Snacks on a plane (and other 'less ambitious' films)

This week, thousands of Twitter users imagined favourite movies with crucial differences. Rob Sharp explains

Saturday 08 January 2011 01:00 GMT

They are the online equivalent of those school situations when the class clowns out-do one another with their jaw-dropping wit. If you've never heard of Twitter trending topics, chances are you're working too hard.

This week one of the social networking site's trends, #lessambitiousmovies, has been swamped with posts including: The Devil Wears Uniqlo; Taxi Passenger and It's Not a Bad Life. Yesterday, #lessambitiousmovies was racking up 200 Tweets a minute. "A lot of movies have pretty epic titles," said cultural website Paste Magazine. "With #lessambitiousmovies, Tweeters have taken the liberty of making these titles more down to earth. PT Anderson's ultimate display of a man consumed by greed (There Will Be Blood) turns into a guy going to the doctor for a regular check-up (There Will Be Bloodwork)."

Twitter trends or "memes" are recognisable by their use of a "#" symbol inserted into a Tweet. They allow you to invite your "friends" or "followers" to view the Tweets of a third party, and can be used to draw attention to an important news story or simply something that tickles you.

However, #lessambitiousmovies has failed to inspire some Twitter users. Fox News's Andy Levy, based in New York, simply contributed: "Something That 25 Other People Have Already Done But I'm Too Lazy To Do a Search #everyhashtaggameever". What a party-pooper.

A flight into terror – they failed to load the peanuts! Michael Bywater plays screenwriter

Bridge Over the River Wye

Wartime movie set in Builth Wells as the unfeeling, faceless Ministry of Works oversees a group of stonemasons repairing moderate damage to the first and second piers of the bridge in rather poor weather.

American Physio

Wealthy Manhattan banker and socialite becomes increasingly withdrawn; eventually friends discover his hidden life: a secret apartment on W. 23rd St., where he entices young women (among others) before treating them for stiffness, pain or lack of mobility using a combination of exercise and massage, always respecting the ethical boundaries of a health professional.

The Last Temptation of Chris

A narrative to touch the soul as a man wrestles with temptation after temptation, only to fall, at the end, when the last Eccles cake proves too much. He eats it, lies to his girlfriend (in the celebrated "The Dog Must Of Eaten It, Innit" scene) and they have a bit of a row.

T: The Terrestrial

Ground-breaking SF movie: small-town kid finds a space alien in distress and takes it home. He befriends the creature but his parents uncover his secret and call in the military, who identify it as a perfectly ordinary toad (Bufo bufo). T earned an Oscar for the role of the perfectly ordinary toad, played by newcomer P O Toad (who failed to make the jump into mainstream acting).

The Mild Bunch

A gang of ageing guys who realise the world they knew is vanishing forever agree to meet up at Starbucks in Notting Hill Gate for a coffee. They agree that the West has moved on – nowadays you'd need to get out beyond Acton, really – but, honestly, what can you do?

Snacks on a Plane

A routine journey becomes a flight into terror as, bit by bit, passengers and crew alike realise that the ground handlers have forgotten to load any peanuts or pretzels. With Michael O'Leary having hysterics back at HQ, will they make it safely down with their profit margin gone?

The Fourth Man

Post-war Vienna. The tripartite occupation. Smuggling, prostitution, the black market, high tensions and inexplicable disappearances. At the heart of it: Erwin Biró, fourth chef du rang at the Griechenbeisl, who spent the war in St Anton but returned to Vienna to find his house and neighbourhood pretty much untouched and his old job waiting for him.

Annette Karenina

Greta Garbo, Fredric March and Freddie Bartholomew have nothing to do with this 1936 project, directed by Arnie Lipschitz, amateur cinematographer and owner of a white goods store in Armonk, NJ. The movie was a vehicle for Gladys Plotnik, Lipschitz's book-keeper. Plotnik plays a married Russian emigrée who falls in love with the owner of a white-goods store in Armonk, NJ, but rather than face the social opprobrium of divorce decides to be his mistress on the side, no strings attached. Hopefully odious.

Moby Derek

1956 maritime drama; the tale of how a whaler-captain, Ahab, got over his resentment against the great white whale who cost him his leg, found closure and moved on. The story is told from the POV of Moby Derek, Ahab's faithful pet mackerel. The first (and, to date, only) example of Fish Dogme.

Lowered Expectations

Romantic drama: an escaped criminal is recaptured by the security forces, to the excitement of a small boy who resolves to become a policeman and marry a local girl. Things go wrong when, on secondment to the Met, he has too much to drink and is sick in the waste-paper bin. How the others laugh!


In everyday life, nobody gave him a second glance. He was just... there. Part of the furniture. But at night, he became... Spider-spider, swinging on a web of high-tensile spidey-silk from wall to wall. Then at daybreak, he returned to his existence as a spider, swinging on a web of high-tensile spidey-silk from wall to wall.

...and here's some others you may wish to envisage

*The Devil Wears Uniqlo

*Fun Run Man


*Bridge Club

*Ferris Bueller Takes 5

*Who's Afraid Of Virginia Bottomley

*Enter the Dachshund

*The Man Who Would Be Mervyn King

*Apocalypse In A Few Moments


*The Bourneville Ultimatum

*The Mancunian Candidate

*Vicky Christina Bournemouth

*There Might Be Some Blood, There Might Not Be, Who Knows?

*Star Wars: The Empire Turns The Other Cheek


*Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Film Festival

*The DeVito Code

*The Occasional Gardener

*Dude, There's My Car!

*Mulholland Drive-in

*The C-Team

*Full Metal Cardigan

*The Hitchhikers Guide to Leeds


*Charlie and the Chocolate Biscuit

*No Armchairs For Old Men

*Shakespeare in Hove

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