NRO Slideshows

Cartoon of the Day Pre 12-10-13

Legacy, byHenry Payne (December 7, 2013)
Uploaded: Dec. 06, 2013


Makeup Legend Dick Smith
Aug. 1, 2014
Hollywood makeup legend Dick Smith died Thursday at age 92. Through five decades, Smith helped create the art and craft of modern special-effects makeup, bringing to life some of Hollywood’s most memorable characters in such films as The Exorcist and The Godfather. Here’s a look.
Rick Baker, a protege of Smith and himself a legend in the makeup business, broke the news on Twitter: “The master is gone. My friend and mentor Dick Smith is no longer with us. The world will not be the same.” Pictured, Smith (at left) and Baker in 2012.
Smith developed many of the key techniques used to make actors appear much older, or sometimes as something other than human. Pictured, Smith transforms actor Marlon Brando into Vito Corleone for The Godfather.
Smith received an Academy Award for his work on Amadeus, and a special honorary Oscar in 2011, along with lifetime achievement honors from Hollywood’s makeup guilds.
Smith first caught the makeup bug while studying medicine at Yale. After a stint in the Army during WWII, he tried and failed to break into Hollywood and turned instead to the then-new medium of television. Pictured, Smith at NBC in 1958, when he was the network’s makeup director.
A foam-latex mask created by Smith, worn by actor Bobby Clark in the 1955 television movie Alice in Wonderland.
Smith worked in television for two decades on dozens of programs. Pictured, Smith works with actor Jonathan Frid on the horror series Dark Shadows.
Frid gets a final round of aging color.
Smith earned an Emmy Award for his work transforming Hal Holbrooks into author Mark Twain for 1967’s Mark Twain Tonight.
MAN OF A 1,000 FACES: Smith pioneered the art of layering individual prosthetic devices instead of the one-piece masks that had dominated the industry for decades. This allowed the actor’s own facial movements to be transmitted through the makeup. Pictured, Smith works on actor F. Murray Abraham for his role in Amadeus.
Little Big Man (1970): Smith first used his layered-appliance technique for director Arthur Penn’s revisionist western, aging star Dustin Hoffman, then in in 30s, into a man approaching 120.
Smith applying Hoffman’s makeup, a long and laborious process.
The Godfather (1972): Smith used more basic tools to turn veteran actor Marlon Brando into mob patriarch Vito Corleone, including hair and facial elements.
Smith also developed a special dental appliance to help give Brando his distinctive manner of speech. Pictured, Smith helps Brando with his mouthpiece.
Smith gives Brando a quick touch-up on location.
The Exorcist (1973): Smith’s most memorable work was on director William Friedkin’s landmark horror film, where he turned young actress Linda Blair into a frightening visage of demonic possession.
Smith works with Blair, then performing in her first film role.
Discussing his work on The Exorcist, Smith told the Washington Post: "Even when the characters were fantastically weird, I always tried to make them believable. Actors have to feel like they are the person they are portraying. I think my work has helped many to achieve that."
Smith also aged actor Max von Sydow for his role as Father Lankester Merrin.
Taxi Driver (1976): Smith developed the bald headpiece worn by actor Robert De Niro after his character Travis Bickle cuts his hair into a mow hawk. Smith also created a way to spray chopped-up hair on the side of the piece to simulate stubble.
Altered States (1980): Smith’s work on Ken Russell’s bizarre science-fiction thriller showed how far physical makeup could go in portraying radical bodily transformations that today would be done entirely on computer. Picturted, actor William Hurt in one of Smith's full-bod outfits.
The Hunger (1983): Smith transformed British rock star David Bowie through five eras as an aging vampire. He also worked on the film’s mummy suits.
Amadeus (1984): Smith aged star F. Murray Abraham for his role as composer Antonio Solieri. Smith’s makeup on the film earned him an Academy Award — and helped Abraham nab his best actor Oscar as well.
Abraham in the makeup chair. By the end of the process, Abraham’s nose was the only visible part of Solieri’s face that was not artificial.
Dad (1989): Once again simulating the passing of years, Smith aged actor Jack Lemmon several decades.
Reversal of Fortune (1990): Smith applied a lighter touch in adding a few decades to actor Jeremy Irons for his role as the quietly menacing Claus von Bülow.
