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Movies where the movie title gets a mention
March 21, 2006 12:18 PM   Subscribe

So, movies where the movie's title is mentioned in the dialogue - my girlfriend was talking about these the other day; she has a superstition that it's a badge of quality. So, how many films are there like this - I would guess it's a minority? Is there a list somewhere? And is it a tick of some directors/screenwriters?
posted by runkelfinker to Society & Culture (67 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
The best example, of course, is Dude, Where's My Car?
posted by mullacc at 12:23 PM on March 21, 2006


I would guess it's a minority?

Minority Report?
posted by rabbitsnake at 12:25 PM on March 21, 2006


Fight Club
posted by Pigpen at 12:27 PM on March 21, 2006


Wizard of Oz
posted by horseblind at 12:27 PM on March 21, 2006


Presumably you'd want to exclude movies named for a character, entity (like an object or group of people), or place that appears in the movie. For example, Forrest Gump, The Maltese Falcon, Hoosiers, and Nashville don't count. (Chinatown, on the other hand, would count, since in the context of the movie it's not a place but an idea.)

Maybe titles that are only one or two words shouldn't count either. It seems like you're going for phrases.

On one of the Lord of the Rings DVD commentaries, one of the writers mentions that they put the titles of each of the films into dialogue, even though they don't appear in the books in that fashion.
posted by jjg at 12:30 PM on March 21, 2006


Here's a version of the girlfriend's movie title theory. Only the first 30 mins count?
posted by Pigpen at 12:32 PM on March 21, 2006


I Accuse My Parents!
posted by The Deej at 12:33 PM on March 21, 2006


Looking at my DVD collection:

Lord of the Rings
Natural Born Killers
Evil Dead
Donnie Darko
Spider-Man
Being John Malkovich (I think...)
Truly Madly Deeply
Labyrinth

In fact, a good majority of my DVDs. Don't really see how it's got anything to do with quality, in most of those examples the film is just named after what it is about, and of course that is quite likely to come up in the dialogue
posted by Orange Goblin at 12:34 PM on March 21, 2006


The best example, of course, is Dude, Where's My Car?

Well there goes the badge of quality theory


Anyway....The Weather Man, Gladiator, The Matrix, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Chinatown, Mortal Kombat, Miller's Crossing, Full Metal Jacket, Terminator, The Green Mile, Glory, The Excorcist... Basically any movie title that is the name of a character or location (examples: Donnie Darko, Forrest Gump, Chicago, Fargo etc.)
posted by cyphill at 12:34 PM on March 21, 2006


Love, Actually
posted by tentacle at 12:34 PM on March 21, 2006


Me and You and Everyone We Know
posted by snownoid at 12:36 PM on March 21, 2006


Passion Fish. The Apartment. The Little Foxes. I think it's pretty easy to come up with lots, although that 30-minute time limit makes it much harder.
posted by JanetLand at 12:36 PM on March 21, 2006


When I was doing script coverage and comments, for a studio and an agency back-when, it was a mark of a stinker to have a screenplay contain the title in its body.
posted by mrmojoflying at 12:38 PM on March 21, 2006


Broken Arrow
posted by matimer at 12:41 PM on March 21, 2006


Hard-Boiled
posted by scody at 12:42 PM on March 21, 2006


Snakes on a Plane!

so it's not out yet, so what? You know some one will scream it at some point. :P
posted by patr1ck at 12:44 PM on March 21, 2006


This reminds me of an Upright Citizens Brigade sketch where a video store customer is trying to convince the clerk he had the titular line in Star Wars. "Man, I'm just so tired of all these Star Wars..."

BTW, in case you weren't aware of the term, a titular line is a line of dialogue that contains the title.
posted by revgeorge at 12:44 PM on March 21, 2006


I'll second mrmojoflyings' view.

It does depend on how that line is delivered though.

Best line that wasn't a title, and should be - was "Names is for tombstones baby" (Anyone name that film?)

Ones that work it in as smooth as silk definitely get a + - especially if they don't seem to be relative to the movie at all, right until they're said.
posted by DrtyBlvd at 12:48 PM on March 21, 2006


It's a badge of quality.

