You decide to watch “Sharknado 2.”
More specifically, you decide to watch “Sharknado 2: The Second One” at a screening party thrown by NBC Universal’s SyFy during the TCA press tour; it is at the Beverly Hilton, by the pool. The catering is fast food: Hot dogs and hamburgers and fries and pizza and buffalo wings. There are fancy desserts, but there are also Milk Duds.
There is also the Sharktini. The Sharktini is made of vodka, Grand Marnier, Blue Curacao and Grenadine. It is blue. They have been serving it for about an hour and a half, before “Sharknado 2” is unleashed upon the crowd.
“Sharknado 2” is, of course, the sequel to “Sharknado,” a cheesy horror movie produced by The Asylum seemingly under the premise of taking one thing and combining it with another thing to see what happens. The first “Sharknado,” last year, became a social media hit but not a ratings success; the network formally known as the Sci-Fi Channel is hoping that the latter part of that equation changes this time around.
You find a spot on the ground beside the pool, where a few nice people are quite vocally loving the movie — from the very beginning, they shout things like “THERE’S A SHARK” when a shark appears, which is actually pretty fun, and makes you feel bad for the people who might watch this movie at home by themselves, with no one but Twitter to keep them company.
Because “Sharknado 2,” it turns out, is… well. It is exactly what you expect, but more so. And less so. It is a movie about people trying to survive a weather storm full of sharks; it is a movie that gives actors like Vivica A. Fox and the guy from “Beverly Hills 90210” (Ian Ziering) the opportunity to prove their ability to act opposite CGI sharks. It is full of self-referential insanity. It is also a lot of (albeit ridiculous) fun.
Essentially, it comes to this — at about five minutes into the movie, when Tara Reid starts firing a handgun at a shark while struggling to avoid getting sucked out of an airplane, you find yourself becoming one with “Sharknado 2.”
You have been very wary about “Sharknado 2,” because you love making fun of terrible movies, but there’s genuine danger that “Sharknado 2,” by clearly being self-parody, eliminates the need for people to make fun of it. It’s automated the parody process. Technology has put you out of a job.
Having this feeling at the TCA Tour, by the way, is the world’s most extreme form of irony. Just an hour earlier, you were talking with two 20-year veterans of the tour, who told stories about the days when it was just print journalists who attended, and the parties were a lot more fun.
Then, the Internet happened. And the print publications started dying, and the parties became a lot less fun.
It’s a thought sad enough to justify another Sharktini.
But then, watching the film, you find yourself asking existential questions like “Is the guy from ‘Beverly Hills 90210’ acting ridiculously on purpose, or is this just the sort of acting demanded by ‘Sharknado 2?” You find yourself experiencing something resembling a life crisis — one that is quickly killed as fast as a shark falling through the ceiling.
As you keep watching, the human murders and the shark murders pile up in equal amounts. When Ian Ziering kills a shark in a pretty bloody fashion, you flash on those PSAs January Jones did about how maybe sharks shouldn’t be murdered all the time. But then sharks that have been set on fire fall from the sky and make people into blood splats. You cannot help but laugh at that.
During a brief lapse in the shark action, you get some popcorn, which is served in a “Sharknado 2” cup. The quality of the cup exists in the exact middle of the spectrum between disposable and souvenir. Ever so slightly too well-made to throw away without a second thought.
Richard Kind hits a shark with a bat. Man, you remember, he was so good in “Obvious Child.” But you can’t blame a man for wanting to eat. Or for wanting to hit a shark with a bat.
You want to resist the temptation to spoil — because “Sharknado 2: The First One” is actually better than the first one. At one point, when asked who would play him in the movie based on the events of this current Sharknado, Ziering’s character growls “If anyone is playing me in the movie, it’s gonna be me.” You begin to wonder if “Sharknado 2” is a pseudo-documentary — or if you are watching events that have yet to happen.
Multiple TV show personalities murder sharks on screen. You continue laughing. You are beyond “Sharknado”-Stockholm Syndrome. You are “Sharknado.”
But then it ends. The Sharknado has ceased. You have seen some murders, of the shark and human variety. You have laughed. But now, you are done.
And as you leave, you change your mind, about the “Sharknado 2” cup. Suddenly, you don’t mind throwing it away.