1. Octopussy (1983)
Proof that not all of Ian Fleming’s novels and novellas should have received the film heading treatment. So unmanageable that even John Barry discarded any chance of writing a song around it, although the name of the film’s female protagonist Octopussy is not only as inconsequential as previous leads in a James Bond film but her name should rarely be uttered, so difficult is it to do so with a straight face. Especially when one of the eponymous heroines’ assistants informs 007 that her tattoo is, ‘My little Octopussy.’ Roger Moore’s eyebrow rose perplexingly.
2. Johnny Skidmarks (1999)
Like Wolves’ 1992 home shirt, it is not a reference to stains in underwear, but it cannot escape inducing the image. A classic case of American producers’ cultural insularity, as they failed to research the recriminations of alluding to faeces’ penchant for compelling one to set the washing machine on for a longer duration. Even the most open-minded cinema-goers would have been repelled.
3. Gigli (2002)
As bad as it sounds. Released at the height of Bennifer, engaged couple Affleck and Lopez confused their audience (what audience?) with a title so preposterous it was more interesting than their turkey of a film. What is it? How do you pronounce it? Would it be a la Will Smith (‘jiggly’) or as a derivative or giggle? Turns out it was the surname of Affleck’s character, but you wouldn’t know that, because you haven’t seen it. Have you?
4. The Human Stain (2003)
If you saw the film’s poster at your local multiplex you would be forgiven for thinking that the establishment had become seedy. Nicole Kidman and her teasing cleavage, bra strap dangling off her shoulder, are shaded by a blue filter which prompts memories of late Friday nights watching Channel Five a decade or so ago. Again, it was a novel before a movie, but one still shudders at the juxtaposition of Kidman and Sir Anthony Hopkins with the euphemistic title.
Released at the height of Bennifer, engaged couple Affleck and Lopez confused their audience (what audience?) with a title so preposterous it was more interesting than their turkey of a film.
5. Meet the Fockers (2005)
What a witty gag to introduce the gullible audience back for a second helping of Ben Stiller’s calamities opposite Robert De Niro, eh? His surname is Focker, one vowel away from a swear word, but the only expletives that were uttered came from the auditorium at wasting money on an egregious sequel.
6. Basic Instinct 2: Risk Addiction (2006)
Take the words ‘Basic Instinct 2’ out of it, and it sounds like straight-to-DVD irrelevance, which is what Sharon Stone’s second feature as nymphomaniac Catherine Tramell should have been. The logic of the post colon inclusion is that Catherine needs to be treated for her risk addiction, which is ironic since those who watched her second outing need to be sent to rehab to stay clean after overdosing on the dross that they witnessed.
7. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
George Lucas’s quest to ruin childhoods and childhood memories continued with an uninspiring heading 19 years after the epic The Last Crusade. Several alternatives were considered and even registered with the MPAA in August 2007, including 'The City of Gods', 'The Destroyer of Worlds', 'The Fourth Corner of the Earth', 'The Lost City of Gold' and finally 'The Quest for the Covenant'. All are debatably better than the final choice, with Lucas insisting that the word ‘kingdom’ be included since it was his story. All it promised was an unglamorous McGuffin, a dull premise and an oncoming disaster, all of which were fulfilled.
8. Quantum of Solace (2008)
Bond is back, but it’s another misuse of a Fleming title when there was a preferable option (Risico). Daniel Craig’s expression wore thin when he was quizzed time and again on the merits of the title and its significance during publicity for the 22nd Bond film. It transpires that Quantum is the mysterious organisation Bond is shadowing and the solace is in reference to him exorcising his demons over Vesper Lynd’s death in Casino Royale. But that makes it nonsensical, doesn’t it?
9. Sssssss (1973)
For the sole reason due to its knack for creating confusion, this early 70s horror surely evokes nightmares for the poor souls who ordered their tickets at the box office. Can you imagine Chris Eubank asking for a single?
10. Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps (2010)
Wouldn’t Wall Street 2 have sufficed? Money, to quote Ralph Feinnes in In Bruges, is ‘an inanimate f*****g object’ and although it equals power, it is always being traded, even in a recession. In 1929 there was the Wall Street Crash, but money was still being exchanged and spent in the four corners of the world. We know that it never sleeps. Another example of director Oliver Stone’s vanity insulting film-goers.
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