Total Recall

Total Recall: More Movies With Matching Titles

With The Avengers hitting theaters, we run down a dozen more titles shared by multiple films.

by | May 3, 2012 | Comments

Matching Movie Titles 2

The Avengers isn’t just the title of this weekend’s hotly-anticipated superhero extravaganza, it’s also the name of a critically panned adaptation of a 1960s TV show starring Ralph Fiennes and Uma Thurman. This isn’t the first time multiple movies have shared a title, of course — last week’s action thriller Safe shared a title with a Todd Haynes drama. But noticing the latest example on the release schedule got us thinking — and by the time we’d finished thinking, we had ourselves yet another list. From Oscar nominees to infamous duds, here are 25 movies with only a dozen titles between them. It’s time for Total Recall!

The Avengers

 

1998

5%

 

VS.

 

 

2012

91%

Any film fan worth his salt has probably seen a few jokers on Twitter and Facebook pretending to think this weekend’s Avengers is an adaptation of the old TV spy series. But not so long ago, that actually happened: 1998’s The Avengers drew inspiration from the show, and boasted a terrific cast that included Sean Connery, Ralph Fiennes, and Uma Thurman — but still died a horrible death in theaters, where its theatrical run was marked by brutal reviews and disappointing grosses. Even before its American debut, the 2012 Avengers already has the critical and commercial edge, as well as a pretty impressive cast of its own. It’s no contest — when choosing between these two cinematic crimefighting teams, we’ll take Marvel’s superheroes every time.

Black Sheep

 

1996

28%

 

VS.

 

 

2006

72%

Like most right-minded film fans, when we read Black Sheep, we think of the 1996 Chris Farley/David Spade comedy about… well, it doesn’t really matter what the plot is about, does it? It’s about a big guy and a smaller guy on some outlandishly goofy comedic adventures, and even if it isn’t as funny as Tommy Boy, the Farley/Spade pairing always had enough juice to make up for some of the less egregious flaws in the scripts they were given. Imagine our surprise when we discovered that the Tomatometer champion in the Black Sheep wars is a 2006 horror-comedy hybrid about a flock of genetically engineered sheep who go on a killing spree across the New Zealand countryside. As hard as it is for us to disrespect one of the preeminent comedy teams of the early ’90s, we’re forced to give the nod to the ’06 Sheep here — you’ve got your pick of movies with a fat guy in a little coat, but how many times do you get to see killer sheep?

Blown Away

 

1992

 

VS.

 

 

1994

38%

The differences between Stephen Hopkins’ bomb squad actioner and the Corey-powered erotic thriller are about as stark as their respective interpretations of the title they share. One stars Jeff Bridges as a Boston cop terrorized by an escaped bomber (Tommy Lee Jones) he once called a friend; the other stars notable teen duo Corey Feldman and Corey Haim as half-brothers who are swept into a murder plot when one of them (Haim) falls for a seductive femme fatale (Baywatch‘s Nicole Eggert). Unfortunately, neither film really blew anyone away, as the novelty of “The Two Coreys” had already begun to wane by 1992, and despite the star power of Bridges and Jones, the 1994 film suffered from comparisons to the similarly-themed Speed, which hit theaters just a month before it. Leave it to two movies called Blown Away to bomb, both critically and commercially.

Crossroads

 

1986

75%

 

VS.

 

 

2002

15%

Like a few others on this list, Crossroads is a generic enough title that several films have adopted it, though we’ll be focusing on the two that have Tomatometers. Specifically, this means comparing two road movies heavily informed by music: 1986’s Crossroads, directed by Walter Hill and starring Ralph Macchio as a young guitarist in search of a lost song by legendary blues man Robert Johnson; and 2002’s Crossroads, starring Britney Spears, Taryn Manning, and Zoe Saldana as three estranged childhood friends who reunite on the night of their high school graduation and embark on a road trip from Louisiana to California. Spears’ pop icon status was still fully intact when her film opened, but that didn’t stop Crossroads from being terribly silly and clichéd, with a few bizarrely dark moments. Hill’s film, on the other hand, not only demonstrated an affection for its subject matter, it featured a climactic guitar battle between The Karate Kid and Steve Vai as the Devil’s minion. There is no contest here.

The Fast and the Furious

 

1954

 

VS.

 

 

2001

54%

They’re separated by nearly 50 years and millions of budget dollars, but it should come as no surprise that our two The Fast and the Furiouses have plenty in common — specifically, they both revolve around morally complex men forced into bad behavior by tricky legal situations. In the 1954 version, it’s John Ireland who, as ex-con Frank Webster, kidnaps a woman (Dorothy Malone) and poses as a road rally driver in order to escape the law long enough to reach the border. The second time around, we saw Paul Walker as a cop going undercover in a racing gang led by Vin Diesel and finding himself drawn to the man he’s sworn to bring to justice — not to mention his sister (Jordana Brewster). In terms of box office clout, the more recent Furious clearly boasts higher octane, but the original was produced by a young Roger Corman. Call it a draw?

