Let’s Talk About Sharknado 4!


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Last Sunday night saw the premiere of Sharknado: The Fourth Awakens!

For the fourth year in a row, SyFy and the Asylum allowed us to take a peak into the shark-filled life of Finn Shepherd (Ian Ziering) and his family.  Also for the fourth year in a row, the premiere of the latest Sharknado film was practically a national holiday.  Long before the film even started, #Sharknado4 was the number one trending topic on twitter.  I actually live tweeted the film twice, once for the east coast and then a second time for my friends on the west coast.  That’s right — I sent out over 300 tweets about Sharknado 4 on Sunday and I’ve never been more proud of myself.  Live tweeting the latest Sharknado is a lot like wishing someone you barely know a happy birthday on Facebook. It’s a part of the ritual of social media.  It’s like the Internet’s version of a Thanksgiving parade or a 4th of July fireworks show.

After four films, it’s easy to forget that Sharknado started out like almost any other SyFy film.  The first Sharknado film featured no celebrity cameos and very little of the self-referential comedy that has come to define the series.  In fact, I didn’t even see Sharknado when it first aired because it premiered, opposite a Big Brother eviction show, on a Thursday.  It was only on Friday morning that I discovered that Sharknado had become a phenomena, largely due to the fact that celebrities like Mia Farrow had decided to live tweet it.

After all this time, it’s easy to forget just how much we veteran live tweeters resented that attention that was paid to celebrities like Farrow, the majority of whom were virgins as far as live tweeting SyFy was concerned.  (The fact that the majority of Farrow’s Sharknado tweets weren’t that good only added insult to injury.)  The media acted as if those celebs had invented live tweeting.  They also acted as if Sharknado was the first entertaining and over-the-top film to ever premiere on SyFy.  Among those of us who had been live tweeting SyFy film long before the premiere of Sharknado and who had loved pre-Sharknado movies like Jersey Shore Shark Attack and Shark Week, there was more than a little resentment.

But you know what?  I watched Sharknado the following Saturday and I had a great time live tweeting it.  The next year, I made sure to watch and live tweet Sharknado 2 the night that it premiered.  The same was true of Sharknado 3 and I even ended up casting a vote on the question of whether or not April should survive that film’s cliffhanger.  With its cheerful absurdity and determination to continually top the glorious absurdity of each previous entry, the Sharknado franchise won me over.  In fact, the franchise won over not only me but hundreds of thousands of other viewers.  Sharknado has become very much a part of our culture.

As I mentioned above, Sharknado 3 ended with a cliffhanger and that alone indicates just how big a deal Sharknado has become.  Sharknado 2 was made because the first Sharknado was an unexpected success.  Sharknado 3 followed because Sharknado 2 had proven that the first one was not a fluke and that there was an audience for these films.  However, by the time 3 was in production, there was never any doubt that there would be a Sharknado 4.  Sharknado 4 also ends with a rather abrupt cliffhanger, leaving little doubt that there will be a Sharknado 5.  At this point, not doing another Sharknado film would be the same as canceling summer all together.

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As for what Sharknado 4 was about … well, does it really matter?  At this point, we know that there’s going to be another sharknado and that Finn is just going to happen to be nearby when it strikes.  We know that landmarks will be destroyed (in this case, Las Vegas is thoroughly ravaged during the film’s first 30 minutes).  We know that Al Roker will show up and say stuff like, “There are reports of a Lightningnado near Kansas…”  (Both Roker and Natalie Morales apparently survived being attacked by sharks during Sharknado 3, though Morales does have an eyepatch in 4.  Matt Lauer is nowhere to be seen so I assume he wasn’t as lucky.)  We know that celebrities will appear in a cameos and that the majority of them will be promptly eaten by a flying shark.  We know that Finn and his family will eventually have to use a chainsaw to battle the sharks and we know that at least one person will be rescued from the inside of a shark’s stomach.

We don’t really watch a movie a like Sharknado 4 for the plot.  We watch it for the communal experience.  Last Sunday was Sharknado Day and it seems like the entire world was on twitter, talking about Sharknado 4.  The majority of us weren’t tweeting about the plot.  Instead, we were acknowledging that we had picked up on the in-jokes and the references to other films.  When April (Tara Reid) showed up alive and was revealed to now by a cyborg, many references were made to the Terminator — both in the film and on twitter.  When we learned that David Hasselhoff has been rescued from the moon, it was time to make jokes about The Martian.  When it was announced that a sharknado was headed towards Kansas, I made a Wizard of Oz joke on twitter.  Three minutes later, in the movie, a house fell on a character who could charitably be called a witch.  We briefly got a shot of her feet sticking out from under the house.

(I should also mention that Gary Busey shows up, playing a mad scientist.  The fact that Sharknado 4 could find prominent roles for both the Hoff and the Busey says a lot about what makes this franchise so endearingly entertaining.  Considering that Penn Jillette was in Sharknado 3, you have to wonder if the franchise will eventually feature every single person who appeared on The Celebrity Apprentice.  Who doesn’t want to see a flying shark bite off Piers Morgan’s head?)