Movie Preview: Guardians of the Galaxy
Aug. 1, 2014
The Marvel Comics universe gets its first non-superhero cinematic outing with Guardians of the Galaxy, the intergalactic adventures of a team of self-deprecating misfits who get serious about saving the world — er, the galaxy. Here’s a spoiler-free look at the film, the colorful cast, and some early reviews.
Guardians of the Galaxy is all about a valuable and powerful orb: who has it, who stole it, who wants it, who will pay for it — and who will kill for it. Now if the Guardians can just get along long enough to save us all.
Director James Gunn tells The Seattle Times: "In today’s world, it’s very cool to not care. This is about a bunch of characters who do not care and over the course of the movie they find themselves backed into a corner where they discover who they really are — creatures and people who care."
GUARDIANS ASSEMBLE!: Peter Quill (played by Chris Pratt) is the leader of the Guardians who was abducted in childhood and raised by a group of thieves and smugglers called the Ravagers. A cheeky mix of Marty McFly and Hans Solo, Quill is now in a great deal of trouble after stealing the aforementioned orb.
Pratt, who stars in Parks and Recreation, trained extensively for the part and lost 60 pounds in the process. Director James Gunn was so pleased with his audition, however, that he was prepared to CGI a six-pack onto Pratt's body if needed.
Gamora (Zoe Saldana) is an alien orphan who was trained to be the personal assistant of the titan Thanos and now wants to be forgiven for her past crimes. She is is on a mission to recover the orb from Pratt.
Saldana went blue in Avatar and now goes green for Galaxy.
Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) is a warrior seeking to avenge his murdered family.
Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) is a genetically engineered raccoon who plies his trade as a bounty hunter and master fighter. Cooper says his portrayal of Rocket’s voice was influenced by singer Tommy DeVito.
Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) is a tree-like humanoid and Rocket's partner. According to Diesel, there was one particular line that he recorded more than 1,000 times in order to get it just right. (We’ll reveal the line a little later.)
Yondu (Michael Rooker) a blue-skinned bandit and leader of the Ravagers, the gang who adopted Quill. It’s not easy being blue.
Yondu and his Ravagers.
Ronan (Lee Pace) works for Thanos in exchange for the obliteration of his enemies. Ronan and his army are not prepared to let the Guardians stand in their way.
Korath (Zhimon Honsou) is a feared hunter who works for Ronan.
Nebula (Karen Gillan) is the adopted daughter of Thanos and Gamora’s sister.
Nova Prime Irani Rael (Glenn Close) is the leader of the Nova Corps, a futuristic military with eyes on Quill and the orb.
Rhomann Dey (John C. Reilly, left) is a corpsman of the Nova Corps.
GALACTIC SIGHTS: Gamora and Quill share a Hallmark moment.
An orb for your thoughts?
First day of school
“I am Groot”
SUMMARY JUDGMENT: Reviews for Guardians of the Galaxy have been mostly positive, with many enjoying the tongue-in-cheek interstellar ride and praising the performances of stars Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana. Here’s a look at some early write-ups.
Robbie Collin, The Telegraph: ”The fun of it – and Guardians of the Galaxy specialises in fun, served by the sugar-sprinkled ice-cream-scoopload – is in seeing this odd quintet bluster through space battles and alien brawls that would have defeated anyone smarter and better-equipped.”
Steve Rose, The Guardian: ”We already know who the good guys are from the poster. They're as much a comedy troupe as a bunch of intergalactic badasses.”
Scott Mendelson, Forbes: ”Guardians of the Galaxy is a terrific swashbuckler. It’s among Marvel Studios’s best films thus far and their most visually dazzling ... The film has inventive spectacle to spare, but it remains rooted in character chemistry and successful broad-strokes storytelling that makes the action beats count as more than visceral moments.”
Geoffrey MacNab, The Independent: ”Guardians Of The Galaxy is Marvel-lite: a brisk and breezy superhero movie that provides plenty of visual spectacle and humour but is sometimes undermined by its own facetiousness.”
Jordan Hoffman, "James Gunn and Nicole Perlman’s script understands that the essence of comic book movies is what also drives 'normal people' up a wall – the deep, nerdy stew of cosmic myth mixing magical gems, xenomorphic life forms and, importantly, a rich, ridiculous verbiage.”
Hamas Tunnels
Aug. 1, 2014
A major objective of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge is the destruction of the vast network of tunnels that Hamas militants use to smuggle weapons and to infiltrate into Israel itself. Here’s a look at the Hamas tunnels and the threat they pose to Israeli security.
