Movie theater lobby


Posters That Make You Go, “Uh….?”

Article by Matteo Molinari

I was recovering from the wounds obtained during my latest experiment (apparently, it’s not possible to convince a grizzly bear to voluntarily put on scuba gear by whacking him on the nose with a can of Chef Boyardee ravioli), when I started thinking about movie posters; to be more specific, bad movie posters — if you don’t see how the two things are connected, I really can’t help you there.
And so I compiled another one of my lists that are totally unnecessary but that usually are defined “bizarre,” “off the wall,” “odd,” “moronic,” “demented,” and “stop writing those or else — we know where you live!”

Something like that.

And so, without any further ado, especially because I run out of ados and they won’t be in stock at my local Ados-R-Us before next Wednesday, here we go with the first cluster of bad posters — in random order.

Bangkok DangerousBangkok Dangerous — Without delving in the most important question of them all, which is, “Does anybody care that Nicolas Cage still make movies, and does anybody go see them?”, I found a poster of one of his blah movies that is a real beauty. Relatively speaking, of course.

First of all, Nicolas is using his left arm either to scratch an itch in one of those hard-to-reach places or to unhook his own bra. The right hand is holding the most invisible gun ever created, or it’s suffering a sudden attack of arthritis. Then, with a face surrounded by hair that we are supposed to believe is his, Nicolas is staring intently at two bullet holes that seem to have pierced a piece of glass in front of him, while lava flows and a building stands in the distance, trying to hide behind the actor.
If this poster has to communicate to us what the movie is all about, I’m afraid it misses the mark a little. Unless Cage is an askew arthritic man-woman with a bra obsession who likes to dive in rivers of lava while bullets hit glasses.

Like the tagline says, “It’s all in the execution.” Perfect.

Big Mommas — Like Father, Like SonBig Mommas: Like Father, Like Son (French Version) — Speaking of execution… The pointless third chapter of the hilarious (term used extremely loosely. Extremely. “Extremely” is the key) series of Martin Lawrence in drag had a French poster that was plastered throughout France, as well as in the Seventh Circle of Hell, hand-picked by Satan himself.

What the heck is that thing?! From the pose they gave to Martin Lawrence, to the little dress made with Police badges (at first it looked like a series of sad monkey faces, and probably it would have fit better), to the Lady Gaga makeup — called “Lady Gra-Gra” (because in French, “fat” is “gras,” so why missing the chance for an extremely funny — remember, “extremely” is still the key — pun?).

The whole thing is very sad. Extremely sad.

Good Luck ChuckGood Luck Chuck — Talking again of extremely sad comedies, here you have a poster that I imagine wanted to be a reinvention of the popular (and frankly, quite disgusting) photo of John Lennon over Yoko Ono by famed photographer Annie Leibovitz. The original photo featured John completely naked, while this poster features Dane Cook with some sort of underwear (thank God!). Still…

I thought the job of a comedian was to make you laugh, think and sometimes even getting angry — not to force you to drive your car into a Rite Aid searching for needles to gouge your eyes out in order to remove that image from your retina.

But probably I’m not too familiar with the comedians’ world.

ChristineChristine — And while we are on the subject of God-awful creations, what about the Polish poster for the John Carpenter/Stephen King horror film about a possessed car? I still have to figure this one out.
Raiders of the Lost ArkRaiders of the Lost Ark — What the hell…?! Where is the hat? Where is the jacket? What is that baby blue shirt? Who thought this was a good idea?
Pretty WomanPretty Woman — Taking a breather from horrendous posters, I move momentarily to posters that don’t seem to know the stars of the movie they represent. One of the most popular is “Pretty Woman”, where Richard Gere is shown with hair blacker than ink photographed at night by a camera with the cap on the lens. Well, guess what? Richard in the movie has salt-n-pepa hair because when he shot the flick he was already older than dirt.
Chasing AmyChasing Amy — Similarly, this Kevin Smith movie poster shows a Ben Affleck with no facial hair whatsoever; he’s hairless like a sink. In the movie, however, he sports a nice Van Dyke.
HardwiredHardwired — Same destiny occurred to Val Kilmer, who in the poster of this forgettable straight-to-video thriller, looks clean and shaven. In the movie he has a moustache and even glasses. But while we’re on this poster, doesn’t it look like Cuba Gooding, Jr. is holding his gun a little too close to his body? Is he trying to shoot someone behind him?
1997 Fuga da New YorkEscape from New York (Italian Version) — Speaking about posters which seem to have lost their path, here is a masterful example: the Italian version of the John Carpenter classic. Where to begin? Let’s start with the Statue of Liberty lying on its side (interestingly enough, reprised on the American DVD cover by MGM). Why is the statue collapsed? This is not “Planet of the Apes”. In the movie, the Statue is fine and dandy, so what gives?

But let’s move to the cobra tattoo on Snake Plissken’s arm. Cute. Too bad that in the movie it is on Plissken’s chest. And what about the strange device on his left wrist? Isn’t that the device the President is wearing — and not him? (yes, it is). And I know I’m nitpicking, here, but Snake Plissken in the movie has undeniably a patch on his eye. But it’s on his left eye.

SupergirlSupergirl — While we’re on the topic of Liberty and Statue of, how about the poster for the “first great adventure” of Supergirl? Beside thanking God for having so far forbidden a second great adventure, the poster features the Statue of Liberty. But last time I saw it, the Statue was carrying the torch with her right arm. Oh, well… Minor details, I suppose.
Sex and the City 2Sex and the City 2 — The best poster ever created. For Photoshop.
My Life in Ruins My Life in Ruins (Italian Version) — Oh, I almost forgot, while I was talking about the Italian posters… Their version of the ho-hum poster for the ho-hum comedy by Nia Vardalos shows, for some reasons that escape me, the actress-writer with freakishly gigantic legs that are quite scary and grotesque. I guess that’s why, to counterbalance this, they turned Richard Dreyfuss into a midget.

Definitely something got lost in translation, here.
The PenthouseThe Penthouse — Talking again about Photoshop and long legs, wouldn’t it be nice for a production company to hire someone who can actually knows how to use the software? How tall is Rider Strong (the second guy from the left), in this image? And, are we supposed to believe that all these people are in bed together? Atrocious.
VictoryVictory — Fun fact: Sylvester Stallone, Michael Caine and Pelé all have only one arm and share the same waist. Either that, or they love to be wedged all together in a hole for some strange rite I’m not familiar with.
Snakes on a PlaneSnakes on a Plane — It’s time to play! Put your finger on either one of the snakes tail and follow the body of the animal to the head; then repeat with the other tail. They don’t match, do they?
Just My LuckJust My Luck — Finally, as it was pointed out by movie critic Richard Roeper, “Is it possible to overact on a poster?” Well, the answer is a resounding yes. Thanks, Lindsay.
Well, this is it — for now.
There are more appalling posters, and I have to kill some time before next Wednesday, so… Beware. Another article is in the making. And this time… In 3D! (but probably not)

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