(Actually, as long as I’m mentioning stuff — here’s my favorite inside joke.  Finn and his family are driving through North Texas.  Just judging by the hills and the mountains in the background, this scene was not actually filmed in Texas.  Anyway, they stop off at a general store where Dog Chapman — the bounty hunter — sells them a chainsaw.  When the sharks attack Texas, a chainsaw-wielding army is waiting for them.  Among that army is Caroline Williams, who starred in Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2.  On the one hand, everyone viewing will immediately get the chainsaw joke.  But only the dedicated horror fans will truly understand why it’s so brilliant that Caroline Williams was credited as playing a character named Stretch.)

At this point, the Sharknado franchise is no longer just a series of films.  Instead, it’s a deliriously over-the-top experience.  In these times of partisan rancor, it briefly did not matter if you were a liberal or a conservative, a Democrat or a Republican.  For two hours on Sunday night, if you were watching and live tweeting Sharkando 4, you were a part of a gigantic family, a community of people with an appreciation for over the top silliness.  Sharknado 4 brought this country together.

That’s not bad for a film about a bunch of flying sharks.

If you missed Sharknado 4 the first time, catch it when it’s shown again.  Just make sure that you watch it with a friend, someone who you can trust to make you laugh.

And, for God’s sake, enjoy yourself!

Life’s too short not to enjoy a Sharknado film!

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Guilty Pleasure No. 17: Girls, Girls, Girls (by Mötley Crüe)


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“Long legs and burgundy lips.”

For some this is the height of hair metal at it’s raunchy. Some even call this song one of the best metal songs out there (though that’s stretching the term metal like it was Plastic-Man). I, for one, call this one of the guiltiest pleasures to come out of the hair metal scene of the 1980’s.

I’ll just let the lyrics speak to the cheesetastic and raunchirific pleasure this song was and remains (especially in strip clubs) to this very day.

Girls, Girls, Girls

Friday night and I need a fight
My motorcycle and a switchblade knife
Handful of grease in my hair feels right
But what I need to make me tight are those

Girls, girls, girls
Long legs and burgundy lips
Girls, girls, girls
Dancin’ down on Sunset Strip
Girls, girls, girls
Red lips, fingertips

Trick or treat, sweet to eat
On Halloween and New Year’s Eve
Yankee girls, you just can’t be beat
But you’re the best when you’re off your feet

Girls, girls, girls
At the Dollhouse in Fort Lauderdale
Girls, girls, girls
Rocking in Atlanta at Tattletails
Girls, girls, girls
Raising hell at the Seventh Veil

Have you read the news
In the Soho Tribune?
Ya know she did me
Well, then she broke my heart

I’m such a good good boy
I just need a new toy
I tell you what, girl
Dance for me
I’ll keep you overemployed
Just tell me a story
You know the one I mean

Crazy Horse, Paris, France
Forgot the names, remember romance
I got the photos, a ménage à trois
Musta broke those French’s laws with those

Girls, girls, girls
At the Body Shop and the Marble Arch
Girls, girls, girls
Tropicana’s where I lost my heart
Girls, girls, girls

Vince: Hey Tommy, check that out, man!
Tommy: What Vince? Where?
Vince: Right there, man! Hey baby, you wanna go somewhere?

Girls, girls, girls
Girls, girls, girls
Girls, girls, girls

Girls, girls, girls

UNCENSORED

Previous Guilty Pleasures:

  1. Half-Baked
  2. Save The Last Dance
  3. Every Rose Has Its Thorns
  4. The Jeremy Kyle Show
  5. Invasion USA
  6. The Golden Child
  7. Final Destination 2
  8. Paparazzi
  9. The Principal
  10. The Substitute
  11. Terror In The Family
  12. Pandorum
  13. Lambada
  14. Fear
  15. Cocktail
  16. Keep Off The Grass

Song of the Day: Home Sweet Home (by Mötley Crüe)


For the latest song of the day I go back to my teenage years growing up in the 80’s when hair metal ruled the world. While my heart still resided with thrash metal and heavy metal I still got caught up in the power ballad which defined the mid-to-late 80’s. It was this power ballad in all it’s cheesiness which to this day is still quite catchy to listen to. I mean Mötley Crüe in one’s playlist at the time meant getting tail instead of chasing them away.

“Home Sweet Home” is one of the few Crüe songs that seem to have survived the test of time. Chappelle may think Poison’s “Every Rose Has It’s Thorns” was the power ballad of the 80’s, but he is wrong. This song is and shall always be. Plus, it has that awesome slow-mo sequence near the end where the band dances to the beat. Yeah, cheesy like I said earlier.

Another reason I picked this as the latest song of the day is what will be posted afterwards.

Home Sweet Home

You know I’m a dreamer
But my heart’s of gold
I had to run away high
So I wouldn’t come home low
Just when things went right
It doesn’t mean they were always wrong
Just take this song and you’ll never feel
Left all alone

Take me to your heart
Feel me in your bones
Just one more night
And I’m comin’ off this
Long & winding road

I’m on my way
Well I’m on my way
Home sweet home
Tonight tonight
I’m on my way
I’m on my way
Home sweet home You know that I seem
To make romantic dreams
Up in lights, fallin’ off
The silver screen

My heart’s like an open book
For the whole world to read
Sometimes nothing-keeps me together
At the seams

I’m on my way
Well I’m on my way
Home sweet home
Tonight tonight
I’m on my way
Just set me free
Home sweet home