‘Tammy’ joins the list of worst movie titles

06/27/2014 3:20 PM

08/08/2014 10:25 AM

The title of a movie is very important.

It must pique our interest. It must evoke a mood. It must perfectly sum up what the movie is about.

So I ask you, does “Tammy” do that? (It’s a comedy starring Melissa McCarthy that opens Wednesday.)

No, it does not. I hate character names as titles because they tell us absolutely nothing about the movie. One-name titles are cop-outs – lazy writing and even lazier marketing. (I’m talking to you, too, “Lucy” — the upcoming Scarlett Johansson actioner.)

But it could have been worse. Way worse. Here, then, is a look at some of Hollywood’s worst movie titles:

•  “The Goods: Live Hard. Sell Hard.” (2009) First of all, the clunky punctuation doesn’t exactly help it roll off the tongue. And it’s too long – it’s a title and tagline all smoothed into one.
•  “xXx” (2002) — Type this onto your keyboard and you’ll get flagged for porn. So is it pronounced “X-X-X” or “Triple X”? Or “Exes”?
•  “Thir13en Ghosts” (2001) — Unnecessary melding of the word thirteen and the number. It’s also d1stract1ng.
•  “Our Vines Have Tender Grapes” (1945) — Sounds like a medical condition.
•  “Live Free or Die Hard” (2007) — At least it wasn’t “Die Harderest.”
•  “I Still Know What You Did Last Summer” (1998) — This sequel to the slasher hit “I Know What You Did Last Summer” is just wrong. Wouldn’t it be “I Still Know What You Did Two Summers Ago”?
•  “$” (1971) — Symbols as titles are always tricky (just ask Prince). So is this “Dollars” or “Money”? Or “Cash”? It just doesn’t make any cents.
•  “Sssssss” (1973) — OK, we get it. The movie is about snakes. But I can’t imagine saying, “Two tickets for ‘Ssssssss,’ pleasssse.”
•  “ Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel” (2009) — As if the movie isn’t obnoxious enough, we get the Chipmunk-ized version of the word “sequel.” This will only be cute to the target audience, most of whom can’t yet read.
•  “Quantum of Solace” (2008) — This James Bond title pretty much made everyone scratch their heads. What the heck is a quantum of solace? I suspect that the words were chosen only so that the O’s in “of” and “solace” would form the 00 in 007 on the film’s poster.
•  “Breakin 2: Electric Boogaloo” (1982) — Titles that rhyme are too overly cute. What would have happened if “The Exorcist” had followed suit? “Exorcist 2: Coming Back for You.”
•  “Gigli” (2003) — If people can’t pronounce your film’s title, they won’t go see it. And, boy, did they not go see this one.
•  “Ballistic: Ecks Vs. Sever” (2002) It sounds like a boxing match.
•  “The Squid and the Whale” (2005) This is a dark, disturbing drama about a family being ripped apart by divorce. But it sounds like a cute kiddie cartoon. Totally misleading.
•  “Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant” (2009) — Maybe they were just trying to sound classy with the unnecessary French words, but the two-part title makes the film sound like it’s part of a franchise. Thankfully, it isn’t.
•  “Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood” (1996) — Don’t make movies titles that are probably longer than the movie.

About Movie Maniac

The Eagle's Rod Pocowatchit offers his musings on the screen scene.

Reach Rod at rpocowatchit@wichitaeagle.com.

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