The General

 

1926

92%

 

VS.

 

 

1998

82%

Buster Keaton’s silent classic and John Boorman’s gritty biopic are similar in exactly two ways: they’re both called The General, and they’re both in black and white. While Keaton’s film was a flop in its time, it’s subsequently been heralded as one of silent cinema’s greatest achievements; a deft mix of comedy and romance that features some of the most death-defying stunts ever captured on celluloid, the 1927 General is the story of a Civil War-era railroad engineer who rescues his girlfriend with the help of his beloved locomotive. In terms of historical import, Boorman’s film doesn’t measure up, but it’s still a remarkable portrait of Martin Cahill, a notorious Irish crime lord who became a modern folk hero; as played by Brendan Gleeson, Cahill maintains a roguish charm despite his propensity for violence, theft, and womanizing.

Hero

 

1992

67%

 

VS.

 

 

2002

94%

At first glance, the two films here that share the title Hero could hardly be more different: one is a dramedy about an unassuming good Samaritan (Dustin Hoffman) who rescues several survivors from a crashed plane and promptly disappears back into anonymity, while the other is a period martial arts epic about an assassination plot against China’s first emperor. Digging a little deeper, however, reveals both movies were helmed by very good directors (Stephen Frears in 1992, Zhang Yimou in 2002), powered by very talented stars (Hoffman, Geena Davis, and Andy Garcia in 1992; Jet Li, Donnie Yen, Maggie Cheung, and Tony Leung in 2002), and effective in subverting traditional notions of heroism. That said, while Frears’ Hero was a moderate critical and commercial success, Zhang’s Hero is a triumph, with stunning action sequences, sumptuous cinematography, and a gripping story based on historical events.

Notorious

 

1946

96%

 

VS.

 

 

2009

52%

Believe it or not, Alfred Hitchcock and Christopher Wallace have a lot in common. Both had multiple nicknames (Wallace rapped as both the Notorious B.I.G and Biggie Smalls; Hitchcock was called Hitch and the Master of Suspense). Both were known for their corpulent bodies. Both were involved in famous beefs (Biggie with 2Pac, Hitch with David O. Selznick). Both used art to reflect on the dark allure of crime and punishment. And though Hitch died before Biggie rose to fame, the rapper gave the great director a shout-out on “What’s Beef”: “This rap Alfred Hitchcock/ drop top notch playa hating won’t stop.” However, in the cinematic battle between Hitch’s espionage thriller and the Biggie biopic — both titled Notorious — the portly Englishman takes the top prize. While the latter received respectful to lukewarm notices, the former is one of Hitchcock’s greatest achievements — Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman burn up the screen as lovers on a mission to infiltrate a Nazi spy ring. And if you don’t know, now you know.

The Protector

 

1985

20%

 

VS.

 

 

2006

53%

It’s not really fair to compare 1985’s The Protector to the film of the same name that came out 21 years later. We know that. Sure, it’s got the built-in headline power of “Jackie Chan vs. Tony Jaa,” but that’s more than a little disingenuous. When Chan starred in the earlier Protector, a self-serious thriller about an NYC cop (Chan) investigating a kidnapping, he was still virtually unknown to American audiences, so his signature stuntwork and comic energy is nowhere to be found in the film. By contrast, when 2002’s Protector opened, audiences were still feeling the incredible rush from Jaa’s explosive debut, Ong Bak; all eyes were on him to deliver another knockout, and deliver he did. One particular sequence involves a fantastic, brutal, unbroken long take following Jaa as he ascends several flights of stairs and beats up baddies, and that sequence alone trumps all of Chan’s Protector.

Red

 

1994

100%

 

VS.

 

 

2010

72%

Two movies called Red are also two movies about old folks getting their respective mojos back. In the final installment of Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colors trilogy, Valentine (Irene Jacob) meets Joseph (Jean-Louis Trintignant), a reclusive retired judge, after she accidently runs over his dog. Joseph’s a pretty cynical old guy, but he eventually opens up to Valentine, who learns that he’s been secretly eavesdropping on his neighbors’ phone conversations. The folks in 2010’s Red are also getting up there in age, and they also know a thing or two about spycraft. Frank (Bruce Willis), Joe (Morgan Freeman), Marvin (John Malkovich), and Victoria (Helen Mirren) are retired CIA operatives whose extensive institutional knowledge makes them dangerous to the agency. Though the more recent Red might not have garnered the critical praise of the 1994 film, it has lots more explosions. Like, lots more.

