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Titles spoken by a character therein.
May 2, 2004 7:17 AM   Subscribe

According to the IMDb there are only 231 films (or tv series) in which the title is spoken by a character therein. That number seems rather low -- I thought there would be a lot more than that, especially considering that society that claps and walks out whenever this happens. But other than 'The Truman Show' I can't think of any more. Any other ideas?
posted by feelinglistless to Media & Arts (41 answers total)
 
I assume this discounts shows named after the main character. McGuyver; Matlock; Ellen: these all seem like cheap wins.
posted by cortex at 7:27 AM on May 2, 2004


The Fellowship of the Ring & The Two Towers. I'm not sure about Return of The King.

I'm sure the phrase "The Matrix" was used multiple times, also "The Alamo", "Pearl Harbor"...
posted by skwm at 7:31 AM on May 2, 2004


Isn't the first spoken mention of The Matrix when Trinity meets Neo at the club?
posted by pieoverdone at 7:37 AM on May 2, 2004


Also, Kill Bill is not on that list. Although I remember her saying it in the monologue at the beginning of the second movie, I can't recall her speaking it in the first.
posted by pieoverdone at 7:41 AM on May 2, 2004


I assume this discounts shows named after the main character.

Well, yes, but the IMDb list includes them. I wouldn't count them but ...
posted by feelinglistless at 7:45 AM on May 2, 2004


This must be a new imdb feature. Most of the films mentioned here are classics named after the title character, or relatively recent. One obvious miss is Billy Wilder's One, Two, Three.
posted by bingo at 8:24 AM on May 2, 2004


They forgot Out of Africa, and Star Wars (link)
posted by Gortuk at 8:33 AM on May 2, 2004


As usual with lists like this, most of film history is ignored. There are a few exceptions, but in general, the list makes it look like films started being made in the 70s.

There are hundreds of examples from earlier films. For instance, Jimmy Stewart talks about having vertigo in "Vertigo". There's a discussion of double indemnity clauses in "Double Indemnity." I remember wild strawberries being mentioned in "Wild Strawberries." And I'm pretty sure the circus is written on one of the title cards in Chaplin's silent film, "The Circus."

The list could go on and on.

Just because it's fun to be anal, I'd also like to point out that in "The Shining," no one actually says, "the shining." Someone does say "shining" without the "the".
posted by grumblebee at 8:37 AM on May 2, 2004


Housekeeping
Streetcar Name Desire
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
All About Eve
Stalag 17
Homicide
Duck, You Sucker
The Red Shoes
The Birds
The Boston Strangler
Bedazzled
1984
Network
The Hospital
The Time Machine
posted by grumblebee at 8:55 AM on May 2, 2004


I don't know how they came up with this list - seems dopey to me.

But I'm popping in because I saw a great little movie the other day called Jump Tomorrow, which uses the title phrase extremely well.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:57 AM on May 2, 2004


Singing in the Rain
Meet Me In St. Louis
Dames
Top Hat
Swing Time
La Jette
42nd Street
All That Jazz
Cabaret
Candyman
posted by grumblebee at 9:07 AM on May 2, 2004


Ok, I'll stop. It's a totally dumb game, but it does exercize the gray cells a bit.
posted by grumblebee at 9:07 AM on May 2, 2004


How about movies that mention OTHER movies?
posted by grumblebee at 9:08 AM on May 2, 2004


Gortuk, I love you. I was hoping someone would know that reference.

"Boy, I'm just so tired of all these Star Wars."
posted by gramcracker at 9:09 AM on May 2, 2004


I don't think you can say imdb is claiming there are only that many films with said property, it's just that they have that they have that many films on record for which someone noted it and added it to imdb.

They only list 20 films with the title not spoken by a character, and I don't think it's fair to claim imdb is claiming there are only 251 films and tv series.
posted by fvw at 9:16 AM on May 2, 2004


Dersu Uzala.

If you count movies where the title phrase is sung rather than spoken, New York, New York.

I'm sure there are zillions more, but who's going to watch all movies waiting breathlessly to see if the title phrase is used? Oh yeah, that society feelinglistless mentioned. Any links about that? I've never heard of it.
posted by languagehat at 9:18 AM on May 2, 2004


Buffy. Angel. (shows named after the main character might be cheating, but, hey, the imdb has Donny Darko) Firefly. Farscape. Stargate. South Park. The Up-Right Citizens Brigade (thank you Gortuk!). The Simpsons, for god's sake.

