Park Shark.  It’s a blast of pure entertainment and my favorite of the recent SyFy shark movies.  Since SyFy reruns everything a hundred times, keep an eye out for it!

Watch it in honor of the rednecks who keep us safe from sharks, often at the cost of life, limb, and satellite dish.

Adventures in Cleaning Out The DVR: Lake Placid vs. Anaconda (dir by A.B. Stone)


After I finished watching Stolen Daughter, I decided to take a break from watching Lifetime films.  So, for my next DVRed movie, I watched Lake Placid vs. Anaconda.  Lake Placid vs. Anaconda premiered on the SyFy Channel on April 25th.  It was the first original SyFy film of the year and so, of course, my friends, the Snarkalecs, and I had to watch and record it.

Lake Placid vs. Anaconda is a bit of a tribute to such classic monster movies as King Kong vs. Godzilla and … well, any other movie where Godzilla ended up fighting another big monster.  In this case, it’s a battle between the giant crocodiles from the Lake Placid films and the giant snakes from the Anaconda films.  However, it’s not really much of a battle.  The crocodiles don’t really meet the snakes until the last 20 minutes of the film and the battle pretty much ends in a draw.

Instead, the majority of the film deals with the typical collection of SyFy character types trying to escape from the beach and surrounding wilderness without getting devoured.  There’s a group of sorority girls, all of whom are basically slaves to the hilariously bitchy Tiffani (Laura Dale, who appears to be having a lot of fun with her role).  There’s the tough, no-nonsense Sheriff (Yancy Butler), who always seems to be on the verge of declaring that she’s “too old for this …. shit!”  There’s the forest ranger (Corin Nemec) who is trying to rescue his daughter, who happens to be one of the sorority girls.

My favorite group, however, was a group of mercenaries hired by Sarah Murdoch (Annabel Wright), the evil CEO of Wexel Pharmaceuticals.  Sarah is so evil that she even talks about her evil plans while casually undressing in front of her subordinates.  Now, I have to be honest.  I have sat through this movie twice and I’m still not quite sure what Sarah’s evil plan actually was.  It involved a blood orchid and capturing an anaconda.  But, regardless of what the actual scheme was, Sarah and the mercenaries were so melodramatic that it was impossible not to be entertained by them.

Anyway, Lake Placid vs. Anaconda takes way too long to get the creatures on screen together and the final battle is a bit of a let down.  Fortunately, however, Robert Englund is there to joyfully chew up all the scenery until the crocodiles and the snakes arrive.  Englund is playing a crocodile hunter.  He drinks too much, he talks too much, and he’s missing an eye, a leg, and an arm.  Englund appears to be having a lot of fun playing the role and he’s the best thing in the movie.

Lake Placid vs. Anaconda really can’t compare to any of the excellent shark films that would later premiere on SyFy in July but it’s worth seeing for Annabel Wright and Robert Englund.

 

Val’s Movie Roundup #5: Dogs Edition


Beethoven's Big Break

Beethoven’s Big Break (2008) – Some months ago I watched a SyFy movie called Lake Placid vs. Anaconda (2015). During, or shortly after, one of the actresses named Ali Eagle reached out to me on Twitter. As a result, I added several of her films to my queue. I just happened to get around to this one recently. That’s her above. As for the movie, I grew up with the first two Beethoven films and have not seen the third, fourth, and fifth films that come before this one. The family from those films isn’t here. Now we get an animal trainer whose son finds a Saint Bernard and names it Beethoven because of it’s affinity for classical music. The father is helping another animal trainer who unbeknownst to him kidnaps the dog star of a movie in order to extort money from the production company. Problem is that they haven’t actually shot one scene with the dog. As a result, upon seeing Beethoven, they simply recast. What follows is possibly the largest collection of tired, overused, and old jokes I have ever seen in one film. It’s obviously supposed to be a parody in some ways of the Beethoven movies while also being a reboot, but it doesn’t work. There is no reason to see this stinker. I will probably see the other Beethoven sequels, so we can hope that they are at least a little better.

The Adventures of RoboRex

The Adventures of RoboRex (2014) – You know your Transformers movies suck when a children’s film about a good robotic dog and an evil robotic cat is better. This movie is about a kid whose mother passed away and left him with a crystal. He doesn’t know it’s importance until a capsule arrives like The Terminator with an evil robotic cat named Destructo Cat inside. Soon after, a good robotic dog called RoboRex shows up to help the kid. The cat is sent from the future by Professor Apocalypse to instruct and help his younger self get the crystal. What follows is a slow but sure trajectory toward a final battle. In between we do get a nice little fight between the cat and dog that is more exciting than anything in the 4,076 minutes of Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014). I definitely recommend this one, but two things kind of bothered me. Ben Browder is in this and although it’s only been about ten years or so since Stargate, he looks like he has aged quite a bit. The other part is that they never explain how RoboRex ends up at Ben Affleck’s place in Gone Girl (2014).

C.H.O.M.P.S.

C.H.O.M.P.S. (1979) – This movie has stupid characters and plot, but the dog is awesome! It’s like The Terminator (1984) and Superman (1978). It literally rips off the roof of a car with it’s paws. And you can see from the picture above that it’s a small dog. The movie is about a guy who works for a home security company. Instead of trying to make your standard security system, he looks to nature’s home security system and decides to improve it. He first thinks of creating a robotic Doberman, but probably realized that people had already seen Dobermans rob banks in earlier movies and just copied his own dog instead. The movie basically has three things going on. First, the dog is on an endless rampage to catch these two criminals that might as well have stepped out of Home Alone (1990). Second, the guy and his girl are trying to sell the company on the idea of a robotic dog. Third, is this big black dog that occasionally pops up whose thoughts we can hear. That dog has some mouth on it. It says, “Up your poop, granny” and “Shit”. With Hot to Trot, that makes two talking animal movies I’ve seen recently where the talking animal says “shit”. If you can put aside the problems and just focus on the cool dog, then this one can be fun. It’s a little weird to see the dog’s eyes light up and the head get removed though.

The Amazing Wizard of Paws

The Amazing Wizard of Paws (2015) – This is a movie that would have the Cinema Snob saying “What the fuck!” The script is a mess. The movie begins with what looks like Snape cornering Gandalf against a tree. Gandalf is holding a book. That book will be important…sort of. Next a dog meets up with a kid who has lost his father in a car accident. Snape visits him in the backyard, but doesn’t seem to do anything. Then we jump seven years into the future. That’s where this movie starts to just go wherever it feels like. It sets things up that the dog can talk, the book is magic, and the kid is supposed to protect it using magic. However, despite this evil wizard who wants the book, the kid spends most of his time signing up for talent shows in order to get money so his mother can keep the house. You will find yourself saying, “And the wizard went where? What happened to him wanting the book?” I can’t recommend this movie at all. A total skip. It’s sad because I really do like the dog.