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Ten films that defied their obscure titles


After the trailers have faded, what clues are left to what it is we're thinking of watching..?

Russian Roulette in 'The Deer Hunter' (1978)

Film titles can be pretty obscure, often having absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the film's subject matter. In fact, the general rule of thumb is ‘the more obscure, the better’. Hey, who would have figured that a suitable title for a film about gun-toting, wise-cracking, smartly-dressed gangsters would warrant the title Reservoir Dogs? I’ve watched that film a lot, and there are no dogs. Not even one. Not even a reference to one. Seems a tad misleading. This got me thinking: imagine if films were actually about what the title suggests. If so, I think that we would be in for a boring ride. Here is a list of the most-misleading film titles. Thank goodness...

10: Law Abiding Citizen (2009)

Gerard Butler in 'Law Abiding Citizen'

This tale of revenge, torture and big explosions would have been very different had Gerard Butler’s character not wanted to get in any trouble. Just imagine an hour and 40 minutes of sticking to the speed limit, insisting that he only cross the road at allocated crossings, tickling being his chosen method of torture and his only weapons being his razor-sharp intellect and a truly outrageous American accent.

9: Apocalypse Now (1979)

Charlie not surfing in 'Apocalypse Now'

Now, I like a big-ass explosion as much as the next person, but I certainly wouldn’t want to pay to watch a film about the world ending via this method. At first, I admit, it would be interesting, but depending how long the actual point of the apocalypse would last for, I reckon we’d all get bored. And just imagine the disappointment if you thought that you were paying to see the world end all dramatically, and all it did was implode silently. That certainly wouldn’t win any awards.

8: The Constant Gardener (2005)

The Constant Gardener

If this tale of a man trying to discover the truth behind his wife’s murder was in fact a story following actor Ralph Fiennes as he prunes his roses and digs out his weeds, I doubt that it would have done so well at the box office. Although if there was a ride on a lawnmower that somehow got out of hand and couldn’t go below a certain speed, then that might be a little bit interesting. Sure, it’s been done before though…

7: Home Alone (1990)

Home Alone

This tale of mischief, burglary and a touch of child cruelty starring Macaulay Culkin, back in the days when he wasn’t terrifying to look at, could have been a whole different story if it had been true to its title. Who wants to watch a flick about someone pottering round the house, engaging in a spot of channel surfing before finally popping in that microwave meal for one and settling down in front of EastEnders? Not me.

6: The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Anthony Hopkins in 'The Silence Of The Lambs'

Granted, lambs are cute, and downright tasty, but as much as I like to see a lamb leaping around a spring meadow come April time, I don’t want to sit there and watch one that’s not doing anything. In fact, if you think about it, a totally silent lamb, doing nothing and just staring at you is pretty menacing. I’d prefer a spot of cannibalism any day.

5: Factory Girl (2006)

Factory Girl (2006)

Picture it, rather than a tale of the relationship between icons, Edie Sedgwick and Andy Warhol, instead the film follows Maud, a humble factory worker who’s job it is to watch a conveyor belt full of beef burgers and make sure that they all come out round. Throw in a few fag breaks, a hair net and a few strong cups of tea and you’re onto a winner.

4: The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)

The Men Who Stare At Goats

Much like the lamb situation, goats aren’t really that interesting and if I didn’t even get to look at the goats themselves and instead had to sit and watch a bunch of men stare at them, I think we’d all get bored pretty fast. Unless they were naked; but then that’s a whole different type of movie.

3: The Big Sleep (1946 / 1978)

The Big Sleep (1946)

This film was so good, they made it twice. I can’t really see them making a version where people congregate together somewhere and then collectively fall asleep. It would be mightily impressive if somehow they managed to coordinate it so that everyone falls asleep at the same time but then after that we would be stuck with people napping. The odd twitch or sleep talking/ walking might promise a little excitement, but I wouldn’t want to pay £10.50 down my local megaplex to watch it.

2: Anchorman (2004)

Anchorman (2004)

Everyone enjoys a little Will Ferrell once in a while but I imagine that even the most diehard fan would zone out a little if the story was not of Ron Burgundy and the Channel 4 news team but instead the tale of a dude that hangs out on a boat and who’s job it is to drop anchor every once in a while. This would be made even more boring by modern technology. Back in the day, I’m sure that pulling up anchor would have been hard work that would involve a certain amount of elbow grease and team participation. Now, it just involves pressing a button. So basically it would be a movie about a man pressing a button. Rubbish.

1: The Deer Hunter (1978)

The Deer Hunter (1978)

Frankly I quite like deer, and the idea of seeing one hunted doesn’t really do it for me. We’ve all seen Bambi, and frankly its quite upsetting. The consequences of what might seem like a casual afternoon of hunting to the hunter can have serious repercussions to the prey who might then lose his Mother in tragic circumstances and lead him to befriend talking skunks and rabbits. Why would anyone want to watch that when they could watch two of the greatest actors of our generation play Russian Roulette?

See also:

Nine Non-Mainstream Movies Worth Seeing This Summer

5 movies that deserve a second look

Top 10 Most Pretentiously-Titled Videogames

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#1 RE: Ten films that defied their obscure titles ReB 2011-04-26 03:45
I question the listing of 10: Law Abiding Citizen. Butler describes himself as that in his court room rebuttal before he goes off on the judge for buying it. Now how you think 7: Home Alone is in anyway an obscure title by being about a kid who is HOME ALONE is beyond me.

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