Israel has dealt with the security threat from tunnels for over a decade, but the latest operation in Gaza has uncovered how serious the danger has become. Pictured, an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) paratrooper prepares to enter a Hamas tunnel discovered during Protective Edge. (Photo: IDF)
Some of the tunnels took years to complete, diverting time and resources that could have been used to improve civilian Palestinian infrastructure. Pictured, an IDF soldier inside one of the recently discovered tunnels.
The threat posed by the tunnels was demonstrated yet again on Friday when militants emerged and attacked IDF soldiers, reportedly kidnapping one. The attack broke the latest effort at a cease-fire just hours after it had begun. (Photo: IDF)
The IDF reports that on at least other two occasion over the past week firefights have erupted between Israeli soldiers and militants who have emerged from hidden tunnels. (Photo: IDF)
Intelligence minister Yuval Steinitz reported this week that 32 tunnels had so far been uncovered by IDF forces during Operation Protective Edge. (Photo: IDF)
IDF soldiers inspect more tunnel entrances discovered during Protective Edge. (Photo: IDF)
(Photo: IDF)
(Photo: IDF)
(Photo: IDF)
(Photo: IDF)
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been clear on the mission: "We have neutralized dozens of terror tunnels and we are committed to complete this mission, with or without a cease-fire. Therefore I will not agree to any offer that does not allow the military to complete this important mission for the security of the people of Israel." (Photo: IDF)
WEAPONS OF WAR: The tunnels sometimes contain a frightening supply of weapons, everything from handguns and rifles to rocket-propelled grenades. Israeli soldiers have also discovered fake Israeli army uniforms, handcuffs, and tranquilizers, all of which suggest planned kidnapping operations. Pictured, a weapon cache recovered from a tunnel near Kibbutz Sufa. (Photo: IDF)
More weapons found in Hamas tunnels during Protective Edge. (Photo: IDF)
(Photo: IDF)
(Photo: IDF)
Ironically, some of the newer tunnels are easier to locate because they are so large and well-constructed, with steel and concrete components. Israel now uses techniques borrowed from oil and gas exploration to search for tunnels, and has deployed remote drones to inspect interiors. (Photo: IDF)
A crude winch stands over this tunnel entrance located inside a building; the winch is used to raise and lower people and supplies. (Photo: IDF)
Tunnel entrances are often crude, helping to camouflage more extensive construction underground. (Photo: IDF)
More tunnel entrances uncovered during Protective Shield. (Photo: IDF)
(Photo: IDF)
(Photo: IDF)
THE LONG WAR: Israel has struggled to cope with tunnels leading into and out of the Gaza Strip for more than a decade, with a high-profile investigation in 2005 taking the Israeli military to task for not adequately dealing with the threat. Pictured, Inspecting a tunnel entrance found beneath a Palestinian house in September 2004. (Photo: IDF)
In earlier years most tunnels from Gaza connected with Egypt and were used to smuggle supplies and weapons. But after Israel withdrew Jewish settlements from Gaza in 2005 and Hamas took over the Palestinian government, militants began building tunnels into Israeli territory. Pictured, a Hamas tunnel connected to Egypt, 2010.
In 2006, Hamas militants used tunnels to infiltrate Israel and kidnap IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, who was held prisoner for five years until being released in exchange for more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners. Pictured, the entrance to an eight meter-deep tunnel discovered in September 2004. (Photo: IDF)
Over the past year the Egyptian government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has shut down many of the tunnels between Gaza and Egypt, a reversal of the support Hamas had received from the previous government of Mohammed Morsi. Pictured, a Palestinian man descends into a tunnel on the Egyptian border in 2013.
