Sharknado (2013)

(On Cable TV, July 2013) I’m strangely conflicted about films that aim to be as ludicrously awful as possible.  Shouldn’t there be a limit to the amount of intentionally-bad filmmaking we subject ourselves?  Should we consider ourselves on holidays from conventional criticism when watching intended tripe?  Are we sending the wrong message to producers by supporting such abominations?  Suffice to say that in July 2013, SyFy-original TV movie Sharknado became a minor Internet phenomenon, celebrated as much for its insane premise (a tornado strikes Los Angeles… throwing sharks!) as for the cheapness of its execution.  Twitter went wild for #sharknado and the intensity of the frenzy made it easy to focus on the film-as-summer-phenomenon rather than the film as itself.  What many casual observers may not have known is that made-for-SyFy original movies are usually terrible, and just as often ludicrously high-concept (Sharktopus, anyone?)  Compared to those low-budget geeksploitation films, Sharknado actually doesn’t fare too badly: It’s terribly made, incompetently scripted and insultingly paced, but it has some panache when it comes to insane set-pieces, features reasonably competent actors, and at least shows us something we haven’t seen before.  (For truly dire and joyless films, look elsewhere in SyFy “catastrophe SF” roster)  Still, it’s practically impossible to appreciate Sharknado with a straight face, leading anyone to wonder once again: What’s the point of this?  At which point has anyone seen enough good movies to revel in bad ones?  Grump, grump.

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