Sure, it may be five years since Snakes on a Plane hit theaters. (“Today, yes, it’s hard to imagine Snakes on a Plane being central to anyone’s life,” writes The Atlantic today of the film that one moron at the time called either “Airplane! meets United 93 or Soul Plane meets Turbulence 3: Heavy Metal.”) But today is also another anniversary: it’s been 3898 days since the release of Dude Where’s My Car?
Lest we forget, the pre-meme Dude Where’s My Car? changed American cinema in what are, from our vantage point, increasingly more obvious and important ways, and ways totally unrelated to the Internet. It starred a young Ashton Kutcher (then just 23, and yet to become the editor of Details magazine!) and also Seann William Scott, now 34 and fresh out of rehab. Dude Where’s My Car? was an wildly important experiment in the dumbing-down of American entertainment and a fresh entry in the Hollywood cost analysis game. Made for $13 million, without the fiscal example of DWMC? there would be no lingering Final Destination franchise (also begun in 2000), and then later, no Saw franchise (begun in 2004), no Harold and Kumar (also begun 2004), and, of course, no Snakes on a Plane in 2006. In fact, 2000 was a turning point in the business of movie-making: Scary Movie also first arrived in 2000, forever to be remembered as the year that it was rediscovered that comedy could be made on the cheap (in every sense). Something Leslie Nielsen and friends knew all along, of course, RIP.