by Jack Douglass
"Enough is enough! I have HAD it with these [expletive] snakes on this [expletive] plane!"
When I heard this milestone line in the film "Snakes on a Plane", I cheered and yelled along with the rest of the freshmen (it's no stereotype- freshmen DO move in herds, and we're darn proud of it). It was the highlight of the movie, and everyone knew it.
The funny thing is, everyone saw it coming, too.
That line was born months ago on a blog, not unlike this one, as a suggested line for Mr. Samuel Jackson. Tons of teenagers and college students, loving the genius of the title, made their own short films that paid tribute to a movie that hadn't even been released yet (and whose main line had already been revealed). The hype began to build at an incredible pace as parodies and music videos flooded the internet. Soon the movie's rating received an "R" upgrade from its previous "PG-13" rating -- the company listened to the hype and even incorporated said line into the altered screenplay.
"Snakes on a Plane" didn't do nearly as well as predicted, actually. But for a movie with the main advertising mainly a plethora of online films done by college guys and their friends, it didn't do so terribly. Honestly, I don't remember seeing many trailers at all for this film, and yet all I ever talked about before leaving for college was how incredible "Snakes" would be.
What made all this possible? How did a Hollywood movie become a cult favorite months before it ever came out?
My answer is Youtube.
Youtube’s much more than an online film directory with tons of copyrighted material -- its very tagline is "Broadcast Yourself." Young aspiring filmmakers use it to show off their five-minute shorts (coughmecough) while singers and musicians showcase their own talents. All it takes is a quick search for talent agents and major corporations to find and categorize potential clients. Imagine the possibilities! A website, with daily hits in the millions, puts a video you made on the front page of the "comedy" section. Can you say "instant celebrity?"
Is this the future of filmmaking? Will the next Tarantino be scouted out through Youtube? If the guys at New Line Cinema took the advice of some anonymous blogger and goofy college kids with a camera, I'd say it's very possible. In fact, "Snakes on a Plane" isn't the first film whose script was altered due to "fan-fiction." Before "X-Men 3" reached theaters, another internet phenomenon became popular -- the infamous "Juggernaut" cartoon (Juggernaut is one of the "X-men" characters), which basically was a dubbed "X-men" cartoon with explicit material. The movie paid tribute in one of the scenes by having the Juggernaut recite verbatim one of the cartoon's lines: "Don't you know who I am? I'm the Juggernaut, [expletive]!"
Oddly enough, I never saw "X-men 3," but I have seen this exact scene only. Where?
Why, Youtube, of course.
(Promotional photo of "Snakes on a Plane" provided by New Line Cinema.)
by Jack Douglass