I hate it. I realize people see movies for a variety of reasons, but I see them for immersion. I want to FORGET I'm watching a movie. But whenever the title appears in the dialogue, I'm always jerked out of the dream and reminded that it's all an artifice.

Having said that, I can think of tons of movies -- some of which I otherwise love -- that do this. Some off the top of my head:

"Housekeeping"
Most Musicals ("42and Street", "All That Jazz", "Singing in the Rain"...)
"Full Metal Jacket"
"The Shining"
"Vertigo"
"Double Indemnity"
"The French The French Lieutenant's Woman"
"King of Comedy"
"After Hours"
"Chinatown"

I could probably think of hundreds if I set my mind to it.
posted by grumblebee at 12:49 PM on March 21, 2006


"Total Recall"
posted by brundlefly at 12:52 PM on March 21, 2006


Some great movies that DON'T use the title in dialogue:

"Citizen Kane"
"King Kong" (1933 version -- I haven't seen the new one)
"Rear Window"
"Bringing Up Baby"
"The Last Emperor"
"Hannah and Her Sisters"
"City Lights"
Most Shakepeare plays/films (except for the one's in which a character's name is the title)

My guess is the inclusion of the title doesn't say anything about the film's quality.
posted by grumblebee at 12:54 PM on March 21, 2006


There's a special subcategory where the movie delivers its, uh, titular line of dialogue just as the plot is resolving. I'm thinking especially of Chasing Amy and Ten Things I Hate About You, but I'm sure there have been more examples.

It's like the biggest question on our minds is supposed to be "Where did they get that title?" and once it's been answered we can go home satisfied.
posted by nebulawindphone at 12:54 PM on March 21, 2006 [1 favorite]


Pay it Forward
posted by grateful at 12:55 PM on March 21, 2006


Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
posted by itchie at 1:00 PM on March 21, 2006


line of dialogue just as the plot is resolving

"It's a Wonderful Life"
posted by alasdair at 1:02 PM on March 21, 2006


The opening scene of Careful uses the word "careful" several times in a n effort to "set up the rules of the film" as the screenwriter describes it. I love it, but I should mention that I often watch films for exactly the opposite reason to grumblebee's, or at least a different kind of immersion (viva Von Sternberg! Viva Maddin! Viva Derden!).
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 1:06 PM on March 21, 2006


proof
independence day
back to the future
as good as it gets

it's a bit more difficult when you eliminate the characters name.
posted by jessica at 1:16 PM on March 21, 2006


American History X
Chasing Amy (not in the first 30 minutes, though)
posted by rocket88 at 1:18 PM on March 21, 2006


Bend It Like Beckham
posted by ryanhealy at 1:19 PM on March 21, 2006


Vanilla Sky.

It was very distracting. "He painted the vanilla sky with his own brush" or something like that.

My earlier-mentioned "I Accuse My Parents" is featured in a Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode. A few minutes into the movie, the lead character is shown in court giving an answer as to how he came to commit manslaughter. He turns to the camera and says "I Accuse My Parents!" Joel and the 'bots yell out "We have a title!!!!"

Now, whenever this happens in a movie, my daughter and I yell out the same thing. Maybe we shouldn't do it in theaters, though. :)
posted by The Deej at 1:21 PM on March 21, 2006


Amen, grumblebee. Top of my peeve list.
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 1:22 PM on March 21, 2006


She's all that. Terrible movie, they actually sing "she's all that".
posted by aeighty at 1:23 PM on March 21, 2006


Best line that wasn't a title, and should be - was "Names is for tombstones baby" (Anyone name that film?)