Cartoon of the Day
Aug. 1, 2014
Good News, by Michael Ramirez (August 1, 2014)
Incompetent, by Michael Ramirez (July 31, 2014)
Little Dutch Boy, by Michael Ramirez (July 30, 2014)
Perch, by Henry Payne (July 29, 2014)
Human Shields, by Michael Ramirez (July 28, 2014)
Putin’s Reset, by Michael Ramirez (July 25, 2014)
Presidents During a Crisis, by Michael Ramirez (July 24, 2014)
Wide Open, by Michael Ramirez (July 23, 2014)
Transparent, by Michael Ramirez (July 22, 2014)
Out, by Henry Payne (July 21, 2014)
Why? by Michael Ramirez (July 18, 2014)
LeBron, by Henry Payne (July 17, 2014)
Ha-Mas, by Michael Ramirez (July 16, 2014)
The Pawn, by Michael Ramirez (July 15, 2014)
Tear Down This Wall, by Michael Ramirez (July 14, 2014)
Obama’s Katrina, by Michael Ramirez (July 11, 2014)
Before and After, by Michael Ramirez (July 9, 2014)
I Don’t Know Why They’re Flooding the Borders, by Michael Ramirez (July 8, 2014)
Equal Justice, by Henry Payne (July 7, 2014)
The Times, July 4, 1776, by Henry Payne (July 4, 2014)
Happy Birthday, America, by Michael Ramirez (July 3, 2014)
Help Center, by Michael Ramirez (July 2, 2014)
5-4, by Henry Payne (July 1, 2014)
Rip Van Media, by Michael Ramirez (June 30, 2014)
The Piñata, by Michael Ramirez (June 27, 2014)
The Plan, by Michael Ramirez (June 26, 2014)
Red . . . by Henry Payne (June 24, 2014)
Iran to the Rescue, by Michael Ramirez (June 23, 2014)
White House to the Rescue, by Michael Ramirez (June 20, 2014)
Gap, by Henry Payne (June 19, 2014)
Baghdad Bobama, by Michael Ramirez (June 18, 2014)
Missing, by Michael Ramirez (June 17, 2014)
Dead Broke, by Michael Ramirez (June 14, 2014)
Clinton Problems, by Michael Ramirez (June 13, 2014)
To Faithfully Execute . . . by Michael Ramirez (June 12, 2014)
Broke, by Michael Ramirez (June 11, 2014)
Talking Bergdahl, by Michael Ramirez (June 10, 2014)
Lemon, by Henry Payne (June 9, 2014)
The Imperial President, by Michael Ramirez (June 6, 2014)
Cutting Carbon, by Henry Payne (June 5, 2014)
The Obama Emporium, by Michael Ramirez (June 4, 2014)
After You, by Michael Ramirez (June 3, 2014)
It Was the Weather, by Michael Ramirez (June 2, 2014)
The West Point Address, by Michael Ramirez (May 30, 2014)
First Read About It in the Newspaper, by Michael Ramirez (May 29, 2014)
General Motors Theater, by Henry Payne (May 27, 2014)
Freedom, by Henry Payne (May 26, 2014)
Hope . . . by Henry Payne (May 24, 2014)
Fallen Soldiers, by Michael Ramirez (May 23, 2014)
Outraged? by Lisa Benson (May 22, 2014)
Obamacare, Brought to You by . . . by Henry Payne (May 21, 2014)
Now You Know How We Feel, by Michael Ramirez (May 20, 2014)
#You Think? by Michael Ramirez (May 18, 2014)
#BringBack . . . by Michael Ramirez (May 16, 2014)
Gospel Reading, by Michael Ramirez (May 15, 2014)
Today’s Lecture, by Henry Payne (May 14, 2014)
Truth, by Michael Ramirez (May 13, 2014)
Clinton Celebrity Gala, by Henry Payne (May 12, 2014)
Segregation, by Michael Ramirez (May 10, 2014)
Weather, by Michael Ramirez (May 9, 2014)
Under the Rug, by Henry Payne (May 7, 2014)
Photoshop of the Day
Aug. 1, 2014
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Sharknado 2 Reactions
Jul. 31, 2014
Sharknado 2: The Next One is now history, if a little short of historic in the annals of great television. The highly(?)-anticipated follow-up to last year’s snarky shark mash-up landed on TV screens on Wednesday night and generated another Twitter tsunami. Here’s a sampling of the social-media chum, illustrated by NRO.
