Old MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Snakes, snakes, & more snakes on a plane

Snakes on a Plane is silly fun, and delivers on the snakes — CGI creatures with monster-movie attributes. But the one (perhaps only) thing it does well is to recreate the look and feel of a tossed-off movie of the ’70s. Cheesy, pastel sets, bad hair, lame jokes, none of that streamlined, calculated appeal to the bottom line that characterizes movies today. I half expected to see Jan-Michael Vincent show up any moment as a flight attendant.
But what’s with Julianna Margulies? She looks as if all character has drained from her face. I hope she didn’t get “work” done.
New Line didn’t screen in advance for critics, although there was no reason not to. As long as you see this with a late-night, rip-roaring-drunk crowd, it’s quite acceptable — even though horribly directed by David R. Ellis, who misses every opportunity to exploit the personalities of the passengers on the snake-bedeviled plane. The kickboxing dude? The girl who’d do anything for her dog? Come on — let’s get some action going! Kick-boxing with the cobra, perhaps? Last licks on behalf of the lapdog?
Because they’re motivated by an overdose of pheromone spray, the snakes tend to attack the passengers’ sex organs whenever possible, which sent last night’s first paying audience into appropriate spasms of hooted ecstasy. Fangs for the mammaries, indeed.
I’ve spent the Morning After sending personalized greetings from Samuel L. Jackson to my friends, courtesty of the movie’s interactive website.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon