It’s crossing over into film titles!

My friend Alexa directed me to this horrifying movie poster:

Yikes. I’m not a fan of the title.

The worst part is that a title with perfect grammar could have been easy — only they chose to do this. Having this title does not add anything to the movie. That’s my opinion on the matter.

One complication is that it can be argued that “How She Move” is a colloquialism. What are your thoughts on that?

Thanks, Alexa. If you’re a fan of funny news, Knut, Overheard in New York or right-wing rhetoric — or any combination thereof — check out her blog, Alexa Shrugged.

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15 responses to “It’s crossing over into film titles!

  1. Not to pick on you, but I think that, once you get into the titles of creative works, you’re crossing the line between useful correction and senseless nitpicking. An advertisement should, in most cases, follow the rules of grammar, but when someone chooses to title their creative work, I think they should be allowed to break rules. Think of all the poetry titles that make absolutely no sense.

    Note: This is in no way suggesting that “How She Move” will be a legitimate movie.

  2. I’d have to agree with Jeff. Is it perfect grammar? No. But it’s the title of an artistic work. Grammar doesn’t necessarily apply to that, and therefore doesn’t have anything to do with this ad. Whether it’s colloquial isn’t a complication, it’s an explanation.

  3. A poem is totally different than a movie. This movie doesn’t look like it will be an Oscar contender so I don’t think it can be called an artistic work in that sense.

    It makes me cringe every time I see it in the DC metro. Especially when I think about how many kids are going to think it’s ok to say because they saw it in a movie. It will only confuse them.

    Kids are very impressionable. I bet there’s an entire generation out there that thinks “Viva Viagra” is an actual song and would be shocked to hear it’s really “Viva Las Vegas;” but I digress..

  4. The movie’s by MTV Films. Could you really expect anything better?

  5. >>This movie doesn’t look like it will be an Oscar contender so I don’t think it can be called an artistic work in that sense.

    Wow, that’s judgmental. Just because it’s not up to your standards doesn’t mean it’s not a work of creativity or art. And I would disagree that film is somehow not entitled to the same creative freedom as poetry.

    As for kids being impressionable, I don’t think anyone is going to turn to a life of grammar crime because they saw this poster.

  6. It’s African-American Vernacular English.

  7. You guys do realize movie titles are often picked by people like the studio heads and focus groups, not always the writers or producers who have been crafting the “work of creativity or art,” right? It’s not like I’m insulting an artist or something.

    Putting incorrect grammar into popular culture can confuse people until they don’t know which version is correct. If an impressionable person without much experience with the English language hears both “how she moves” and “how she move” used, how are they supposed to remember which is correct?

    I, for one, have sometimes missed the incorrect usage of “it’s” vs. “its” when editing because I’ve become so accustomed to seeing it wrong.

    What’s the purpose of leaving off the “s” in moves, anyway? An act of defiance? Deconstruction? What is the larger meaning and implication for society as a whole?

  8. Alexa, read the comment right above yours. The point is as anon says “It’s African-American Vernacular English.”

    As such, whoever wrote the title (doesn’t matter who) took creative license in applying a title that would express the language spoken in the film, whether or not it would be considered “correct”
    grammar.

  9. Schmacie Goblinstein

    I have to chime in here: Though this title grates on me like fingernails down a chalkboard, it’s at LEAST is effective marketing. We’re now all aware the movie exists and what to expect from its plot (good or bad), right?

  10. First of all, I agree that yes, this is technically a piece of art, and for that reason, we should not insult its grammar. But what I’m wondering is whether it adds SO much to the movie to keep it in.

    I think that Alexa is right in that kids are impressionable and that this is the kind of thing that adds to the bad grammar habits that kids have already.

    However, I don’t think that just because it isn’t an Oscar contender, that that keeps it from being artistic.

    Schmacie has a great point. We now know all about this movie. The grammar terrorists have won.

  11. The title of a movie is not necessarily a grammatically correct sentence….it is a proper noun. Thus, it does not need to conform to the rules of grammar. “She Hate Me” was the name of a movie released back in 2004. It was actually subject to similar ridicule. The movie was directed by Spike Lee, who I think most people will agree is a well respected director/writer/producer, etc. (Oscar nominated as well as Emmy and Cannes Film festival award winning, among others) He was also a part of the following moves: “Mo’ Better Blues,” School Daze,” She’s Gotta Have It,” and “He Got Game.” He’s not exactly an English professor, but he does write some pretty good stuff. Who are we to question what he (or anyone else for that matter) titles his or her movies?

    [cue Cambridge's own e e cummings rolling over in his grave]

  12. Sorry. It reminds me of “Toys R Us” with a backwards “R,” because, awww, children write letters backwards. Isn’t that cute?

    It really rubs me the wrong way, and so does Spike Lee, auteur.

  13. African-American Vernacular English.

    AKA Ebonics.

    Debatable whether (self-proclaimed) AAVE is a language in itself, or just a bastardization of the English language.

  14. Pingback: We’ve got another one! « The Grammar Vandal

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