Monday, August 21, 2006

Snakes on a Plane

If the producers hadn't taken Samuel L. Jackson's advice and changed the original title, Snakes on a Plane, to Pacific Air Flight 121 it's very conceivable that audiences may have gone into this movie and been shocked to see how silly it is. Even though Hollywood's joined in on the campy bandwagon, playing up the concept's silliness for all its worth, the movie itself (with one key exception I'll discuss later) is refreshingly unaware of its inherent stupidity. As my brother said after he saw it Thursday night, "Even though they knew they were making a bad movie, they managed to make it seem like they didn't."

That, of course, makes all the difference. As Sontag observed, the best camp objects are the ones that don't know their camp, they have to be discovered by the audience: unintentional humor, like so many things, is in the eye of the beholder. And while intentional unintentional humor can be pulled off — see 2004's Lost Skeleton of Cadavra — it's difficult less satisfying and, in a way, less pure than the real deal.

And Snakes on a Plane is most certainly not the real deal. As soon as New Line began paying more attention to Ain't It Cool trolls than their own executives, demanding reshoots that included Jackson hollering the oh-so-satisfying line "Enough is enough! I've had it with these muthaf&#(in snakes on this muthaf&#(in plane!", the line between accidental and coldly calculated was definitively crossed.

But kudos to director David R. Ellis and the rest of the crew: this mutha is so stupid, it's hard to believe they wanted it to be this stupid. I mean the villain alone is the most hilarious of any movie of 2006: a vicious Asian gangster named Eddie Kim, who cackles as he kills a prosecutor then explains his evil plan — y'know, the one that involves the snakes on the plane — by saying "I had no other options!" Well, yeah, when you have no other options, you chuck some snakes on a plane. I do that all the time.

The only exception to Snake's straight-faced approach is Samuel L. Jackson, who grimaces, grunts, and jokes his way through the movie, doing everything possible to display his open contempt for the snakes short of turning to the camera and remarking "Can you believe this shit?" His performance plays like an audition tape for the next Zucker brothers movie. In Jackson's deadpan, profane exhaustion we may have finally found our generation's Leslie Nielsen.

What I admire most about Snakes on a Plane is its restraint. Ellis only killed one guy via snake bite to the penis when a lesser director who have gone back to the well three or four times. By putting a professional kickboxer, Ellis gave himself the opportunity to show a man karate kicking a snake in the head but he didn't take it; instead, he went the classier route, and had the kickboxer karate chop the snake. And where another man might have forced Jackson and Marguiles into an ill-advised romance Ellis — well, okay, he sort of does that. But it's totally tasteful. And sexy.

Still nothing in Snakes on a Plane was half as crazy as the trailer for Jackson's next movie, Black Snake Moan, in which he chains Christina Ricci to his sofa and refuses to let her leave until she changes her wicked ways. "I want this muthaf#$*in white girl off my muthaf$&@in couch!"


Blogger vkk1_hypno said...

I am sure you have heard the song "Karma Chameleon" by Culture Club but have you ever given much thought to its meaning? While on Earth, you are living in a world of reincarnation which is governed by the law of karma. Karma begins to propel you as Soul on a personal journey through the universe. Karma ends when you have reached enlightenment and fully realise that this physical reality and the Universe itself is just an illusion. When you reach a state of knowingness that there is but One all pervading essence and that essence or consciousness is You!
So what is Karma and how does it work? While in the illusion you have a soul. This soul lives past, present, and future lives. To grow in love, joy, and awareness, you reincarnate into a series of physical bodies to experience different existences. This road leads to the experiences of being both sexes, all races, religions, and ethnic types throughout many lifetimes.
Karma in its simplicist terms can be described by the biblical statement "as you sow, so also shall you reap". Karma is the principle of cause and effect, action and reaction, total cosmic justice and personal responsibility. It brings 'good' experiences as well as 'bad' - a debt must be repaid and a blessing rewarded.

A more indepth esoteric look at karma gives us the following distinctions: Sanchita Karma: the accumulated result of all your actions from all your past lifetimes. This is your total cosmic debt. Every moment of every day either you are adding to it or you are reducing this cosmic debt. Prarabdha Karma: the portion of your "sanchita" karma being worked on in the present life. If you work down your agreed upon debt in this lifetime, then more past debts surface to be worked on. Agami Karma: the portion of actions in the present life that add to your "sanchita" karma. If you fail to work off your debt, then more debts are added to "sanchita" karma and are sent to future lives. Kriyamana Karma: daily, instant karma created in this life that is worked off immediately. These are debts that are created and worked off - ie. you do wrong, you get caught and you spend time in jail.
As a soul, you experience a constant cycle of births and deaths with a series of bodies for the purpose of experiencing this illusionary world gaining spiritual insights into your own true nature until the totality of all experiences show you Who you really are - the I AM! Until you have learned, you will find that pretending that the rules of karma do not exist or trying to escape the consequences of your actions is futile.
Although it may often "feel" like punishment, the purpose of karma is to teach not to punish. Often the way we learn is to endure the same type of suffering that we have inflicted on others and also rexperience circumstances until we learn to change our thinking and attitudes.

We are all here to learn lessons as spiritual beings in human form. These lessons are designed to help us grow into greater levels of love, joy, and awareness. They teach us our true nature of love. Where we do not choose love, show forgiveness, teach tolerance, or display compassion, karma intervenes to put us back on the path of these lessons. Quite simply, the only way to achieve a state of karmic balance is to be love.
Before you incarnated into your present personality, you agreed to put yourself in the path of all that is you need to learn. Once you got here, you agreed to forget this. Karma is impersonal and has the same effect for everyone. It is completely fair in its workings and it is predictable - "do onto others as you would have them do unto you" is a way to ensure peace and tranquillity in your own life as well as the lives of those you come into contact with. The law of karma is predictable - "as you sow, so shall you reap" what is done to you is the net result of what you have done to others!
Karma gives you the opportunity at every moment to become a better person than you are and to open up to the realization that you are the master of your own fate.

The goal of karma is to give you all the experiences that you need to evolve into greater levels of love, joy, awareness, and responsibility. Karma teaches that you are totally responsible for the circumstances of your life. They keep you on the straight and narrow until you have mastered your vehicle and can ride freely on your own. Once you understand that you are the master of your own circumstances and that everything you experience is a direct result of your past actions due to your thinking and emotional responses you can overcome its seeming negative effects by creating only 'good' karma.
Karma forces us to look beyond ourselves (oneness) so that we can see ourselves as we truly are Whole, Complete, at One with everything. Once we truly understand ourselves, we can see our divinity and our unity with all life.
Karma drives us to service. Love means service. Once you accept total responsibility for your life, you see yourself as a soul in service to God. Once you do, you become a fully realized being, allowing God to experience the illusion through you.
Belief in karma and an understanding of its workings will lead you to a life of bliss. Only your own deeds can hinder you. Until the time comes when we release ourselves from our own self-imposed shackles of limitation and fully understand who and what we are we will live under the mantle of karma. So until that day why not create some wonderful experiences for ourselves by "doing onto others, as we would have them do unto us". personal development

11:11 AM  

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