Road House

 

1948

92%

 

VS.

 

 

1989

37%

The 1948 film Road House is bereft of the most compelling elements of its 1989 namesake — there are no nationally-famous bouncers, monster trucks, or early morning tai chi sessions to be found here. Instead, the O.G. Road House features a disturbing performance from Richard Widmark as Jeffy Robbins, the psychotic owner of a gritty tavern on the Canadian border. Jeffy is in love with lounge singer Lily Stevens (Ida Lupino), but she’s fallen for Jeffy’s Road House manager Pete Morgan (Cornel Wilde); frame-ups, double-crosses, and shootings ensue. This grim noir has a better Tomatometer than Rowdy Herrington’s magnum opus, but for campy fun, few films equal the 1989 film, which features Patrick Swayze at his most brutal and philosophical. Let it roll, baby, roll.

Running Scared

 

1979

 

VS.

 

 

1986

59%

 

VS.

 

 

2006

41%

Running Scared is a fairly generic title, but this three-way battle’s plain surface masks some intriguing acting matchups — the 1979 version stars Ken Wahl and Judge Reinhold as Army vets who find themselves at the center of a spy thriller after unwittingly taking a picture of a secret military installation, the 1986 entry stars Billy Crystal and Gregory Hines as a couple of bumbling Chicago cops embroiled in a crime war with Jimmy Smits, and the 2005 Scared stars Paul Walker as a low-level Mafia grunt who’s told to dispose of a gun but ends up having to hunt it down after it’s “borrowed” and used to commit a crime. It’s definitely tough to pick a winner here — Walker is a repeat performer on this week’s list, and it’s hard to go against Judge Reinhold. But we have to go with the 1986 Running Scared, if for no other reason than the fact that the soundtrack’s Top 10 hit, “Sweet Freedom,” came with a video starring singer/ex-Doobie Brother/noted ’80s beard enthusiast Michael McDonald in a Hawaiian print shirt. Shine, sweet freedom… Shine your light on me…

Take a look through the rest of our Total Recall archives (including last week’s Total Recall, in which we ran down other memorable movies with matching titles). And don’t forget to check out the reviews for The Avengers.

 