If you count movies where the title phrase is sung rather than spoken

Koyaanisqatsi has its title chanted....practically the only word in the whole movie.
posted by jbrjake at 9:21 AM on May 2, 2004


This reminds me, I read somewhere that Salman Rushdie was complaining about how many movie and book titles seem to have no connection to the thing they're describing, such as Reservoir Dogs and Trainspotting. Famously the title North by Northwest has no obvious connection to the film, it was chosen to sound intriguing.

Personally I like obscure titles, my heart sank a little while watching Albino Alligator and hearing the title of the movie spoken.

If you count movies where the title phrase is sung rather than spoken

Pretty Woman. Footloose. Quite a few.
posted by bobo123 at 9:28 AM on May 2, 2004


I'll have to second the love for Gortuk, and gramcracker as well. imdb should have a page that documents films in which both the title and the titular lines are spoken.
posted by Danelope at 10:59 AM on May 2, 2004


What's a titular line?

bobo123: You're talking about an article Rushdie wrote for The New Yorker. Must have been at least four years ago.

Personally I like obscure titles, my heart sank a little while watching Albino Alligator and hearing the title of the movie spoken.

My heart sank when I realized that the central gimimck of the movie was a rip-off of one small part of Quick Change.
posted by bingo at 11:14 AM on May 2, 2004


grumblebee: How about movies that mention OTHER movies?

Or, TITLES that are quotes from other movies:

The Usual Suspects
Play It Again, Sam (I know, I know, but the misquote is deliberate... Ask Woody, it's the way most people remember it...)
posted by JollyWanker at 1:00 PM on May 2, 2004


I don't see:

Life of Brian (Well of course if you consider the title Monty Python's Life of Brian... but let's not be pedantic)
Taxi Driver
Annie Hall

And the list goes on...

I see "Back to the Future, Part II" on there, and I have no recollection of "Part II" being uttered by Biff or anyone else.

This list assumes that it is an aberration to use the name of the title inside the movie. It's as if the title should for some reason be apart from the movie as a whole.
posted by geoff. at 1:23 PM on May 2, 2004


At a Q&A with Daniel Clowes (and Terry Zwigoff), someone asked them why he didn't include the Ghost World graffiti scene in the movie (it appears in the comic). Clowes's response was something along the lines of not wanting to have a distracting/cheesy point in the film. He specifically mentioned (and reenacted) the moment in Wonder Boys where the character says "...wonder boys."
posted by gluechunk at 2:11 PM on May 2, 2004


Looking through my dvds...they missed Caddyshack, Friday, Casino, Igby Goes Down, Ghostbusters, Mallrats, The Transporter, Rounders, Van Wilder, The Hustler, Fargo, Revenge of the Nerds (if you count the theme song), Billy Madison, The Royal Tenenbaums, Boondock Saints, Dr. Strangelove (if you don't count the subtitle), Amelie, X-Men, Jackie Brown, Road Trip, Christmas Vacation (theme song), Animal House (theme song), Heat, Dogma, Seven, Baseketball, and Airplane!

Not to mention a whole boatload of tv shows as others have noted - cheers, frasier, seinfeld, friends, sports night, home improvement, etc. etc.

Where did this list come from? Not how was it made, but where did you find it?
posted by rorycberger at 2:30 PM on May 2, 2004


nm, i see it's just a search
posted by rorycberger at 2:31 PM on May 2, 2004


Moulin Rouge
Pi
DareDevil
Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy

There'll be tons more, but my DVDs are downstairs. And I'm not.
posted by armoured-ant at 2:39 PM on May 2, 2004


As featured on MST3K, I Accuse My Parents leapt to mind.

"Ladies and gentlemen, we have a title."
posted by Hlewagast at 3:55 PM on May 2, 2004


Where did this list come from? Not how was it made, but where did you find it?

I was looking at the genre list for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and it popped out.

