TROUBLE CITY

December’s Most Unfortunate Movie Posters (So Far).

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Last month’s batch of movie posters went over better than usual, so let’s rush the next batch out of the oven.  Like a hastily-slapped-together Transformers sequel, I couldn’t think of a more fitting column to pound out in a rush.  Don’t be surprised if I do a second batch later in the month.  But for now, enjoy the onslaught.

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The story here is, this kid saw a spider in an alleyway and got so scared that he leaped up the wall.  He’s squeamish.  End of story.  (Hopefully they’ll go with something closer to what Stan Lee came up with originally.)

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That title refers to how many people will show up to the theater.

Don’t blame me for that joke, by the way.  This is America: There’s only one way to tell a story about characters who are fifty and older in America…

…And this is it.

There’s a lot going on here.  We’re gonna have to go through it all, element by element:

1.  Stallone:  Again with the beret. I think the beret is Stallone’s way of saying:  “I’m taking it back to the glory days, and by that I do not mean First Blood Part 2, but instead Demolition Man.”  (Personally I happen to like Demolition Man, but I am not what you would call a highbrow critic.)

Letter Grade: C.

2.  Schwarzenegger:  Nice Gozer The Gozerian hairdo there, bud.  I’m not sure what you’re smiling about — you’re the worst actor on this poster by a mile.  And Chuck Norris is on this poster.

Letter Grade: D.

3.   Bruce Willis:   He’s got that look that says, “Not that long ago, I was in real movies. Ah, hell. Fuck it anyways.”

Letter Grade: C+.

4.  Jason Statham:  He’s got a beret on too.   It’s like he’s got a junior Stallone thing going.   The thing about Statham is, even his fans have to agree that he bypassed the Rocky phase entirely for Demolition Man.  Whether that’s a good or bad thing is up to you.

Letter Grade: C-.

5.  Chuck Norris:  I’m sorry, but I still find it impossible to believe that this country ever had a red-bearded action hero.  This is a man whose entire fan base is ironic.  All this craziness going on, and Chuck Norris is still the one who stands out as a cartoon character.

Letter Grade: F.

6.  The girl:  Unless that’s Jet Li in drag, no one even bothered to put a name on the poster.  Let’s be real:  These movies aren’t interested in women.  Not even as sex objects!  We can only imagine that her death prompts one or more of these dudes to seek revenge.  And then she is never mentioned again.

Letter Grade: C+.

7.  Dolph Lundgren:  Not sure what’s up with the Tilda Swinton haircut, but his presence here is a triumph.  He died in the first movie, didn’t he?  It’s time to re-assess Dolph Lundgren. Too tough to die.

Letter Grade: A-.

8.  Van Damme: He’s got an expression on his face that’s like, “Yeah, I’m wearing a fur scarf and carrying the skinniest gun on the poster. It’s all right. I can see Freida Pinto from up here.”

Letter Grade: B+.

9.  Terry Crews:  I just need to point out that the ex-NFL player is technically the most interesting and inspired actor in this entire cast.  (The only one you could even argue comes close is Willis, and I would win that argument.)

Letter Grade: A.

In conclusion:  I couldn’t wait to see the first Expendables.  Overall I found it to be a disappointment.  Regardless, as a masochist, I can’t wait to see the second Expendables.  This poster is the perfect representation of all my hopes and my reservations.

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Tahar Rahim: French.

Antonio Banderas: Spanish.

Freida Pinto: Indian.

Mark Strong: English.

Naturally, all four are playing Arabs.  Why not, right?  It’s not as if there aren’t plenty of talented actors of Arabic descent who could use the work.

…Or Noir.

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The guy on the right is a Photoshop experiment, created in a laboratory by someone, probably an editor for Entertainment Weekly, who wanted to create an exact blend of Ryan Gosling and Jake Gyllenhaal.

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Never before has Kate Beckinsale been this overwhelmingly indistinguishable from Sienna Miller.

Also, check the eyelines — homegirl totally just got busted while checking out Marky Mark’s Dirk Diggler down there.

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This is another example of a movie that looks awesome everywhere besides its poster.  If I all I knew about Coriolanus was this poster, I would go anywhere BUT a movie theater where the movie was playing.

