Everyone's talking about it. It's the flavor of the month. Or at least it was last month. And it will be again come August. I've been yelling about it for months now, and finally, the internet community and film geek community (many of which are one and the same) have spoken loudly about one film this summer that will rule them all.
I speak of Superman Returns.
In case you couldn't have guessed from the title posted above, I speak in jest.
Yes indeed, Snakes on a Plane. What else is left to be said about this movie, you may ask? I say plenty. There are a lot of facets to the Snakes on a Plane phenomenon. Josh Friedman originally wrote my favorite piece about it (hucksblog.blogspot.com -if I can figure out how to work this crazy internet thing, I can maybe see if it'll actually take you to the link just by clicking on it, but until them, you have to suffer with the ole' cut 'n paste). Originally asked to rewrite the flick, he said he would only do so if they kept the title "Snakes On A Plane". The studio said they were thinking of changing the title, he passed, but not before adopting a new zen mantra of sorts.
"Snakes on a Plane."
You can read the rest for yourself over there, so as I don't copy him completely, but this mantra has proven quite useful in the past few months, inspiring amongst myself and a few of my friends a new attitude on life, as well as a festive interpretive dance. Believe it or not, that dance saved my sanity one night, as I was deceived into thinking one thing and quickly had the tables turned. All I can say is "Snakes on a plane" and do a little dance.
You see, as my good friend Nate puts it so well, we ALL have our own snakes on our planes. (Metaphorically). And what we as human beings have to do is figure out how best we can get these motherfuckin' snakes off of OUR motherfuckin' planes.
Well put, Nate.
Soothing sayings aside, what else does this film mean to the moviegoing public, and to our cultural enviornment?
Well, I think CNN has taken it a bit too far. Not really CNN per se (although by default, because they are all part of the Time Warner family, the blame could also be laid upon Entertainment Weekly, which has, I believe, only 5 issues since the beginning of the year that fail to make a reference to the film in some form or another), but mass media outlets. They took something that could have been obscenely cool and quite underground, and blew it out or proportion. So much so that in several reports I've been reading about upcoming summer releases SoaP (as the kids like to abbr. these days) is considered to be the "sleeper" hit. Which can't technically be true because everyone is (pardon the expression) wide awake to the film's presence, due to the endless reporting of the fans of the film.
Remember when you were in high school or college and you found out about a really awesome band, or cult movie, before anybody else did? You would be the only kid on the block with a Big Chief t-shirt or a poster for Brain Candy. People would ask you "What's that about?" then you would slowly acclimate them into your world of private discovery?
Then some dickhead football player down the hall catches you watching it one day and tells his friends then suddenly it's a campus wide thing, soon spreading to others until everyone is quoting lines (or sinigng, or playing it in the damn dorm at 3AM) ad infinitum, and you say to yourself "Well, it was fun while it lasted."
That's the fear I have for Snakes on a Plane. Mainstream made it cool, and for those of us who prefer to be erudite and elitist snobs, suddenly what was once cool and meaningful to you (if you consider a film about Snakes on a plane, or even worse, Dave Matthews Band, meaningful) is a little dimmer.
That's still not gonna stop me from being there opening night with my recently acquired Snakes on a Plane t-shirt. But it's gonna feel a little more hollow. A little more corporate.
Oh, and Dave Matthews Band sucks balls.
I digress. Snakes on a Plane can truly go nowhere but up. I have a two fold reasoning here.
1) It takes two of people's biggest fears and puts them together, and does it in such an illogical manner that you HAVE to accept it. Seriously, I know many people who hate flying, and a lot of people, when confronted by a dangerous asp in front of their noggin, will panic. Or worse, soil themselves. There's an instant attraction to view these things we fear from a distance, and what better way to conquer your fear than with the help of Samuel L. Jackson?
I wish Sam Jackson could put the fear of God in me so that I can quit smoking. Or stop being co-dependant and needy. Or to help conquer my inexplicable hatred of left turns. See, with Sam Jackson, nothing can be feared, because he should be the most feared person/commodity in a room. None of these creepy ghosts coming out of people's hair or VCRs in Japan. Just Sam Jackson. Staring at you. You know that shit is gonna be taken care of.
And you know that he will do whatever is in his power to get these actual snakes (actual in the context of the metaphor provided earlier, I have no idea if they are actual snakes used in the film) off of the actual plane.
This brings me to my second point.
2) I truly believe that it's the most honest film ever made, short of Titanic. Confused? Mull on this for a second: You name a movie Titanic, you can pretty much guess that you're going to see a movie about the Titanic. You, the moviegoer, are guaranteed a movie that will be about the Titanic, and all it's glory and tragedy. Everything associated with all common knowledge regarding the famous ship's fateful evening willbe presented to you on a big screen.
(My feelings towards the film Titanic rest slightly higher than my opinions on Dave Matthews Band, for the record)
Now, you name your movie Snakes On A Plane, and you're pretty much guaranteed some damn snakes on a plane. No matter the outcome (which will most likely be far more entertaining than 3 hours of a sinking ship) you've pretty much got what you paid for. You wake up, you turn to your spouse/significant other/friend/roommate/guy on your couch/bum asking you for change/etc. and you say "Man, I sure would like to see a movie where some snakes get on a plane."
The bum will most likely say to you, "Spare change," but if he's up with popular culture, as most displaced denizens in LA seem to be, he'll likely say "Hells yeah, that's what I'm scrounging change for today." And come August 18th, we'll ALL be able to experience the shared pleasure of snakes on a plane.