I suppose it was inevitable that the 2018 post-apocalyptic horror film A Quiet Place, which was shot on a relatively small budget and subsequently made a boatload of money, would require a sequel. And so it has come to pass that A Quiet Place Part II will open in theaters in March. (Tiny spoiler: There’s more out there than the noise-hating creatures.)
As I watched the trailer I started thinking about (a) the unimaginativeness of the title, which suggests an unimaginative sequel; and (b) how popular the word place is in movie and television titles. And it isn’t just a recent fad: the trend goes back decades.
In the movies, places are often dark and lonely.
A Dark Place (2018), about a 20-something man “struggling to put his life back together.
Dark Places (2015), starring Charlize Theron as the survivor of a family tragedy. Based on the novel of the same title by Gillian (Gone Girl) Flynn.
In a Lonely Place (1950). Great cast and director—Bogart plays a screenwriter! Viewable on Amazon Prime and other streaming services.
A Lonely Place to Die (2011). Note crosshairs.
Sometimes the title is a red herring.
A Safe Place (1971) isn’t really safe at all. The film was the directing debut of Henry Jaglom; it was called “pretentious and confusing,” “superficial,” and “a heavy burden on the viewer.”
The Place Beyond the Pines (2013) is more about family troubles than location.
Sometimes it’s ironic.
The Good Place (2016–), a comedy about the afterlife in which all the dead people are young. And the place isn’t really, you know, good.
Some places rhyme.
Faces Places (2017), the wonderful documentary about Agnes Varda and JR, also rhymes in the original French: Visages. Villages.
Sometimes the place is so reassuring it’s recycled.
A Place of Our Own (1998), a daily half-hour program about child care.
A Place of Our Own (2004), a documentary about Oak Bluffs, an African American resort community on Cape Cod. Like the child-care Place of Our Own, it originally aired on PBS.
Some places are towns; others are places in towns.
Peyton Place was a novel (1956) that became a movie starring Lana Turner (1957) that became a nighttime soap opera that launched Mia Farrow’s career (1964–1969). “Peyton Place” became a metonym for scandal and gossip. The novel’s sequel, Return to Peyton Place, was also turned into a theatrical movie, a daytime soap opera, and several made-for-TV movies. For the record, “place” is more often associated with street names than with town names.
Melrose Place (1992–1999), a nighttime soap opera that aired on Fox, was the address of a fictional apartment complex in West Hollywood. There’s a Melrose Avenue and Melrose District in Los Angeles, but as far as I know there’s no actual Melrose Place.
Some places are personal.
Frank’s Place (1987–1988) referred to a restaurant, Chez Louisiane, inherited by the protagonist, Frank Parrish (Tim Reid).
Archie Bunker’s Place (1979–1983) was a spinoff of the hugely popular sitcom All in the Family. The “place” was a bar in Queens that Archie owned and ran.