Don’t Believe The Hype: The Problem With Trailers, Titles And Misleading The Audience
This could easily be my favorite movie news story of the year: A woman is suing the distributor of recent Ryan Gosling movie Drive because, she says, there wasn’t enough driving in it. But why stop with Drive? There are so many other movies that don’t live up to their titles.
The woman in question, Sarah Deming, is suing distributor FilmDistrict as well as her local theater because, she says, the movie was advertised (and titled) in such a way that suggested a Fast and Furious-style chase thriller instead of the critically-acclaimed thriller that it actually is. The lawsuit says that the actual movie “bore very little similarity to a chase, or race action film … having very little driving in the motion picture.” There is no way to get around this: This is amazing.
But it got me to thinking: Aren’t there so many more movies that deserve to be dragged into the courts for having entirely misleading titles? And the answer is: Oh, yes. Many.
The Greatest Story Ever Told
Potential lawsuit: Does this 1965 epic adaptation of the New Testament of the Bible really live up to its title? It’s hard to say for sure – After all, it’s “greatest” a subjective opinion? What if someone prefers Star Wars or GI Joe: Rise of Cobra? But more importantly, the title can easily be proven to be misleading because how can anything be the greatest story ever told when “ever” is still ongoing? For all we know, there’s an even greater story just around the corner.
The Last Picture Show
Potential lawsuit: With a title like The Last Picture Show, you’d expect it to either be the end of all cinema, or at the very least, such a satisfying movie that you never need to watch another motion picture. In both cases, this 1971 drama fails significantly; cinema has continued to grow both technologically and artistically since this movie’s release and, as hard as Peter Bogdanovich may have tried, there’s little about this movie that would make you feel as if cinema has peaked, although it could be argued that Cybill Shepherd’s movie debut could have driven people from cinemas for other reasons.
Potential lawsuit: Say what you like about David Cronenberg’s 1991 adaptation of the admittedly unfilmable William D. Burroughs novel, but if there are two things that it’s not about, it’s the meal from the middle of the day nor people enjoying said meal without clothing. Interzone tripping and bug powder dust are all well and good, but they’re not exactly what the title promises, and isn’t it really assuming a little too much that moviegoers would be familiar enough with a classic 1959 book that arguably changed American literature to know the difference?
Million Dollar Baby
Potential lawsuit: This 2003 film may have won roughly several million (Okay, four) Oscars, but it’s worth noting that none of them were for truth in advertising. I’d argue that, yes, knowing that this is really a boxing movie starring Hilary Swank, Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman, there is still a chance that this could actually be a movie about an infant worth one million dollars: What if the baby of the title was somehow an awesome boxer, and won a championship that had come with the million dollars, leading to a screwball comedy where the baby’s mother (Swank) and grandfather (Eastwood) have to stop it going on a spending spree with hilarious consequences? Alas, that’s not the case – and that’s why this movie misleads fans of the rich child genre and is open to potentially crippling legal action.
30 Minutes of Less
Potential lawsuit: Today’s world is a faster-paced one, with people perpetually on the go – And that’s why something called 30 Minutes of Less seems like such a great idea: A complete comedy in under half an hour? Who could say no? But, sadly, this summer’s 30 Minutes outstays its promise by 53 minutes, making a mockery not only of its own title, but also of those who may have paid good money having been lured by the false promise of a compact comedy. Never mind Drive – which does, at least, feature a car and some driving, even if it’s not enough for some people; this is the movie that people should be filing lawsuits about.