Monday, March 21, 2005
Man vs Nature: the Eternal Conflict
Last night I watched the CBS Sunday Movie, Spring Break Shark Attack. It managed to be both awesome and dumbass stupid at the same time. The acting and dialogue were about what one might expect from a made-for-TV film about sharks. This film had one thing going for it though, and that one thing was CARNAGE.

The film starts out with this wholesome, virginal girl Danielle. Her slutty friends are spending Spring Break in some posh Florida beach house, but Danielle's puritanical father won't let her go. She whines and moans, but her parents tell her that she'll have way more fun volunteering for Habitat for Humanity over the holiday. Pffft, yeah.

So Danielle shows up in Florida. Her slutty friends are hanging out with a couple of sleazy gigolo types. They proceed to say all manner of hipster cool things like "don't knock it until you try it!" and "what happens at spring break STAYS at spring break hahaha!".

Danielle's studious and responsible brother... errm... Charlie? I want to call him Charlie, but I honestly can't remember whether that's his name or not. Pretty sad, considering I watched this less than 24 hours ago. Anyway, we'll call him Charlie for narrative purposes. Charlie is a marine biology student, and he's doing his graduate thesis on sharks. Convenient! Turns out, the town sunk a whole bunch of crap offshore to create an artificial reef, in hopes of increasing fishing and tourism.

But Charlie knows that artificial reefs can attract sharks. Specifically, Tiger Sharks, which don't play by the same rules as regular sharks. Tiger Sharks have a super-short fuse, and will attack whatever the fuck moves and/or is covered in blood. Charlie thinks real hard about this and realizes that Tiger Sharks + Drunken Holiday Revelers = Recipe For Disaster. He raises a small stink about it, and everyone laughs him off.

Meanwhile there's this wholesome and virginal lad Shane. Shane and his mom run a boat company. Shane develops a crush on Danielle. Aww. Unfortunately, JT the sleazy gigolo pimp guy has his eye on her, too.

Furthermore, there is a dodgy man of undetermined origin (I think he's maybe Australian) who keeps renting a boat from Shane's mom and taking it out early. She is suspicious, but he keeps bribing her with Large Wads Of Cash (which upon closer inspection look to be about $40 in tens).

Suddenly, for no apparent reason... HOUSE PARTY!!!! WOOOO!

JT the sleazy gigolo puts roofies in Danielle's soda (wholesome Danielle never drinks alcohol). But before anything dastardly can happen, wholesome Shane arrives on the scene and very chivalrously Saves The Day. JT the sleazy gigolo is secretly fuming.

Also: some random girl on the dock gets dragged into the water by a shark. AWESOME!

A couple more things happen pretty rapidly, I'll summarize: Danielle accidentally phones her puritanical dad whilst all hopped up on roofies. Dad flies into a rage, and insists on going to Florida IMMEDIATELY to rescue his (legally adult) daughter from the perils of sin and debauchery. Personally, I think this Dad character is a reactionary jerk. In another scene, we find out that the dodgy possibly Australian man has been using his rented boat to spread chum around. OMG yo, he's luring the sharks in!! Apparently he has a nightclub further down the beach, and is trying to get this beach shut down.

Oh, I nearly forgot. The OTHER sleazy gigolo, whose name I never knew, snuck away from his girlfriend (one of Danielle's slutty friends) to make out with some Barbie looking girl. And they both got eaten by sharks. AWESOME!

So anyway, the day after the roofies incident, JT the sleazy gigolo rents one of Shane's boats for an overnight excursion. So it's JT, Danielle, Shane, and the two slutty friends. Danielle's dad shows up and shouts a lot, but they all go on the boat anyway. They get out to sea and decide to go for a swim. OMG!!! SHARKS!! Danielle almost doesn't make it back to the boat, but we know she's not gonna die because she's wholesome. Shane saves the day again, by throwing her a life preserver and telling her not to thrash about.

The sharks ram the boat and it starts to flood. Random peril and excitement. Conveniently there's an island about a half mile away, and they decide to try and make it there. They spend the night on the island and have all this drama wherein Danielle finds the roofies and JT tries to frame Shane but Danielle knows it was JT anyway, and Shane almost beats up JT but Danielle starts screaming "no! No!".

(Aside: why is it that in films, whenever two guys are fighting for the girl's honor, the girl always shouts "no! No!" and begs them to break it up? I'll be honest - if MY honor had been harmed, and a guy was beating the crap out of the dishonorable person, I'd be all for it. Yeah, kick his ass. Knock some teeth out, yo. But anyway. Moving on.)

Meanwhile, Studious Charlie is riding around in a small boat full of mangled plastic sea turtles. What could be responsible for this mangling? Conclusion: SHARKS!

The next day, they're all keen to get off the island. They run across the mangled torso of the missing other sleazy gigolo boy. He's covered in teeth marks and looks even more plastic than the sea turtles. Conclusion: SHARKS!

They make it back to shore. Charlie meets up with them and struggles to make sense of it all. Reports are made to the various authorities, but fall on deaf ears. Shane's mom confronts the dodgy possibly Australian man about the chum. It's on his head if anyone dies!! Mark my words!

Suddenly a whole assload of sharks storm spring break. They're eating people, spitting people back out, ramming floats, eating more people. OMG it's mayhem. Pure total mayhem, and it's hilarious and violent and very entertaining. JT the sleazy gigolo gets eaten, but come on. We saw that coming a long way off, didn't we?

Danielle and Charlie and Shane decide to take matters into their own hands. They hook up Charlie's science boat with a load of chum, and try to lure the sharks out to sea. Question: why would the sharks follow a boatload of chum, when they have live, thrashing, bleeding prey already at their disposal? I dunno, but it seems to work. The sharks follow them out to sea. They eat the chum, and then they try to eat the boat. It's an epic battle that I would like to compare to The Old Man and the Sea, except I was bored senseless by that one in school and got the cliffs notes.

Shane is accidentally harpooned in the arm for no reason other than mild suspense.

Their only means of survival seems to involve using Charlie's Scientific Experimental Sea Pods. I don't know what the hell they are or what the hell they do, but they drop them in the water. Charlie says something about them being like Christmas lights (WTF?!). Danielle has to put on a scuba suit and for reasons unknown and not clearly explained in the film, go down into the ocean and fiddle with one of them.

The Scientific Experimental Sea Pods work. I guess. They make the sharks go away, somehow. Everyone makes it back to shore. Danielle's fascist dad forgives everyone and is So Proud Of You Guys, So Very Proud. Also: the dodgy possibly Australian man is completely overcome by guilt, and is surveying all the carnage saying "it wasn't supposed to be like this... not this way..."

This film was, if anything, even dumber than anticipated. I thought it was brilliant, we all need a bit of mindless crap on television every now and then.