My family used to enjoy playing Charades at Christmas - there nothing like a glass of mulled wine and friendly game play as you try to act out The Tudors. Of course, when I'm writing the cards for the other team, Class of Nuke 'Em High 2: Subhumanoid Meltdown was a much better challenge to ensure my team won. My family doesn't like playing Charades anymore.
An interesting screenplay with more words on the cover than in the following 90 pages, the writers clearly decided to go for the subhumanoid meltdown angle to attract viewers. When it finally reached the marketing department, they decided to add a pair of breasts to the video jacket just in case the title didn't work.
Amazingly, there's actually a sequel with an even longer name.
Pull this stunt on any major country and it's called racism - but since nobody gives a gnat shit about Kazakhstan, it's a partially-painful laugh riot from start to finish. But wait - did anyone notice the movie's entire title, or was there a collective unconscious decision to just truncate after the first two syllables?
Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Spoofs are difficult to do, but comedy spoofs are right up there with disconnecting the perpetual motion machine that keeps Bill O'Reilly's mouth moving. Tied with Class of Nuke 'Em High in IMDB at an inglorious 3.1/10, the writers quit trying to be funny after the beer-fueled word game responsible for the title.
Needless to say, the business model is sound:
Step 1: Sex jokes. Step 2: ???? Step 3: Profit.
Let's make one up now: a teen gets caught masturbating to a picture of his friend's Mom while driving, and the cop who pulls him over is her husband. Not funny enough? Let's add some Crazy Glue to the scene and hilarity ensues.
There are two universal facts in life that tend to get ignored: don't feed a Mogwai after midnight, and don't bother with films directed by Ben Affleck. Back onto the Mogwai, I really really wanted one for Christmas after seeing Gremlins, and still think the little guy's song would a good ring tone. But back in reality, a Ben Affleck flick is what you get when you feed film producers after midnight and they have too much money on their hands.
Interestingly about this title, it crams most of the plot right into the headline, which is actually quite polite. If Devil had been called "A bunch of assholes get trapped in an elevator and killed one by one by the devil posing as an old woman", I would have been sipping Stella at Mad Dog in the Fog a full two hours earlier.
Suggested title: I really liked The Player and American Psycho. Oh crap, that's too long. American Player.
For anyone who doesn't know, there's some animosity between the English and the Welsh (and the English and the Scottish and the English and the Irish), and this little cultural insight is a prerequisite for knowing - or even caring about - what happens in this film.
But let's talk about Four Weddings And A Funeral, a film that did for British movies what GroupOn did for Superbowl commercials. I was disappointed the morning after seeing 4W+1F that England had not in fact become full of clueless-yet-witty-and-lovable-gents-with-foppy-hair who spent their entire waking lives going to weddings (and occasionally funerals) while spending their sleeping hours making whoopie with models from across the pond. And that just sucked.
The Hill/Mountain film came in the wake of the enormous success of the Wedding movie, and naturally plays off Hugh Grant's charm and Oxbridge academic humor. The title should have been:
I haven't managed to find any other titles that embed a flavor of passive aggressiveness so successfully. It could have been called "The Assassination of Jesse James", but adding the last part just sticks the knife in beautifully.
If more movies were named like this, we would have had:
- "The Social Network: a great idea stolen by that weasel-faced little scumbag Mark Zuckerberg" - "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (Or Two Hours if You Take Him To See This)"
Suggestion: I can't improve on this one without getting profane.
If you've never seen this little gem, it's not the kind of "back of the video store next to the porn section" STV that the title implies. It has quality steady actors like Holly Hunter and Beau Bridges at the helm, and somehow they signed the contract without insisting on a name change first.
Put simply, this title is a warning of what happens when decisions get made by a committee. Everyone puts in their two cents, nobody will compromise and before long you get many little pieces of nothing adding up to equal "hmmm" (e.g. 'Relevant Reviews by Real People', anyone?).
Actually, on the subject of Lunch's new experimental tagline - and I promise we'll come back to cheerleader-murdering moms in a second - may I offer some more esoteric suggestions:
- Sensational: "Watch alligators with chainsaws headed for Lolcatz!"™ - Provacative: "Real Reviews. Which You Can't Even Handle."™ - In your face: "If it's not relevant, it's irrelevant. Be relevant at Lunch.com."™ - Strange: "Eat your words at Lunch.com"™ - Paranoid: "Find out who's talking about you."™ - Circular comedy: "We don't feed the Mogwai after midnight on Lunch.com"™
Back to the film, I think marketers would approve of the use of "cheerleaders" thanks to the increasingly sleazy demographic of video stores, but the growing A.D.D. problem means it's about 8 words too late into the title. The ideal video cover will have Holly Hunter, a cheerleader, the breasts from Nuke 'Em High and the title...