As a title, Baby Driver is definitely too literal-minded. It would have been cool if Ansel Elgort‘s character wasn’t literally called “Baby” and if he wasn’t a gifted getaway driver, but this is precisely the case in Edgar Wright‘s film. Baby Driver isn’t quite on the painful level of John Singleton‘s Poetic Justice (’93), but it’s close.
The tendency to literalize or de-poeticize movie titles hit me for the first time in ’84 when Taylor Hackford decided to drop the original Out of The Past title by calling his remake Against All Odds. Out of the Past stirs and haunts; Against All Odds promises some kind of pitched battle or macho grudge match. If only Witness had been titled Amish Hide-Out: Be Careful Among The English or One-Eyed Jacks had been called Rio Settles Score.
Today’s assignments: (a) Name other titles that have embraced explicit references rather than metaphors or allusions and (b) name titles that were too metaphorical or vague, and could have used simpler, plainer terminology.