Five Misleading Movie Titles That Will Ruin Movie Night
By Clark Savage for TheHumbleHeckler.com
(Editor’s note: Film critic Clark Savage is currently pursuing a rigorous 12-step program in an effort to treat his ongoing issues with anger management.)
Naming a movie is not rocket science, people. Simplicity is the key. No need to get cutesy. No cause for pretense. Just keep it simple. There’s no such thing as oversimplifying a movie title. Psycho, Ghostbusters, The Jerk, The 40-Year-Old-Virgin, Black Christmas, Jaws, Alien—see how easy that is. But for some people, keeping it simple just isn’t an option, and the result is always an exasperating, rage-inducing experience that reminds me of why I enjoy headbutting things. Here, in no particular order, are five of the more egregious examples of criminally misleading movie titles and the cinematic turds that must forever bear the burden their uninspired monikers.
(1) The Man Without a Face (1993). What a wasted opportunity. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only guy who showed up at the theater expecting to see a wacked-out sci-fi thriller or some kind of ultra-bizarre gore-fest of a horror film about some poor schlub whose face is missing. Instead, I sat through a touchy-feely movie about a teacher and a student and their … feelings. Give me a break. This movie should’ve been called The Movie Whose Story is Boring as Balls. What a disappointment. The title just flat-out lies. The main character survived an accident that left half of his face horribly disfigured. So … not only does this guy have a face, his face is by far the most interesting thing about him. It’s also the only interesting thing about this cheesy, melodramatic-to-a-fault snore bomb. Screw this movie!
(2) Seabiscuit (2003). So, get this … Seabiscuit is a freakin’ horse. A horse! Back in 2003, when I heard that I’d be reviewing a movie called Seabiscuit, I was psyched. How could I not be psyched? I mean, what in the holy hell is a Seabiscuit? I certainly had no idea. But I’ll tell what I didn’t think it was—a freakin’ horse. And not only is Seabiscuit a horse, it’s a horse that has no business being a champion racehorse because it’s not big enough, not strong enough, not blah blah blah. Pick any sports movie cliché and you’ll find it in abundance in Seabiscuit. So we’re left with a crappy title and a boring, predictable story. To make things worse, the good folks at Universal Pictures want us to believe this steaming pile of jockey chow is based on a true story. Like anyone would ever name a horse Seabiscuit. Anyway, this movie, like its titular star, should be turned into glue and used to seal the eyelids of anyone who even thinks about watching this cinematic crime against nature.
(3) Working Girl (1988). Let’s begin by saying that director Mike Nichols’s definition of a “working girl” differs greatly from mine. To be clear, anyone who grew up speaking English as their first language knows that “working girl” means prostitute—plain and simple. So, what the hell, man? Nichols completely squanders his opportunity to create an erotic thriller or a super-sexy comedy in order to drum up the same old pot-boiled crap about women in the workplace. Forget the glass ceiling, this film needs to be shattered—then it needs to be buried in hallowed ground, blessed by a holy man, and forever entombed in as many tons of concrete as possible.
(4) Chariots of Fire (1981). Where do I even begin with this one? Let’s start with the story: Two dudes who love running—that’s right, running—spend an absurd amount of time, well … running, and eventually they end up—you guessed it—running in the 1924 Paris Olympics. And it gets worse. Unless you’re one of the few unfortunate souls out there who just can’t get enough synthesizer, the score by Vangelis will make you want to beat yourself to death with a frying pan. A friend of mine used to play this soundtrack in his house until he came home from work one day to find all the cats in his neighborhood had committed mass suicide on his front lawn. The poor things just couldn’t take it anymore. And, finally, let’s not forget that there is not one single shot of a chariot engulfed in flames. Not one. In fact, there aren’t any chariots at all. Avoid this rotting corpse of a film as if your chariot were on fire.
(5) To Kill a Mockingbird (1962). I hate mockingbirds, so try to see this from my perspective. Yeah, yeah, I know … the film works as a masterful portrait of poverty and racism in American society; and sure, it even evolves into a devastating criticism of ignorance and intolerance. But there is not a single tip concerning the extermination of mockingbirds. And I really need help with mockingbird eradication. You should see my car. It looks like these A-hole mockingbirds ate a Jackson Pollock painting, followed it with the contents of a Taco Bell dumpster for dessert, then decided to park themselves in the oak tree that shades my driveway. I don’t even remember my car’s original color. So, thanks for nothin’, To Kill a Mockingbird. Way to leave a brother hangin’.