Guest Post from our Loyal Reader, Mary reviewing the summer action flick Into The Storm which opened last weekend:
Yes. I spent money on this movie. Yes. I spent money on this movie the weekend that it opened. Yes. I spent money on this movie the weekend that it opened and pulled Cammy and a local friend into the funnel cloud of summer blockbuster cheese((Cammy note: That should be c-h-e-e-Z-e. We’re talkin’ Velveeta, not Gouda or Brie or anything classy.)). Yes. I admit all of these things. I’m not proud.
I justify my actions by stating upfront that this oh-so-very-unserious bit of film showcased (not well) the talents of my Object of Cinematic Lust, one Richard Armitage. There. I said it. I had a moment of fangirling. Like I said, I ain’t proud.
As you may have gathered by now, big summer let’s-blow-shit-up blockbusters are not my thing. And for a variety of reasons this is true; I dislike watching bad acting, I hate most connect-the-dots storylines, schlocky romances leave me cold, and after a while the special effects just bore me (another thing blew up. Woo.)((Cammy note: And the hokey dialog as writers schill for idiot producers hoping to spawn new catchphrases for marketing to use.)). So there’s all that and the fact that I’m cheap so I’m not going to pay real money for something I know is not going to entertain me.
But, dear reader, allow me this moment of fangirl ecstasy: Richard Armitage! In a SUIT! IN THE RAIN! And then there’s the comic relief: Richard Armitage! Trying (and failing) to be AMERICAN! Cammy, good sport and Tornado Alley metropolitan that she is, came along for the ride. And the wet shirt((Cammy note: Richard Armitage’s wet shirt, not mine.)).
About two minutes into this flick Local Friend and I pegged it as the more serious-er Sharknado((Cammy note: I have to say, that out of complete morbid curiosity, I would actually pay to see anything billed as “a less serious Sharknado.”)). More serious-er because you could see the cast really wanted their characters to be taken seriously…too seriously((Cammy note: Just not serious enough to actually make them act like real Tornado Alley residents would.)). And, while there were no sharks flying out of storm drains, there was everything else. Lots of family drama. Teeny bopper romance. Lessons learned moments from a time capsule. The potential for adult romance. The trials and tribulations of single parenthood. Stupid American stereotyped characters((Cammy note: Although, in their defense–SPOILER ALERT–they did avoid the American movie stereotype where the black guy in the film bites it. Somewhere in the land where Psych lives on, Burton Guster is turning to Shawn Spencer and singing “Suck iiiiiiiit.”)). Unbridled avarice and ambition. The consequences of not following your gut when it says to get the hell out of the damn tornado’s path when it sets itself on fire. Exposition on bits of machinery that will become pivotal plot points later. Oh, and lots and lots and lots of destruction, to include multiple 747s getting sucked into the tornado’s gullet. Oh yes, there was something for everybody in this movie. The one thing it could’ve used more of was Richard Armitage in a wet shirt. Just sayin’…
Say what you will about Sharknado, at least you could see that Ian Ziering was having fun while earning his paycheck. Dear Dicky-Boy the Pseudo-Yank, on the other hand, had obviously done some serious method acting-y research and deep digging to find his character, Gary, the widowed-divorced-single dad-put upon-overlooked Vice Principal of a high school in, ahem, “Oklahoma.”((Cammy note: Those quotation marks are NOT optional )) We’ll neatly sidestep the visual fact that this ordinary Joe is supremely easy on the eyes and has yet undiscovered depths of inner fortitude…which he desperately needs to hang onto his American accent((Cammy note: That’s right, we have another winner of the Cary Elwes Award for Worst American Accent in a Feature Film, however, in Mr. Armitage’s defense, his accent was way better than Cary Elwes’ was in that other shitty tornado flick. Though, let this be a lesson to the next British actor who wants to play an American: don’t do it in a shitty tornado flick–unless you really want this venerable award.)).
Local Friend and I couldn’t quite figure out why he signed on to make this movie. Maybe he had a contract obligation to fulfill? Maybe this was supposed to be the vehicle by which he’d be introduced to a wider American audience? Outside the hairy realm of Tolkien and Peter Jackson’s imaginings? Or did he just sign up to make this movie because he likes cheesy flicks and wanted the experience as a way to pass the time while waiting for the Hobbit pick-up schedule? A combination of all?((Cammy Note: Or maybe he just figured it couldn’t be as hokey and awful as Robin Hood, so, eh, why not?))
