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The Box Now an Official Member of the Overused Movie Titles Club

Taken (2008)
Liam Neeson put this title on the map earlier this year when he butt-kicked his way to victory against his daughter’s kidnappers. This was not the first time “Taken” has been taken as a movie moniker. There are many Takens, the most prominent of which is the 1999 suspense flick starring Dabney Coleman as a kidnapped businessman no one is interested in saving. And there’s yet another Taken on the way in 2010!

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Deception (2008)
Deceit sure is a popular theme in Hollywood. The most recent Deception was
the 2008 thriller starring Ewan McGregor and Hugh Jackman as deceived
and deceiver respectively, but it’s also the name of many a direct-to-video flick.
Rewinding back to 1946, there’s also the romantic thriller starring
Bette Davis as a music teacher who kills an ex-lover. That may sound
more like murder than deception, but “Murder” doesn’t have quite the same
ring to it, does it?

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Crash (2004)
When Crash came out in 2004, people scratched their heads: Wasn’t Crash a creepy David Cronenberg movie about people who get turned on
by car accidents? It sure is, but that wasn’t enough to stop Paul
Haggis from reusing the name for his 2005 Oscar-winning flick about
clashing cultures in Los Angeles. To be fair, there’s also a
possessed-car movie from 1977, a 1987 indie flick, and probably many
more to come. We shall see.

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Underworld (2003)
When it comes to monster movies, Underworld seems
to have an irresistible ring. There’s the Kate Beckinsale franchise and
the 1986 Clive Barker film that pits the hero against underground
mutants. But the title is equally apropos for organized crime. In fact,
when Underworld cropped up as a silent gangster flick back in
1927, it won an Oscar at the first-ever Academy Awards. So perhaps this
title is actually worth revisiting.

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Possession (2002)
It’s no surprise that a slew of Possession movies are wrought with
jealousy and mistrust. At least two films are about love affairs,
including one in 2002, in which Aaron Eckhart and Gwyneth Paltrow
research an illicit love affair between two Victorian poets. There’s
also the obscure horror flick from 1987, in which a man is driven to
murder after years of living with his overbearing mother. (No, it’s not
a Psycho remake. It just sounds like one.)

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The Kid (2000)
This
was quite the trendy title in the early 1900s, but it was Charlie
Chaplin who really owned it when his 1921 flick, in which the Tramp
saves a dumpster baby, became an instant classic. Other Kids
have come and gone over the years, but the most notable instance was in
2000, when Bruce Willis played a jaded businessman visited by an
8-year-old version of himself. (Yes, the kid had hair. So did Willis,
actually.)

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Heat (1995)
For such an unremarkable word, “Heat” has seen its fair share of title
action. Al Pacino and Robert De Niro packed a whole lot of it in
Michael Mann’s 1995 cop movie. Burt Reynolds turned on the heat in 1986
as a Sin City bodyguard trying to leave his violent life for the
greener pastures of Venice. The original Heat, though, was an obscure
1972 Andy Warhol movie. Does that really count? Hush, you highbrow fans.

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Midnight (1934)
In the history of cinema, a lot has happened at midnight. Claudette
Colbert and Humphrey Bogart starred in a 1934 courtroom drama in which
a woman is set to be executed at midnight for committing a crime of
passion. Just five years later, Billy Wilder wrote a comedy loosely
adapted from the Cinderella fairy tale. In more recent decades, the title has been
tacked onto horror movies — in one, Lynn Redgrave’s character is even
named Midnight!

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