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Put simply, the opening credits to Hostage have no business looking as good as they do.
November 26, 2012 3:09 PM   Subscribe

The Onion AV club looks at 13 movie opening title sequences that are far better than the movies they're attached to.
posted by The Whelk (60 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's mean to put Cape Fear in there.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:11 PM on November 26, 2012


Needs more The Island of Dr. Moreau.
posted by Egg Shen at 3:12 PM on November 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


I know without even looking that Watchmen will be on this list.
posted by elizardbits at 3:17 PM on November 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


No Alien 3?
posted by Brainy at 3:18 PM on November 26, 2012


Yeah, The Watchmen title sequence is absolutely awesome and deserves a far better movie.

Also the Pink Panther not bring a cartoon used to piss me off no end as a kid.

/machineguns stupid live action film with an F.
posted by Artw at 3:20 PM on November 26, 2012 [10 favorites]


Maybe I'm not getting the whole concept here... but putting "To Kill a Mockingbird" on the list with the implication that the opening credits were much better than the movie just doesn't work for me. When I think of that movie, I don't picture the opening credits, there are a number of moving and/or gripping scenes that stand out.

I'm not even going to talk about "Watchmen".... conflict of interest and all...
posted by HuronBob at 3:20 PM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


No Alien 3?

It's practically the same credits as Moreau isn't it?
posted by Artw at 3:21 PM on November 26, 2012


This from the publication where the headline is better than the article 99% of the time.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 3:23 PM on November 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


While the original film was indeed not very good, I resent The Pink Panther's inclusion in this list!
posted by schmod at 3:23 PM on November 26, 2012


They are wrong about Flash of course, the film also fully rocks.

Shout out to Buds.
posted by biffa at 3:24 PM on November 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


This from the publication where the headline is better than the article 99% of the time.

Sorry to ruin your joke, but the Onion no longer owns or operates The AV Club.
posted by muddgirl at 3:25 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, that Gwyneth Paltrow faltering singer bit in Infamous was really arresting. The rest of the movie wasn't bad either but I think the history is too well known now.
posted by telstar at 3:25 PM on November 26, 2012


Sorry to ruin your joke, but the Onion no longer owns or operates The AV Club.

What?
posted by Artw at 3:26 PM on November 26, 2012


The Onion owns and operates the AV Club but as far as I know there's no overlap in staff either editorially or creatively. And they are ideologically differing entities.
posted by shakespeherian at 3:27 PM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thought it'd have Dinner for Schmucks.
posted by fleacircus at 3:28 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm probably being picky here, but the original AV Club article headline doesn't include the word "far." It just says "better", unmodified.

What?

I thought I read that somewhere but it looks like I'm wrong. But yes, they're two different staffs.
posted by muddgirl at 3:29 PM on November 26, 2012


The Panic Room titles, as mentioned on the list, apparently owe some of their inspiration to Saul Bass's titles for North by Northwest. The tradition of urban, floating text continues, of course, in Fox's wonderful, and unfairly ignored (by most), cult show, Fringe.
posted by sendai sleep master at 3:34 PM on November 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


<cough> Barbarella </cough>
posted by Mothlight at 3:38 PM on November 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


All of the Star Wars prequels.
posted by Atom Eyes at 3:39 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


And maybe Vacancy though that's more a case of decent credits / movie sucks dirt. I definitely walked out of it thinking the opening credits were the best part.

I admit I kindof like paying attention to opening and closing credits. And I get some dumb enjoyment out of closing credits where the art matches (or may not match?) the particular credit being shown (e.g. for some of the Incredibles end credits).
posted by fleacircus at 3:40 PM on November 26, 2012


I thought the Panic Room titles set the tone for the movie well and integrated with all the tricksy photography later on rather well, so I'd question its presence on the list. I can't really imagine someone sulking through it because they were not getting any more flying letter action.
posted by Artw at 3:45 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


What about Grease?
posted by shothotbot at 3:48 PM on November 26, 2012


The first two in the list were the two that immediately came to mind. That Gaspar Noe intro is so great. Girls did a kind of parody of it at the beginning of an episode this season.
posted by painquale at 3:48 PM on November 26, 2012


I'd put the Dawn of the Dead remake in here as well. And maybe Catch Me If You Can.
posted by painquale at 3:54 PM on November 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


If you missed the credits for Wolverine because you were busy stabbing yourself in the face that was better than the movie too.
posted by Artw at 3:56 PM on November 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


The first five minutes of Takeshita Miike's Dead or Alive may actually be the best thing ever.
posted by Artw at 3:57 PM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Blade is one of those odd movies that is itself all right, but sits higher with me because it seemed to have been 10 years ahead of it's time: A comic book based super hero that dresses in trench coats and uses guns and swords to fight vampires. The other reason that it sits higher is because of its opening scene, which does a great job of setting up the whole vampire hunter and also how the vampires function in the film's universe.
posted by FJT at 4:00 PM on November 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


For title sequences regardless of the (quality of the) featured film, I suggest the blog Art of the Title, which includes various background-information to the shown sequence.
posted by KMB at 4:15 PM on November 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


A (not exhaustive) list of great title sequences in no particular order

Vertigo
Psycho
North by Northwest
Seven
Catch Me If You Can
Superman (The Movie) and Superman II for the great recap of the first movie
Goodfellas
Tintin (which is basically a redux of Catch Me If You can)
Dr. No
Oh Her Majesty's Secret Service
Monsters Inc
Grease
The Player
Touch of Evil
posted by wabbittwax at 4:28 PM on November 26, 2012


Honestly, it's hard for any movie with Bass titles to be as good or interesting as the titles themselves. And all the Bond movies have the same problem; I have often watched the titles and then changed the channel.