Live and Let Die
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 1:24 PM on March 21, 2006


Crash. That Thing You Do. Napolean Dynamite. Must Love Dogs. Pi. Rain Man. The Truman Show. Good Night and Good Luck. Saving Private Ryan. American Splendor.
posted by The Deej at 1:27 PM on March 21, 2006


Penn Jillette used to have a movie club that would meet at some Times Square restaurant on some specified night of the week and then go to the nearest, soonest show they could catch. One of the rules of the group is that they would politely applaud every time the film's title was mentioned within the film. "When the announcer onscreen said 'Malcolm X was shot,'" I remember him writing, "it was the quietest applause you've ever heard."
posted by blueshammer at 1:30 PM on March 21, 2006


"The Art of War" with Wesley Snipes is perhaps one of the worst movies of all time. In addition, when they finally get around to referring to the work they pretty much misquote and misrepresent it. So in this case it's a pretty substantial inverse relation to quality, where 1 reference results in 0 quality.
posted by tiamat at 1:32 PM on March 21, 2006


secrets and lies is a terribly terribly bad example of this.
the line is delivered as the climax of the movie. atrocious.
as if the movie weren't heavy handed enough without it.
posted by juv3nal at 1:32 PM on March 21, 2006


Kill Bill
Notting Hill
Gremlins
The Meaning of Life
New Jack City
Snoopy Come Home
Carry On Doctor
Go
Gregory's Girl
Genevieve
Whale Rider

and so on...
posted by i_cola at 1:36 PM on March 21, 2006


A personal favorite of mine: Until the End of the World
posted by blue_beetle at 1:41 PM on March 21, 2006


This made me think of the Penn Jillette movie club too! They did some kind of applause when the name of another movie was mentioned and some other kind of applause when the name of the movie they were watching was mentioned. So for The Leprachaun 2 they only got to do the first kind and not the second. No idea where I read about this.
posted by Xalf at 1:41 PM on March 21, 2006


Rush Hour 2 - "I guess he won't be appearing in Rush Hour 3"
posted by angrybeaver at 1:41 PM on March 21, 2006


Nil By Mouth.
posted by gaspode at 1:45 PM on March 21, 2006


If the title is used in a movie and it's not a catchphrase, it's usually in dialogue that explains what the movie's about. For example, Heat examines the idea of how being the best at something requires total devotion:
A guy told me one time, "Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner."
The line's repeated, which is a pretty good sign it's what the movie's about. Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro) and Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino) are flip sides of the same coin, and are the best at what they do because it's all that they do. McCauley breaks his code to his sorrow.

The title of Apocalypse Now only appears as graffiti at the end of the movie.

Names is for tombstones baby

Take this honky out and waste him!
posted by kirkaracha at 1:47 PM on March 21, 2006


it was a mark of a stinker to have a screenplay contain the title in its body.

I disagree. Sometimes it's graceful, sometimes it's clumsy. I like the line in Saving Private Ryan:
Someday we might look back on this and decide that saving Private Ryan was the one decent thing we were able to pull out of this whole godawful mess.
It'll be difficult to work The Da Vinci Code into dialogue gracefully.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:54 PM on March 21, 2006


Counterexamples:
"Can't stop the music" (the Village People Movie)
"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (the Bee Gees movie)
"V for Vendetta"
"Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo"
posted by iviken at 1:56 PM on March 21, 2006


home alone
posted by puke & cry at 1:58 PM on March 21, 2006


IMDB.com: Keyword title-spoken-by-character
posted by emelenjr at 1:58 PM on March 21, 2006


Better Off Dead
posted by vagabond at 2:00 PM on March 21, 2006


I'm going to assume that "Honey, I shrunk the kids!" is a very strong argument against this theory.
posted by glenwood at 2:02 PM on March 21, 2006


Most of the James Bond franchise is strong evidence that this is true.

At least it is if you enjoy such films.
posted by I Love Tacos at 2:15 PM on March 21, 2006


glenwood - i thought of that, but all i could find were quotes without the honey at the beginning.
posted by jessica at 2:23 PM on March 21, 2006


"Wild at Heart"
posted by hermitosis at 2:30 PM on March 21, 2006


Diner

Last line in the movie Mickey Rourke says, "Well, we always have the diner".
posted by Maishe at 2:49 PM on March 21, 2006


The title of Blade Runner is mentioned in the original non-director's cut in the Harrison Ford voice over.
posted by smallerdemon at 3:11 PM on March 21, 2006


The shrinking of movie titles in general makes this situation more likely all the time. There are so many one word titles out there these days that its just very likely the title will be mentioned in the film. (i.e. of course someone says "proof" in the course of the film Proof).

