Friday, December 14, 2012

Titles That Lie

A friend brought my attention to how Abbott and Costello never actually go to Mars in Abbott and Costello  Go to Mars and I got to thinking about the way different movie titles lie or mislead. I asked my coworkers to throw in some suggestions. Here’s a list of some favorites:

Abbott and Costello Go to Mars – Except that they don’t. They go to Marti Gras and Venus.

The Greatest Story Ever Told – I’ve seen better. Frequently.

Troll 2 – Not only isn’t there an ‘original’ Troll movie, there aren’t even any trolls. The movie’s about goblins.

Curse of the Cat People – This “sequel” to Cat People has neither curses nor cat people. It’s actually a rather touching story about a child whose dead mother becomes her invisible friend.

Only Angels Have Wings – What about birds, bats, some insects, planes, pegasi, dragons, large estates, libraries, theaters, windmills, soccer teams, Paul McCartney and Hooters?

Armageddon – The title promises one thing, and then the movie deliberately doesn’t give it to you.

The Last Picture Show – This came out in 1971 and there’ve been bunches since.

White Men Can’t Jump – Patently untrue.

The Neverending Story – More accurately The 1 Hour 42 Minute Story. Hmmm… not as catchy.

Boys Don’t Cry – While it’s true that boys don’t have emotions, they often cry when chopping onions.

Mission Impossible – Unless they make a movie about Tom Cruise trying to divide by zero or something, it would be more honest to rename the franchise Mission Improbable.

They Won’t Believe Me – Spoiler: They do… only too late.

It’s a Wonderful Life – It’s kind of eh.

To Kill a Mocking Bird – The early screenings had a lot of disappointed hunters expecting a documentary.

A Thousand Clowns – Falls 999 clowns short.

I, Robot – Though the title comes from Isaac Asimov’s short story collection, the film is actually an adaptation of Jeff Vintar’s Hardwired (but considering that Hardwired takes place within a single room, it’s not very faithful to that either). The movie is about robots rebelling and killing, the exact opposite of what they do in Asimov’s works: serving and protecting.

Dead Man Walking – Not a zombie movie.

Serenity – One of the least apt spaceship names in science-fiction.

Back to the Future – Should really be Back to the Present and, besides, they travel to the past.

Can’t Hardly Wait – A movie about a bunch of high school graduates, none of whom are eagerly anticipating college. They’re either stuck in the past or living in the moment.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof – Sounds like it ought to be a great youtube video, but it’s actually about Elizabeth Taylor shrieking and Paul Newman sulking.

The Longest Day – Set on June 6th, 1944 although the longest day in 1944 was actually June 21st.

Fidelity – It’s more often about the opposite.

Eyes Without a Face – More a case of too many faces than too few.

Brazil – Not set there; not a single scene.

To Have and Have Not – “Adapted” from the novel by Ernest Hemingway if by adapted you mean has the same title and a few characters with matching names. The plot was shamelessly plucked from Casablanca.

Made in the USA – A French film.

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