Dito Montiel's Rocky redux Fighting is out tomorrow and, as the name suggests, there's, umm, a lot of fighting in it. Which strikes us as a bit lazy...
Since when have films simply been naming themselves after the major events and happenings which they portray?
Title: 12 Angry Men (1957)
Why it’s lazy: Because it’s literally about twelve ticked-off fellas sitting in a room talking.
The intemperate dozen make up the jury in a murder case, and thanks to their impatience and general anger, are on the verge of making a snap guilty decision.
That is, until Henry Fonda’s slightly less angry twelfth man steps in.
Where the name came from: 12 Angry Men was the original teleplay shown as a live performance on CBS in 1954. It was then staged as a play under the same name in 1955, and finally filmed two years later.
What they should have called it:Let’s Hang This Fool And Get Drunk, Punch And Jury (with Fonda’s character renamed ‘Punch’).
Why it’s lazy: Okay, we get that it plays right into the sleazy/classy thriller genre of which Hitchcock was the master, but come on! Psycho
It’s like changing A Nightmare On Elm Street to Stripy-Sweatered Paedophile, or Halloween to Knifey Mike.
Where the name came from: The bestseller on which the film is based, written by Robert Bloch, is also called Psycho.
The book was first published in 1959, two years after the arrest of serial killer/woman-skinner Ed Gein, who lived just 35 miles from Bloch.
What they should have called it:Mother Is A Boy’s Best Friend, Stormin’ Norman Strikes Again, Motel Murder.
Next: Taxi Driver[page-break]
Title:Taxi Driver (1976)
Why it’s lazy: Because there’s a complexity and depth to Scorsese’s impressionistic take on the woozy neon of New York that isn’t done justice by the pop-up picture book simplicity of, uh, ‘Taxi Driver’.
It leaves you half expecting a Manhattan-set Postman Pat. ‘Traa-vis Bickle, Traa-vis Bickle, Traa-vis Bickle with his Mohawk and gun, eaaarly in the morning…’
Where the name came from:Taxi Driver was, as far as we know, always the name of Paul Schrader’s original script.
But the story itself is heavily influenced by 'An Assassin’s Diary', the published journal of loner Arthur Bremer who shot and paralysed Senator George McGovern in 1967.
What they should have called it:Praying For Rain, Be Nice To Vietnam Vets Or They Will Shoot You In The Cheek.
Next: There Will Be Blood[page-break]
Title:There Will Be Blood (2007)
Why it’s lazy: Yes, there’s a certain mystery to it, and more than a touch of portentous poetry.
But, at a base level, it’s purely descriptive and, let’s not forget, full of spoilers.
Would you have watched Die Hard if it was called There Will Be A German Thrown Off A Tall Building?
Or Lost In Translation if it was called There Will Be A Bit Where Bill Murray Says Something And You Can’t Quite Hear It?
Where the name came from: It’s a creation of writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson’s.
The screenplay borrows heavily from Upton Sinclair’s book 'Oil!', but Anderson changed the name "because there’s not enough of the book to feel like it’s a proper adaptation."
What they should have called it:Deafinitely Maybe, Strike It Lucky, Derrick And Clive (with Daniel Plainview renamed Clive).
Next: The Lady Vanishes[page-break]
Title:The Lady Vanishes (1938)
Why it’s lazy: Again it’s purely descriptive, and in this instance very distracting: it not only leaves you waiting for a lady to be whisked away, but also wondering which one it might be.
In the end, it’s unlikely nana-spy Miss Froy, who disappears on a train heading across Europe due to some underhand espionage shenanigans.
Where the name came from: Ethel Lina wrote the book from which the film’s story grew, which was originally called 'The Wheel Spins' and was published in 1936.
An aborted version of the film was nearly produced in 1937 under the title The Lost Lady, before Hitchcock resurrected and renamed it during a rewrite.
What they should have called it:Granny’s Gone, Mistakes On A Train, Siegfried And Froy (where Michael Redgrave’s character is renamed Siegfried, and the nasty foreign nationals are played by tigers).
Next: Attack Of The 50ft Woman[page-break]
Title:Attack Of The 50ft Woman (1958)
Why it’s lazy: Oh, honestly... Presumably, the reason for giving this sci-fi B-movie such a dead-in-the-water monicker was the fear that drive-in theatre-goers would be confused by anything even vaguely evocative or creative.
Naturally it does feature a very big woman – made mammoth by alien radiation – but only at the movie’s end, which makes it not just lazy but a bit of a con as well.
Where the name came from: The film’s script was original, but written as a copycat reaction to a spate of size-related B-movies of the time, like The Amazing Colossal Man and The Incredible Shrinking Man.
What they should have called it:Big Bird, Does My Bum Look Big At This Scale?, Supersize Missus.
Next: The Thing[page-break]
Title: The Thing (1982)
Why it’s lazy: Because it doesn’t mean anything.
It doesn’t even work in a low-grade genre film sort of way, like The Blob or The Creature From The Black Lagoon.
The title could literally be referring to anything – it’s like one great big expression of tongue-tied confusion. Let’s call it… The Whatsit!
Where the name came from: John Carpenter’s creature classic is a remake of the 1951 horror The Thing From Another World, which as a title makes a lot more sense.
Ironically, before the update, the original film was usually referred to simply as The Thing.
What they should have called it: Trading Places, Bad Blood, The Alien Monster That Changes Shape And Kills People.
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