I'd say there's a difference between an opening sequence (which may or may not include titles) and opening titles (which may come after an opening sequence), though lots of movies combine them.
posted by emjaybee at 4:36 PM on November 26, 2012


The legendary opening shot of Touch of Evil was never meant to have - and was indeed marred by - having credits plastered over it.

So it was in fact the antithesis of a great credit sequence.
posted by Egg Shen at 4:38 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Third Man titles are very simple but I always find them popping into my mind because of that great zither theme.

IFC's 50 greatest opening titles.
posted by painquale at 5:19 PM on November 26, 2012


If TV shows count, the winner of the opening-credits-better-than-the-show award easily goes to Dexter. Not because the show is particularly bad, but because it's the greatest credits sequence of all time.
posted by painquale at 5:24 PM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


In my head I had a whole serial killer/vampire version adaptation of Dorian Grey and the ending tiles I thought of where more or less identical to Dexter's, which are amazing.
posted by The Whelk at 5:28 PM on November 26, 2012


Have you read the Will Self version of Dorian? Originally intended for a movie.
posted by Artw at 5:30 PM on November 26, 2012


I like the Gulliver's Travels titles. Similar to Panic Room but with tilt-shift. And the movie itself is absolutely dreadful.
posted by cazoo at 5:35 PM on November 26, 2012


I happened to like Super. So, screw those guys.
posted by Bonzai at 5:39 PM on November 26, 2012


ArtW, link me.
posted by The Whelk at 5:43 PM on November 26, 2012


Boom.
posted by Artw at 5:44 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm not even going to talk about "Watchmen".... conflict of interest and all...

Title sequence in movie this evening, better than rest. This site is afraid of me. I have seen its true face. The threads are extended gutters and the gutters are full of snark and when the threads finally close to further comments, all your esprit d'escalier will drown. The accumulated eyerolls from all their jokey one-liners and desperate media references will foam up about their waists and all the MeFites and mods will look up and say "Who the hell are you? Tell me what you meant by conflict of interest!"... and I'll look down and whisper "No."
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:45 PM on November 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


(it starts in the 80s, so of course the painting is video art)
posted by Artw at 5:45 PM on November 26, 2012


If TV shows count, the winner of the opening-credits-better-than-the-show award easily goes to Dexter . Not because the show is particularly bad, but because it's the greatest credits sequence of all time.

And because the show is particularly bad.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:13 PM on November 26, 2012


If we're dragging TV into this, then we have to consider The Prisoner.
posted by JHarris at 6:18 PM on November 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I briefly worked as an intern for Adam "Carnosaur" Simon. In my limited interaction with him, I can assure you that he really is like the guy he plays in the opening scene of The Player.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:35 PM on November 26, 2012


I think the "giddy, Troma-esque mayhem" of Super's opening sequence was a genius rope-a-dope for the emotional gut-punch the film actually was. But then again, I like surprises.
posted by Panjandrum at 6:54 PM on November 26, 2012


If we're dragging TV into this, then we have to consider The Prisoner.

Well, awesome things with awesome credits would be a longer conversation.
posted by Artw at 7:19 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah. Bloody hell.
posted by kneecapped at 7:32 PM on November 26, 2012


When I think of that movie, I don't picture the opening credits, there are a number of moving and/or gripping scenes that stand out.

"Miss Jean Louise. Miss Jean Louise, stand up. Your father's passing."
posted by kirkaracha at 7:53 PM on November 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


The Kingdom's opening credits are great and much better than the movie.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:01 PM on November 26, 2012


Surely every Bond movie ever should be on the list.

Is there a list of movie trailers that are better than the actual films? Mine would begin with the teaser trailer for Garden State and the international trailer for Cloud Atlas.
posted by mediated self at 8:12 PM on November 26, 2012


and in a unreal bit of political theater, the ending credits to the pretty-good buddy copy comedy The Other Guys features an animated sequence explaining how white collar crime works.
posted by The Whelk at 8:23 PM on November 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


If TV has been dragged into this already, then I submit the sublime opening credits for Carnivàle, an otherwise pretty dismal, long-winded, frustrating and unengaging show.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 9:13 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think Superbad is an excellent film, but the title sequence is arguably perfect.
posted by Corduroy at 10:08 PM on November 26, 2012


Into The Void is many things, but vapid? I disagree, sir or madam!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:27 AM on November 27, 2012


Top 10 James Bond opening sequences. Surely the gold standard for opening sequences better than the actual movie?
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:56 AM on November 27, 2012


Footloose
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:48 AM on November 27, 2012


Needs more The Island of Dr. Moreau

That basically has the highest ratio of title sequence goodness to film badness of all time. By the great Kyle Cooper who has done some brilliant title sequences.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 9:59 AM on November 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can not agree with the inclusion of 'Panic Room' - it's almost my favourite Fincher film.
posted by shimmerbug at 12:56 PM on November 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Freaked

I guess it's a cult classic or whatever, so some people might figure the movie lives up to the titles, but those are some great titles.
posted by RobotHero at 10:18 PM on November 27, 2012


And the Art of the Title article on it introduced me to the idea of Strata Cut animation, which is good, too.
posted by RobotHero at 10:20 PM on November 27, 2012


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