The Last Airbender (2010)
Why It’s Awful: It’s an open invitation for a volley of schoolboy humour, that’s why. “Oi, Dave…your dad’s an Airbender” etc. etc. No wonder M. Night Shyamalan’s name was less prominently plastered on this one.
What It Should Have Been Called: Windmaster …no, wait, same problem…
You, Me & Dupree (2006)
Why It’s Awful: Who in the Blue Hell is called Dupree? Noone, that’s who, because it’s not a proper name. It’s been invented purely for the sake of the title, because it rhymes with “me”. In fact, the whole film seems to have been conceived from the misbegotten notion that rhyming two words together is hilarious.
What It Should Have Been Called: Three’s A Crowd . Or even You, Me and Alan . Is there really any need to make it rhyme?
Monster In Law (2005)
Why It’s Awful: Heh-heh, Monster In Law ! It’s like mother in law you see! Heh-heh-heh. But she’s horrible, so she’s a monster in law! Heh-heh-HA-HA-HA-HA! Wordplay…brilliant.
What It Should Have Been Called: Do One Bitch, I’m Marrying Your Son . We’d like to see that on the poster of a Jane Fonda movie.
Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (1992)
Why It’s Awful: It makes big old Sly sound like a grizzling child, rather than the exasperated copper he actually plays. However, the worst part is clearly that superfluous exclamation mark. Note to film studios: over-punctuated titles. Do. Not. Work.
What It Should Have Been Called: Knees Up Mother Stallone . Who wouldn’t go and see that?
Free Willy (1993)
Why It’s Awful: Another sniggering innuendo-fest, this time at the expense of a poor defenceless killer whale. Seriously, of all the names they could have come up with, why did they opt for a common slang term for the male appendage? Why not just call it Big Dick and have done with it?
What It Should Have Been Called: Death To Seaworld! Although understandably there might have been a few copyright issues…
Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistlestop Cafe (1991)
Why It’s Awful: Too long-winded by half. People have short attention spans where titles are concerned. Pictures the scene…“ Fried Green Tomatoes At …ah, the hell with this, Die Hard ’s on!” It also sounds far too self-consciously quirky for our liking. And yes, we know that’s the title of the book, but that’s never stopped Hollywood from tinkering in the past.
What It Should Have Been Called: Life Lessons & Chips
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)
Why It’s Awful: WOOOOP! WOOOOP! Rubbish sequel title alert! Money never sleeps eh? Meaning what, exactly? An irritatingly self-satisfied title, made all the worse by the fact it’s a sure-fire addition to the lexicon of all the city types who missed the point of Gekko the first time around. “Yeah, pulling an all-nighter mate. Money never sleeps and all that!” Bleurgh.
What It Should Have Been Called: Wall Street: Shares Sometimes Nap .
Lucky Number Slevin (2006)
Why It’s Awful: It sounds like something a headline writer for the Sun would come up with after a lunchtime on the piss. Naming your lead character “Slevin”, purely for the sake of crowbarring a half-baked pun into the title is not a recipe for success.
What It Should Have Been Called: It was released in Australia as The Wrong Man . When the Aussies think your title is too stupid, you know you’re in trouble…
The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill But Came Down A Mountain (1995)
Why It’s Awful: Setting aside the fact that it sounds unbearably twee, it’s a bit of a bloody mouthful isn’t it? In fact, so long-winded is the title that on the poster, the last ten words are written in a much smaller font, leaving the unfortunate image of Hugh Grant’s foppish grin accompanied by the words, The Englishman. Which probably should have been the title of all of his films during the ‘90s.
What It Should Have Been Called: A Fish Out Of Water. Then there would be no need to slap Grant’s mug all over it, as people would already assume him to be the star
Miss Congeniality 2: Armed & Fabulous (2005)
Why It’s Awful: Do you see what they’ve done? Fabulous sounds a bit like dangerous (well, not really at all, but you see what they’re aiming for), and it makes sense because she won a beauty pageant in the first one. That’s the idiot demographic catered for then.
