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Posted at 10:19 AM ET, 08/17/2006

10 Things You Should Know About 'Snakes on a Plane'

By Liz Kelly

In our lifetimes, an event of epic proportions is about to unfold. It has been foretold. As we speak, pilgrimages are being made to greet its arrival. Although not yet among us, it is already famous and it promises to change the course of... this weekend, if not cinema history.


Samuel L. Jackson. Snake. Plane. (Photo courtesy New Line Cinema)

I'm talking about "Snakes on a Plane" (SoaP) and, based on the hype surrounding this movie, the above paragraph is an understatement.

But.

If you're anything like me you have been cautiously monitoring this "SoaP" hullabaloo from afar, casually bemused by the posters, the promise of Samuel L. Jackson portraying yet another bad ass (he's just so good at it) and the prospect of over-the-top fake critter violence not seen since "Anaconda" or "Piranha." But, again, if you're like me, that's where your knowledge ends.

Help is at hand. Your fear of embarrassing yourself in the following scenarios is about to disappear: During officially-sanctioned-company-meeting-small talk time, while conversing with your chronically hip teens, trying to hold your own in an impromptu pop culture brag-fest. Below, 10 facts ranging from the mundane to the obscure to help you talk "SoaP."

10 Things You Should Know About "Snakes on a Plane"

1. The movie opens Thursday night at 10 p.m. ET (find showtimes). As reported in the Going out Gurus blog, some are planning to dress up for these first screenings. No reviews are available, though, because there were no early press screenings (the Gurus will post a review on this site early Friday, followed by a Style review online later that afternoon). A lack of press screenings is usually a bad sign, but it may not matter in the case of a movie that is betting on its B-movie status. Oh, it's also rated R, so be wary before dropping the tweens off for an evening at the multiplex.

2. The one-sentence premise: "On board a flight over the Pacific, an assassin bent on killing a passenger who's a witness in protective custody, lets loose a crate full of deadly snakes." (Courtesy IMDB)

3. In addition to Samuel L. Jackson, "SoaP" boasts a pretty good cast. Julianna Margulies ("E.R's" Nurse Hathaway), Kenan Thompson ("Saturday Night Live") and someone aptly named Taylor Kitsch all co-star.

4. Snakesonablog.com, a site created to chronicle one man's quest to attend the movie's Hollywood premiere (he succeeded), is the clearinghouse for all things "SoaP" related -- both official and unofficial.

5. Snakesonaplane.com is the movie's official Web site. Pretty run of the mill, except for the ability to send your unsuspecting friends a "personalized" call from Samuel L. Jackson.

6. A Samuel L. Jackson line suggested by fans on the Internet was allegedly added to the movie during reshoots: "That's it! I have had it with these [expletive] snakes on this [expletive] plane!"

7. A flickr search based on the movie title returns over 1,300 photos. Here are the full results, but I'm digging Snakes on a Plane on a Beach, this cartoon, this fool who already got the movie poster tattooed on his arm(!) and Yarnwench's puzzling contribution.

8. Jackson previously battled super-smart sharks in "Deep Blue Sea" and an otherworldly force in "Sphere."

9. Only one-third of the snakes in the movie are real and reportedly never came in contact with the lead actors; the others (snakes, that is) are either fake or computer-generated. Read an interesting article about the film's official snake wrangler.

10. New Line Cinema also broke tradition by partnering with CafePress on the merchandising for "SoaP." Hundreds of fan-created items are now legally for sale on the site.

For more information, visit Wikipedia's informative "Snakes on a Plane" entry.

By Liz Kelly  | August 17, 2006; 10:19 AM ET
Categories:  Pop Culture  
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Comments

Liz, just so you know, the link is misspelled and does not take us to this post - the washington part of the link is spelled "washingotn". I fixed mine manually, but I don't know if others will.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 17, 2006 10:35 AM | Report abuse

Is anyone else (besides Chuck Klosterman, that is) struck by the irony of a B-movie adored by hipsters, which was manufactured and marketed by soulless studio execs to be a B-movie adored by hipsters?

Can a B-movie be one if it's trying to be one? Would "Death Race 3000" have been as entertaining if, at some level, we didn't feel like the film makers actually thought it would be a good movie? And would Charleston Heston have starred in "Planet of the Apes" if he knew that 38 years later, dorks would be taking a break from World of Warcraft for an all-night Ape-athon?

