In my continuing quest to turn this column into a clearinghouse for all things “Snakes on a Plane,” my favorite unreleased movie, I would like to write about a Time magazine article I stumbled across recently. The interview with Samuel L. Jackson, who plays the protagonist in this film that involves hundreds of snakes being let loose on a commercial airliner, mentioned that several scenes had recently been re-filmed in order to change the movie from a PG-13 to an R rating.
Apparently the response from fans was so overwhelming (I’m sure largely prompted by my January Hatchet column on the movie) that the producers went back and incorporated some of their suggestions into the movie – including a sexy encounter in the airplane’s bathroom that gets interrupted, increased man-on-snake violence and the addition of Jackson uttering a line pre-destined to be a classic: “I want these motherf***ing snakes off this motherf***ing plane!”
This got me thinking – what if I could go back and re-film parts of my GW experience? As my time here comes to a close, I’ve been increasingly infected with a crippling nostalgia that uncontrollably manifests itself in places like this column.
Inspired by this absurd premise and determined to incorporate “Snakes on a Plane” one last time, I began to ask myself, what would I go back and change about the last four years?
I set aside the obvious temptation to pump up the sex to levels that would have turned my life into “Adam Does D.C.” I came up with a few mundane things, like editing out the several hundred hours that I spent in that Gelman basement computer lab looking at Facebook instead of doing work, or going back in time and preventing myself from ever installing Snood on my computer.
As I sat back and took stock of my time at GW, I realized that my last four years here have been a remarkable array of experiences and events set against the backdrop of a school that lived up to the saying “something happens here.” Like the time I convinced a cast member from “The West Wing” to call and ask out a girl I liked for me (she said no). Or listening to former Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry backstage at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. How about asking Jon Stewart for a reach-around in front of 5,000 people at the Smith Center, including my own parents. It wasn’t just the memories from these extraordinary times, but also the memories that filled them in.
The real reason that graduation terrifies so many seniors isn’t just the lack of jobs, housing or law school acceptance letters – it’s the departure from the concrete order that you have lived under for so long. College graduation may be the last chapter of your life with a conclusion you already know. From here on out it’s all unknown.
For me, the scariest part of the last four years has actually been the slow realization that I’ve already started to become all of the things that I wanted to grow up and be: a speechwriter, a presidential campaign staffer and, thanks to The Hatchet, a writer who could get endless rants about “Snakes on a Plane” published. It’s scary because it has almost been too easy here at GW to survive in the real world, learn something along the way and have fun while doing it.
So what would I go back and change? Looking back now, I’m not sure that I would change anything. Not the broken hearts, not bad nights that led to even worse mornings, or even the Kerry loss (well maybe not that one). If I’ve learned anything from bad science-fiction movies about time travel, it’s that you don’t mess with a good thing.
Actually, I take that back. Maybe there is one thing that I would change. I’d like to make Samuel L. Jackson this year’s graduation speaker. Lets just call it “Snakes at Commencement.”
-The writer, a senior majoring in Political Communication, is a Hatchet columnist. He will be camping outside the movie theater the day before “Snakes on a Plane” is released.