25 March 2006

Snakes on a plane

Yes, that's the logo for a real movie, coming soon to a theater near you. Samuel L. Jackson says:

That's the only reason I took the job: I read the title.
You either want to see that, or you don't.
True enough.

I first learned about it because I read the blog of pulp goddess Christa Faust, who was commissioned to write the novelization several months ago. I Googled the title and turned up a killingly funny blog entry from a screenwriter who wanted to work on it.

I ask Agent the name of the project, what it's about, etc. He says: Snakes on a Plane. Holy shit, I'm thinking. It's a title. It's a concept. It's a poster and a logline and whatever else you need it to be. It's perfect. Perfect. It's the Everlasting Gobstopper of movie titles.

I say to Agent: “Tell me nothing else. Get me the script and put me on the phone with those lucky bastards at New Line Cinema!”

So he does and he does.

Now out of both loyalty to the sacred bond between studio and screenwriter and also a serious desire to keep getting hired in this town, I will not give away any of the plot details of SNAKES ON A PLANE. But know this. As the great Sam Jackson would say: There are motherfucking snakes on the motherfucking plane.

What else do you need to know? How the snakes get on the plane, what the snakes do once they're on the plane, who puts the snakes on the plane, who is trying to get the snakes off the plane ... This is not for you to ponder. There are snakes on the plane. End of fucking story.

He goes on to talk about how the title became a kind of Zen koan for him. I laughed when I read this, then kind of forgot about it. But it turns out that while I wasn't looking, it turned into a bit of a phenomenon, with people making up movie posters, writing an unofficial blog, and on and on, driven just by the wackiness of the title. The folks at CNN have caught on, with a great little article about it quoting a fan named Chris Rohan:
It's a genius title. It's so stupid it's great. It invites satire, but it's something you just love. It's something I can't explain. You either get it or you don't.
Roger Corman, who should know, once said that the definition of an exploitation film is that people want to see it for the premise, regardless of the merits (or lack thereof) of the film as a film. In which case, Snakes is a perfect exploitation film, and according to the CNN piece, the movie studio knows it.
When Ellis assembled Jackson and others for the recent shoot, the filmmakers added more gore, more death, more nudity, more snakes and more death scenes. And they shot a scene where Jackson does utter the line that fans have demanded.
That line is, of course, Samuel L. Jackson exclaiming “I want these motherfucking snakes off the motherfucking plane!”

Hey, I want to hear him say it. I'm not too proud to admit it.

1 comment:

Jenn said...



I think this is the kind of movie that works for people who have never a) lived in the country; b) known amateur herpetologists.

We had lots of snakes in our house with little shaky rattle thingies on them.

My brother is good at picking them up by hand (and stick) to relocate them.