Posted by: jw | August 17, 2006 10:52 AM | Report abuse

I JUST STOPPED AT #5 FOR LIKE 10 MINUTES! I wonder what happens... do they actually get a recorded "call"? Maybe I should have Sammi call my own phone... hahaha

Posted by: not bluto | August 17, 2006 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Cripes. Did you notice the amount of hair on the arm of the guy who got the SoaP tat? I think it's actually a verifiable sighting of Bigfoot!

Posted by: sen | August 17, 2006 11:07 AM | Report abuse

My friend sent me the call, and it's basically Samuel L telling you to go see the movie. But when you create the call on the website, you choose certain options to personalize it. For instance, I'm a bit of a gym rat, so Samuel L told me to 'stop posing in the mirror and go see the movie,' to paraphrase. It's short and sweet and pretty funny.

Posted by: Dakota Snakes | August 17, 2006 11:19 AM | Report abuse

So the phone actually rings? Haha! Awful, yet so great.

Posted by: not bluto | August 17, 2006 11:26 AM | Report abuse

I've heard that Samuel L Jackson decided to do the film without having read the script upon hearing its title from his agent. Also, during production the producers considered changing the title, but Jackson threatened to leave the film if they did. The best part of SOaP, its title, was thus preserved.

Posted by: rr | August 17, 2006 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I received one of those calls too.

It was amusing, but not as cool as if he'd started quoting bible verses or just started in on the whole Big Kahnuaburger/ Say *what* again, mother$V(&*r! bit.

bc

Posted by: bc | August 17, 2006 11:59 AM | Report abuse

SLJ is terrific and sexy no matter what movie he's in. Love his voice.

Posted by: Mainewoman | August 17, 2006 12:02 PM | Report abuse

I, too, would've signed up for the movie solely based on the title (as if anyone would ask me!).
It's GENIUS, but I wish the marquee read:
Motherf'ing Snakes on a Motherf'ing Plane, Motherf'r.

Posted by: miss belle | August 17, 2006 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I have two expectations for the film:

1) A solid, manic performance by Sam Jackson

2) A multitude of snakes on a plane

If it fulfills those two premises (which is all it seems to promise), I will consider my matinee ticket money well-spent. :)

Posted by: CentrevilleMom | August 17, 2006 12:30 PM | Report abuse

"Deep Blue Sea" is possibly my favorite movie. I don't know if this can match it...

Posted by: R | August 17, 2006 12:33 PM | Report abuse

JW, agree with your post. However, the execs tapped into something that I have been expressing for years....there is a lot of money to be made from nerds! Look at the Star Trek franchise or George Lucas. Nerds will buy anything and everything. Invest in nerddom and you will make bank!

Posted by: not a nerd, but willing to invest in them | August 17, 2006 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Google "snakes on a plane" you get 15,300,000 hits. Google "passion of the christ" you get 6,000,000. Worldwide "Passion of the Christ" gross = $610,000,000. $610,000,000 x 2.5 = $1,525,000,000.

Posted by: Mike | August 17, 2006 2:09 PM | Report abuse

As co-creator of "Snakes on a Plane on a Beach", I would like to thank you.

Posted by: Ian | August 17, 2006 2:37 PM | Report abuse

Nerdiness is the new cool . . . However, the old cool, is not nerdy. Neverthless, there is some ultra level of nerdiness that is still nerdy. I still don't know what happened to the old cool though. All I know is that nerds are still sissies, so the foundation of our social order is still intact.

Posted by: Kensington, MD | August 17, 2006 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Those are some weird pics on flikr, but I especially liked the one poster spoof "Liquids on a Plane". That pic of Sam Jackson is priceless!

Posted by: Anonymous | August 17, 2006 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Did any one catch "Anacondas - The Hunt for the Blood Orchid", set in Borneo, which is in Southeast Asia? I guess "Reticulated Python - The Hunt for the Blood Orchid" just isn't a scary enough movie title.hehe

Posted by: omni | August 17, 2006 3:17 PM | Report abuse

OOooh, I saw a show on one of the Discoveries about Reticulated Pythons (I lurve saying that, re-tic-u-lated) -- eek, imagine that one on the plane! Eating the pilot!

