Alex stood on the corner last night at about midnight, after we got out of the 10PM premiere showing of Snakes on a Plane and said to me, "Peter, now you can actually say that you saw that trash."
Matt was looking pretty grim about the whole thing. I had to remind him that it wasn't supposed to be Citizen Kane. It wasn't supposed to be his damn Superman Returns either, which he had this love/hate wood for.
I can say I saw that trash.
And it was fakking DOPE.
What the hell is a movie supposed to do for you these days? I have been caught up in this thought for some time now. I used to think that it was about escape. My friend Ian hit me with the counter, "Escape from what?" and I have been lost ever since. Is my life so horrible that I need to escape? No it is not. Escape is not the right word.
Movies are about something else. I used to think that it was about truth. My father hit me with the counter that, "If you are looking for truth in the movies you are going to be disappointed." or something to that effect. He is right. Every now and then, there is a facet of truth that hits you. Every now and then, you bear witness to what is going on onscreen. But the truth of the matter is that film isn't there to get didactic with you...it is there for something else. Sure, take it seriously, but it is a consumer sport. We pay money to see these things. Sure, every now and then, there is a societal undertone in the film you are watching...but is this truly art? Is Woody Allen taking himself too seriously? I would say yes. So seriously in fact, that I will rush that little four-eyed pedophile if I ever see him on the street, but that is a different conversation that I am having with a different person.
My conclusion of late has been that movies are about entertainment. Why put some sort of intellectual fanfare on the stuff? I want a story, and I want to be entertained, dammit. I can't lie in bed and have my mother read me a story anymore. I don't have cable. Sometimes a book is too much work. I want to go somewhere, drop 8+ dollars and be ENTERTAINED. Not so much an escape from the world around me...but I feel great that there is someone out there who is saying, "Peter, I just took your 8 bucks, and I am going to show you things you didn't consider. I am going to make you laugh. I am going to make you wince. I am going to ENTERTAIN YOU, and you will like it. I can do this, because my name is David Ellis and I know you loved Final Destination part 2. I can do this because when you look on my syllabus on IMDB, you will see that I was in movies with Kurt Russell back when he was with Disney. Furthermore, I put in time with the homie when he did that movie Soldier which I know you like. These are movies you have seen, Peter. Peter, I am associated with all of your favorites throughout the history of your movieviewing. I have got my fingers in Scarface. I have got my fingers in Fast Times. I have got my fingers in To Live and Die in LA. Buddy, I was second director on The Matrix Reloaded, specifically, the highway scene. Gimme your 8 dollars and let me show you something."
Not only did I hand my 8+ dollars over to the man, but I sent Alex a phone message from Samuel Jackson (courtesy of the official website) and I dragged Matt and Gabby along as well. I was down for the cause. David Ellis hadn't failed me yet, and I didn't see how he could miss.
I was right.
Look people, I have put in my time. I have seen more campy film than I would dare to calculate. I have a Troma chip in my brain. I dug on the movie Virus. I watch horror films on the regular. I am up to my adam's apple in campy, trashy film. I am the man who needed to see this Snakes on a Plane thing right out of the gate.
The thing is that Snakes on a Plane is high-end camp. They aren't hiding anything. The title alone says "don't take me seriously". Once you understand this, then you can go in and expect the camp. Expect that it will be crap, because it is. But realize that this is the kinda crap that makes me the cinematic coprophiliac that I am. You want to gulp this stuff down. You know it is going to be smooth. IT IS THAT GOOD.
Trashy? Oh hell yeah. Think of any body part that is sensitive. That you would not want struck by a poisonous snake. Thin about that part hard. Then realize that a snake is going to OWN that bodypart on the big screen.
Formulaic? Hell double yeah. Think about the rules of horror films that are broken down so well by Jamie Kennedy in SCREAM (which was a slutty film, period). Think about the rules of engagement in an R-Rated film. Thin about who is supposed to get killed and think about who is supposed top live. Think about what is fair to the audience and what is not. This film walks that line. It isn't an ugly film. It is a film with a conscience. Sure, innocents are getting tagged by snakes. They are getting tagged HARD. Look people, the wise man Solomon said "The rain falls on the righteous and the unrighteous alike". That is what is going down in this film. Of course, there are some people so damn righteous that a snake is going to have a hard time getting its strike on based on the RULES OF HORROR FILMS and the PATTERNS OF R-RATED ENGAGEMENT.
You'll laugh out loud.
You will laugh hard.
You will wince.
You will groan and say "Oh, no...is that snake's head actually being pissed on? Is that CG? How did they...OMG!!!"
You will laugh at the ridiculousness of some of the dialogue. An example of this is the sleazy pilot mentioning that the plane will go down faster than a Thai hooker if something isn't done soon.
But the bottom line? You will be entertained. Sam Jackson delivers, as you knew he would. The CG FX are pretty damn good. The plot is palatable. Furthermore, there is a cornucopia of various stereotyped personalities on this fabled Pacific American Flight 121, and we have all seen them before. This is entertaining folks. I honestly can't think of a better way to spend money at the theatre RIGHT NOW.
Yeah, I'm gonna say it: THIS IS THE MOVIE OF THE SUMMER.
In the future, I am not going to say, "Rememeber the summer when Superman Returns came out?"
Hell no. Superman sucked. Don't even get me started. I had an anti-Superman Returns blog that I had written called "Superman is a little bitch" that was so mean spirited that I decided not to publish it. The only good thing about that movie was the fact that Lois Lane got her ass beat on the regular in that movie. And she needed to have her ass beat, because she was no Margot Kidder.
In the future, I am not going to say, "Remember the summer that Cars came out?"
Hell no I will not. Cars was a good family movie. But face it, it wasn't as good as The Incredibles. I remember the summer when The Incredibles came out.
In the future I won't be using any of these movies either:
Pirates of the Caribbean
World Trade Center
Da Vinci Code
My Ex-Girlfriend is a Superhero
The Poseidon Adventure
or the motherfucking X-Men.
This is the summer that Snakes on Plane came out and entertained me. I always go into a movie and I have expectations. I expect it to do this or to do that. I should have these expectations because I am paying my own hard-earned money, and I have been sold a bill of goods. I have seen the trailer. I have read the reviews. I have guaged word of mouth. I have invested a lot of free time and conversation in the endeavor. So perhaps now gentle reader, you will see why suddenly my bowels are groaning and I need to defecate on a copy of Superman Returns. I was sold a line that simply wan't true. Bryan Singer currently has no idea who the hell he is or what the hell he is doing. Superman Returns made this clear. Just as Panic Room showed us all that David Fincher has run out of steam too. I was sold a line by Sam Jackson and David Ellis. The line was that they were not going to show the movie to the critics beforehand because they wanted to save it for the fans. The line was that the critics would say that the film was bad.
"The people that love it know what they are going to get when they come to the film. There's no need for someone to see it and say, 'Ooooh, its just people getting bit by snakes on a plane.' But that is what it is. It doesn't need to be reviewed. It doesn't need 'It's great,''It's horrible,''The snakes look cheesy.' Who cares? It is a 2006 Roger Corman movie." - Sam Jackson
The line that they sold was not only correct, but top tier.
This is the summer where I had a lot of hope for a movie (as I have hope for every movie that I go to see in the damn theatre) and I got PAID IN FULL.
Yeah, Snakes? I saw that trash, and it was the most fun I have had in the theatre in a LOOONNNGGG TIME.