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Baby Steps: More Horror TV Show Intros. Plus, I Review The Shallows.

I know a lot of people here and around the world are still reeling from the election results last night, and I'm certainly one of them. My heart breaks for all those whose lives will be negatively impacted by the results, and I wish it was in my power to change that, but it's not. This site has always existed as an escape from the doldrums of politics, religion, crime, and all the other serious issues that affect our world. It always will. Here I offer you a reprieve from it all in the form of lighthearted articles about some of our favorite things - movies, toys, games, food, and any other pop culture oddities I happen to stumble on. Do crazy toys or foreign bootleg movies about a maniac Spider-Man armed with a switch-blade compare to the importance of the 2016 election? Of course not, and nor should they... but they do help remind us that there are always things to smile about, and that life as we know it is simultaneously amazing and ridiculous.

With that in mind, I'm going to put one foot in front of the other, just like we all need to do, and start moving forward again. It's gonna be hard to write anything funny like I usually do, but humor heals... laughter lifts... and comedy cures. While I try to start writing on a regular schedule again, I'd like to share two things I wrote back in October that I didn't have a chance to post. I hope you enjoy them, and I hope they help lift your spirits even the slightest fraction.

Let's all do what Bob Wiley does best and start taking baby steps.

First, my newest piece for Dread Central was actually posted on their site earlier last month, but since I'm just finding out about it now, I present you with: The Greatest Horror TV Show Intros: Part 2!

The Greatest Horror TV Show Intros: Part 2!

In this latest installment, I cover some more of my favorite title sequences including The Hitchhiker (a criminally overlooked horror anthology series), Tales from the Darkside, and more. As always, thanks for reading, and please do me a solid by posting in the comments section of the article on Dread Central and sharing what other horror TV show intros you'd like to see me cover. I just might include 'em in future installments! You can read the article here.

Moving on, I love a good shark movie, and after having watched Discovery Channel's annual "Shark Week" extravaganza every summer for as long as I can recall, I decided to give The Shallows a chance when it hit theaters. Unfortunately, after seeing the movie, I felt like I should've stayed home and watched more Shark Week shows instead. You'll learn why momentarily. That said, if you have not seen the film yet, please know that there are *SPOILERS* below.

The Shallows Promo Poster

The Shallows is a story about medical school student / surfer, Nancy Adams (Blake Lively), returning to a remote beach that her deceased mother once visited when she was younger. After catching some great waves, Nancy is attacked by a great white shark that knocks her off of her surf board and bites her leg. While her medical training allows her to save her leg by applying a tourniquet, along with some painful makeshift stitches via her earrings, she's left stranded on a rock that's too far from shore for her to risk making the swim to safety.

Sounds okay so far, right? I wish it was. Click to read on.

Much like the title of the film, there is no real depth to the lead character here. Everything about her family history - from the passing of her mother, to her strained relationship with her father - feels more like an afterthought, shoehorned into the start of the film in an attempt to make you care about her. Furthermore, before any of the shark action commences, we have to sit through a boatload of pop-up shots containing images and text messages from Nancy's phone. Even the guy driving her to the beach wants her to put the phone down so she can enjoy the scenery, and you can't help but feel the same. *Stop popping up phone images and let me watch the damn movie already!*

The biggest problem with The Shallows, however, is that it never actually feels like it knows what kind of a shark movie it wants to be. When it comes to shark flicks, there are two ways you can go: 1) Plausible or 2) Ridiculous. If you're going with plausible, you want to keep it grounded in reality, as things were in films like Open Water. If you're going with ridiculous, then you gotta go completely ridiculous, as they were in Deep Blue Sea or Shark Attack 3: Megalodon, and give audiences the blockbuster, turn-your-brain-off style sharksploitation they crave. The Shallows fails because it tries to find a middle ground between plausible and ridiculous, and it becomes more frustrating than fun as a result.

A shark circles Nancy in The Shallows

For starters, the shark is stalking Nancy the entire time, but why? There's a huge, dead whale carcass floating 100 yards or so from where she's stranded, and this shark is gunning for her!? It has the biggest meal of its life just waiting to be devoured, but it has a personal vendetta against Nancy for some inexplicable reason. At the very least, if they had her stranded atop the whale carcass for most of the film, forcing her decide to make a swim for it before the thing was completely devoured, it would've at least built up more tension.