What It Should Have Been Called: Beautiful Tomboy 2: Sandy’s Story .
Love Happens (2009)
Why It’s Awful: Because it’s smug, cutesy drivel. Following the bitesize template of the traditional Aniston snoozefest ( Picture Perfect , Marley & Me , The Switch , Rumour Has It etc.) this is the sort of homespun tosh that belongs on the front of a self-help book, not a movie poster.
What It Should Have Been Called: Unlucky In Love pt 8 , just to distinguish it from the rest of the Aniston canon.
Reindeer Games (2000)
Why It’s Awful: It doesn’t really make any sense, evoking ideas of Christmas jollity, rather than a hard-boiled crime movie. Unsurprisingly it was ditched in favour of the more straightforward Deception for its UK release.
What It Should Have Been Called: Something that flags it up as a thriller. So Deception , Double-Cross , The Shakedown …anything from the stock Crime Title library.
Up The Sandbox (1972)
Why It’s Awful: Call us crude, but we can’t help thinking this sounds like a fairly uncomfortable sexual manoeuvre. Barbara Streisand’s pained expression on the poster does little to disabuse this notion…
What It Should Have Been Called: Sandbox , In The Sandbox , Inside The Sandbox …anything but that troublesome "Up".
Dont Be A Menace To South Central While Drinking Your Juice In The Hood (1996)
Why It’s Awful: Yes, we see what you’re doing Wayans Brothers, and no it’s not particularly clever. Way too long and way too try-hard, it does at least serve to put people off the ensuing ninety minutes of half-baked spoofery.
What It Should Have Been Called: Gang Movie . Sure the Date/Epic/Disaster franchise is eye-wateringly bad, but at least the titles have a certain minimalist charm.
How Stella Got Her Groove Back (1998)
Why It’s Awful: The words groove and groovy should never be used by anyone other than Bruce Campbell. Ever. The whole title reeks of “you go girl” feel-good attitude, and frankly makes us feel a bit queezy. Sorry Stella.
What It Should Have Been Called: Stella Wants A Fella . Simple and to the point.
Bring It On Again (2004)
Why It’s Awful: So half-arsed we’re tempted to applaud it for it’s sheer “who gives a fuck” laziness. Most sequels attempt to jazz things up with a snappy subheading, but not this time. The titular equivalent of a shrug and yawn.
What It Should Have Been Called: Bring It On Again, You Know, If You’ve Got Nothing Better To Do. We’re Easy Either Way.
Why It’s Awful: Geeglee…no, giggly…ah, forget it. It’s apparently a reference to a minor character in John Dos Passos’ USA Trilogy , although how many people picked up on that is debatable. The one saving grace is that it’s nowhere near the worst thing about the movie…
What It Should Have Been Called: Bennifer The Movie: Sharpen Your Knives
Freddy Got Fingered (2001)
Why It’s Awful: You wouldn’t have thought there were many gags to be wrung out of child molestation, but as always, Tom Green knows better. Unfunny at best, offensive at worst, the title is a mere taster of the truly miserable cinematic experience to come.
What It Should Have Been Called: Tricky, but we’d like to adapt CNN critic Paul Clinton’s review into an alternative title: Quite Simply The Worst Movie Ever Released By A Major Studio In Hollywood History . Catchy.
You Got Served (2004)
Why It’s Awful: Deserves its inclusion here for spawning a teeth-grindingly awful catchphrase, favoured by lippy teens and morons everywhere. We’ve also a suspicion it might have been in Rio’s head when he started telling people “you got merked”. There are no winners here. We all got served.
What It Should Have Been Called: Dance, Sucka, Dance! Now that’s a catchphrase we could live with.
