On July 10th comedy fans were treated to another hilarious live event
broadcast to theaters across the country by Fathom Events: Rifftrax Live: Sharknado. Taking on
the cult movie originally shown on the Syfy Channel, the Rifftrax group
of Mike Nelson, Tom Corbett, and Kevin Murphy (all alumni of Mystery Science Theater 3000)
presented their funniest full-length movie send-up to date. The jokes
were flying by just as fast as the sharks, and the movie was made for
their type of humor. Their DVDs and downloadable audio tracks are
great, but there's just something special about seeing the guys poke
fun at a movie in a theater filled with other fans. It's the best way
to enjoy what they do.
This presentation started out with their usual pre-show slides and
music, make sure you show up early to catch them because they really
set the tone and warm up the audience. This time they had movie quotes
("I'm a man with a very particular set of skills and... oh what the
hell, just keep her this time." - Liam Neeson in Taken 3), interesting trivia ("Sharknado has a 89% "fresh" rating
at Rotten Tomatoes. Why don't we just burn everything and salt the
Earth now?") and movie mistakes ("Megan Fox as April O'Neil). Great
stuff that made the pre-show time just fly by.
Once the feed started, the trio bounded on stage to the applause of the
live audience in Minneapolis where they were performing. There were
several shorts and promos, more than usual, but they were all fun.
First up was a short, A Case of Spring Fever, where a man wishes that
spring never existed, and just like George Bailey he gets his wish, but
soon regrets it. As Mike observed, "Q-Bert is happily bouncing around
without any snakes bothering him."
After that they did something new: They showed some clips, complete
with riffing, from their next live event which is Godzilla (1998). Though there were
some technical difficulties, this looks like it'll be a great show.
"Ferris Beuller's second day off wasn't as fun as his first."
They then presented an exclusive look at Sharknado 2, which is going to air
later this month on Syfy. This wasn't riffed, but it didn't need to be.
The audience loved it.
The feature was next on the agenda, and it was the best feature that
I've seen the Rifftrax crew heckle. For those who haven't heard of the
made-for-TV film, it revolves around Finn (Ian Ziering of Beverly Hills 90210 fame) who was
a one-time champion surfer, but now owns a beach-side bar. The bar is
populated by the waitress Nova (Cassie Scerbo), Finn's best friend Baz
(Jaason Simmons) and barfly George (John Heard). When a hurricane
starts moving up the California coast, it sucks up a huge number of
sharks, and then proceeds to flood the LA area as well as drop its
deadly cargo. Finn is worried about his ex-wife April (Tara Reed) and
daughter Claudia (Aubrey Peeples) so the group from the bar hops into
Finn's truck and tries to make it across LA without being eaten.
This is a film that does not take itself seriously (I mean, how could
it?) but it's also prefect for riffing. The idea is so preposterous and
the writing so over the top that making fun of it is like shooting fish
in a barrel. As they say early on "if you guys want story, go read Judy
They make a lot of fun of the careers (or lack thereof) of the top
billed stars, and Ian Ziering gets his share of abuse. When he saves
someone from a shark Bill shouts "Thanks Tori Spelling!" Tara Reid, who
is particularly wooden in the film, gets more biting remarks. At one
point she's staring the camera without much of an expression while her
character is watching someone being eaten and Mike chimes in "Oh look
it's cute... she's trying to act."
Most of the riffs are aimed at the plot and inanity of the film itself
though, and just about all of them are funny. The audience I was in was
laughing pretty constantly through the whole film, which is pretty hard
to do. Some of my favorites include:
- (After a TV announcer mention the hurricane that's heading towards
LA) A hurricane... hence the title Shark... nado.
- (When a shark flys through the window of Finn's bar) Suddenly it's Roadhouse with sharks.
- The lack of traffic in LA is the most implausible aspect of this
- (After a woman yells "Help me get my dog out.") The Baja Men prepare
for their finest hour.
And many more...
It was a really fun evening, and this was the best Rifftrax Live event
I've attended so far. If you missed this one, never fear, there is a
repeat showing on July 15th, and there are two more live shows
scheduled. On August 14th they'll be doing Godzilla (1998) and on October
30th they'll riff Anaconda.
Both promise to be fun, but I'm really excited about the former. Mark
your calendars now!