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Josh Bell: Why I didn’t watch ‘Sharknado’

When you watch movies and TV for a living, tuning into something terrible isn’t that novel

Ouch. That’s gotta sting.

I see a lot of bad movies and TV shows. Just this week I sat through the horrors of Grown Ups 2, a strong candidate for the worst movie of 2013, and I’ve endured plenty of terrible reality shows, lowbrow comedies, horror movies and other bottom-of-the-barrel fare for the sake of reviewing, critiquing and analyzing them, often in the hopes of warning others away from what I just experienced. So when I didn’t end up writing about Sharknado, partly because there were no advance screeners available and partly because it didn’t strike me as notably different from the other Z-grade disaster movies Syfy churns out nearly every week (I didn’t review Independence Day-saster or Chupacabra vs. the Alamo, either), I didn’t spend my Thursday evening watching it anyway. I was happy to avoid having to sit through 90 minutes of what was sure to be bad acting, lame dialogue and cheap special effects.

It's a shark! It's a tornado! It's a movie that Weekly reviewer Josh Bell didn't watch!

It's a shark! It's a tornado! It's a movie that Weekly reviewer Josh Bell didn't watch!

But the world, or at least the Internet, did not agree with me. Sharknado was a huge trending topic on social media, and critics rushed to post their write-ups of the movie online that night or early the next day. No one argued that Sharknado was a good movie, but the experience of collectively making fun of it, of enjoying its badness, was what people were looking for. I’m certainly not immune to this phenomenon; I’m a big fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and its offshoots, and on my personal blog I’ve undertaken projects to write about the entirety of the Leprechaun and Hellraiser series, as well as, yes, shark movies.

More and more, however, I think about how my movie- and TV-watching time is best spent, and if there’s a chance that I can watch something that will actually entertain me and enrich my life instead of just make me laugh at its awfulness, I’d rather do that. For the people who watched Sharknado, I hope you enjoyed yourself. For me, in the brief time I have before reviewing Syfy’s new Vegas-set movie Blast Vegas, I’ll be checking Netflix for some classics.


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