Monday, February 03, 2014

Best Titles: Book or Movie

What are some of the best titles? What title made you want to pick up a book or go see a movie. Here are some of my favorites.

GONE GIRL, BLEAK HOUSE, CROOKED LETTER, CROOKED LETTER, BURY ME DEEP, WATERSHIP DOWN, ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE, WE HAVE ALWAYS LIVED IN A CASTLE, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, DAUGHTHER OF TIME, THE DEAD OF JERICHO, A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES, DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP?
 

How about yours?

27 comments:

John said...

These may not all be great titles, but they are books and movies I read or saw based on the title alone. In some cases I knew nothing about them other than the title and went into the book or movie blind. Most of the time it was rewarding, in some cases (like Sara Gran's book which I never finished) I was very disappointed.

BOOKS:
The Mystic Art of Erasing All Signs of Death
The Sisters Brothers
The Men Who Stare at Goats
Claire Dewitt and the City of the Dead
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (I think all of Bradley's books abou Flavia have superb titles, but of course they're all taken from splendid poems.)

MOVIES:
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Moonrise Kingdom
Seven Psychopaths
Barking Dogs Never Bite -fantastic movie from Korea, highly recommend it!
OSS 117: Lost in Rio
The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus
Hideous Kinky

And nearly every giallo (Italian crime movies usually with gory violence) I've ever seen I've wathched only because of the title. The English titles at least tend to be bizarre and evocative: Bird with the Crystal Plumage, Four Flies on Grey Velvet, Seven Bloodstained Orchids, Don't Torture a Duckling,(!) What Have You Done to Solange?, A Lizard in a Woman's Skin, etc. etc.

George said...

Jane Austen's PERSUASION
Thomas Pynchon's GRAVITY'S RAINBOW

Anonymous said...

As John said, all the Alan Bradley books have great titles. I also like:

A Confederacy of Dunces
Go-Go Girls of the Apocalypse
The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven
Baby Moll
Nuclear Jellyfish
Interpreter of Maladies
Disco for the Departed
The Two-Bear Mambo

Jeff M.

Gerard said...

ZOMBIE BUTTS FROM URANUS. Great title but a very disappointing book.

Heath Lowrance said...

My favorite titles, stolen from my own blog a couple years ago. Ha.--

One Monday We Killed Them All
CivilWarLand in Bad Decline
Gun, with Occasional Music
By Bizarre Hands
Here Comes a Candle
Bury Me Deep
City of Widows
New Hope for the Dead

Gerard said...

Heath's title reminded me of We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families

Richard said...

The Man in My Grave
The Sands of Time
The Postern Gate
The Big Sleep
In the Electric Mist with Confederate Dead

Olivia V. Ambrogio said...

I love this question. Just a few:
Always Coming Home
When Will There Be Good News?
Another Country
My Family and Other Animals
An Anthropologist on Mars
The Girls Who Trod on a Loaf
The Secret History
Bastard out of Carolina
Stone Butch Blues
Between the Acts

Todd Mason said...

I'll grant you, A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES isn't a bad title. Perhaps that is why the novel is so wildly overrated.

YOU'RE ALL ALONE
JOURNEY TO THE END OF THE NIGHT
YOU CAN'T GO HOME AGAIN
"We Can Remember It For You Wholesale"
-OR ALL THE SEAS WITH OYSTERS
"The King of Central Park"
HOW TO MAKE AN AMERICAN QUILT
DON'T LOOK NOW
COLD IN JULY
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SKY
"The Man Who Made Friends with Electricity"
"A Deskful of Girls"
THE QUICK AND THE DEAD (hence its repeated employment)
"A Pail of Air"
ALL THAT RISES MUST CONVERGE
TELL ME A RIDDLE (for the collection, in other form for the story)
WOMEN SHOULD BE ALLOWED
"The Night They Missed the Horror Show"
A GOOD MAN IS HARD TO FIND
AND THEN THERE WERE NONE (particularly when contrasted to the alternate titles)
RED HARVEST
"If All Men Are Brothers, Would You Let One Marry Your Sister?"


Todd Mason said...

Sorry, the one is actually (the much better) "The Lord of Central Park"

R.T. said...

Great (but enigmatic) title: WISE BLOOD. Even when readers finish the book, they remain uncertain about the "meaning" of the title. Readers may tell you who has "wise blood," but then, when you ask them what that means, the stumbling begins.

And, just for simplicity's sake, has there been a better title for anyone's first book than this: GENESIS.

pattinase (abbott) said...

WHO WILL RUN THE FROG HOSPITAL?
DINNER AT THE HOMESICK RESTAURANT
THE CRYING OF LOT 49
DOPE
DO WITH ME WHAT YOU WILL
RABBIT RUN
EAST OF EDEN



Steve Oerkfitz said...