Herbie: Fully Loaded (2005)
Why It’s Awful: They’re aiming for peppy and exciting, but it just sounds as though Herbie’s been on the sauce for a few days. The term “fully loaded” should be used on low-rent pizza menus, and nowhere else.
What It Should Have Been Called: Herbie: Back Off The Scrapheap
Why It’s Awful: It sounds like something you’d take to clear up a nasty bout of thrush. Or a woman’s sanitary product. Nowhere in that title do you get any sense of what the film is about. Adding a whimsically smirking Kevin Spacey to the mix doesn’t help either.
What It Should Have Been Called: The Visitor would have kept things enigmatic without evoking a trip to the clap clinic.
The Never-Ending Story 2 (1984)
Why It’s Awful: We all know the Simpsons joke about Lionel Hutz suing the makers of the first film for false advertising, but this title is far worse. The “2” just makes it sound so clumsy. Couldn’t they have called it The Never-Ending Story Continues or something?
What It Should Have Been Called: Even calling it The Never-Ending Story Part 2 would have been a step in the right direction.
The Day After Tomorrow (2004)
Why It’s Awful: For a movie that lives and dies by it’s overblown action and disaster-based mayhem, The Day After Tomorrow sounds pretty mundane. What’s happening the day after tomorrow? A massive, earth-shattering disaster? Well why didn’t you say so?
What It Should Have Been Called: Aaaaargh: We’re All Fucked. Hey, it would have been eye-catching at least…
Eat Pray Love (2010)
Why It’s Awful: Having bemoaned excessive punctuation earlier in this piece, the lack of commas here is maddening. The fact that the three words make up a load of hippy-dippy claptrap only adds to the irritation factor.
What It Should Have Been Called: Scratch Arse, Yawn.
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)
Why It’s Awful: Criticising a Bond movie for having a naff title is a bit like moaning that Q’s gadgets are unrealistic, but even so, this is the worst of the bunch. Whilst Octopussy and Moonraker were nuggets of camp excess, this is just a load of enigmatic gibberish. What does it mean? Nothing, that’s what.
What It Should Have Been Called: Tomorrow Always Dies . You know, if we’re being accurate about it.
Live Free Or Die Hard (2007)
Why It’s Awful: There’s a horrible post-9/11 worthiness about it, which has absolutely no place in a Bruce Willis blast-em-up. Far too pompous for a film in which the villains are a bunch of cyber-geeks and a police car is used to take down a chopper.
What It Should Have Been Called: Die Hard 4 , as it was sensibly renamed for its UK release.
The Flintstones In Viva Rock Vegas (2000)
Why It’s Awful: Because it contains a truly shocking pun. Again, it begs the question of whether the plot or the title came first. You can just imagine a writer coming up with the phrase "Rock Vegas" and going from there.
What It Should Have Been Called: Flintstones 2: Electric Boogaloo . Or has that already been done?
Serial Mom (1994)
Why It’s Awful: It just fundamentally doesn’t work! Serial Mom suggests Kathleen Turner’s character has had loads of kids, not committed loads of murders. Angelina Jolie is a serial mom with her six kids. It doesn’t make sense!
What It Should Have Been Called: Killer Mom is what they meant, so why not call it that?
The Chronicles Of Riddick (2004)
Why It’s Awful: It’s the sort of overblown guff you’d see on the front of a pulp sci-fi novel, preferably one adorned with a picture of a lizard-man or some sort of giant serpent. “Chronicles”, also suggests some sort of depth of plot, a misconception that becomes painfully clear within the first few minutes.
What It Should Have Been Called: We would have just called it Riddick . Clean, punchy and appealing to fans of the original.
Half Past Dead 2 (2007)
Why It’s Awful: Half Past Dead is more than naff enough to warrant a spot on this list, but Half Past Dead 2 just edges it out. Try saying it out loud. If there’s a more knuckleheaded movie title out there, we’ve yet to hear about it.
What It Should Have Been Called: We were very much hoping for Twenty Five To Dead . Spoilsports.