I love or at least appreciate all of these films for one reason or another. They stand out to me as notable depictions of Western culture, and they probably affected my life at some point, even if this just means I downloaded the soundtrack. However, film titles can be cryptic, misleading, and just not descriptive enough. Life would be far easier if titles actually portrayed the movies in detail, right? What if movie titles were open and honest about their intentions? I mean, we would at least have a better idea of what we would be getting ourselves into, for one. Movie titles like Donnie Darko and 500 Days of Summer just don’t encompass the weirdness and quirkiness (respectively) of said films. Here are 32 arguably more apt titles for commercially or culturally successful movies:
Or: I’m a Pregnant High-Schooler But Totally Pull it off Because I’m Wry and Sarcastic
Ellen Page is freaking fantastic, and she makes all of us secretly wish we were that adorable and spunky while inhaling a gallon of Sunny D. Put in front of an episode of Sixteen and Pregnant or some tragic Lifetime made-for-TV film and I doubt we would be feeling the same way. Wits get you far in life, even if you accidentally get pregnant.
Or: Just Because Your Life is Falling Apart and You’re a Hot Mess, Doesn’t Mean You Should Take it out on your Successful BFF
As much as we all love Kristen Wiig’s hopelessly adorable character in Bridesmaids, doesn’t mean she had to blame her mental breakdown and less-than-successful life on her best friend who is getting married, after all. Wait your turn, and while we’re at it, give cute pushover cops who like carrots A CHANCE, because you never know.
3. Django Unchained
Or: Quentin Tarentino, Literally the Only White Guy Who Magically Pulls Off Writing a Script That Uses the “N” Word 100 Times
I know Tarentino already got his fair share of criticism for his offensive lingo in the majority of his films, but certainly not enough, because he keeps cranking them out like the newest iPhone. For the majority, people forget he’s a WHITE guy who has his characters say the N-word over and over again. But he gets away with it because he’s a weirdo who used to work at a video store and harass people.
Or: I’m Not Sure Why This Movie Warranted So Much Attention, But Oh Well I Kind of Like That One Song
I’ll be quite frank: I watched Frozen last weekend and was very “meh” about it. So Disney appropriated the Snow Queen fairy tale and made a snowman talk about his butt a lot and there’s betrayal, and sisterly love and A LOT OF FREAKING SONGS (yes, including “Let it Go” which has been covered a thousand times by celebrities, babies, car alarms, you name it). It didn’t strike me as anything new, but I have the feeling I’m in the minority here.
5. There Will Be Blood
Or: I’m Just Waiting for Daniel Day Lewis to say “I DRINK YOU MILKSHAKE, I DRINK IT UP”
This movie is good. It’s really good. But it’s also very slow and kind of dry, and you really have to be paying attention to understand what’s going on. Except suddenly, at the very end, Daniel Day Lewis just completely loses it. And all of us are just waiting for this to happen and it does and it’s INCREDIBLE.
6. 500 Days of Summer
Or: Girls Can be Emotionally Unavailable Too, Also I Want Zooey Deschanel’s Wardrobe
I recall after I saw this film in theatre, a group of girls left their seats saying, “Ugh, what a bitch. She was such a bitch. Poor Joseph Gordon Levitt.” Okay, first of all, let’s separate actors from their characters. JGL played an incredibly needy person, and Summer was clearly not into that. But the film, above all, showed girls can be “assholes” too, and this challenges the accepted stereotype of the emotionally unavailable dude who just needs “that one girl” to break him of his anti-commitment curse. Yeah, no.
7. Office Space
Or: This Accurately Portrays Working in an Office, So That Sucks
Working in a cubicle is really, really weird if you think about it. For eight hours you sit inches away from another person, and this person is usually weird, or brings a tuna salad sandwich to lunch, or needlessly complains about the weather as though you can magically alter the wind patterns. We luck out sometimes, but office life is not glamorous. Ever.
8. The Devil Wears Prada
Or: This Doesn’t Actually Happen to Recent College Grads Who Wear Sweaters from Target, but Meryl’s Facial Expressions are Golden Nonetheless
I mean, come on! Andy is this frumpy, albeit cute, recent grad who somehow lands a job with a fashion magazine. Oh, and she and her sous chef boyfriend are able to afford an apartment in New York. LOL. However, Meryl Streep’s bitchiness makes this movie complete, so that’s why I own it and watch it over and over again.
Or: Everything Becomes 10x Funnier With a Minnesota-North Dakota Accent
I’m originally from Minneapolis, so apparently I used to have an accent before it was suffocated and murdered by a slightly high-pitched California accent. Imagine Fargo without the Minnesota-North Dakota accent. It would be the same. It just wouldn’t.
10. Pirates of the Caribbean
Or: I’m Only Watching This to See Johnny Depp in Eyeliner and Jewelry Because it Weirdly Makes Him Even Sexier
I don’t why, but there’s something about a literally filthy Johnny Depp wearing makeup and dreads that makes me swoon. Also, his perma-drunk mien might also help.
Or: Haha, What is This Even About, and Why is That One Dude Wearing So Much Makeup
I’m not a huge history buff, but this story just doesn’t make any sense. This group of brutish men decide they can take on the entire Persian empire? An empire that has elephants and fireworks while King Leonidas’ crew have swords, helmets, and shields. Let’s talk about Xerxes for sec –why is he wearing so much makeup? Unlike Johnny Depp, this does not make him look hot, it makes him look like the creators wanted an exotic portrayal of Persians, but they end up essentializing their culture, and…okay anyway, you get the picture (look up Edward Said’s Orientalism if you have any questions)
Or: Stay Away From Crazy Girls and Pools
This movie is SO early 2000s I can hardly stand it. But I will because this movie is amazing, because plots with sociopathic jealous girls is the crux of 90s-2000s culture.