Posted by: miss belle | August 17, 2006 4:00 PM | Report abuse

OMG...i just checked out the phone call thing, and it is hysterical. It is so incredibly stupid, and I just about peed my pants listening to it, I was laughing so hard. So logically, I sent phone calls to all my family, friends, coworkers...heck, basically anyone within a two mile radius of me! This has got to be one of the greatest stupid things to have ever been invented by producers/publicists of a lame-ass movie!! Note: Although this theory has not yet been tested, I think it is probably best to send a message if you know the person is going to be around (it takes a few hours for it to get sent), as I imagine the beginning of the message gets cut off on an answering machine.

Posted by: living in Wmsbg, missing DC | August 17, 2006 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Bears on a Bus! Gator in the Elevator!

Posted by: Kansas City | August 17, 2006 4:06 PM | Report abuse

It's not alleged - Jackson confirmed it on his Daily Show appearance. "You asked for it; you got it!" Ah, the power of fandom.

Posted by: MB | August 17, 2006 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Not to overtly suggest subversion in the projectionist booth at the local Googleplex, but one wonders how many minutes it would take for patrons to notice if SOUL PLANE sprocketed onto the screen instead of SoaP. 'Twould be a stellar stunt. A job-terminating stunt, of course, and very likely infeasible. But stellar nonetheless.

Posted by: Thor | August 17, 2006 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Seems that an awful lot of people are missing the point of the internet meme, Snakes on a Plane. The point is there is no point. It's a ridiculous name for a movie, and thus it has become yet another way of being ridiculous on the internet for a laugh.

It's not hip. It's not about the irony of making a B-Movie for people who want to see a B-Movie. It's just silly. Just like "Steam Steam lol" or "Developers developers developers." Or Leeroy Jenkins. Or "O rly?" This kind of silly phrase just spreads around the internet while people laugh at the silliness.

The only people who take Snakes on a Plane seriously (the meme and the movie) are the folks that made the movie. Good luck making money on a joke that, in internet terms, is already a million years old.

Posted by: OldInternetGuy | August 17, 2006 5:30 PM | Report abuse

uh oh . . . looks like you have snakes on washingtonpost.com!!

Posted by: andrea | August 17, 2006 8:41 PM | Report abuse

olol!!1! OldInternetGuy pwnd SoaP!!1!!1! rawr! OMGLASERSPEWPEWPEW!!!1!!!

I hate memes. Espescially dork memes.

Posted by: jw | August 18, 2006 7:58 AM | Report abuse

This movie is hysterical...the audience was guffawing around me and screaming in fright periodically I loved it!!!!

Posted by: Ann in Las Vegas | August 21, 2006 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I'm in Chicago il. I planing go to Los Angeles after 3 monts but
may be you
can come
here?

--I have perfect idea about new historical film and i hope,you come to
me and
we decide it.This film be the best after Lord of the rings,or more
best.I have
many kinds of scenario and I trust- you come,sir and your company made
this beautiful film.Pleace I belive-spesialy your company can do it.I
like
New line cinema.Pleace,come to me quickly.

I don't understand,why your company keep silent???
I spesialy come to USA from Ukraine in hope so then you listen my plan.I
swear of my
life,
you don't be sorry.As for this film I have 7 different kinds of
scenario,olso you
can made beautiful separate film.Entreaty,no lose this possibility.This
idea of
all my life.I believe,only New Line Cinema can made best film(or
more).Hope
very much,please,come to me.After Lord of the Rings people want see only
that film.I believe-It's be O'K.Please,come quickly
-- MY other scenario:

In small town liwe priestwith his daughter(or wife),(or
wife&daughter).One day his
wife(or daughter,or both) go visit their friends(relatiwes) in other
town and
has disappear.Across 3 weeks in church come man and tell priest about
his sin.
3 weeks ago he hard kill girl(or woman or both)...(may be many
scoundrels?
On his neck priest see golden cross(priest"s present of she birthday)...
The priest are in front of heavy choice:break of God law and revense
oneself of
bandit(s);or every day see this man(s) who now is his new
neighbour(s)...
I have 8 version of scenario and ower 10 variants of name of film...
Come pleace after 6-30 p.m.,besause from 7a.m.I work in construction.
My dream:you come to me,listen many my ideas and proposals and we
do it together.Please,dont lose our chance-let me work for hollywood...
Chicago illinois Schybert west av.3507.
Yuriy Kovalyshyn.

Posted by: Yuriy Kovalyshyn | September 3, 2006 11:37 AM | Report abuse

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