Ranked: 2020 in Movie Taglines

Collage by Chloe Leeson

Taglines! Last year I decided to rank them, looking at the best and worst from the films of 2019. And despite the fact that the majority of people likely still don’t pay attention to them, here I am again for 2020. Here are 15 of this year’s movie taglines (for the films that actually came out, that is. Thanks, COVID), ranked from worst to best.

15. Artemis Fowl: “Remember the name.”

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

One thing that became pretty clear in last year’s ranking was that horror films tended to have the best taglines. But 2020’s scariest movie of all, ‘Artemis Fowl’, just so happens to have the worst.

Remember the name? Literally no one does.

14. Tenet: “Time runs out”

Warner Bros. Pictures

But… but… the entire concept of the film is that it doesn’t? Time doesn’t run out, because you can then just go backwards in time? But while you’re going backwards you’re actually going forwards? And to everyone else it just looks like you’re constantly moonwalking or very badly driving? How on Earth did Nolan pitch this, it sounds ridiculous written out? And why was it still one of my highest rated films of the year?

13. To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You: “Follow your heart like never before”

Netflix

Spoiler alert to anyone who still hasn’t seen this (as if the plot isn’t completely predictable from the word go), but Lara Jean literally follows her heart exactly like before. Noah Centineo isn’t giving up that pay cheque anytime soon.

12. Soul: “Is all this living really worth dying for?”

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Jeez. Really getting into the deep stuff. I know Disney has been pretty great at dealing with grief in their media lately (still reeling over Coco, personally), but this is just bleak. Is all this living really worth dying for? Simple answer, yes? How torturous a death is this guy going to suffer? So much for a Christmas release date; ‘tis the season to suffer an existential crisis, I guess.

11. The New Mutants: “It’s time to face your demons”

20th Century Studios

Really? Now? Now is time to face our demons? Now? Not in 2018, before the initial reshoots were filmed? Not when the release got pushed back so it wouldn’t clash with (god forbid) Deadpool 2? Or even Dark Phoenix a whole year later? Not when Disney decided to push it back AGAIN to 2020 to fit their monolith of a schedule? Not when the film was added to the MCU, then swiftly removed from the MCU?

How about during a literal pandemic? Perfect! That sounds like the ideal time to face our demons, not like anyone is battling anything more important right now.

10. The Kissing Booth 2: “Rules can be broken… but so can hearts”

Netflix

Rumour has it this is what Boris Johnson said to Dominic Cummings after his little trip to Barnard Castle at the start of lockdown. 

9. Onward: “Their quest begineth”

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The thought of this being said in Chris Pratt’s voice, rather than Jack Black as the role was so blatantly written for, sends shivers down my spine. Cute film though.

8. The Old Guard: “Forever is harder than it looks”

Netflix

I’m giving this bonus points for being a genuinely really fun movie, and for being the first I saw in this year’s resurgence of Dudley Dursley (Harry Melling). I’m not entirely sure how hard forever is supposed to look — it’s not exactly the most relatable concept — but damn they look good doing it, and it feels even better watching it.

7. The Hunt: “The most talked about movie of the year is one that no one’s actually seen”

Universal Pictures

Ah yes, The Hunt. Technically this should have been included in last year’s list with its original (much worse, incredibly literal) tagline of “The ultimate human hunting experience”, but several delays due to the controversial subject matter later and here we are. In a year where significantly less films have actually been released, there’s perhaps more truth to the first half of this tagline than it may at first seem. It’s just a shame that the latter half is especially true even after its release.

6. Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: “Delivery of prodigious bribe to American regime for make benefit once glorious nation of Kazakhstan”

Amazon Prime Video

I couldn’t decide between including this tagline or the far briefer, and arguably more important message of “Wear mask. Save live”; who knew Borat Subsequent Moviefilm would be educational? But I can’t think of a more eloquent description for this movie than the one it has provided itself. Perfection.

5. The Invisible Man: “What you can’t see can hurt you”

Universal Pictures

I mean, absolutely. Just think about the ocean. How terrifying is the ocean? The thought of what is down there is nightmarish enough to hurt me without even touching the water. “What you can’t see can’t hurt you” has always been a stupid saying and I would like to thank The Invisible Man for making that clear.

4. Kajillionaire: “Know Your Worth”

Focus Features

If you’ve seen Kajillionaire, you’ll know why this one hurts. Despite the quirky premise of a family of below-average-quality hustlers, it’s really a film about the importance of independence and the reality that sometimes your family aren’t the perfect role models you’ve been taught they are. Sometimes you might even be better off without them, you just have to know your worth.

3. Unpregnant: “She’s a Type A without a Plan B”

HBO Max

Similar to the tagline of ‘Getting straight A’s. Giving zero F’s’, which took the number three spot on behalf of Booksmart last year, I’m a big fan of the Unpregnant tagline. Not only does it give you everything you need to know about the film going in, it does so in a neat little wordplay package. You love to see it.

2. Fantasy Island: “Never coming home”

Sony Pictures Releasing

Once again horror proves its worth with another witty, unsettling tagline. Here, the Instagram caption mantra of the holiday of your dreams takes on a new meaning. In a time where the true horror is that we’re never leaving home, this makes us feel like maybe that isn’t such a bad thing.

1. Sonic the Hedgehog: “A whole new speed of hero” “Gotta. Go. Fast” “When the world needs a hero… think fast” “Speed is his second name” “Roses are red. Sonic is blue. Earth needs a hero. A hedgehog will do!” “A hedgehog becomes a hero” “Don’t blink. You might miss it” “Super Villain vs Super Sonic” “Try to keep up” “Racing into theatres soon” “This Valentine’s Day, put a ring on it” “Every hero has a genesis”

Paramount Pictures

Normally when making this list I find the tagline via Letterboxd, then check IMDb to make sure it is the same on there. When searching Sonic the Hedgehog on IMDb, I was greeted with not one, but twelve taglines. And they’re pretty much all stellar.

Now, am I cheating by making Sonic the winner based on it having much more options? Possibly. But I make these rules and I don’t care. Any one of these could be worthy of the top spot; just look at “This Valentine’s Day, put a ring on it” — flawless. Who knew the most romantic movie of the year could be one about a glowing, speedy, anthropomorphic hedgehog?

From the simplicity of “Gotta. Go. Fast.” to the positively Shakespearean “Roses are red. Sonic is blue. Earth needs a hero. A hedgehog will do!” some films have the perfect tagline, Sonic managed to have twelve. Bravo.

by Georgia Carroll

Georgia (she/her) is a Broadcast Journalist from Manchester. Her love for films stems from a passion for reading as a child and extends to a love for music through soundtracks, and her Manc roots. She’s a sucker for anything 80s or Sci-Fi, but won’t watch a horror movie if you pay her. Favourite films: Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Coco, Back to the Future. Twitter: @georgiacarroll_ Letterboxd: @georgia_ Instagram: @georgia.carroll

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