Titular Threetease (promotional title: T3T)
The poster for Keanu Reeves samurai epic 47 Ronin is coming to the side of a bus near you. As I watched it rumble down the street, I wondered how high I could count in movie titles without using sequels. Thus, the long-awaited conclusion of my Titular Treatise Trilogy (see also Parts One and Two).
Lots of movies have “One” in the title, perhaps the greatest being either One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest or It Happened One Night. There’s Capricorn One and Air Force One. There’s The Lucky One and The Brave One. There’s One Day and One Fine Day and, if you’re a bit sloppy about the translation of Lucas Belvaux’s excellent 38 Témoins, there’s also One Night. But for the sake of simplicity, I’m kicking off with Jet Li’s dimension-hopping, one-man-Highlander remake The One.
“Two” crops up even more than “One”, and not just because of sequels. I’m sticking with the quietly brilliant Two Lovers, but I could also have the thematically similar but stupidly-titled Two Much. I could have The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers since the “Two” does not refer to the film’s place in the franchise, and I could arguably have 2 Fast 2 Furious for one of its digits on the same basis.
There was a horror movie called Thr3e released in 2006, rather late for the number-replacing-orthographically-similar-letter-in-title party (cf. Th1rt3en Ghosts et al), and fuck latecomers. Amigos, Musketeers, Kings, Stooges, Fugitives, Next Days, Days of the Condor, Men and a Baby, Men and a Little Lady, and Burials of Melquiades Estrada all come in threes, thanks to the dramatic rule of trinity. But I can’t diss one of my favourite films, so I’ll go with Three Colours: Blue.
Four, Four Rooms, Four Lions, Four Brothers, Fantastic Four, The Four Feathers. But it’s Christmas, so my seasonally-inspired pick is Four Christmases.
Five (Abbas Kiarostami)
Six Degrees of Separation
Eight Men Out
Bonus film: 8 ½
Nine (remember, this is the one with Daniel Day Lewis and a bunch of women, and also an homage but not a sequel to 8 ½)
Bonus film: 9 ½ Weeks
Ten (Abbas Kiarostami, but not a sequel to Five)
Ocean’s 11, Twelve Monkeys, Thirteen Days
There’s a film noir called 14 Hours which sounds awesome: the whole thing takes place on either side of a window as a young man stands on the ledge outside, threatening to jump. Plus it’s Grace Kelly’s first film, three years shy of Rear Window.
15 Minutes, 16 Blocks
It turns out that there’s a 17 Again (Efron/Perry) and an 18 Again! (Schlatter/Burns), both body-swap comedies, except 18 Again! was made two decades earlier. Is 17 Again a remake? The answer is, who cares when you can have Stalag 17 and Apollo 18.
In honour of the prematurely departed Paul Walker I’ll pick the not-yet-released Vehicle 19. Here’s a fitting eulogy from the internet’s best film writer, Outlaw Vern.
I think I can pick Hallowe'en: H20 since it’s not the 20th film in the series; nor does the title refer to the molecular formula for water, although for some reason it seems like it should.
21 Grams, Catch-22, The Number 23, 24 Hour Party People
(The?) 25th Hour
26 is the first tough one. There’s an Indian movie called Special 26, but IMDb cautions “Special Chabbis (original title)”. I’ll trust them on Occupation in 26 Pictures instead, some kind of wartime drama whose original title is Okupacija u 26 slika because it’s from Yugoslavia.
27 Dresses, 28 Days Later
Twentynine Palms (Bruno Dumont)
30 Days of Night
There’s a horror movie called KM31: Kilometre 31. What’s the point of a) shortening your title if you’re then going to explain the abbreviation; or b) including an abbreviation ahead of your title, which makes it longer?
An Irish film called 32A. Thank you, Ireland; I may manage to avoid bullet calibres until the mid-forties.
Never heard of a Brazilian autobiographical documentary called 33, but its synopsis indicates that it addresses (among other themes) the number 33, so it makes the cut. Has to be better than The Number 23, anyway.
Miracle on 34th Street, another seasonal pick
35 Shots of Rum, 36: Quai des Orfèvres, To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday
The aforementioned 38 Témoins
The 39 Steps (Hitchcock)
The 40 Year-Old Virgin
The IMDb synopsis for 2012 drama/sci-fi 41 reads: “A young man discovers a hole in the floor of a local motel that leads to yesterday.” How have I not seen this?
I sullied my list with Four Christmases, so why not plumb the depths with Movie 43?
44 Inch Chest
I could have .45, Colt .45 or Love and a .45. I’m taking 45 minutes to Ramallah. Fuck guns.
Of course we have 47 Ronin
48 Hours, Ladder 49, 50 First Dates, The 51st State, 52 Pick-Up
There’s something called 53 días de invierno
54, 55 Days at Peking, The House on 56th Street
You were probably looking forward to Passenger 57
A hard one: IMDb records only one feature film with “58” in the title, a French thriller called 23:58. Tangentially, in France Die Hard 2 goes by 58 Minutes pour Vivre after Walter Wager’s book 58 Minutes on which the sequel is based.
I’ve got 23:58, might as well have 23:59. Honestly, both of those are films.
Gone in 60 Seconds
31 North 62 East? …I don’t know, John Rhys-Davies is in it. It’s that or Totòtruffa ‘62.
The Hell of ‘63
I can’t find anything with “64” in it, which is a shame because I was really hoping to get to Winchester ‘73 or at least Buffalo 66.
The first dectet has the highest quality of films, even polluted by The One and Four Christmases (I could have had One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Four Lions). There are two Kiarostamis, one Kieslowski and a Cassavetes, plus Two Lovers, Six Degrees of Separation and Seven. The twenties aren’t bad either, with 21 Grams, 24 Hour Party People, 25th Hour and Twentynine Palms (which everyone hates but I think is excellent).
Having the number “Three” in the title seems a pretty good indication of quality and/or popularity, but “33” is extremely unusual. There are, to date, no feature-length films with “64” in the title.
Originally published 24 December 2013