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.

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