Like Edith Piaf singing La Vie en Rose, the first verse of Howl by Alan Ginsberg, Angelina Jolie’s lips, Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues, or delicate chocolate flecks in mint ice cream, the sound of Samuel L. Jackson saying “Mother fucker,” is sublime. No one says it quite like him. It is as artful as Pavorotti’s high c, and a lot less showy than Cirque du Soleil. It is his Pietà and in Snakes on a Plane he uses it sparingly, but very effectively.
In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last year or so, Snakes on a Plane is not just a movie, not even just a Samuel L. Jackson movie, but a full blown Internet sensation, hyped on the Internet by fanboys (and girls) who eagerly anticipate the movie’s opening by posting their own SoaP even before they have seen little more than a trailer. They created websites and even wrote some dialogue—most notably, “I’ve had it with these mother fucking snakes on this mother fucking plane!”—that eventually made it in to the film all based on the allure of a simple, but very silly title.
The beauty of the story is in its simplicity. There’s a plane. There are snakes. Samuel L. Jackson wants the snakes off the plane. End of story.
After months of Internet driven buildup the movie opened Friday without the benefit of a press screening. Not that SoaP needed reviews to add to its bottom line. This is as review proof as it gets this summer. The reviews wouldn’t have added anything to the hype and most outlets ran a story on the film anyway. The question though, remains, is it a good movie? Nope. Is it a fun movie. You bet. This is the kind of movie that Hollywood has been churning out for years, a b-movie that relies on outrageous thrills, some T&A and some gross, gruesome scenes. And snakes. Lots and lots of pheromone crazed snakes.
It’s the kind of movie that engages the audience Rocky Horror Picture Show style. At the screening I went to people were reacting to the screen, throwing rubber snakes and yelling funny lines in response to the dialogue. It is the kind of movie that inspires drinking games. I’m not sure how it will play in an empty theatre, or on DVD, but with a Friday-night crowd of rowdies Snakes on a Plane is, as Samuel L. Jackson might say, “mother fucking fun.”