Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Blood, sweat and shame
Sharknado may not even be worst way to die
I am drenched with equal parts sweat and shame.
This is because I have foolishly spent the past two terrifying hours parked in my den watching the future of modern movie-making.
Here's what I have learned: The future is full of airborne man-eating sharks. Also, tornadoes.
As part of my ongoing quest to remain connected to popular culture without ever getting off the couch, I bravely tuned in to the Space Channel last night and watched a film that, tragically, I will never be able to unwatch.
I am referring here to the much-hyped Sharknado, which, if you have not already deduced from the title, is kind of like what you would end up with if you took the films Jaws and Twister and then, after consuming a large bottle of cheap whisky, randomly spliced them together.
In a nutshell -- which would be a larger container than the plot requires -- this made-for-TV film produced by the U.S. network SyFy is about a freak tornado that sucks man-eating sharks out of the ocean and then drops them on Los Angeles, where they land in swimming pools, bounce off bar stools and generally make life difficult for a group of B-grade actors, such as Ian Ziering, famous for being on Beverly Hills 90210, and Tara Reid, famous for being a celebrity train wreck.
If you are the sort of person who has never dreamed of watching what would happen if vicious killer sharks suddenly rained down on the heads of some of the worst actors in history, then you are not the sort of sophisticated film aficionado I think you are, if you catch my snooty drift.
To my highly cultured mind, which is still on high alert for plummeting sharks, this movie is reminiscent of another aptly named classic, Snakes on a Plane, except instead of snakes you have sharks and instead of a plane you have tornadoes and instead of Samuel L. Jackson you have actors who would improve the overall quality of modern cinema if they were actually eaten by ravenous carnivores.
In case the title isn't sufficient explanation, what I vaguely recall happening is Fin, a surfer/bar-owner, sets out amid the chaos with his friends Baz and Nova to rescue his estranged wife, April, which he does, but her boyfriend gets eaten by the sharks, then the couple hooks up with their adult son, Matt, who falls in love with Nova, so, naturally, they decide to stop the "sharknadoes" by tossing bombs into them from helicopters, except Nova falls into a shark's mouth, and when they land on the ground, a flying shark plummets towards them, causing our hero Fin to (Why not?) jump into its mouth with a chainsaw and cut his way out, emerging with the miraculously unharmed Nova.
Everyone got that? No? OK, it doesn't really matter. The cinematic point I am trying to make here is that there are a lot of really horrible ways to die and, if you think about it, being conked on the head by a razor-toothed shark spewed out buy a freak tornado is easily one of the worst ways to shuffle off this mortal coil.
Mind you, it probably would not be nearly as bad as having a 3,000-pound cow fall on your head. Tragically, I am not kidding about that last horrible thing. It actually happened recently to a man in southeastern Brazil, according to an alarming NBC News item I have just read online.
Bearing the ominous headline "Cow crashes through roof, kills sleeping Brazilian," the story states Joao Maria de Souza and his wife were sleeping in their home in Caratinga when a cow escaped from a nearby farm and clambered onto the roof of their house, which backs onto a steep hill. When the roof buckled, the cow fell onto de Souza's side of the bed.
The victim's mother is quoted as saying: "I didn't bring my son up to be killed by a falling cow... and now he's lying in his bed and gets crushed by a cow. There's no justice in the world."
It is tragic stories like this that make us wish we lived in the picturesque southern Italian hamlet of Falciano del Massico, about 50 kilometres north of Naples. We're not sure about taxes, but death is no longer certain in this Italian hamlet of 4,000 citizens because Mayor Giulio Cesare Favore last year bravely decided to make it illegal for anyone to die in his community.
Noting he had no other choice because the local cemetery is short of space, the mayor decreed: "It is forbidden for residents... to go beyond the boundaries of earthly life, and go into the afterlife."
No word yet on how citizens who defy the order will be punished, but they're dying to find out. For the time being though, we urge everyone to hide in their basements and turn off their TVs, because the unthinkable is about to happen -- the producers of Sharknado are planning a sequel!
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 17, 2013 A2
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