Naming Movies

The Oscars are tonight, and movie talk is in the air. Last night, my friend Katie L realized that there was this pattern in film titles, and we’ve decided to turn it into a little contest. How many movie titles (of films that actually exist, not ones you think would sound awesome) can you think of that follow the pattern *Present Continuous Verb* + *Verb’s Direct Object*? One could argue that these titles end up being gerunds, but that’s neither here nor there. Sound silly? A little specific? There are actually quite a few that we could think of:

Becoming Jane, Being There, Boxing Helena, Chasing Amy, Driving Miss Daisy, Drowning Mona, Eating Raoul, Educating rita, Feeling Minnesota, Finding Forrester, Finding Nemo, Inventing the Abbots, Killing Zoe, Kissing Jessica Stein, Leaving Las Vegas, Losing Isaiah, Pushing Tin, Raising Arizona, Regarding Henry, Saving Private Ryan, Saving Silverman, Stealing Harvard, Waking Ned Devine.

If you’d like, you can branch out to TV shows and songs for half the points. Here’s something to start you off:

TV Shows– Crossing Jordan, Judging Amy, Pushing Daisies, and Watching Ellie.

Songs– Losing My Religion. (We didn’t spend much time on songs.)

Here are the rules:

1. No adjectives plus nouns. Eg., Raging Bull, Sliding Doors– not allowed.

2. No verbs plus prepositions. Eg., Waiting for Guffman– nope, sorry.

3. Nothing longer that the verb plus object formula. So, Killing Me Softly does not work.


9 Responses to Naming Movies

  1. Katie L. says:

    Two more:

    Teaching Mrs. Tingle
    Raising Helen

  2. Kris says:

    Raining Stones (Ken Loach movie).

    I’d like to make a case for Sliding Doors. Although it COULD be doors that slide, where sliding modifies doors, I think the title is meant as “the act of sliding doors,” because that’s what the characters do in that movie — they slide doors. They slide sliding doors, of course, because other doors swing open and closed. Therefore the “sliding” modifier of doors is redundant, and the title can only refer to the verby meaning of the phrase.

    Think about it.

    p.s. “Sitting Still,” R.E.M. song

  3. Katie L. says:

    Hmm…I’d actually vote for Sliding Doors over Raining Stones, because the stones themselves are raining, not being rained. Of course, if the title were “Reining Stones,” then you’d have something.

    Also, Being John Malkovich.

  4. Aakaash says:

    I agree with Katie: Raining Stones is actually “[It is/ It was] Raining Stones” and, therefore, does not count. Kris could prove, however, that the movie is about people raining stones on each other, sort of like Nic Cage raising Arizona and Halle Berry losing Isaiah. And I would buy it, because Kris is smart. But I’m still not sold on the Sliding Doors thing.

    All this, naturally, is to get around the fact that I haven’t been able to think of any titles not already mentioned. But that’s because of this little chirpy bird in my head screaming “Raging Bull! Raguing Bull! Raging Bull!”. I’ll do better after food, I think.

  5. Kris says:

    I know that bird. He told me to say “Kicking and Screaming! Kicking and Screaming!” which makes no sense whatsoever.

    But he also told me to say that even if “It” is raining stones, rather than Nic Cage or Halle Berry raining the stones, the stones are still being rained. Be it God, the unmoved mover, a guy on a wall, whatever — stones don’t rain down on their own volition!

  6. karah says:

    Songs: Do “Missing You” [can’t remember artist] and “Watching the Detectives” [Elvis Costello] count?

  7. t-possum says:

    Watching the Detectives is a movie too.

  8. t-possum says:

    Okay, so I thought about this a bit and granted I am about a month late on this discussion but Being Julia and Deconstructing Harry first come to mind. What about Gleaming the Cube? Is that legit? Or Wedding Crashers? One could possible think that “wedding” in this sense is a present continous verb modifying the “crashers.” Yeah, that’s a bit of a stretch . . . Did someone mention Guarding Tess? Right enough of this but I do like the challenge!

  9. Katie L. says:

    Ooh! Good ones, t-possum!

    I’m back because of Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

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