Some movies titles get recycled — with very different results. Here are some famous and not-so-famous movies that have shared a title.
Last year, as I was rewatching Bad Boys (in advance of writing The Plot of Bad Boys Should’ve Been the Plot of Bad Boys 2), I stumbled onto a 1983 movie called Bad Boys. It’s a gritty movie, featuring film debut of Sean Penn (even pre-Spicoli), as he plays a teen gang member who’s sent to something of a Lord of the Flies situation in juvi. In other words—it’s quite different than Will Smith and Martin Lawrence popping off one-liners in between mega action set pieces.
I’ve been on the lookout ever since for unconnected, usually quite different movies that share the same title. And here are 11 of my favorites…
1 | Blown Away (1993) and Blown Away (1994)
The 1993 Blown Away is described as an “EROTIC THRILLER” featuring the two Coreys and Nicole Eggert. I’m not sure there’s a better sentence to sum up the early ’90s than that.
The Blown Away from one year later is more famous (and, you know, was actually in theaters and not straight to VHS). It features Jeff Bridges as a bomb squad cop with a secret past and Tommy Lee Jones as a mad Irish bomber with a less secret part. Should’ve been an EROTIC THRILLER.
2 | Men in Black (1934) vs. Men in Black (1997)
One was an over-the-top slapstick comedy. The other was a Three Stooges movie.
3 | Hot Pursuit (1987) vs. Hot Pursuit (2015)
The ’80s Hot Pursuit was arguably the least famous of the many, many John Cusack vehicles of the era. Which was a wonderful era, by the way. I kind of wish we’d just spent the past three-plus decades with a string of movies about John Cusack getting into various hijinks. The 2015 Hot Pursuit was also an action-comedy, of which I made it through the first 20 minutes on Hulu. From what I could tell, it was Reese Witherspoon playing watered-down version of Tracy-Flick-grew-up-to-be-a-cop and Sofia Vergara playing Sofia Vergara — both with serious diminished returns.
4 | Crash (1996) vs. Crash (2004)
The 1996 Crash is a David Cronenberg film out of Canada featuring James Spader, among others, as a group of people who get sexually aroused by car crashes. (As, just perhaps, you can tell by what they chose to feature on the movie poster.) That premise sounds as shlocky, perhaps, as that two Coreys movie above, but this movie was made to be ArtTM. It was wildly controversial, and got an NC-17 rating when it finally creeped down to the U.S. in 1997, but it won an award at Cannes and Best Picture at the Canadian version of the Golden Globes. (Called the Genie Awards; now defunct.)
The other, and better known, Crash is the 2004 version that makes every single list ever written of “Worst Oscar Best Picture Winners”. It also featured car crashes, but not as fetish fodder but more as a metaphor for people desperate to make connections with each other. Horizontal line mouth emoji.
5 | Crossroads (1986) vs. Crossroads (2002)
Crossroads from 1986 was an attempt to recapture the delightful cultural appropriation of the Karate Kid, but instead of having Ralph Macchio learn a legendary Asian art form from a wise old Asian man, it was about Ralph Macchio learning a legendary black art from from a wise old black men. (That being blues music.) Crossroads is about Ralph Macchio as a blues prodigy learning how to find soul in his blues music thanks to a road trip with an old blues man and then, if I recall correctly, winning a blues-off against the actual devil to free the old blues man’s soul.
The 2002 Crossroads was also an attempted cash grab road trip movie based on a teenage celebrity’s popularity — in this case, though, it was Britney Spears. It didn’t launch Britney’s acting career (although her two friends in the movie, Zoe Saldana and Taryn Manning, both did go on to have successful acting careers).
6 | The Night Before (1988) vs. The Night Before (2015)
I’d never heard of the 1988 version of The Night Before, but it’s Keanu along with Lori Loughlin where something something paying to get a kid into college. The Night Before from 2015 is a Christmas comedy with Seth Rogen that kind of came and went without much fanfare. I’m fairly sure, from just the poster, it falls under Nick Kroll’s description of all Seth Rogen movies: “The guys are friends, and then they’re not friends, and at the end of the movie, they’re friends again.”
7 | Gladiator (1992) vs. Gladiator (2000)
The 1992 Gladiator movie is about an underground boxing ring. The 2000 Gladiator is the the Oscar-winning historical epic with Russell Crowe. Although the Russell Crowe Gladiator is several magnitudes of order more famous, I’ve never quoted it; meanwhile, a quote from the 1992 Gladiator has stuck with me for decades — Brian Dennehy saying “Top of the head, hardest part of the body.” I’ve said that so many times, always with diminishing returns. As diminishing of the returns of Hot Pursuit? Well, yeah. Incessantly saying an obscure quote from an obscure movie is never as charming as I think it’s going to be.
8 | Heat (1986) vs. Heat (1996)
The 1986 Heat came during the phase in Burt Reynolds’s career where he was testing the waters to see just how big of a movie star he was. He’d had quite a few big hits and started taking on worse movies for bigger paydays, as a litmus test to see if they’d still do well. Heat was a bad movie that flopped, which helped answer the question.
It was about Burt Reynolds as a tough guy in Las Vegas mentoring a wimpy guy who wanted to be like him (kind of like the movie Hitch) and then getting into a war with a powerful mob operative (not like the movie Hitch).
The other Heat is, of course, an all-time famous crime drama by Michael Mann featuring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro (although they barely are ever on screen together). It’s 17 hours long. There’s no reason they couldn’t have jammed Burt Reynolds in there somewhere.
9 | Inside Out (2011) vs. Inside Out (2015)
The first Inside Out is a WWE Studios production featuring Triple H (along with Michael Rapaort, who makes sense in a WWE Studios production, and Parker Posey, who does not). The movie came out back when WWE was really hot on producing movies to prove it wasn’t just a rasslin’ company (it is), and when Triple H was really hot on trying to star in movies to prove he was everything The Rock was and more (he isn’t).
The other Inside Out is a Pixar movie that won an Oscar. So it’s probably the better of the two.
10 | The Kid (1921) vs. The Kid (2000)
The Kid from 1921 is a legendary Charlie Chaplin movie, a silent film considered one of the greatest of all time. The Kid from 2000 is from the “let’s put Bruce Willis and a child on screen together in a movie with a twist ending and… you know… just kinda see what happens” era.
11 | The Patriot (1998) vs. The Patriot (2000)
The first one stars Steven Seagal. The second stars Mel Gibson. Two of the most likable movie stars ever!