Two arthouse films receiving national releases this weekend, Saved! and Baadasssss! have one nifty trick in common: the exclamation point. Why are filmmakers and distributors afraid of using these more often? Are they truly afraid that it may be too much for an audience to handle? Wouldn’t most trite Hollywood action films benefit from a little punctuation?
Here are some examples of what I mean:
– The Alamo sounds a bit old-fashioned and crusty… but THE ALAMO! means something more, sounds more enticing, and probably would have attracted more viewers.
– Troy was a snoozefest that could have easily been sparkled if the title was more like Troy!!!
– Sarafina! already used an exclamation point, and didn’t fare too well at the box office. Maybe it would have worked better had they gone with Sarafina?, instead. The exclamation point only really works if we already know what the word means. The question mark adds an air of mystery, where the viewer can’t help but be intrigued.
– About Last Night… used the ellipses, and became a launching pad for Demi Moore and Rob Lowe. ‘Nuff said.
– Gigli is just a punchline at this point. But would you feel the same way if it was called Gigli? More than likely, but at least the question mark asserts that the studio realizes what a bewildering mess they have on their hands.
I say filmmakers and studios shouldn’t be afraid of commas, apostrophes, and parentheses anymore. Embrace them, and I’m not just talking about the unmade biopic of punk group ? and the Mysterians.