“That escalated quickly.” (Daniel W. Drezner)
“So many questions running through my mind. Are we safe? Can that happen to me? Where would I even FIND a chainsaw?” (@Mike Ciandella, @MIkeCiandella)
“Narrowly missed being eaten by a shark on my way home last night. Or maybe I just imagined that.” (Tatiana Flexman, @tats_marie)
“If there's no Sharknado float in the Macy's Parade this Thanksgiving then the terrorists win.” (Caleb Howe, @CalebHowe)
“This just in: Viewers said Sharknado was far more believable than a typical speech by Obama” (Walter Cronkite, @CronkiteSays)
“BREAKING: President Obama announces that all sharks that entered NYC through no fault of their own should stay.” (Ben Shapiro, @benshapiro)
“BREAKING: John Boehner cries over sharknado. Also, he uses every other event to do this.” (Ben Shapiro, @benshapiro)
“BREAKING: Nancy Pelosi tries to say something about sharknado, fails due to physical incapacity to move face.” (Ben Shapiro, @benshapiro)
“BREAKING: Harry Reid declares Sharknado the fault of the Koch brothers, is dragged to mental hospital.” (Ben Shapiro, @benshapiro)
“Can Sharknado 3 take place in D.C. and instead of stopping it let politicians be eaten by their own kind?” (Mark Bick, @11FL11)
“Is an absolutely ridiculous and absurd movie. the Mets haven't had that many fans at a game in over a decade.” (damn fine fat, @BromanConsul)
“Hey @Mets, what's the official team policy for refunds on a game disrupted by a Sharknado? (Derek Hunter, @derekahunter)
“Nothing seems to have brought the internets together like did last night. Maybe send Ian Ziering to broker peace?” (Lesley Abravanel, @lesleybravanel)
“Can someone give @TaraReid a hand for that impressive action sequence? (See what we did there?!)” (People Magazine, @peoplemag)
“Tara Reid is an extremely gifted actress. She owns the screen with her range of emotions.” (Shane Anderson, @Globalgallop)
"BREAKING NEWS: Tara Reid has undergone her first successful surgery" (Tim Williams, @realtimwilliams)
“Weather forecasts on the news today just don't have the same pop without little shark graphics in them. :(“ (Rodney Lacroix, @moooooog35)
“What I learned last night: The safest place to be during a #Sharknado is the @TODAYshow studio! Good to know!” (Rachel Welte, @RachelWelte)
“Immediately after Sharknado took out the United Nations MSNBC blamed Israel for provoking the sharks.” (Josh Jordan, @NumbersMuncher)
“Most accurate NBC News piece in years.” (Nathan Wurtzel, @NathanWurtzel)
“UN has already cited Ziering for disproportionate response to shark attacks.” (Nathan Wurtzel, @NathanWurtzel)
“Sharks have eaten the United Nations, with no impact on the world's trouble spots whatsoever.” (jimgeraghty, @jimgeraghty)
“How come tornadoes always make it rain sharks but not Hot Pockets sandwiches? Boo you, nature.” (Hot Pockets, @hotpockets)
“City planners will argue over an appropriate Sharknado memorial for years after this.” (S.M., @redsteeze)
“You know, was Kurbick's last, unrealized dream.” (Rick Wilson, @TheRickWilson)
“Needed a scene where the King Shark said, “’Finn, I am your father.’” (jimgeraghty, @jimgeraghty)
“I really hope the end of this movie is the Jets beating the sharks.” (Natan Wurtzel, @NathanWurtzel)
“Napalm, available at your local convenience store.” (Nathan Wurtzel, @NathanWurtzel)
“Let's face it, #Sharknado2TheNextOne is the future of television” (GuardianUS, @GuardianUS)
“Damn, even Jared from Subway in this? Man, this is awesome…” (Keith T., @Da_Taylormaniac)
“Andy Dick as a grizzled, skeptical NYPD officer. I mean,talk about typecasting.” (Jake Tapper, @jaketapper)
“If only Cinemax had bought the rights to Sharknado. Then the nudity would be commensurate to the dialogue." (Jonah Goldberg, @JonahNRO)
SOCIAL SHARKS: Some enterprising Sharknado fans — and a few media-savvy corporations — also weighed in on the fin-shaped fun. Here’s a few of the images in circulation. (Image via Andy Bowers, @evilpez4)
(Image via Rocco DiSpirito, @roccodispirito)
"The Internet never lets me down. #Sharknado The Russian Edition" (Jennifer Brett, @JenBrettAJC)
"If you see a tornado shooting sharks at you, run. If you see Priceline's Dealnado, save!" (, @priceline)
"A tornado of pizza sounds good to us." (Domino's Pizza, @dominos)
(Image via Sharks4Kids, @Sharks4Kids)
“How does a mother know that her son loves her? When he retweets all your tweets.” (Libby Morse, @MorseLibby)
UCLA Campus Flood
Jul. 31, 2014
A ruptured water main flooded parts of the scenic University of California Los Angeles campus on Tuesday, sending water into numerous campus buildings and onto the floor of the Pauley Pavilion. Here’s a look at the flood and how UCLA students and faculty tried to take it in stride.