Written by Ryan Fujitani, Luke Goodsell, and Tim Ryan

Tag Cloud

movies VH1 Sony Pictures spider-verse singing competition discovery VICE Paramount Pictures trophy sag awards mockumentary Musical Best Director blaxploitation Box Office police drama WarnerMedia Tomatazos halloween CMT Britbox mcc richard e. Grant 4/20 romantic comedy streaming TCA 2017 HBO Go ID Lifetime 2017 Nat Geo olympics Rocky Tags: Comedy Creative Arts Emmys cancelled TV series NYCC royal family Instagram Live reviews Ghostbusters docuseries 45 Disney crime breaking bad kong cartoon ABC Family Trivia TruTV Western Podcast stoner game of thrones Pacific Islander canceled TV shows Baby Yoda aliens transformers Binge Guide scene in color film series gangster Nickelodeon canceled Comic-Con@Home 2021 FX Fox News Best Actress Film YouTube Red rt labs young adult Paramount Network Mary Tyler Moore summer preview Comedy critics SXSW Amazon Hear Us Out Winter TV Netflix Christmas movies MTV godzilla AMC The Walking Dead dexter Tubi streamig dogs target political drama leaderboard superman green book stand-up comedy dragons Extras trailers asian-american children's TV Interview HBO Max DirecTV Focus Features CW Seed reboot hispanic worst movies Marathons latino Music ABC Signature satire 2020 suspense Christmas BBC One Valentine's Day doctor who news popular CNN Dark Horse Comics comic books documentary vampires finale Epix 24 frames Pet Sematary Arrowverse new york Calendar archives die hard Sundance TV disaster IFC ghosts spy thriller cinemax Toys new star wars movies TV renewals crime thriller social media YouTube Universal Pictures Film Festival DC Universe target scene in color television Academy Awards Grammys The Purge Chernobyl Polls and Games Esquire obituary Endgame Television Academy Neflix action-comedy 71st Emmy Awards saw Awards Tour Quiz dramedy Best Actor Emmy Nominations robots HBO OneApp Fantasy critic resources Anna Paquin Walt Disney Pictures E3 2019 Winners cops Freeform video biopic Spike NBC MSNBC Disney streaming service comic travel venice serial killer scene in color series RT History TV Mindy Kaling monster movies History festival Infographic book Captain marvel strong female leads Watching Series telelvision 2021 First Look genre ESPN E! Paramount Plus black spain prank kaiju X-Men Trophy Talk Ellie Kemper scorecard emmy awards Drama 2018 dreamworks See It Skip It Syfy Emmys psycho PlayStation japan TBS Amazon Studios 90s Rock best The Arrangement DC streaming service Superheroes Biopics 79th Golden Globes Awards rt labs critics edition new zealand Cosplay boxoffice 73rd Emmy Awards marvel cinematic universe Exclusive Video Holidays vs. rotten movies we love IFC Films CBS All Access harry potter National Geographic summer TV PaleyFest Fox Searchlight art house directors Turner Trailer Legendary fresh Alien TCA Native 007 movie TLC San Diego Comic-Con Disney Plus Black History Month Character Guide Marvel Studios mob Elton John miniseries obi wan scary jurassic park free movies Food Network christmas movies king kong HFPA Apple TV+ FX on Hulu TV One APB king arthur series Crunchyroll cars RT21 A24 cancelled TV shows El Rey TNT indiana jones Adult Swim 72 Emmy Awards Star Wars adventure SundanceTV DGA Super Bowl what to watch zombies australia 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards wonder woman 1990s mutant chucky dc nbcuniversal ABC Discovery Channel The Witch name the review supernatural blockbuster TCM BAFTA Sundance Now Election 99% aapi Funimation Turner Classic Movies comics Thanksgiving GIFs mission: impossible talk show screen actors guild Heroines Universal Mary poppins live action USA Network Apple TV Plus video on demand Horror award winner Showtime Rom-Com TV Land sitcom Amazon Prime Video fast and furious Acorn TV ratings Nominations Bravo Pirates legend live event pirates of the caribbean Pixar BBC cancelled television Shudder Cannes hist batman Martial Arts hollywood Song of Ice and Fire Animation American Society of Cinematographers joker true crime Pop Classic Film The CW 94th Oscars WGN independent USA technology twilight MGM Fall TV rom-coms witnail Logo Lifetime Christmas movies Reality Star Trek posters AMC Plus Photos OWN 21st Century Fox deadpool criterion The Walt Disney Company cooking dceu based on movie Pop TV nfl Rocketman natural history Chilling Adventures of Sabrina MCU nature binge Comics on TV Television Critics Association President lord of the rings Reality Competition crime drama Hulu 2016 romance Travel Channel adenture thriller comic book movie casting concert Country Columbia Pictures Vudu Awards Hallmark Paramount slasher ViacomCBS Pride Month universal monsters 93rd Oscars Black Mirror Opinion comic book movies streaming movies spanish Sci-Fi First Reviews Comic Book space spinoff football international all-time Shondaland razzies zero dark thirty docudrama Marvel Television Disney+ Disney Plus slashers remakes parents elevated horror franchise Video Games Apple cancelled hispanic heritage month cults adaptation black comedy psychological thriller biography Ovation Countdown classics Star Wars Celebration crossover Peacock sequel politics documentaries broadcast Wes Anderson facebook stop motion CBS Action sequels Mary Poppins Returns high school Writers Guild of America Kids & Family historical drama Schedule Disney Channel war screenings women Cartoon Network Spring TV Avengers basketball Geeked Week worst YouTube Premium TCA Winter 2020 Premiere Dates a nightmare on elm street unscripted South by Southwest Film Festival golden globes golden globe awards scary movies Tokyo Olympics toy story GLAAD feel good Oscars Red Carpet LGBTQ know your critic Oscar japanese The Academy indie interviews quibi animated debate SXSW 2022 Crackle diversity Broadway Warner Bros. toronto Family LGBT foreign Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt revenge versus Set visit FXX SDCC Mudbound south america Mystery BET Awards Holiday renewed TV shows rt archives werewolf Lionsgate BET ITV TV movies laika boxing DC Comics Sneak Peek halloween tv scene in color A&E IMDb TV Indigenous jamie lee curtis anthology Summer medical drama Netflix Brie Larson teaser GoT Women's History Month justice league Starz Tarantino PBS BBC America Image Comics sports dark zombie Lucasfilm Best Picture Best and Worst YA anime summer TV preview cats New York Comic Con Teen TIFF hidden camera Tumblr TCA Awards james bond Year in Review FOX 20th Century Fox Fargo tv talk french Marvel VOD Musicals composers Hollywood Foreign Press Association superhero comiccon Hallmark Christmas movies Superheroe Spectrum Originals films Sundance 2015 game show spider-man Stephen King blockbusters period drama Masterpiece Prime Video Amazon Prime sopranos rotten Certified Fresh theme song kids spanish language heist movie child's play italian festivals comedies NBA Comedy Central marvel comics science fiction book adaptation Sony