It's hard to title a movie. It really is. You want something engaging, something that suggests what the movie is about, something memorable, and most importantly, something that's not embarrassing to say aloud. Add to this list "something not generic," because as the below nine entries will reveal, the much-discussed creative bankruptcy of Hollywood studios has now extended into the very titles of the movies.
- Deception. In which Ewan McGregor is... wait for it... deceived! (By Hugh Jackman.) Audiences were not deceived and stayed away in droves.
- Defiance. A bunch of Polish Jews defy the Nazis in WWII. "Defiance" is a pretty evocative word, but it could describe nearly any movie ever made.
- Hotel for Dogs. This family movie appears to have followed the Snakes on a Plane school of literal titling. Guess what it's about?
- Obsessed. Incredibly, this Fatal Attraction ripoff staring Beyoncé and Idris Elba was the #1 hit during its first weekend, despite its title already having been used for approximately four hundred and eighteen other movies, three hundred and fifty two of which debuted on Cinemax.
- Fighting. Guys fight!
- Knowing. Nicolas Cage, uh, knows stuff!
- College. Critically blasted teen sex comedy – guess where it takes place? – with one bit of trivia: its costume designer was Caroline Marx, who also designed the costumes for my first feature Foreign Correspondents.
- Elegy. Though it was well-received, this indie drama with Ben Kingsley and Penelope Cruz falls into the "Generic Serious Title" category, along with other forgotten Sundance-geared films like Levity and Redemption.
- Fast & Furious. Special mention goes to this fourth entry in a series of car racing movies for the studio simply taking the title of the first film and removing the two instances of the word "the". Because, you see, simply adding a numeral – Roman or otherwise – to a sequel's title is so uncool.