The rupture of a 90-year-old water main on Sunset Boulevard on the north side of the UCLA campus created a 15-foot hole in the street and a 30-foot-high geyser.
News helicopter footage of the break. Water gushed from the 30-inch pipeline for more than three hours.
An estimated 20 million gallons of water — more than 35,000 gallons a minute at one point — inundating underground parking structures and low-lying facilities.
Water rushes down an outdoor campus staircase, creating a temporary waterfall for students.
Some 900 vehicles were reported trapped in underground parking lots on campus, which includes not just student and faculty garages but those that service the large UCLA medical campus. Pictured, firefighters enter the lower level of a flooded building.
Water spills onto a stairway as rescue workers assess the damage.
Firefighters, some using inflatable boats, rescued at least five persons.
Firefighters erect a barricade to stop water flowing into a campus building.
Campus workers push water from a sidewalk.
At least an inch of water covered the main floor of the Pauley Pavilion, UCLA’s iconic basketball arena. Once the water was removed, the warping of wood on the floor was immediately apparent. The facility had just recently completed a major renovation.
Water also inundated nearby sports facilities.
Students made the best of a bad situation.
The flood was an ironic counterpoint to the drought-mitigation efforts underway in Los Angeles and across the state. Local residents can be fined up to $500 for engaging in unauthorized water use such as watering lawns or washing cars.
The incident also highlighted the problem of deferred maintenance on the city’s aging infrastructure. According to the Los Angeles Times, “the city-owned Department of Water and Power is on track to replace main water lines only once every 300 years.”
PARTING THE WATERS: UCLA students and sympathetic Bruin alumni took to social media throughout the day to comment and commisersate. Here's a sampling.
"Enjoy it ;)" (Firat Uran, @firaturan)
"OK guys I'm done!" (ESQUIRE, @Dj_E5QUIRE)
"The best UCLA Instagram humor we've found so far (altho of your car is flooded in the garage, condolences)" (Digital LA, @DigitalLA)
"Funny but still BS..." (Clover Dean, @MozzeriansATW)
"The promotion for Sharknado 2 has really gotten out of hand" (Kate Radway, @K_Radway)
"First look at the new luxury seats at Pauley Pavilion" (SportsSpeak, @SportsSpeakLA)
"Who wanna go swim at #UCLA?" (Patric Y, @PatricLand)
"Meanwhile, @UCLA faculty fought over limited parking that remained" (Justinian's New Rome, @The_New_Rome)
"Meanwhile, @UCLA faculty fought over limited parking that remained" (Justinian's New Rome, @The_New_Rome)
"The rest of LA after today's #UCLAFlood" (Kevin Wade, @UO_Kwade)
Sharknado Returns!
Jul. 30, 2014
The man-eating superstorm of Al Gore’s worst climate-change nightmares returns in Sharknado 2: The Second One, premiering July 30 on Syfy. Here’s a look at the new fin-fest, and a look back at the original social-media phenomenon.
THE SECOND ONE: Sharknado 2 picks up where the first film left off (or dropped off), changing the setting from Los Angeles to New York while keeping all the maritime mayhem intact. Not since Superstorm Sandy has the Big Apple seen bad weather like this.
Ian Ziering returns as the indomitable hero, ex-surfer Finley “Fin” Shepherd. Say hello to his little friend: A New York Fire Department chainsaw, locked and loaded.
Fin puts his new toy to good use in one of the film’s signature preposterous action sequences.
Fin gets a taste of East Coast public transportation — and misses his chainsaw.
Tara Reid also reprises her role as Fin’s ex-wife April. (And Fin's got his chainsaw back.)
Among the cast additions this time out are Vivica A. Fox (pictured with Ziering), Kari Wuhrer, Kelly Osbourne, Judah Friedlander, and Andy Dick. Al Roker and Matt Lauer also drop by for quick cameos.
In a nod to the social media tides that swept the first film to high ratings, SyFy held a Twitter contest to find the name for the sequel.
Sharknado 2 screenwriter Thunder Levin took a little light-hearted umbrage at the reception brewing for the new fin flick, telling, "See, this is what I don’t understand. Why are people laughing at our very important documentary about global warming?"
THE FIRST ONE: SyFy’s ultra-low budget Sharknado was a snarky ode to schlocky science fiction, combining two memes — ecological disaster and giant sharks — in a pop-culture Cuisinart that exploded on social media.
The unsubtle title pretty much gave away the plot line: Giant tornados lift massive sharks out of the Pacific Ocean and dump them on residents of Los Angeles. As the saying goes: mayhem ensues.
Sharknado starred Ian Ziering of 90210 fame and American Pie actress Tara Reid.
Cheap production values and special effects were the order of the day for Sharknado, which was shot in just 18 days. But none of that seemed to matter.
The audience on Sharknado’s first night was a modest 1.37 million. But all the social-media traffic hat erupted on that first night powered a repeat airing a week later, which garnered 1.89 million viewers. A third airing on July 27 found 2.1 million, a growth curve unprecedented in the basic cable world.
Thousands of viewers flooded Twitter during and after Sharknado’s initial airing, running with its intentionally over-the-top premise. At its peak on that first night, Sharknado viewers were sending out more than 5,000 tweets per minute and more than 600,000 through the evening.
Television critics were largely powerless before the Sharknado juggernaut, with most electing to just go with the flow. Writing in the Los Angeles Times, Mary McNamara opined: “So forget An Uncomfortable Truth. Environmental activists need to set up screenings of Sharknado. My fellow Americans, is this the legacy we want to leave our children? A shark on every rooftop?"
Asawin Suebsaeng, ”The film raises a serious question: Could a sharknado happen in real life? Animals often get caught in the paths of tornadoes, but they typically die before they get the chance to harm Tara Reid."
Jacqueline Andriakos, Entertainment Weekly PopWatch: “It reminds us that we should all be aware of the negative affects of global warming and never underestimate the potentials of Mother Nature."
Winston Ross, “This movie unceremoniously demonizes an already woefully misunderstood creature of the deep."
Serious scientists took a good-natured attitude as well. National Weather Service spokesperson Chris Vaccaro offered some advice to Mother Jones: "As with any waterspout or tornado, the best advice is to be in an interior part of the lowest floor of a sturdy building—and not outside, whether sharks are raining down or not.”
FIN FANS: Twitter lit up with Hollywood celebrities watching on the first night, and even some of the cultural elite chimed in, including this tweet by Mia Farrow joined by author Philip Roth. Beemed Farrow: "We’re Watching Sharknado!”
"I'm not sure about the science in this movie you guys." — Wil Wheaton, actor on Star Trek: The Next Generation
"For those of you already maligning my ending for SHARKNADO 2, you should know 3 things: Henry Winkler. Leather jacket. Water skiis." — Damon Lindelof, producer of Lost
"Somewhere in Hollywood there is a senior executive yelling at a junior executive for not coming up with #Sharknado first." — Greg Berlanti, screenwriter, Everwood
"Can't watch #Sharknado because I'm on the set of my new film Tsunamwolf." — Danny Zuker, producer, Modern Family
"As usual, the beach youths all deserve to die. #rooting for the sharks" — Kurt Loder, music journalist
"If there isn't a channel showing #Sharknado on a loop until the end of time, we have failed as a society…" — Eric Stangel, writer, Late Show with David Letterman
"Dear @SyfyTV: please follow up SHARKNADO with PARTLY CLOWNY. Sky. Clowns. Michael Pare (probably)" — Patton Oswalt, comedian/actor
"SharkFart vs Diarrhea Whale. Call me @Syfy. That's my movie pitch. #Sharknado" — Judah Friedlander, actor on 30 Rock
"I wish I could join in on the shenanigans, But I had a cousin that was killed by a #Sharknado back in '93. #RamonRIP" — Horatio Sanz, cast member, Saturday Night Live
"I'm afraid that now when we have a real sharknado everyone's going to treat it like a joke" — B.J. Novak, actor on The Office
"#Sharknado Hell hath no fury like a pissed Great White Shark that gets sucked out of the ocean and dropped in #90210" — Ian Ziering, actor and star of Sharknado
The intellectual elite weighed in as well. Nationa Review's Jonah Goldberg observed: "They totally stole the ending from Sophie's Choice.”
"When unfairly treated confirmation nominees strike back, that will now be known as a "Borknado." -- John Podhoretz, Commentary
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