Friday, December 18, 2009

How's my title?

I listen to NPR a lot - I give so I don't have to feel guilty - and lately they've really been pushing the new Jeff Bridges movie Crazy Heart, about an alcoholic country music singer named Bad something or other.

The movie sounds interesting enough and it's gotten some critical recognition, but all I think about when I hear the title of the film is just how bad it is. The title, I mean. "Crazy Heart" reminds me of other movies with "heart" in the title. Lionheart, Thunderheart, Untamed Heart, Hearts in Atlantis... none of these are movies I was wild about or particularly wanted to see - okay maybe Lionheart. And Untamed Heart in turn makes me think of Bed of Roses, which was an abysmal film, but that's not Crazy Heart's fault. But "heart" in your title to describe your protagonist is a tad cliche, no? And it sounds a bit sappy.

The protagonist's name is Bad; they couldn't think of any way to use that in the title?

Your title is the first thing anyone's going to know about your film so it needs to make me want to see it. Just look at last year's Black List: I Want to Fuck Your Sister, Fuckbuddies, A Couple of Dicks. And of course this year's winner for attention grabbing title: Balls Out. Even Hancock was originally title Tonight, He Comes. Tell me that title didn't get reads.

I was thinking about why the Crazy Heart producers decided to go ahead with that title - didn't they ask anyone what they'd think of that movie based on just the title? Then I realized I hadn't done that either, so I figure I should see what people think of my title.

It's Burnside. What does that make you think?


  1. the title of CRAZY HEART doesn't bother me, but the premise and storyline is boring to me. I've seen way too many movies about drunken older white male musicians, crying over their lives. I've already seen WALK THE LINE, I don't need to see it again.

  2. Burn Notice, side burns, the poetry club?, the senator from Rhode Island? I'll look at the trailer when it comes out and make a decision then.

  3. Burnside is a major avenue in Portland so I immediately think road.

    I suspect it would have to be coupled with the logline to see how the title fits the story.

    Crazy Heart doesn't do anything for me either. Had the same reaction you did.


  4. first things that pop in my head: ironside and blind side

  5. Joe Unidos9:09 AM

    That was the name of the novel it's based on.

  6. I hate white people and all the movies made about them! Anarchy!

    As for Burnside, as a former Portland resident, I agree with Jim.

  7. Millar beat me to it: Ol' Ironsides and The Blind Side pop into mind first.

    But neither strong enough to believe the script is going to be similar. It's a pretty neutral title.

  8. It sounds like a neighborhood in a place I know nothing about, so it doesn't pique my interest.

  9. Well, if you have a compound word the title makes me think of a guy with that name but if it's two words, it sounds BAD ASS.

  10. I don't think there's a problem with "Crazy Heart" or "Burnside". They don't grab the attention like say, "The Men Who Stare at Goats" or "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus", but not every movie title can do that. Look at the Box Office right now: "Brothers", "Avatar", "New Moon", etc. There ain't a whole lot of titles out there that will absolutely, positively not make someone think of something else.

    Any title could have the effect of causing people to think of something else. People are more likely think of something different when they see a one or two word titles like "Burnside" or "Crazy Heart". Titles like "Did You Hear About the Morgans?" and "Youth in Revolt" stand out, but even they can make you think of other things (Tracy Morgan and Youth in Asia).

    But as far as a suggestion goes, I'd say either a) come up with a catchier title that will never make anyone think of shitty Christian Slater movies (in other words, rule out "Oken Brarrow") or b) stick with what you got and don't worry about that trivial stuff.

  11. Dope blog. Be interesting to read your scripts if it has the same voice. Keep keeping on.
    Check out my blog too(surprise, I'm a screenwriter too!).
    Can't leave comments though. I don't know how to do that.

  12. Just wrote up a note on rewatching Finding Nemo for I Blame Ninjas, and I'm also struck by the clarity and simplicity of Pixar's titles. They just say what the movie is - I mean, Finding Nemo, that's the whole story right there! Toy Story. Cars. Up.

    To answer the question, Burnside makes me think of a DVD or CD burner; the side of the disc you record (or burn) data onto.

    Patrick Sweeney
    I Blame Ninjas


Please leave a name, even if it's a fake name. And try not to be an asshole.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.