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The movie looks lovely, honestly, but it’s hard not to chuckle at Christian Bale’s expression.  It looks like he just discovered, to great surprise, that he’s inside this movie.

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How do we go about keeping this guy from getting his hands on guns?

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This is a Christmas present for the haters, the ones who saw Tom Cruise on the Ghost Protocol poster and dreamed about what it would look like if he was SET ON FIRE.

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I will never be a studio executive because I will never understand the decision to drop the most compelling part of the title John Carter OF MARS.  Unless we’re talking about Johnny Cash’s son, I have no interest in some random dude named John Carter.  Particularly not a shirtless one.  But if you had told me he was ON MARS…

P.S. Logo on bottom right makes me think of Golden Arches.  Intentional?

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This poster is historic: Between Dolly and Latifah, this poster represents what is most likely the first time in Photoshop history that an actress’s breasts have been reduced.

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I have to believe that this title was done in Prince-speak, a la “I Would Die 4 U”, because the alternative is that someone expects me to have any awareness of this movie being a sequel to a movie I of which have no awareness.  And that would be presumptive.

All would be forgiven if posters only had sound, and we could hear what Luis Guzmán is in the middle of exclaiming, which is most definitely, “¡coño!

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Nicolas Cage movie posters, like most Nicolas Cage movies, are the proverbial deranged hand-scrawled wolf-child gift that keeps on giving.  Case in point:

Gaze into the crazy eyes, those crazy eyes that know the thoughts in your soul.  The thoughts in your soul, as opposed to the thoughts in your mind.  The thoughts in your soul are more instinctive, more impetuous, more likely to go against reason and pay full price to see latter-day Nicolas Cage movies.

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I do like the retro Saul Bass feeling of this design, but at the same time, I can’t help but wonder if anyone even a year younger than me has any idea that bombs used to have string fuses on them.  And I only ever knew that because of fifty-year old Bugs Bunny cartoons.  This poster pre-supposes a familiar with the analog, in a world that went digital years ago.

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Listen people, if I’M uneasy with how much puppet cleavage Miss Piggy is showing, I can only imagine how this poster is going to be received in Jerusalem.

Other things I’d like to know: Why Gonzo is dressed like Orgazmo, and how Kermit feels about the fact that his pelt has been stretched across that Hebrew letter on the top left there.

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This is probably the single worst poster of the month, which is probably why I want to see this movie the most.  Maybe I find it oddly reassuring that, two decades after John Lovitz, somewhere in the world there is still a portly man wearing an overly-snug devil costume.

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Yeah, that Ryan Reynolds guy has it easy, but just imagine how much tougher his life would be IF HE HAD A GIANT DENZEL FACE WELDED TO HIS ENTIRE LEFT SIDE.  Still, it could be worse…

…You could be a Denzel Washington centaur!

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Once when we were kids, my cousin downed three bags full of Skittles, then got carsick and puked up everything.

This is what that looked like.

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When you’re putting out a huge-budget holiday action sequel, you want to hit all four quadrants.  Appeal to the action fans, appeal to the romance fans, appeal to the comedy fans, appeal to the bulldog fans.  You can laugh, but a lot of people are headed to the latest Sherlock Holmes movie to see the latest adventures of Gladstone. Gladstone! The crime-solving bulldog! Come on!

We’re fucking doomed, sometimes.

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IMDb recaps the plot of The Last Fall: “An NFL journeyman struggles to deal with life’s complexities after his professional career is over.”  This photograph captures the dejected protagonist directly after he received the memo from HR regarding proper office dress code.

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This looks sweet, right?  An age-appropriate romantic comedy starring two esteemed and beloved actors, in a kind of corrective to the callous youthfulness of No Strings Attached and Friends With Benefits.  Then, all the sudden, the overseas poster arrives, and things get freaky.

It’s exactly like walking in on your parents.

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This movie looks exactly like The Vow (spotlighted last month), only with slightly younger actors.  Makes me wish that movie posters got into hip-hop beef battles with each other, like “The Lucky Ones makes The Vow look like Late Bloomers!”

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Fuck! Quick, everybody stop acting naughty and act nice like crazy! Pretty sure they’re threatening us with a prequel to the owl movie.

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This poster is the sequel to the posters for Jack & Jill.

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