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Rifftrax Live: Sharknado

Fathom Events // Unrated // July 10, 2014
List Price: Unknown [Buy now and save at Rifftrax]

Review by John Sinnott | posted July 11, 2014 | E-mail the Author
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 Blume."

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 shark/tornado movie.

- (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!



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