You can tell a lot about a movie by its title. Shorter titles are much easier to remember – it’s a lot easier to remember “Toy Story” than “Down and Out in Beverly Hills.” You also want something memorable. “Rambo” was very revolutionary when Sylvester Stallone first unleashed it into our lives. For whatever reason, the title the filmmakers put on a film have a way of letting us know how good or bad the movie is. Here are 5 words that when you see them in the movie title, head to the library or ballgame instead.
A lot of bad movie titles come from sheer laziness – just using a word that has been used over and over again and this filmmaker thinks the tired, old word will work again. That’s where this word comes in. The most remade movie in history is “Beauty and the Beast.” It has been made 34 times. Are you serious? Thirty-four times? Yes, it’s true. Why someone thought we needed to see it the 34th time is beyond rational thinking. But beyond the tired, old “even an ugly man can get the girl if he has a golden heart” plot, it’s quite easy to see the movie title “Belly of the Beast” and know that your money is best spent elsewhere.
This is another lazy way of naming a movie. “Hey, that Back to the Future thingy worked really well, so let’s throw ‘future’ into our title! Yeah, that’s the ticket!” No, Spielberg wannabe, it isn’t. If you are making a movie about the future, either stick with what aspect of the future your film covers (flying cars, sex robots, whatever), or pick a title with little or nothing to do with the movie (“Blade Runner” didn’t have all that many blades in it). Don’t be so lazy. Pick a unique name.
There’s a widely-held belief that all the automation, artificial intelligence and virtual reality that is coming to our world will lead to a man vs machine apocalypse. Part of that is a genuine fear of the capability being built into these platforms, and I suspect part of it is due to the long line of horrific “Robot” movies that have been churned out over the years. While “Robot vs the Aztec Mummy” doesn’t really prompt a person to turn into a doomsday prepper by itself, more and more of these terrible flicks may attract enough people to the theater who put everything on their Instagram feed that more believers might be converted.
Here we go with the lazy factor again. “Karate Kid! That was a great movie! So were the 47 sequels! Let’s make sure we put Karate in the title!” Again, because it worked once doesn’t mean it will work a second time. Or a 33rd time. How bored and devoid of a social life do you have to be to actually throw money down to see “Karate Dog”? Don’t answer that. I absolutely do not want to know.
The concept of “Cop” isn’t nearly in as high esteem these days thanks to the very famous police shootings that have stirred up very powerful emotions. But over the years, the cop has been a Hollywood favorite. You may be surprised to hear that there are 150 movies with the word “Cop” in the title. We can’t completely blame Hollywood though. Filmmakers in Hong Kong can take any movie concept, cut the budget 90%, triple the stunts, add “Cop” to the title and throw it out there. These movies are almost always terrible. “Beverly Hills Cop” is the exception. “Scammer Cop” is the rule.
What is even worse than this? There are actual movies called “Cyborg Cop,” “Future X Cops,” “Robot Cop,” and “Karate Cop.” That last one has been used multiple times. Anyone who actually paid money to see those is owed a refund.