Seems to me the names have gotten so short, they often fail to identify the film sufficiently. "Mr. Mom" said it all, but "Derailed" or "Broken Arrow" - when I look at the theater's sign, I just can't remember what movie those titles represent.

To add to the list (so that I've actually done something other than rant):

Inherit the Wind
Adam's Rib
Father of the Bride
(yes, I limited myself to Spencer Tracy movies....)
posted by AuntLisa at 3:41 PM on March 21, 2006


Oh certainly, take Doom House for example.
posted by holloway at 6:05 PM on March 21, 2006


The title of Blade Runner is mentioned in the original non-director's cut in the Harrison Ford voice over.

It's intact in the director's cut: "He say you brade runner."
posted by jjg at 6:10 PM on March 21, 2006


And of course this applies for SQUILLIONS of movie musicals... Oklahoma, Singin' in the Rain, Jesus Christ Superstar, High Society etc etc etc....
posted by bunglin jones at 6:29 PM on March 21, 2006


secrets and lies is a terribly terribly bad example of this.
the line is delivered as the climax of the movie. atrocious.


I was going to mention this one too. I think the point is that Mike Leigh's dialogue is usually unscripted, and he works with great enough actors for such a long time that he gets great results. In this case it sounded like "Work this stupid phrase into your monologue, there's a good chap" and came out a terribly false note.
posted by Aknaton at 6:46 PM on March 21, 2006


Of course, I eventually thought of this:

Homer: Now Marge, "Dear Abby" says seeing films about air travel can
calm your fears. Ooh! Here are some upbeat titles: "Hero",
"Fearless"..."Alive!"
[at home, Marge watches them]
Man 1: No thanks to the plane, many of us are still...
Everyone: Alive!
Man 2: [through full mouth] We certainly are. [chews]
Man 3: Pass me another hunk of copilot.

posted by BT at 6:51 PM on March 21, 2006


It's a convention of superhero stories that there comes a moment where the character realizes his true calling and declaims, "I'm Hero-man."

Hence, "I'm Spider-Man!"

"Who are you?!" "I'm Batman!"

"What a super man... Superman!"

And so on. Mystery Men played on this by having the group never agreeing on what the group was called.
posted by SPrintF at 7:19 PM on March 21, 2006


Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep (the book) contains this passage at the end:
Whad did it matter where you lay once you were dead? In a dirty sump or on a marble tower on top of a high hill? You were dead, you were sleeping the big sleep, you were not bothered by things like that. You just slept the big sleep, not caring about the nastiness of how you died or where you fell.
The 1946 Bogart movie doesn't have this quote (I think), but, according to IMDB, the 1978 Mitchum version does.
posted by Guy Smiley at 11:09 PM on March 21, 2006


Lucky Number Slevin. Fun movie.
posted by antifuse at 3:04 AM on March 22, 2006


While I know this thread says "movies," I want to add that I love it when people on Lost say the titular line. On other shows like "Medium" or "CSI" it doesn't seem as silly. I believe you can find tons of examples for this.

You never hear Jack McCoy talking about "Law and Order," (if someone knows an episode where this line it uttered that would be awesome) and I also don't think the word "Malcom in the Middle" is ever said on that show. "Gilligan's Island" is another that seems a possiblity, but I don't know of anyone saying that.
posted by frecklefaerie at 3:14 AM on March 22, 2006


secrets and lies is a terribly terribly bad example of this.
the line is delivered as the climax of the movie. atrocious.


A moment so awful that I have never seen a Mike Leigh movie since. Count me in the group of people who immediately thought of Secrets and Lies upon reading the question.
posted by chrominance at 3:50 AM on March 22, 2006


Another special category would be movies where the title appears in the theme... "You're watching Spy Hard! It's the theme from Spy Hard!".
posted by teleskiving at 12:24 PM on March 22, 2006


James Bond signs a photograph "From Russia With Love".
posted by angrybeaver at 12:48 PM on March 28, 2006


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