Monday, February 13, 2006

May God have mercy on this shark

Let's just agree that Snakes on a Plane is not only the most brilliant high-concept four-word pitch in the history of movies, but also the best title ever. It was actually only the working title, but when they tried to change it, star Samuel L. Jackson put his foot down. "We’re totally changing that back," he said. "That’s the only reason I took the job: I read the title." And he's right. It sums up everything. You know what you're getting. "You either want to see that, or you don’t," says Jackson. A poster on the IMDb message board insists that the movie must contain at least one instance of Sam Jackson shouting, "There's a muthafucking snake on this plane!" I think every single line of dialogue should consist of Sam Jackson dropping the MF bomb and shouting some variant of the film's title. Because it's the best title ever, for what is guaranteed to be the best movie ever. It just doesn't get better than Snakes on a Plane.

Clearly, it's a race for the silver at this point. But I think I might have hit on a contender while trying to combine an old girlfriend's two favorite genres of scary movies. Are you ready? Here it is:

Shark Exorcism.

A great white shark is possessed by the Devil and terrorizes a small seaside community. A lone priest must don mask and scuba tank to do battle beneath the waves against powerful, unearthly forces. A town's future—and a shark's soul—hang in the balance. This summer ... may God have mercy on this shark. Shark Exorcism.


Blogger Scott said...

Presumably, your movie ends when the shark is transported to a holding tank filled with holy water.

2/13/2006 09:28:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Lynn said...

Oh wow, that's awesome! You just got yourself a Hollywood co-writing credit, my friend.

2/13/2006 09:45:00 PM  
Blogger SamuraiFrog said...

I don't know, I'm not into the mundane title "Snakes on a Plane." It's like Principal Skinner's favorite movie, "The Christmas That Nearly Wasn't But Then Was." I think the problem with it is that it DOES tell you everything that's going to happen; why should I care? By that logic, this year's Best Picture nominees should be called "Murrow vs. McCarthy," "Mossad Agents Kill Everyone," "A Day in Los Angeles," "Truman Capote Writes In Cold Blood," and "The Gay Cowboy Movie." It's like dynamism for morons.

2/14/2006 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger Jampaq said...

I don't think SamuraiFrog gets the point. Snakes on a plane isn't going to be a poignant film that tackles sensitive and undercut issues like homosexuality or race hate.

It'll tackle the tender and as-yet under-represented issue of snakes being on a plane. It is so fresh and rare that we can see self-referential titles like this. A movie that makes no pretense to be anything than that which it is: a movie where Samuel L. Jackson proves he's the go-to guy when there's a muthafuckin' adder in your complimentary facetowel.

Thank you, Man vs. Clown, for exposing me to this unknown boon to the film industry. I'd like to share some of my thoughts with you. Come on over:

2/14/2006 12:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Tom said...

Considering some friends of mine thought Brokeback Mountain was called Bareback Mountain, calling it 'The Gay Cowboy Movie' might have been a better idea.

2/14/2006 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger Peter Lynn said...

I actually think all of Samurai Frog's suggested movie titles are better. Who doesn't want to see Mossad Agents Kill Everyone? Except the entire Arab world, of course.

But where Snakes on a Plane is different from a Best Picture nominee is that it's not even pretending to be about anything serious. It knows it's just a dumb action thriller, and it's not even going to try to come up with a witty title. The title isn;t mundane so much as to-the-point. It's just giving the people what they want. You want to see a movie about snakes on a plane? By God, we've got one for you!

For those who know him, it actually sounds like a movie my old Golden Words colleague Conrad Schickedanz would write. And I'd stake my life on his being there on opening night.

He'd come see Shark Exorcism too. Who wouldn't? Who could turn down seeing a guy swim around in a black wetsuit with a white clerical collar?

2/14/2006 12:57:00 PM  
Blogger SamuraiFrog said...

Yeah, I get that the title is to-the-point, I just think it's fucking dumb. But hey, that's me. It's not that I think every movie has to be sensitive and creative somehow, I just think it's on the ridiculous side. Not into it. Sorry.

For the record, I would totally see "Shark Exorcism," though.

And Peter, you're not supposed to SEE Mossad agents killing everyone. Hmm, maybe I should have called it "Steven Spielberg Pretends He's Controversial, But All of His Movies Are 40 Minutes Too Long"?

Of course, that's too long. But it gets the point across.

2/14/2006 02:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Carl said...

As great as Samuel Jackson is dropping the MF bomb, no movie, no matter how long, can contain enough dialogue to equal Ice Cube's reading in Anaconda: There's snakes out there this big?

2/14/2006 03:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Kendal said...

*Whimpers* I'm scared. Although Jaws is quite probably my favourite movie ever, I only saw half of the Exorcist [and the remake at that!] at 2am, and got so scared I had to watch Nickelodeon.

2/15/2006 12:03:00 AM  
Blogger Dickolas Wang said...

This reminds me of when I turned on MuchMusic a couple of years ago to find that Usher had a hit single with a song titled simply "Yeah". I threw my hands up and gave up on popular music; truly a new low.

2/15/2006 05:39:00 AM  
Blogger Peter Lynn said...

I threw up my hands and gave up when I found out someone decided to call himself "Usher". Okay, we get it: You work in a theatre. Stop rubbing our faces in it.

2/15/2006 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger Steve Ely said...

Hey, have you seen this and this?

3/25/2006 08:37:00 PM  

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