Just a thought -- Doctor Who is a notorious one. He isn't meant to be called that but a couple of the writers notably in The War Machines got the wrong end of the stick. Plus there was the joke (used a few times over the past 40 years) of ... "Doctor ... doctor who?"
posted by feelinglistless at 4:17 PM on May 2, 2004


No Soylent Green?
posted by casarkos at 4:49 PM on May 2, 2004


Clowes's response was something along the lines of not wanting to have a distracting/cheesy point in the film. He specifically mentioned (and reenacted) the moment in Wonder Boys where the character says "...wonder boys."

I agree. Every time I hear the title in a film (with the exception of the obvious character names, et cetera), it breaks me out of the world of the film in this cheesy and awkward self-aware moment. Even when the reference is incredible, as in "Eternal Sunshine," I had that moment, and I kinda wish that the Pope Alexander quote was merely an epigraph.

Oh, and "Love, Actually."
posted by rafter at 5:06 PM on May 2, 2004


Also, "The title of the paper shall be American History X."
posted by rafter at 5:07 PM on May 2, 2004


Fight Club
Jeepers Creepers
The Beach
Contact (I'm sure somebody says the word "contact" at some point in the film)
Outbreak (ditto)
Vertical Limit
Minority Report
posted by SpaceCadet at 5:27 PM on May 2, 2004


y tu mama tambien
posted by sa3z at 9:37 PM on May 2, 2004


oh yeah, 21 Grams, The Cooler and Mystic River. (all great movies, btw)
posted by rorycberger at 9:55 PM on May 2, 2004


I'm not sure if it counts, but don't forget Star Trek 8 (First Contact). It's the only time the term "Star Trek" is used in any of the movies and probably any of the tv series but i've never really seen any of those. "First Contact" is also said a couple times but the term Star Trek: First Contact is never uttered at once.
posted by Slimemonster at 10:13 PM on May 2, 2004


What? Nobody's mentioned the Bond movies yet?

Shocking!

(Most of the ones I've seen have the title spoken.)
posted by madman at 1:43 AM on May 3, 2004


"Forget it, Jake, it's Chinatown."
posted by jpburns at 5:05 AM on May 3, 2004


The Thirty-Nine Steps
posted by tommyc at 6:16 AM on May 3, 2004


Dead Poets' Society
Amistad
Anastasia (1956 and 1997 versions)
Big Fish
Dead Man Walking
Evita
Gettysburg (probably)
Hannibal (probably)
A River Runs Through It
Rudy
The Sound of Music
Oklahoma
Galaxy Quest
Gandhi
Groundhog Day (probably)
Harvey
The Hours
Immortal Beloved
Little Shop of Horrors
Panic Room (probably)
Ronin
Stargate
The Red Violin
Willow

Koyaanisqatsi has its title chanted....practically the only word in the whole movie.

Except the question was movies in which the title is spoken by a character, so I don't think that applies.

Since the IMDB list is based on user submissions, somebody's going to compile and submit these, right?
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 6:35 AM on May 3, 2004


Friends
Cry, the beloved country
Once were warriors
A bridge too far

As an aside, how was the asterix in *batteries not included (1987) spoken?
posted by dmt at 7:50 AM on May 3, 2004


I was going to say Dead Poets' Society, Oklahoma, and Sound of Music, but you beat me to it DevilsAdvocate. And good point about Koyaanisqatsi. Thanks, by the way. I keep hearing someone shout "Willow!" with a funny accent in my head now;P

The Princess Bride
Princess Mononoke
Dreamcatcher
Cider House Rules
Waking Life (I think)
The Black Cauldron
Marnie
PCU
Cradle Will Rock
Empire Records
Jesus Christ Superstar
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (It's sort of a movie since there's that old taped performance without Len Cariou on PBS and Bravo and DVD now I think, plus every few years someone talks about turning it into a movie. I'm ignoring the non-musical recitations of the legend out of principle.)

Oh yeah, and:
I remember when my daddy gave me that gun. He told me that I should never point it at anything in the house. And that he'd rather I'd shoot at tin cans in the backyard, but he said that sooner or later he supposed the temptation to go after birds would be too much, and that I could shoot all the blue jays I wanted, if I could hit 'em, but to remember it was a sin to kill a mockingbird. Well, I reckon because mockingbirds don't do anything but make music for us to enjoy. They don't eat people's gardens, don't nest in the corncrib, they don't do one thing but just sing their hearts out for us.
posted by jbrjake at 1:18 PM on May 3, 2004


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