13. The Matrix
Or: I’m Going to Re-evaluate my Existence for the Rest of my Life
“I don’t get it,” I whispered to whoever I was with while we watched The Matrix in theatres. And I didn’t get until I suddenly got it, like an explosive epiphany where the universe and everything in it suddenly stops because everything makes sense. “WE’RE NOT REALLY REAL, OH MY GOD!” I exclaimed. I feel like this was everyone’s experience.
14. Napoleon Dynamite
Or: This Isn’t Funny but I Watched it 20 Time Because Everyone Else Thought it Was
What’s so funny about an awkward teenager? Everything, apparently. Napoleon was a cross between Butthead and Michael Cera. Breathy, timid, uncomfortable at all times. Maybe he made us feel better about our budding and sometimes intolerable youth.
15. V for Vendetta
Or: How to Explain Social and Political Revolutions to People Who Don’t Read
Sometimes, governments suck. So you have to take matters in your own hands and rebel! See: history of the world.
16. The Royal Tenenbaums
Or: Well-Educated, Fucked Up Families Have Always Been Whimsically Fashionable
If I see one more girl dress up as Margot Tenenbaum with cigarette in hand for Halloween, I will throw my Wes Anderson collection out the window.
17. The Princess Diaries
Or: Just Because You’re Unpopular and Not Conventionally Beautiful, Doesn’t Mean You Won’t Become a Princess of a Made Up Country Some Day
The movie/book series spoke to every little girl with frizzy hair and glasses and it said, “never fear, child. Someday you will own a hair straightener and someone will teach you how to apply eyeliner and you will be okay.”
Or: This is Only a Good Movie Because Ryan Gosling is Shirtless Sometimes and the Soundtrack is Okay
Eh, there is a lot of driving, and shooting, and ‘80s music, and Ryan Gosling wears that scorpion jacket, but really we just want to see him get together with Carey Mulligan, but that doesn’t exactly pan out and there is no happy ending, only Ryan Gosling.
19. Driving in Cars with Boys
Or: This Was Very Boring and Misleading, I Thought There Would be way More Sex
When I was fifteen, my mom let me rent this movie and I TOTALLY expected crazy sex scenes and Drew Barrymore going wild, but really all that happens is Drew Barrymore’s character wants to write a book, and she needs her baby daddy to sign off on it. Told you. Misleading.
Or: This is Probably What Happens When you Become Involved in the Mafia and Snort Copious Amounts of Cocaine
Well, if you needed a reason not to join the mafia, just watch Goodfellas and watch one guy’s life go down the drain. Also, note to self: if a helicopter is circling your house and you know that you have a several year’s worth supply of drugs on hand, you’re not just being paranoid. They’re definitely after you.
21. The Notebook
Or: This Relationship is so Unrealistic, but I’m Crying and I Don’t Know Why, Make it Stop
So a couple is torn apart because social class and blah blah blah, but they get back together again, because fate is fate, am I right? But then it keeps flash-forwarding us to the present, where this couple is old and Rachel McAdams’ character has Alzheimer’s and IT’S REALLY SUPER SAD. And I’m mad at myself for crying because this is all just one of Nicholas Sparks’ tricks.
22. The Dark Knight
Or: How to Explain What an “Anti-Hero” is to Someone Who Never Reads Books
Basically, Batman takes the blame for Harvey’s Dent’s crimes to protect his once good self. Thus, Gotham City turns its back on Batman, and Batman becomes more of a vigilante than super hero (and yes, there is a difference). That’s incredibly rudimentary and you should actually see the movies because they’re awesome.
23. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Or: Of Course There is a Hipster Way to Break Up, Here it Is
Instead of the normal, “it isn’t you, it’s me,” let’s erase relationships from our brains entirely! Every single couple who spent hours crying after they watched it asked themselves, “you won’t erase me, right?”
Essentially, there is way too much that is true about this movie to even be futuristic. And that’s scary.
25. Mrs. Doubtfire
Or: Divorces Suck, so Here, Watch This Movie
I feel like Mrs. Doubtfire was made so that kids in the ‘90s wouldn’t feel so shitty about their parents’ divorce. Because you never know; your dad might just come back dressed as a Scottish nanny.
26. Donnie Darko
Or: If You Wanted Fodder for a Ten-Hour Long Philosophical Debate, Here You Go
Let’s talk about the fourth dimension, time travel, tangent, and primary universes, because that sounds fun.
Or: The Original Mean Girls Except Way Darker and Arguably Better Because Winona Ryder is a Cold Babe
I’m not quite sure if a film could get away with framing suicides, killing popular girls with liquid drainer, and blowing up schools anymore, but it was pretty funny in the ‘80s. Also, Winona’s style is on point.
28. Requiem For a Dream
Or: Forget the DARE Program, Just Show This to Kids Instead, I Promise They Will Never do Heroin
This movie is tarrying and sad and intense. No one walks away feeling nothing. NO ONE.
29. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Or: If You Fall in Love With Mila Kunis, Your Ex Will Magically Be Into You Again Even Though You’re the Same Jobless Slob.
Jason Segel is a total babe, but in this movie he’s just kind of a shmuck who eats cereal and composes Muppet musicals. I kind of get why Kristen Bell’s character ditched him.
30. Bad Teacher
Or: Beautiful, Evil People Pretty Much Always Win, Even if They’re Not Tenured
Cameron Diaz does a great job playing a borderline psychopath high-school teacher who gives no shits about her students or her honesty. Her character commits all kinds of crimes; physically abusing her students, seducing the guy who’s in charge of standardized tests (is that even a thing?), and framing the goody-two-shoes teacher who wants her fired.