Flow My Tears The Policeman Said
Galaxies Like Grains of Sand
Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest
The Long Good Friday

pattinase (abbott) said...

And THE LONG GOODBYE too.

Cap'n Bob said...

Reform School Girl
Naked on Roller Skates
Nigger Heaven
Three's a Sandwich
Kiss My Fist

Todd Mason said...

Well, THE BIG SLEEP, too.
DINKY HOCKER SHOOTS SMACK!
FROM THE MIXED UP FILES OF MRS. BASIL E. FRANKWEILER
HARRIET THE SPY
THE LONG SECRET
THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY
STRANGERS ON A TRAIN
THE TAKING OF PELHAM ONE TWO THREE
SOME OF YOUR BLOOD
THE QUIET AMERICAN
"And in the House, Another"
"Come Closer"
NORMA JEAN, THE TERMITE QUEEN (similarly, MEMOIRS OF AN EX-PROM QUEEN)
IMAGINARY CRIMES
"Affair with a Green Monkey"
"The Most Dangerous Game"
"Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper"
"The Funnel of God"
NIGHT-WORLD
PLEASANT DREAMS
"My Boyfriend's Name is Jello"
"Horrer Howce"
HARD LANDING
THE ABORTION: AN HISTORICAL ROMANCE 1966
WAITING FOR NOTHING
PERSONAL VELOCITY
THE BOOK OF SAND
THE CASTLE OF CROSSED DESTINIES
IF ON A WINTER'S NIGHT A TRAVELER...
MARTIAN TIMESLIP aka ALL WE MARSMEN
JESUS CHRISTS
DAMNED YANKEES
DOES ANYONE ELSE HAVE SOMETHING FURTHER TO ADD?
THE FEMALE MAN
NAKED CAME THE STRANGER

Todd Mason said...

THE END OF THE AFFAIR
FORBIDDEN GAMES
THE 400 BLOWS
"Strangers in the Fog"
TROPHIES AND DEAD THINGS
SLOW LEARNER
THE STARS, LIKE DUST
THE LIGHTS IN THE SKY ARE STARS
THE TRACK OF THE CAT
BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK

Todd Mason said...

DEATH QUALIFIED
THE PRICE OF SILENCE
THE KILLER THING
THE MIND THING

wv: things ymozcal

Todd Mason said...

Ah, yes, Richard noted THE BIG SLEEP.

LOVE AND OTHER CATASTROPHES
"The Women Men Don't See"
"237 Talking Statues, Etc."
"Who Goes There?"
THE HIEROS GAMOS OF SAM AND AN SMITH
VERGING ON THE PERTINENT

Al Tucher said...

Just thought of a few:

THE BIT DIRT NAP, by Rosemary Harris.
THE POPE OF GREENWICH VILLAGE, by Vincent Patrick
And one of my favorite titles of all time, THE TWO DUDE DEFENSE, by Walter Walker.

It's a reference to your basic criminal dimwit's alibi: "Wasn't me, man. It was this other dude."

pattinase (abbott) said...

Clearly more good titles than bad ones.

Anonymous said...

Todd, surely it's DAMN YANKEES, right?

I remember first reading it in one of my mother's Readers Digest Condensed Books under the original title, THE YEARS THE YANKEES LOST THE PENNANT. For those too young to remember there were only two years in the 1949-1964 period that the Yankees didn't win the pennant.

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

What was it with that generation and condensed books? My mother and grandparents had all of them.

Todd Mason said...

It is DAMN, of course. Thanks, Jeff.

RD, once the most popular magazine in the world, damned near threw the Condensed Books at their subscribers.

Though it's amusing that at least one of the favored titles here is one of your least favored, Patti. A snappy title that works out of context, as opposed to those that work so much better in context ("The Funeral", THE SERVANT, THE LOVED ONE) is certainly one way to go...and almost no one really wants to name their baby THUNDERBALL.

Todd Mason said...

CAN YOU FEEL ANYTHING WHEN I DO THIS?
I GO POGO!
A CONTRACT WITH GOD
LITTLE MURDERS
AH, WILDERNESS! and its rewrite, LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT, which leads me to wonder if Celine's title inspired O'Neill's.

Barry Ergang said...

By Tom Robbins:
Jitterbug Perfume
Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas
Another Roadside Attraction
Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
Still Life with Woodpecker


When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops? --George Carlin

By S.J. Perelman:
The Rising Gorge
Westward Ha!
Chicken Inspector No. 23
The Road to Miltown

Lamb: the Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal
--Christopher Moore

The Search for My Great Uncle's Head --Jonathan Latimer writing as Peter Coffin

Charles Gramlich said...

I love good, evocative titles.

All heads turn when the hunt goes by.

I have no mouth and I must scream.

The Swords of Night and Day

In the Electric Mist with Confederate dead.

Something wicked this way comes