The Brooklyn Bridge Park summer movie series will likely conclude this Thursday night with a screening of the inane and idiocratic eyesore Sharknado, a movie so dumb and unwatchable it makes Snakes On A Plane seem like The Seventh Seal. Why is Brooklyn Bridge Park screening a schlocky wannabe Troma disaster flick whose strained and calculated irony barely extends past the one-liner premise of the title? BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE VOTING FOR IT.
We have a sneaking suspicion most of the individuals voting for Sharknado aren't even going to show up for the goddamn screening; it's just winning by the vacuous momentum of stupid Internet meme click reflex. Here, for instance, is what you have to look forward to if Sharknado wins this thing:
More like Bronado, amirite? But it's not too late to turn this runaway irony train around before it rolls into Oh, Turns This Movie Is NOT So Bad It's Good After All! station. All the other films in contention are superior, but only one is currently within striking distance of Sharknado. And it's actually a great film adapted from an even better book: Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
Directed by Terry Gilliam, "Fear and Loathing" tanked the box office when it opened in 1998 (in the same summer as Roland Emmerich's Godzilla, as it happens) but over time it's developed a cult following not dissimilar from The Big Lebowski, albeit without the weird fan festival. I've watched it more times than I can count—the strange, subtle details in the film still crack me up, and the dialogue is endlessly quotable. "Just admiring the shape of your skull!" for starters.
Much of the dialogue and voiceover is taken directly from the book, and Johnny Depp lived with Thompson at Colorado his ranch for weeks to prepare for the role. Both men are from Kentucky, and developed a strong bond during pre-production. Thompson was said to be pleased with how the film turned out (though he did object to Depp boorishly throwing change at a waiter in the Beverly Heights Hotel scene) and he even surfaced on set for a brilliant cameo inside a San Francisco club called The Matrix.
Here's what the esteemed former Village Voice critic J. Hoberman said in an essay for the film's Criterion Collection release:
Given that the sixties remain the most maligned and oversold decade of the American century, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is clearly not for everyone. (“If you got it then, you’ll get it now” is how Newsday critic John Anderson began his review.) At once prestigious literary adaptation and slapstick buddy flick, this is something like Fellini Cheech and Chong—this is a lowbrow art film, an egghead monster movie, a gross-out trip to the lost continent of Mu, a hilarious paean to reckless indulgence, and perhaps the most widely released midnight movie ever made.
It takes just a moment of your time to vote here, and save an innocent dog's life.
Disclosure: Gothamist is a media partner with this year's Syfy Movies With A View. Also, I haven't seen Sharknado. But come on, the trailer says it all.