My money is on the intro to the wider American movie-goer as the rest of the cast are un/little-knowns. One son is played by a Brit, his teenaged romantic interest is an Aussie, and the actress who plays the weather tracker with a PhD, a guilt ray loaded 5 year old daughter, uncanny storm instincts and a suspiciously unlined forehead is completely new to me. Will we know these people later? Only time and blockbuster cash will tell.
And now for the Suspension of Disbelief Files…
Cammy has a better lock on the midwest as she currently resides in Tornado Alley((Cammy Note: And by better lock, Mary means, “is regularly scared shitless by tornadoes and likes to give out unsolicited tornado safety advice to everyone”)), but I have family claims to the midwest. Mom is from Ohio, Dad is from a nice little family farm in a nice little town in Iowa. I have seen the rolling plains, I’ve heard the first-hand tornado stories and now I know which corner of the cellar to dive into should the gray-green cloud suddenly sprout a funnel. I remember Grandpa talking about the weather and the sound of the driving rain on the south-facing windows of the farm house. Knowing how closely the midwesterners watch the weather for basic survival, tell me how the heck you’re gonna have a high school graduation outside…in the spring…without a back up plan((Cammy Note: In my experience, you’re not going to see this happen. And even if a school around makes an attempt at an outdoor graduation, there’s always an alternate location–and the big apocalyptic cloud on the horizon generally sends people running inside well before the tornado sirens ever do.))? How did Principal AllState not watch the weather((Cammy Note: Or have a weather radio. Or Weatherbug. Or his cell phone…))? It’s spring in “Oklahoma” for crying out loud! Also, who had actual school stuff on graduation day? Why were there buses dropping off kids with books? Were there classes? Why were there classes? Does not graduation imply that the school year has met its end? Whyfor does older teenaged son’s love interest not yet have her internship application complete? Why, after a big spinning cloud comes through town, does everyone check their cell phone((Cammy Note: The phones that,–if “Oklahoma” has implemented what we have the KC area–would have been buzzing and dinging and going bat-shit crazy with automated alert texts about severe weather and tornadoes on the ground. Apparently “Silverton” was having cell tower issues even before the tornadoes screwed them over.))? For that matter, why bother to check your cell phone when you’re trapped in a slowly filling rain basin at an abandoned paper mill/industrial waste site? Does water amplify the signal? Does the camera work well enough for you to record your teary end-of-life testimonial? Why are you going to barricade yourselves in a STORM DRAIN for shelter((Cammy Note: Most of this movie was a PSA on what not to do in severe weather. Don’t hide in storm drains–people have drowned doing that. And for the love of all that is holy, do NOT get into a school bus or a car and try to outrun the thing. Seriously. Indoors, lowest, most interior room–preferably a basement.))?
As a side note, I had to work awful hard to place this little town with a major airport in “Oklahoma.”((Cammy Note: Yeah, that was about as “Oklahoma” as Iceland. As far as I know there is no airport in OK that’s serviced by 747s.)) There were too many coniferous trees to make that believable. “Oklahoma” looked a bit too green to be that close to Texas and a bit too much like a verdant Michigan, a mythical place where they have tax incentives for film production((Cammy Note: And where they don’t have enough tornado warnings that people working on location would chime in and go, “No, seriously. That’s bullshit. No one would react like that around here!”)).
Was this $6 well spent? Meh, it was a Saturday morning in August with not much else going on. Would I have paid money had my Object of Cinematic Lust not been showcased in a key role? No. Would this movie be better with booze in hand and a plate of drippy nachos?((Cammy Note: Though, really, isn’t EVERY movie made better with booze and drippy nachos?)) Hell yes. If the spirit moves me and the company is right, I might give it another go on $2 Monday at the Drafthouse. If you want to see this movie, repeat this mantra to yourself: Shark factor low, Snark factor high. Believe that and all will be well.
P.S. Along with more wet dress shirt moments, I kinda wish the nerdy kid in the time capsule video had a parting shot and not just the storm-reformed jock.