23 February 2006
Barflier than thou
Have you ever looked at a film and wonder "Who the hell came up with this title?"
Me too. And so has Anne Billson:
The Quay brothers have called their new film The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes. Big mistake. It may well be a masterpiece but I'm sorry, that title is pretentious and whimsical and goes straight into my sin bin, next to The Legend of the Pianist on the Ocean and The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants.
Let there be simplicity:
My ideal title is short, sharp and memorable. You know where you are with Jaws and The Godfather, while Barfly works unexpectedly well as an adverb. But my current favourite is a Samuel L. Jackson thriller, now in post-production, called Snakes on a Plane. How's that for a title! Let us just pray it doesn't turn out to be a metaphor.
Would Samuel L. Jackson lead you astray? Snakes on a Plane, believe it, is about a plane. With snakes on it. Posted at 6:18 AM to Almost Yogurt
The title may not be metaphorical, but how do we know the actual plane and/or its actual snakes, aren't?
Of course, that's the way movies should work: the title tells you what you're going to see, while the meaning of what you see may be entirely unrelated to ... what you see.
Until I have some reason to think otherwise, I'm following the lead of screenwriter Josh Friedman:
Now out of both loyalty to the sacred bond between studio and screenwriter and also a serious desire to keep getting hired in this town, I will not give away any of the plot details of SNAKES ON A PLANE. But know this. As the great Sam Jackson would say: There are [Oedipal epithet redacted] snakes on the [likewise] plane.
What else do you need to know? How the snakes get on the plane, what the snakes do once they're on the plane, who puts the snakes on the plane, who is trying to get the snakes off the plane... This is not for you to ponder. There are snakes on the plane.
Now if all this winds up like a season of Dallas which turned out to be All A Dream, I will recant. Loudly.
I like long titles-- the longer the better:
The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea
The End of the World in Our Usual Bed in a Night Full of Rain
Swept Away by an Unusual Destiny in the Blue Sea of August
The Fearless Vampire Killers or Pardon Me, But Your Teeth Are in My Neck
One of the best noir films ever is not as well-known as it ought to be because someone had the bright idea of titling it "The Strange Love of Martha Ivers". Barbara Stanwyck, Kirk Douglas as an alcoholic weenie, much more, and they didn't have the sense to use one of the working titles, "Love Lies Bleeding" or "Meaningful Glances", which are at least adequate.
Wow. Now, I'm going to be dissappointed if "Snakes on a Plane" doesn't feature actual snakes on a plane.
Me too. Regardless of any possible reptilian incest in which they may be engaging.
It takes place in a woodworking shop. There are snakes on the plane, tarantulas on the bandsaw...