Furthermore, why is there only ONE shark throughout the course of the film? Have you ever watched any nature videos of sharks feeding on dead whales? They go on crazed feeding frenzies, and simply couldn't care less about anything else going on around them, including onlooking humans. See for yourself.

Eventually, Nancy decides she's going to fight to survive, because her mother apparently fought a losing battle (presumably against cancer) in the hospital, and now she's inspired to do the same. So, she decides to swim towards a steel buoy. Of course, there's a large group of jellyfish which sting her along the way, but help ward off the shark temporarily. I'd be fine with that, but the editor of the film decided this was an opportune moment to show off their wicked Adobe After Effects skills by making all of the jellyfish glow like some kind of serene aquatic scene from an anime film. It feels *completely* out of place with the rest of the film, and you can't help but think, "Yeah, somebody made that scene solely for their reel." We're talking about a moment at the height of panic, where all your tension is supposed to be built up when she risks her life to swim to safer ground, and we get treated to magical rainbow jellyfish land? Come on!

Anyway, Nancy does make it to the steel buoy, which by the end of the film, the shark has somehow all but completely devoured (?), and then she uses it to propel herself towards the ocean floor where a bunch of metal rods are protruding from. The shark follows in quick pursuit and impales itself on all of the metal, killing it instantly, along with our hopes for any kind of satisfying ending. I wasn't expecting Jaws, but I wasn't expecting Jaws IV either.

In the end, you have a lead character you're not emotionally invested in any way whatsoever, and a shark with a vendetta that prefers to dine on skinny surfer girl bones rather than a nearby floating whale blubber banquet.

So did The Shallows get anything right? Yes. Three words: Sully "Steven" Seagull.

The REAL hero of The Shallows - Sully Steven Seagull

Much like Wilson was Tom Hanks' lone friend in Castaway, Sully is Nancy's only companion throughout the film. Sully is stranded on the same rock as her, having injured his wing, and everyone I saw this movie agreed he was the break-out star of the film. Yes, you read that correctly: the star of The Shallows is not Blake Lively, nor the stalker shark... it's a seagull. Nobody seemed to care if Nancy survived or not, but after she unconvincingly used her med school knowledge to repair Sully's dislocated wing and sent him floating back to shore, we were all thinking, "Don't you DARE let that shark eat Sully!!!" Seriously, we were *that* invested in Sully's story and survival.

Nancy Adams? Not so much.

So, for those of you who've seen the movie, what did you think of The Shallows? Furthermore, what are some of your favorite shark flicks? Aside from Great White, of course.

6 comments

User avatar

A-bomb on 11/10/2016 11:08 am

Since you have some sitcoms in the list, what about cartoons? Scooby Doo has easily one of the most iconic themes and openings ever. I also recommend Courage the Cowardly Dog. Its opening was a synopsis of the show's plot in the form of an evening news broadcast, and that show featured some truly creepy and disturbing stuff.



Guest

Ry Dolton (Guest) on 11/10/2016 10:56 pm

Thanks for the Escape all these years, Rog!



Guest

Tony (Guest) on 11/12/2016 6:18 am

I feel your disappointment, Roger. But I'm out of the circle when it comes to movies these days. I want to watch them and enjoy them like I used to but just don't have the patience.



Guest

JBear (Guest) on 11/13/2016 6:32 pm

Hey Rog, I have read your site for many years, but never posted. After the recent election, I turned to your site for a break in the madness that seems to have the US trapped in a kung-fu grip. Thanks for the escape.



Guest

Cpt. Sunshine (Guest) on 11/13/2016 7:42 pm

Here's to a great 4 years of mocking and cajoling! I have a feeling you're going to have a lot of material to work with ;)



User avatar

-RoG- on 11/14/2016 12:37 pm

Glad to hear the site still serves as a good escape for some of you!

A-bomb - I totally agree. Scooby and company could definitely make it into one of these articles! :)

Cpt. Sunshine - Nah, I'm not a political comedian, so the next four years won't change that. Though, they do say people make great art in the darkest of times, so who knows. ;)



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