Once again a more intelligent and thoughtful writer than me puts into words exactly the thing that’s been bugging me for some time but which I haven’t been able to elucidate. The subject is “Snakes on a Plane.” Now I interviewed David Ellis, director of SOAP, a few weeks ago, and he was giddily happy about this upcoming project. He’s in on the joke, clearly. And he’s getting paid.

But is everyone else in on it? I mean, everyone thinks they’re part of this big gag, and the bloggers of the world like to feel that they’ve helped in making SOAP whatever it is that it’s become. (They aren’t screening it for press… I’ll see it on DVD, I guess.) But the studio almost certainly sees all those bloggers as little more than a $9.50 ticket. “You want snakes on a plane? Whatever you say, bub! Pay at the register.”

But enough from me. Here’s Chuck Klosterman: It’s more likely that you’re the kind of person who loves “bad” movies. You find poorly written films hilarious, and you enjoy their implausibility. Such sentiments are common; people who understand film tend to appreciate cinematic failure.

But here’s the thing: This kind of appreciation is based on the premise that the bad movie aspired to be good. If a film never takes itself seriously and originates as satire, everything is different; its badness means something else entirely. SOAP doesn’t fit into either category: It doesn’t take itself seriously, but it’s not a satire. It will probably be unentertaining in a completely conventional way. Which, apparently, is what people want. They want to see “Snakes on a Plane” in order to tell their friends that it’s ridiculous, even though … that’s the only thing everyone seems to know about this movie.

Esquire:Feature Story:The “Snakes on a Plane” Problem

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Christopher Null

Christopher Null is a veteran technology journalist and the owner of Null Media, a custom blogging company.