Fair warning: there will be ranting, below. And profanity. And some more ranting. And maybe a Russ Meyer reference.
Please raise your tray tables up and put your seats in the full, upright position; on the other hand, smoke 'em if you got 'em.
For those who need to get up to speed, SNAKES ON A PLANE! is the once and future name of a movie in production right now. I say 'once' because it now bears the insipid name of Pacific Air Flight 121; and 'future' because Samuel Motherfucking Jackson - the only, and I repeat, only, immediately recognizable acting Name on this project - is on the case:
Beaks: One of those films that you’re working on right now is... well, it’s called "Pacific Air 121"
Jackson: Snakes on a Plane, man!
Jackson: We’re totally changing that back. That’s the only reason I took the job: I read the title.
Beaks: Snakes on a Plane! That’s everything!
Jackson: You either want to see that, or you don’t.
(BTW, H/T is Defamer: they've little more to add, but I thank 'em for the original head's-up)
My initial reaction was like Collider's ("When you hit upon a concept this sui fuckin’ generis, you are duty-bound to flaunt it in the film’s title.") - but then I asked myself the next question, which is precisely why any fool would have changed the name in the first place. This is not an idle question, and while the obvious answer ('Because they are, indeed, fools') may offer superficial satisfaction, we are best served in truly isolating out the precise strain of idiocy involved. After all, the first step in curing a disease is in its proper diagnosis.
What we have here is the pitfall of false self-respect. Maybe it's the director (who has a career that is, ah, interesting): maybe it's the writers (there are four writing credits to this movie, which are at least three and a half too superfluous); maybe it's just some random guy on the production staff who looked at the script, looked at his ornate BA in Cinema Arts, looked at the script again in horror*. Doesn't matter; at some point, it's clear that an Awful Realization had set in, and the name change can thus be seen as a natural attempt to keep that Realization at bay.
But it won't work. This movie is not going to be good cinema. It is not going to be any sort of cinema. It will not be camp. It will not be an art film. It will not become a cult classic. It will not be an endearingly spunky film. This is a movie about snakes. That get loose. On a plane. And presumably kill people. Before the plane crashes. Or blows up. There may be breasts involved, at some point. And maybe an underwater scene, at the end. But there will be no Message, or Meaning, or Moral. Just Snakes, on a Plane.
And there is nothing wrong with that.
This is the path to your redemption, oh movie men and women. This is your way out of Hell, not a craven denial of what you are and what you have become. But you must be strong. You must be true. You must embrace your inner Russ Meyer.
Yes, I said his name! Russ Meyer, of blessed memory; Russ Meyer, who the great Subgenius Reverend Ivan Stang once called the unchallenged master (along with Federico Fellini and Frank Capra) of his field**. Russ is all that can save you, now; if you let him, he will come down from his well-earned place in heaven and give you the courage to make the most glorious, best, God-damned snakiest Snakes in a Plane Movie*** ever made! He will show you the way to glorify your vision, to take it to places that you dared not dream go! The touch of his hand on your heart will inspire you to dig down deep and fling transcendent, stupendous nonsense on the screen! You will not be trapped in this decaying orbit of mediocrity; instead, with Russ as your Virgil, your descent into the Inferno of Crap will be more of a true Power Dive...
...and perhaps - perhaps! - you will come, like Dante, safe through to the other side, and well, and filled with the smug satisfaction that all your favorite enemies are still safely in Hell. A glorious vision, no?
SO CHANGE THE DAMN NAME BACK. Do it for your own sense of dignity. Do it for Russ Meyer, angels with cleavage speed him to his rest. Do it because I'll stop shouting to you if you do.
But just do it.
*If we had time, I'd discuss the apparently ubiquitous inferiority complex that Hollywood seems to suffer from (and which expanded the metaphoric impact of Boogie Nights to an extent possibly not consciously intended by its director); alas, we don't.
**Fellini was Weird Art: Capra was inspirational Hollywood mainstream; and Russ, of course, was crude lowbrow sleaze.
***Complete with large breasted women, of course. Russ was all about the breasts.