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15 Wildly Misleading Movie Titles

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There are uninspiring film titles (Not Without My Daughter), weird film titles (The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living And Became Mixed-Up Zombies) and the film titles that deliver what they promise (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off). But some films go by monikers that are as unenlightening as they are unenticing – and even when the film itself is great, surely there’s room for improvement. Here are the very worst.

What it sounds like: A Michael Haneke-directed look at loneliness and its effects on the human psyche. Shot in black-and-white in a remote area of France, this wins all the awards and even garners Oscar attention.

What it actually is: A Bond film where the spy takes on an attempt by a criminal cartel to gain control of water supplies. Which by Bond villain standards is a bit lacking in grand scope and sweep if you ask us.

Should Have Been Called:

What it sounds like: The bizarre story of a persnickety interior decorator in search of one last ridiculous flounce to complete the kitschest house ever built. All a bit surreal, John Waters directs.

What it actually is: A sci-fi-tinged story of kids who develop strange powers when exposed to a weird toy box from the future. So it’s also a bit surreal anyway, really.


Should Have Been Called:*

What it sounds like: A hilarious new animation where lions are relocated from their failing zoo to an out-of-town safari park and have to adjust to, er, visitors driving cars past them. Voices by Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn.

What it actually is: The story of a boy sent to live with his eccentric uncles in Texas for the summer. But his uncles are Robert Duvall and Michael Caine, and there is a lion involved, so it could be a lot worse.

Should have been called:

What it sounds like: An ER spin-off where Dr John Carter, now settled into a comfortable GP practice, has a bit of an existential crisis about what his life has become and heads off to Africa to save anything and everything.*


What it actually is: A better-than-you’ve-heard adventure where a dude wakes up on freakin’ MARS. That’s why we needed that “of Mars” up in that title, Disney, jeez. Ahem. Anyway.

Should have been called:

What it sounds like: That’s a foreign word, isn’t it? A type of Turkish kebab? Wait, no, an Irish term for an idiot! Or maybe it’s an Indonesian fruit juice? Definitely a word, though. So the film’s probably, like, Uzbekistani and about farming or something.*


What it actually is: A monster movie in which a 7ft tall caveman terrorises Palm Springs. Like California Man, only with less Pauly Shore.

Should Have Been Called:

What it sounds like: A cheap rip-off of Scrooge McDuck stars in this story of reconnecting with a relative in one of New York City’s five boroughs.

What it actually is: A comedy drama starring Gene Wilder as a Dubliner who spends his day collecting horse dung and selling it to gardeners while his family agitate for him to get a better – and presumably less odiferous – job.

Should have been called:

What it sounds like: A gentle documentary profiling those guys in anoraks who stand around station platforms and note down engine numbers, possibly stopping now and again for a nice cup of tea.

What it actually is: A blistering chronicle of drug addiction, scary ceiling babies, appalling toilet facilities, violence, brilliant filmmaking and star-making performances.*


Should have been called:

What it sounds like: A Kung-Fu Panda-style cartoon in which a deceased dog is resurrected to defend his master in Edo-period Japan. Sort of a samurai Dogtanian, really.

What it actually is: Jim Jarmusch’s dreamy take on samurai action, with Forest Whitaker as a mob hitman who hangs out with a French ice-cream seller and reads extensively from the Hagakuri manual for samurai warriors. A homage to Jean-Pierre Melville’s Le Samourai.*


Should have been called:

What it sounds like: The story of a Native American scout who performs an astonishing feat of speed and endurance to warn his tribe of a coming attack.

What it actually is: A story almost as amazing, with Anthony Hopkins playing an elderly New Zealander determined to compete for the world speed record on the Utah Salt Flats.

Should have been called:

What it sounds like: A Mega-Shark Vs Giant Octopus-style monster-mash, with much thrashing about in the water and upsetting of boats. Richard Dreyfus cameo included, possibly.

What it actually is: A dysfunctional family of academic types in New York City, with both parents and their two kids spinning off the rails. No huge aquatic animals at all.

Should have been called:

What it sounds like: A masculine twist on the classic fairytale, where a poor janitor rushes out of the ball, leaving his glass brogue (?) behind for the handsome princess.

What it actually is: Russell Crowe playing a boxer in Depression-era New Jersey, struggling to provide for his family with a broken hand and against a terrifyingly violent opponent.

Should have been called:

What it sounds like: A contradiction in terms.

What it actually is: Well, arguably it’s exactly that. But let’s be charitable and accept that it’s the second part of a continuing story and therefore a sensible title.

Should have been called:

What it sounds like: The story of a man obsessed with achieving YouTube fame and fortune by filming his pets leaping about.*


What it actually is: A Burt Reynolds-starring drama about a man whose wife, called Cat Dancing, is raped and murdered, sending him on a revenge mission.

Should have called it:

What it sounds like: Sound but SURELY UNNECESSARY advice. Or maybe the darkest and most depressing animated movie ever.

What it actually is: A giallo film from the legendary Lucio Fulci, it follows investigators into a series of child murders in a small Italian town.

Should have called it:

What it sounds like: Someone should probably get to the deed poll office and get that sorted out. Leslie, that is. “Evil” is a cool name.

What it actually is: In fairness, this title of this film, about a juror who falls for one of Charles Manson’s followers during her trial, was eventually changed to “Manson My Name Is Evil” on release. Still, it got a long way with this moniker so we’re counting it.

Should have called it: