Atomic Twister (2000) from E

Made-for-TV disaster movie.

It was so bad and cliche-ridden that there are - count 'em - 24 reviews on IMDB - all bad. Besides the obvious logic faults involving the safety precautions at a nuclear power plant, and tornadoes sneaking up on people in open fields, I was interested in the comments regarding the female characters.

The first reviewer - a female - noted that the female characters were all bimbo stereotypes, acting jealous of their boyfriend's new dates after breaking up with him, leaving important radios outside in the storm, etc etc etc. But she missed what I thought were some blatantly exploitative elements of a sub-plot I'll get to later.

To let you know how bad it was, two of the actors were Corbin Bernsen and
Mark-Paul Gosselaar of Saved by the Bell (now a "hunk" according to one reviewer).  But what surprised me was the movie was filled with eye candy and had some sexy and even exploitative sub-plots.  The eye candy consisted of Sharon Lawrence (she must have needed the money, and spends much of the movie showing cleavage or running around in a sweaty tank top), and three hot chicks from some TV show called Shortland Street.

  • One was Katrina Devine, who was a love interest for M-PG and looked great in workout clothes.
  • The second was Charmaine Guest, who played his old girlfriend. Clichés abound - jealous of his new love interest, daughter of a police chief, rescued by none other than her old boyfriend M-PG - on and on, but Guest is a major babe like Katheryn Heigl or Jordana Brewster or Jessica Biel, and she looked great in every scene.
  • Another was Ashleigh Seagar, who I think was a one-night stand of M-PG

That leads to one of the questionable sub-plots.

M-PG is plays Sharon Lawrence's neighbor, and she's supposed to be a single mom with a son about....12. She notices that her son is taking an interest in the one-night stands of M-PG (he watches one leave in the morning) so she has a talk with M-PG about it. This was to set up the fact that her son is showing signs of being infected with "Cat Scratch Fever", as Ted Nugent might say. Not counting on the readers to take a subtle hint, the director offers several shots of the boy eyeing his older babysitter, who shows major cleavage in low-cut blouse, practically spilling out as she bends over, which she does as often as possible. The babysitter is played by New Zealander Joanna Morrison of Murder in Greenwich, and other TV movies. The kid suggests a game of Twister (cliche alert - not to mention the obvious reference to that "other" disaster movie) and she is too dumb to realize he just wants to put her in more revealing positions, which is just what happens. Jump to a shot of his smiling face mere centimenters away from her breasts - I was just waiting for one of those puppies to jump out - and the phone rings.  Disappointed, he answers it, and then comes back to the game.  Still not getting what's going on with him, she agrees when he smilingly suggests they start over. And in case you think this young actor wasn't into his role, then you must have missed the huge smile on his face in the ending, when he runs to his Mom (Sharon Lawrence) and has his face buried in her soft, tank-top covered breasts). 

And remember, this was a Made-for-TV disaster movie??? The Twister scenes, as well as hiding from the tornado under the bed, definitely should be captured.  In fact, since most of the reviewers said how much fun it was to watch this bad movie, it might be worth renting just to see those scenes.  I'm not sure there wasn't at least a nipple slip - we're talking about defying the laws of physics here. If it comes on again, I'll tape it for her scenes, and the spa/workout scenes with the other two hot TV actresses I mentioned above. 


probably none, but see the main commentary for details

Since I'm mentioning exploitative scenes in TV and/or family movies, I was also surprised at a scene in Disney's PG-rated "I'll Be Home for Christmas" (and continuing with the sitcom actor/movie connection, it stars Jonathan Taylor Thomas of Home Improvement as Jake, also Jessica Biel, mentioned above, as his girlfriend Allie.)

The scene I'm referring to involves near male frontal nudity, avoided only by careful placement of a foreground object: I saw this on TV, where the camera went to HER face as she turned away, so as not to look.  But it sounds like it was a little closer than that, here's the quote from that site: "Jake finds Allie and Eddie in the same motel room, although nothing happened between them. Eddie then comes out of the shower, however, wearing just a towel, and Jake yanks it away from him and he briefly stands there nude (with a foreground object blocking his groin area) before backing his way into the bathroom."

not yet available on home media

I guess I shouldn't be surprised, based on Disney's history. Huey, Louie and Dewey never wore pants either.

The Critics Vote

  • no reviews online

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. Voting results: IMDb voters score it a dreadful 3.9/10
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

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