It’s that time of the year again. List-o-mania/rama/palooza! Your favorite movie web sites are currently showcasing their writers’ best and worst movies of the year lists. In fact, I’m guessing several of your friends and acquaintances have probably weighed in with their top 10s or 20s. Or 50s! And to that I say, “Congrats. You guys all really like Drive!” But that Gosling-starrer actually almost earned a spot on my WORST OF list! That’s right, Nicolas Wingdings (I wish) Refn fans. Drive came this close to landing on my Top 10 Worst Movie TITLES of 2011 list. I’ve decided to dig a little bit shallower this year, and keep things completely surface by coming up with the definitive top 10 of the worst movie monikers of 2011.

Before we dive in, here are the two simple rules I followed while hammering this out:

1) If it’s a children’s film, it was disqualified. If I hadn’t implemented this standard, the entire list would be made up of films like Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. Too easy!

2) The content of the movie, no matter how stunningly grand or awful, could have no impact on its selection for the list. For the most part. Sometimes. Well, I tried.

So, without further ado…

The Top 10 Worst Movie Titles of 2011

10. We Bought a Zoo

Less of a title than a bold declaration of a very bad decision, We Bought a Zoo has become the whipping boy and all star of all recent movies with silly names. I’m sure more than one person in your social circle has made light of this laughing stock of a movie title. Since it’s an obvious choice – a people’s choice, so to speak – I’ll tuck it in here at number 10, kiss it on the forehead, dim the lights, and simply move on to the much, much worse.

Suggested alternative titles:

  • Zoo Keeper
  • Untitled
  • Almost Llamas


09. New Year’s Eve

A lot of people have poked fun at the humongous cast this movie has. It’s been the butt of many goofy web videos. To me, it just seems like shooting fish with a double barrel (I think that’s the phrase) to do that in this piece. And, actually, making fun of the large cast is counterproductive to the very goal of this list, right? So I won’t stoop to writing something like, “Finally! Yeardly Smith and Jon Bon Jovi are in the same movie!” However, it is impossible not to mention that they somehow jammed the ubercool Til Schweiger in this thing.

And James Belushi.

But, let’s leap back to that title. New Year’s Eve. It simply breaks the golden rule: If you aren’t a slasher flick (Halloween, April Fool’s Day), you can’t use the name of a holiday, or even its eve, as your title. Why? Because you’ll end up on a Worst Movie Titles of the Year list.

Side note: If there is a character in the movie named Eve, this title is fantastic.

Suggested alternative titles:

  • December 30-Worst
  • The Love Boat Movie
  • Chawz 2


08 Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Like many kid movies, this film’s title suffers from a case of too much punctuation. But it also has an entirely different problem. That dash up there is only included because Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol just looks too strange. We all know it’s a forced dash. Cruise may have hung from the world’s tallest building in the movie, but may he HANG from the world’s tallest building for this title crime!

Plus, Ghost Protocol? I mean, without a doubt, the word ghost is effective in any title…unless its paired with a word plucked from the back of your W-2.

Suggested alternative titles:

  • Mission: Impossible 4
  • Mission: Incredibles
  • Another Another Stakeout


07 Hugo

The title of the book on which this movie is based is The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Perfectly lovely and unique, right? Not good enough! Like the upcoming blandly named and of Mars-less John Carter, you can’t look at the title without feeling the dead weight and dread of knowing that the once beautiful name was hack-sawed in a soulless marketing meeting. (Well, you can’t if you are a movie nerd, I mean.):

  • Cabret sounds like wine. This is a family film. Yank it.”
  • Invention is a nerd word. Nerds invent. Nuke it.”
  • of? Too feminine. The f sounds like a v. (Makes a finger-slicing-neck motion to indicate the murder of the word of.)”

Scorsese is a master of his craft, and this movie is such a personal work for him. The title should reflect the film’s intricacies – not just notify you that, indeed, the main character’s name is Hugo. Similarly guilty, but somehow not on the list: J. Edgar. Why? As stated above, no children’s movies. Paul, also. But I have an uncle named Paul and he’s great.

Suggested alternative titles:

  • The Invention of Hugo Cabret
  • The Invention of Hugo Stiglitz


06 Martha Marcy May Marlene

Admittedly, this is actually kind of a great title. But it has an Achilles’ heel, I think. The title is impossible to remember. As a being of average intelligence, I froze at the ticket window for a second after being asked:

Question: “What movie would you like to see, sir?”


  1. Martha Marcy May Marlene
  2. Martha May Marcy Marlene
  3. May Marcy Martha Marceline
  4. Marcy May May May

Answer: “The girl in the cult one.”

Suggested alternative titles:

  • M:4
  • Tender Marcies
  • The A Lotta Named Girl


05 The Thing

As a movie geek, I love this title. And if this was a remake, then fine – reusing the title is completely acceptable. But this is a prequel to Carpenter’s arctic masterpiece. How can it claim the exact same name as the 80s classic? Like Human Centipede: Full Sequence, here’s where a colon could have come into play. *Ahem*

Suggested alternative titles:

  • The Thing: The Begin
  • First Thing First
  • Mimic


04 I Am Number Four


Suggested alternative titles: n/a


03 Source Code

Source Code is titled Source Code because the characters say “source code” a lot in the movie. We know this ingenious code makes up a program that enables Jake Gyllenhaal to go bomber hunting in the past, on a train, over and over again. But why is an exciting sci-fi action adventure movie named after programming? A programmer (or several) banged away on a computer keyboard and invented very limited and frustrating time traveling. Possibly using I don’t know. I’m not a programmer. But this title sounds like going to work. “Source code ready yet, Barry?”

I don’t know. Maybe I’m wrong. I’m starting to lose confidence in this choice. Saying it aloud a few times helps highlight the inherent ridiculousness. Speaking of…

Suggested alternative title:

  • The Redo Express


02 Country Strong

The title sounds like a caveman’s campaign slogan. And that’s a no-no every single time.

Trivia: Did you know that this is the only title on the list that made it all the way through the production cycle with a typo intact. Was supposed to be Country Song!

Suggested alternative titles:

  • More Crazy Heart
  • Country of Life


01 The Adjustment Bureau

Number one with a mullet. Just absolutely sleepworthy. Make a mistake on your taxes? Call The Adjustment Bureau. Even Phil K. Dick, who wrote the work this movie was based upon, knew enough to name the group of antagonists in this movie The Adjustment TEAM.

Anyway, 2011 was a very bad year for Matt Damon movie titles. He bookended this list, poor guy.

Suggested alternative titles:

  • The A-Team
  • The Adjustment Chest of Drawers


Top 10 Best Movie Titles of 2011 (w/ Quick Explanations)

10 The Art of Getting By (Pretty. Smooth. Moves up a spot if there is a character named Getting By in it.)
09 Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (The anti-Martha Marcy May Marlene.)
08 Conan the Barbarian (This will ALWAYS be a great title.)
07 Attack the Block (Attack needs to be in more movie titles. It’s movie title 5-hour Energy.)
06 The Devil’s Double (Only way it could be better is if they added the word Coupons at the end.)
05 The Skin I Live In (Leatherface’s favorite title of the year.)
04 I am Number Four (Self-explanatory.)
03 Rise of the Planet of the Apes (Hard to say, but a nice connection to the titles of the original movies.)
02 Hobo with a Shotgun (Amazing.)
01 Shark Night (Amazinger.)

Thanks for reading this very personal but absolutely correct list. And for those that think the From Prada to Nada should have made the Worst List, it was actually number 11. On the Best of.