Citizen Kane (1941)
The Tagline: It’s terrific!
Why It’s Terrible: We guess all of the effort involved in actually making it terrific had exhausted everyone’s capacity to think up a decent description.
What They Should Have Done: Charles Foster Kane. “I am, have been, and will be only one thing: an American.”
The Blob (1988)
The Tagline: Terror has no shape.
Why It’s Terrible: Of course, terror has no shape. It’s an feeling.
What They Should Have Done: Things are gonna get messy.
Bulletproof Monk (2003)
The Tagline: A monk. A punk. A chick. In a kick-ass flick.
Why It’s Terrible: It sounds like a poster quote from a low-rent blog, not the official strapline of a movie with millions of dollars of marketing expertise behind it.
What They Should Have Done: You’ve been monk’d.
The Specialist (1994)
The Tagline: The government taught him to kill. Now he’s using his skills to help a woman seek revenge against the Miami underworld.
Why It’s Terrible: Not exactly pithy, is it? And if your synopsis reads like any old straight-to-video gubbins, it’s probably best not to shout about it.
What They Should Have Done: He has a very particular set of skills.
The Haunting (1999)
The Tagline: Some houses are born bad.
Why It’s Terrible: Don’t you need planning permission for that?
What They Should Have Done: They knew the legends. They didn’t believe them.
Bangkok Dangerous (2008)
The Tagline: It’s all in the execution.
Why It’s Terrible: Look at the picture. At some point, somebody decided to take Nic Cage’s guns away, leaving him unable to execute anything.
What They Should Have Done: Thai fighter.
Charlie Wilson’s War (2007)
The Tagline: A stiff drink. A little mascara. A lot of nerve. Who said they couldn’t bring down the Soviet empire.
Why It’s Terrible: The missing question mark. These thing matter, dammit.
What They Should Have Done: Change the last sentence to “That’s all they needed to bring down the Soviet empire.”
The Tagline: They came to SpaceCamp with the dream of becoming astronauts. Suddenly…Without warning…Before they were ready…They were launched into space.
Why It’s Terrible: What’s with the staccato… Effect? Did William…Shatner….Write this?
What They Should Have Done: Are you an astronaut or an astro-not?
Above The Law (1988)
The Tagline: He was a covert agent trained in Vietnam. He has a master 6th degree Black Belt in Aikido…and family in the Mafia. He’s an cop with an attitude.
Why It’s Terrible: That’s not a tagline, that’s a LinkedIn profile.
What They Should Have Done: The badder the criminals, the more bad-ass the cop.
The Magnificent Seven (1960)
The Tagline: The magnificent one.
Why It’s Terrible: Mathematical ambiguity.
What They Should Have Done: The veteran. The drifter. The fortune-hunter. The thinker. The outlaw. The protector. The rookie. Together, they’re magnificent.