Saturday, October 1, 2011

Kill Bill does just that.

I've been thinking about movie titles a lot recently and I've decided that there exists about 3 categories every film can fall into:

1. The Cop Outs
2. The Cryptic/Clever Riddles
3 .The Truth in Advertisings

(Disclaimer- none of the following films are being either hated on or endorsed. I both like and dislike a lot of them, but that's not the point)

The Cop Outs are the easiest to detect. Any film named after the lead character that ISN'T called Forrest Gump (Erin Brockovich, Jackie Brown, Dave, Carrie, etc...)

Exceptions: Any movie named after the lead character in which said character is NOT human is okay though. E.T., Jaws, Piranha, Edward Scissorhands (this exists primarily is sci-fi as it turns out) (And movies about dogs called Old Yellar)

Other exception: When the name is only part of the title. Leon the Professional is not a cop out. Good Will Hunting is not a cop out. Goodbye Solo, also good.

Another good indicator of cop out titles is whether its based on the book. I get that the politics or marketing/hype involved with adapting a book into a film generally requires for the same title to be used, but despite the tradition, its still an easy out.

The Cryptic/Clever Riddles Ok not real riddles, but sometimes I finish watching a movie (good or bad) and then wonder where the title came from. Dog Day Afternoon, Winter's Bone, The Hurt Locker, The Breakfast Club, Breakfast at Tiffany's. All of these titles perfectly suit the films they serve, but they dont really explain why. What does the breakfast club have to do with breakfast? The dont eat it, they dont mention it. Despite being thrown together they're certainly not a real club. And yet we believe it. I like that.

Then there's the clever riddles. The ones that make some sort of play on themes, characters, feelings etc, without giving away too much. The Sound of Music is a great title. It's a musical, so the word music is relevant. But its about how music transforms, comforts, and enriches the lives of the Von Trapps, so The Sound of Music kind of nicely encapsulates that. But it doesn't spoil the plot in any way. Its great. Legally Blonde is another great title in that regard. All The Presidents Men another.

Truth in Advertisings This category is probably the easiest and most fun to detect. Titles of movies that deliver exactly what they promise. Snakes on a Plane. Kill Bill. 12 Angry Men. The Virgin Suicides (I know its named after a book). Hobo With a Shotgun. Three Men and a Baby. Ernest Goes to School/Jail/Hawaii/Wherever.

Generally movies with these kinds of titles are either amazing or terrible. The ones I just listed are all great for the record. They're also the most fun- frequently ones you see in theatres, or in groups.

Hurray titles! Im sure there's several more ways to categorize titles.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Epic and Ridiculous Things

I had a great conversation with a colleague tonight about what bands exist on people's radar, but never actually as anyones favourite. You know like Tonic and Len and stuff. Anyways I started thinking about movies that couldnt possibly exist in any reasonable person's TOP 10 and the first movie that sprung to mind was The Duplex starring Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore. A simple facebook search uncovered a group called "Duplex is the greatest movie ever". So apparently a whopping 19 people (out of 500 million) are complete morons. And probably all friends.

For my own entertainment I've made a list of 3 films I would also categorize as awful and am going to categorize their online followings. I have no qualms or illusions about the fact that this is totally irrelevant, but as Fran Lebowitz has taught me, self-esteem has been taken far too seriously and everyone on the planet thinks the world is just dying to know their take on things. (At the very least we could call this research based) (Right?)

1. Ghosts of Mars - Despite Pam Grier, this movie has an IMDB rating of 4.8. That's actually not terrible overall. I'd estimate its pretty average for a bad movie, and really the only way you can really get under 2 or 3 is to feature Paris Hilton on the cover. 2,408 people "like" this movie on facebook. That seems about right, I mean between Ice Cube, Clea Duvall, and Carpenter you've basically covered enough demographics to acquire 2400 or so fans.

2. Gigli- I dont think any individual component of this film is laughable, but there's just something about the combination of Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck and low-ranking mobsters that just didnt spell "legit". Gigli boasts 4,964 facebook fans, just slightly shy of beating out onion rings at 5,044.

3. Baby Geniuses - I would actually retract this from the list based solely on the fact that the little boy on the cover looks EXACTLY like my brother Max and that's just too damn adorable. We'll let the IMDB 2.2 rating (that's bottom 100- sans an Hilton affiliations) speak for itself.

I was going to do 10 and then 5 and I'm going to wrap it up at 3. I spend way more time thinking about movies I like than movies I dont.