Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A long aside about referencing Samuel L. Jackson

So SLJ is a big American cliché, right? And he’s always been in movies that reference the cliché, like Pulp Fiction, where his character is like one giant knowing wink at ‘70s blaxploitation. But at some point referencing the cliché became a cliché in itself, so that the wink at the ‘70s turned into a wink at winking at the ‘70s. (This transition probably took place in 2000, when he starred in the remake of Shaft.) So when bloggers demanded that SLJ say “I want those motherfucking snakes off this motherfucking plane” in the movie of roughly the same name, they were really asking him to reference the reference to the reference.

As such, while I still think his is the best name to drop when you’re looking for a famous tough guy, I’m kind of baffled by the hype surrounding Snakes on a Plane. (The Citizen and I came across a guy we know biking down 2nd Avenue on Thursday night whopping “SNAKES ON A PLANE! SNAKES ON PLANE!” like some kind of Time Warner-sponsored Paul Revere.) I wish I could share in the joy, but it just takes too much effort to peer through all those layers of ironic distance.

And then this is the other thing: I sort of feel like this entire post is incredibly obvious. Doesn't everyone know that it's boring to see Samuel L. Jackson play yet another badass? Is there something I'm missing? Maybe I'm just not excited enough about snakes. (But if it were Bears on a Plane? With Werner Herzog narrating a la Grizzly Man? And turning it into a story about the eternal struggle between man and nature, at 30,000 feet? That, I'd go see.)


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