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Halle Berry and Billy Bob Thornton in ‘Monster’s Ball.'

Mr. Movie: Good movie, bad title Part 1

What were they thinking?


Herein you will find some of the worst movie titles ever dreamed up. These are titles that almost guarantee no one will come to see them, titles that seem to have no connection at all with the movie.


Interesting trivia: All of these movies were made (and named) within three years of each other. And all of them are actually pretty good films!


Let’s start with Hideous Kinky (1999). Kate Winslett chucks her life in England and hightails it for Morocco (?) to find herself. She has no job and knows no one in the country. She has two young daughters she drags along on this adventure. Talk about leaping before you look! Whence the title? Beats me. 


Sexy Beast (2001) features Ray Winstone as a former Mafia hit man who thinks he has retired. Then an old colleague, played by Ben Kingsley, shows up and want his buddy to take on that one last job. Kingsley’s bravura performance as a vicious, demented and altogether unlikeable thug practically steals the movie. This guy was Ghandi? But Mr. Winstone’s laid-back effort nicely evens things out. Again, I have no idea what the title signifies. 


Dirty Pretty Things (2002) is my favorite of this disparate group of movies. Chiewetel Ejiofor, a little-known but quite accomplished English actor (Amistad, Inside Man, Children Of Men), plays a Nigerian immigrant working two jobs and hoping to bring his family to the UK. Audrey Tatou (Amelie) is his Turkish girlfriend and an illegal immigrant. He realizes bad things are going on in the hotel where he works and decides he must act. This is quite a good story, and the ending will shock and surprise you. Very weird title, though.


The Big Kahuna (2000) is actually a filmed stage play featuring Kevin Spacey and Danny DeVito as world-weary salesmen waiting for a key customer to come to their hotel suite. They unsubtly discourage young Peter Facinelli, whose optimism and religious fervor are badly shaken. Another strange title.


And finally, one you may have actually heard of. Monster’s Ball (2001) garnered an Oscar for Halle Berry. She begins a torrid affair with Billy Bob Thornton, a prison guard who incidently had a hand in her husband’s execution. Her character is not a good mom and not a good person, but Ms. Berry took this juicy part and ran with it. Once again, I have no clue about the weird title. 


Do I have some more of these strangely named flicks up my sleeve? Watch this space! All of the movies in this articles are available on DVD. All are for grown-ups.