Monday, August 21, 2006

No Snakes on This Blog

I was trying to be the only blog that never mentioned Snakes on a Plane in any stage of its life but then I realized that would be an achievement that nobody would notice. So I'm giving up since it lets me talk about some other crap that I care more about. At least marginally.

When I first heard the title ages ago I had a little chuckle and thought "cool". It reminded me of that brief and shiny moment back in nineteen-ninety-godiamsoold when that Nicolas Cage / Bridget Fonda movie was not called the generic It Could Happen To You but was referred to as Cop Gives Waitress 2 Million Dollar Tip. Mmmmm, high concepty. I like truth in titling but I had only a marginal interest in the movie. What killed it for me was the huge media dollars push for it which masqueraded as a grassroots fan movement. I was so sick of hearing about it. My opinion: Real cult movies are always accidental.

Now, if the snakes had dialogue or musical numbers and were all voiced by Sterling Holloway I woulda totally been on board. Especially if they resurrected that great Jungle Book sequence "Trust in Me" and made Samuel L Jackson's eyes go all hypnotic spiral. That woulda put my ass in a seat.

I'm not sure that this is as big of a disappointment as people are saying ($15 million for a B movie in late August? Sounds impressive to me) but then again... I'm fully aware that I'm not a numbers guy. I don't really get the box office fascination --or rather I get it but I could never indulge because I'd get too depressed.

Consider the following fact:
John Tucker Must Die, a cheap Mean Girls knock-off made something like 40 times what Heathers made. It also made more than the (completely unrelated) masterpiece Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. So did these fine 2006 releases: Date Movie, Little Man, RV, Scary Movie 4, The Lakehouse, Firewall, and dozens of others.

I'm sorry, here's a tissue. No. No. You can't have this bottle of pills. No! I don't trust you when you get like this.

In happier news, Monster House is holding well (good WOM) and the summer's WOM champ, The Devil Wears Prada is finally in the year's top ten. Go Meryl! This is now officially her biggest hit ever having surpassed even Lemony Snicket. Unless you adjust for inflation in which case I believe Kramer Vs. Kramer is still the champ. Either way, it's more than enough of a success to insure year-end awards play.

It won't stay in the top ten of course. We can't have a movie that good in the top ten, are you crazy? Gotta make room for Talladega Nights any second now... and more Clicks and DaVinci Codes and maybe a few more sequels like M:i:III that people want to see but no one will care about next year this time or even in a few months time.


adam k. said...

See, i like to follow the box office stuff and then just ignore it when I see something as egregious as John Tucker Must Die making more money that Eternal Sunshine. I only discuss it when there's a happy success story, like Devil Wears Prada or (shutup) Titanic.

And didn't Kramer make more than Prada even without adjusting? I thought it made like $180 million or sokmething ridiculous like that. Maybe I'm thinking of the adjusted total.


Kramer was a sensation for the 70s yes but it was around $108 before adjusting if i recall.

adam k. said...

Oops, yeah, I was wrong. I was thinking more of the adjusted total.

That's crazy that Prada Meryl's biggest it ever in her career. Let the awards-collecting begin.

Andy Scott said...

I agree about cult movies being accidental. I mean, half the fun of Showgirls is watching how seriously Liz Berkley 'n crew took themselves.

Ultimatley, I think SOAP simply took the whole "This is going to be the best bad movie ever made!!" thing way, way, way too far. Like you said, it took all the fun out of it, so much that I just couldn't get myself to see it this weekend. Oh well.

Jason Adams said...

Yeah, I was really looking forward to SoaP. About 6 months ago. By the time this weekend rolled around, I couldn't have cared less, it'd turned into a rental months ago. Something must be done about this advance hyping!

I mean, I'm part of the problem not the solution, I salivate over every casting rumor that comes down the pipeline for movies we won't see until two years from now, so I have no high moral ground to stand on here. It just feels like some sort of vortex is swallowing us all whole and reality just cannot keep up with the information.

adam k. said...

Yeah, I agree with ja.

SamuraiFrog said...

Thanks for pointing out the whole media-push-masquerading-as-grassroots-fan-campaign thing. That's what's offended me most about the SOAP "phenomenon." Thanks to sites like Defamer reporting on every damn inch of this thing, a lot of bloggers seem to believe that this is a case of the viewers dictating what they want to see; a triumph for consumer democracy. I'm much more cynical about it. It was all studio hype to try and ensure an audience by fooling them into believing they were a part of the creation.

Boy, what would make Samuel L. Jackson turn a movie down these days?

Anonymous said...

Meryl Streep adjusted for inflation ... I think Out of Africa did pretty well too, but I think, yeah, the Kramers had it beat.

Snakes on a Plane ... yeah, I really love it when the buzz is all about the buzz--not! $15 mil ain't bad, but considering the initial forecasts ... KERPLOP! Thank the Devil it's over.

Y Kant Goran Rite said...
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Anonymous said...

Along these lines, what's most depressing about working at a video store is watching Derailed and Memoirs of a Geisha sell out nightly, while for Brokeback Mountain and The New World, it's a good day when a single copy gets borrowed.

Also, just to accentuate my misery - we received 18 copies of Failure to Launch, 16 of Date Movie, 1 of The New World, and None of Me and You and Everyone We Know.

adam k. said...

I don't understand why terrible movies are so self-perpetuating in our culture. Even when they make no money and the critics hate them, they just keep showing up later.

You think it's over after theaters? Not! There it is on TV. There it is being rented. It's all over pay-per-view. It has product tie-in deals everywhere.

I guess it's the only way the studios can salvage the things, but come on. I guess I blame the public for somehow not knowing the difference between a good movie and a bad one, and always just buying what's in front of them.

Glenn Dunks said...
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Glenn Dunks said...

"It's not snakes on Brokeback Mountain. It's snakes on a plane!" ~ Samuel L Jackson discussing Snakes on a Plane.

I still really wanna see it (it's out here on Thursday).

On the matter of Meryl, I love that Prada is only, like, $70mil short of Superman Returns. Take that you boring hunk of junk!

It's also the 31st highest grossing movie of all time to never be at #1. That's... interesting.

I like following the box office. I find it so interesting what people will do. Yes, it's at times depressing, but by now I've become so blase to people going to see Date Movie over, well, good stuff that it's like some warped in joke.

BTW, Kramer made $106mil and it's widest release was 898 cinemas! Funny, SoaP was released on 3555 cinemas.


well back in the 70s there weren't as many screens. because they were, you know, bigger.

Mike z said...

Am I the only one who never thought that Snakes On a Plane is a clever movie title?

And I agretely complee with you that cult movies are accidental.

Robb said...

I am going to see this movie and like's why 1-I like snakes, it's people that irritate me. 2- it's the feel good comedy of summer. 3-i will be drunk 4- i will go see it at the drive in and observe the local whitetrash view one of their own masterpieces (too snotty?)Who wants to go with me?p.s. i saw "The Lakehouse" as well. Was it good? naw. Did I think it would be? nope. How come I went? easy- I am perfectly obsessed with Keanu Reeves.There I admitted it. phew!