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Creature Feature Wednesdays: 'Piranha 3D,' a star-studded feeding frenzy

Piranha 3D (2010)

It’s our second Creature Feature Wednesday outing, and this week we swap one O’Connell brother for another—Charlie for Jerry—in the glorious Piranha 3D! Here’s one creature feature that would fall in the upper tier.

Directed by the awesome Alexandre Aja (High Tension, The Hills Have Eyes), Piranha 3D is a loose remake of Joe Dante’s Piranha (1978)—which was a spoof of Jaws. But Aja’s film stands on its own and works for so many reasons. Let’s break it down.

The Cast
Here we have an odd, well-casted movie with a bunch of familiar faces. Elisabeth Shue (Adventures in Babysitting) stars as the town sheriff; Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation) stars as a marine scientist; Jerry O’Connell (Stand By Me) stars as a Girls Gone Wild–style filmmaker; Ving Rhames (Pulp Fiction) stars as the a police deputy; and Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future) stars as the local nutjob who knows way too much about the piranhas. Even Richard Dreyfus makes an (unofficial) appearance as his Jaws character, Hooper! Sure, it’s a hodgepodge, but it all works amazingly.

Piranha 3D - Adam Scott and Elisabeth Shue

The Workable Tropes
If you watch a lot of creature flicks—or horror movies in general, for that matter—you quickly become aware of the standards. The standard characters, the standard plot—it’s pretty much all the same. And here, you’d better believe they use them too.

It’s spring-break weekend (trope) for this touristy town. As the co-eds swarm the beaches, an ancient breed of piranha is exhumed from deep within the waters. They’re alive (what?!)—and hungry (of course)! Shue’s sheriff (trope) must work with Scott’s scientist (trope) to fight against these deadly creatures before it’s too late!

The Effects and Comedy
Piranha 3D was not—I repeat, not—a made-for-Syfy movie. This movie had a theatrical run (I was there). So what’s that mean? The filming and effects are above par. It’s well made. The blood runs free in gallons, gushes, spurts, and more. And comedy is not lost within the carnage. Much of it is goofy and visual. At one point, Ben Wyatt Adam Scott rides around on a Jet Ski, shooting piranhas with a shotgun. Then, Jerry O’Connell’s sleazy character loses, ahem, an appendage to the little creatures. There’s a weird, nude water ballet that takes place. And a parasailing girl loses her legs—and bikini top—while being attacked.

Piranha 3D - Ving Rhames

If you enjoy Syfy movies, you’ll love Piranha 3D. Even if Jaws is more your cup of tea, there’s a good chance Piranha 3D will still delight your creature-feature senses. Remember—it’s got Hooper!

Fun Facts

  • Famed modern horror director/producer/actor Eli Roth (Cabin Fever, Hostel, the “Bear Jew” in Inglourious Basterds) has a fun, small part playing a wet T-shirt contest host.
  • As you can imagine, there is a sequel: Piranha 3DD! Unfortunately, it’s not as fun. Piranha 3D‘s comedy would be considered highbrow compared to what its sequel has to offer. Piranha 3DD stars Danielle Panabaker, Katrina Bowden, David Koechner, and David Hasselhoff as himself. That should say it all.

Tips for viewing: With the exception of a few, these movies are not masterpieces. Don’t view them as such. Don’t take them seriously. Watch them with friends and create your own commentary—on the acting, editing, bad choices, etc. And remember—have fun!

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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