Playing for Keeps, which opens this weekend, is about a divorced father (Gerard Butler) coaching his son’s soccer team. However, he’s not just playing to win — he’s playing for keeps, like to keep his son. If this title were any more on the nose it would be Coaching Soccer for My Son’s Love. This isn’t the first time Hollywood went for a grotesquely obvious, idiom-based title. Do you remember Made of Honor? That isn’t a typo, it was really “made” because Patrick Dempsey was not only playing a maid of honor, he was, apparently, literally constructed out of honor. This phenomenon is not exclusive to schlock. The Oscar nominated Up in the Air is about a man who both flies a lot and whose life is up in the air. (Sure, the title was taken from the book, but titles are changed for movies constantly — someone decided to keep it.) There are dozens of examples — hell, there is even a movie entitled On the Nose. Still, there are few expressions left unbastardized, so we decided to help Hollywood out and create story ideas for ten that have been somehow left unused.
Walks of Life
After a hate crime in a racially diverse small town, a group of mothers rally the citizens together by organizing a walk to fight both cancer and the town’s tensions.
Armed to the Teeth
An ex-Marine named John Teeth lives the life of a quiet neighborhood dentist. That is until a renegade militia tries to take over his town — little do they know he is very well armed.
At This Stage
A retired Broadway actress owns and operates a local theater, at which she puts on plays written/directed/starring at-risk youths. When a landlord threatens eviction, they decide to mount one last show.
Beat Around the Bush
Set in post-9/11 America, a young man bucks his family’s military tradition and runs away from home to become a D.J., only to be asked to D.J. USO tours.
Down in the Dumps
After being caught drunk at work, the 50-year-old manager of a local garbage dump must start seeing a psychologist or he’ll lose his job.
Off My Chest
A renowned Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, famous for making boobs as big as possible, falls for a woman who comes in for a breast reduction.
Rival mixologists fall in love.
Playing the Field
A Gold Glove–winning second baseman for the L.A. Dodgers and notorious ladies man falls in love with a local sportscaster, only to see his game suffer significantly.
Shot in the Arm
A man decides to make something of his life after being shot in the arm.
Piece of My Mind
After a car accident, the town curmudgeon has emergency brain surgery, which unexpectedly makes him the nicest guy in the world.