The 5 Worst Movies Named After Songs

The 5 Worst Movies Named After Songs

Titling a movie is hard. Get too cute with it and you end up in a Birds of Prey/Harley Quinn situation; go too far in the opposite direction, like Snakes on a Plane, and now you’re a meme. It’s tempting to just pluck a phrase with preexisting connotations in the public consciousness, and songs are great for this because they’re inherently poetic. (Theoretically, at least; we’ve yet to get a take from Pixar on ungulate culture called My Humps.) That kind of a creatively bankrupt move doesn’t bode well for the rest of the film, however, proven by movies like…

I Feel Pretty’

To its credit, unlike most movies named after songs, I Feel Pretty actually has something to do with those words. The whole plot is Amy Schumer headbutting a SoulCycle and suddenly feeling pretty, which is, of course, ridiculous because she’s only above average on the conventional beauty scale. The rest of the movie is everyone reacting with shock and confusion to a merely beautiful movie star acting like she’s a supermodel, as she sees herself. We’d cut them some slack because this is how Hollywood treats women, except they are Hollywood. The body-shaming is coming from inside the house.

The story never really sticks the landing on its message, veering out of control toward a runway labeled “We should all be confident,” except that confidence ruined Schumer’s character’s life by convincing her she was better than everyone else. It gives her “normal” friends (again, still “Busy Phillips hot”) with satisfying social lives, seeming to suggest that her problem was all in her head, but that idea is somewhat undermined by other “normal” people who do react to her as if questioning why she’s left her bell tower. This movie owes an apology to Stephen Sondheim and everyone else.

Drive Me Crazy’

Drive Me Crazy, meanwhile, had so little to do with the song that it wasn’t the first or even second title the movie was given. The first was Girl Gives Birth to Own Prom Date, which was the original title of the book it’s based on that was changed before publication because girls giving birth at prom was all too nonfictional in 1990s headlines, so they swung the other way with Next to You, a title so inoffensive you’ve already forgotten it.

That tells you just how nervous the studio was about marketing this movie. A teen comedy in 1999. The year of American Pie, Never Been Kissed and Election. Hell, there was one about Richard Nixon, and it did well. This was the environment in which Fox didn’t think they could sell high school hijinks without slapping a Britney Spears song on it.

It was also notably the year of She’s All That, because Drive Me Crazy is essentially a gender-swapped remake of a movie that had barely arrived at Blockbuster. Having been dumped by her jock boyfriend, the original Sabrina the Teenage Witch convinces the future Real Villain of The Devil Wears Prada, who is also hoping to win back 1999’s favorite goth girlfriend, to let her turn him into her ideal date to the school centennial dance, whatever that is.

It’s completely unclear to both the audience and the other characters how this plan benefits him in any way, since his ex was looking for someone more alternative, not less, though his new style isn’t appreciably different. She actually makes a “fall into the Gap” joke, neglecting the fact that the Gap sells both khakis and button-ups and jeans and T-shirts. It’s one of the better jokes in a movie that considers “Got milk?” to be one in any context. The Britney Spears song is only wedged into the background of a party scene for about 30 seconds, so we don’t even get an implausibly choreographed centennial night dance-off.

Rock the Kasbah’

There was a way to make a movie about Setara Hussainzada, the contestant on Afghanistan’s version of American Idol who was condemned by conservative viewers for dancing in a manner they considered inappropriate and death-threatted out of her home, and make it good. We know that because one already exists: the documentary Afghan Star, on which 2015’s Rock the Kasbah is so loosely based, it’s falling off and showing its ass. We don’t even meet the young Afghan singer until more than halfway through the movie. Until then, it’s mostly about Bill Murray being stranded in Afghanistan, which could be a perfectly good movie if it weren’t filled with offensive stereotypes and Kate Hudson promising to fuck Murray “like a Mouseketeer on crack.”

They’re not the only improbably acclaimed Hollywood figures involved in this train wreck: Zooey Deschanel, Bruce Willis, Danny McBride and Scott Caan were also somehow persuaded aboard, with Mitch Glazer (Scrooged, Great Expectations) writing and Barry Levinson (Good Morning, Vietnam, Wag the Dog) directing. We can only conclude that someone had some serious blackmail on all these folks, which would have been a much funnier premise for a movie.

The only legitimate laugh is when Murray is attempting to negotiate peace between two warlords and gets shot in the shoulder mid-sentence, and we suspect it wasn’t supposed to be. When Murray’s discovery finally performs, she’s only controversial for being a woman (even though Afghan Star had featured women for several years at that point) and singing Cat Stevens. More than one reviewer complained that the Clash song isn’t even in the movie, which was clearly their only remaining hope for something good.

Poker Face’

Okay, so “poker face” was a common phrase long before it was Lady Gaga’s breakout hit and certainly what Russell Crowe had in mind for the apparent passion project that he wrote, directed and starred in, but it technically counts and it’s fuckin’ weird. It’s ostensibly about Crowe’s character, a dying billionaire, gathering his group of childhood friends for one last poker game so he can poison them (?) into getting closure on some things, but it’s really about Crowe staring at things with his mouth open and thinking he can convince us Liam Hemsworth is old enough to be his childhood friend.

It goes off every rail when the gang is interrupted by an actual gang of art thieves and Crowe’s wife and daughter get themselves in the way, so it really becomes three movies in one impressively short runtime: a psychological thriller, a heist film and a hostage drama. Also, RZA is there for some reason. There’s not even that much poker. If nothing else, you do come away knowing a lot more about Australian art history, but there are surely better lectures on that.

Killing Me Softly’

Acclaimed Chinese director Chen Kaige’s first English-language film has the much-feared 0 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes, which may be why he’s never made another one. To be fair, it’s not really his fault, which is mostly with the writing. It’s a story in which people make completely insane decisions, like getting into a car for sex with a man they’ve never even spoken to and chasing your terrified wife all the way to the police station.

Let’s back up: Heather Graham plays Alice, a woman who ends up having just a ton of sex with Joseph Fiennes’ Adam, leaving her boyfriend of many years for him, and marrying him the day after he proposes after foiling a burglary, so we’re firing on all cylinders re: bonkers choices. Her bananas life gets even more bananas when she starts getting weird letters and finding weird letters and receiving a single weird fax that lead her to believe her new husband is a killer and will kill her next. It’s like Fifty Shades of Grey but more obviously murdery, although maybe the writer of the book the movie is based on could explain why it’s named after the Roberta Flack/Fugees hit, as no one is killed and certainly not softly.

It turns out Adam’s sister, with whom he’d had an incestuous relationship, is the killer, but he was still super creepy and abusive and also had an incestuous relationship with his sister, so it’s unclear what point this movie is trying to make about trust. You could say it’s more like Fifty Shades of Grey meets “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia,” except that song had a good plot. Make The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia, Hollywood.

Scroll down for the next article


Forgot Password?