If the best posters of 2014 constitute a vibrant harmony between marketing and product, the worst ones merely amplify the already contemptuous elements present in the films being advertised. Of course, this isn’t always so, as with The Immigrant, which is more a case of the Weinstein Company attempting to market the film as something it blatantly isn’t, but on the whole, these posters are dreadful teases for grievous fare.
Million Dollar Arm
For all we know, Jon Hamm is fondling himself through his pants in this deplorable poster for Million Dollar Arm, where a slobbering post-colonialist gaze stays masked behind a pair of designer sunglasses, while its personification looms larger than the Taj Mahal as it scours the land for exploitable talent.
Apparently nothing says “gay pride” like a Photoshopped V-formation of old British fogies smiling and cackling in front of a brick wall, standing on a random gymnasium floor, with a poster promising a film that seems impossibly “inspirational” or “true” given this incoherent image. It’s just more pandering proof that American distributors (here CBS Films) think all audiences want from fare hailing from across the pond is manufactured pep.
Mike Judge’s Idiocracy promised that one day audiences would flock to a movie called Ass, where, for 90 minutes, a bare ass occupies the screen, farting on occasion to liven things up. About the same level of thought appears to have gone into this poster for Ouija, which promises merely the presence of the titular board game. More disturbingly, perhaps, is that the film spent two late October weekends atop the box office.
10. Left Behind
Another V-formation, but in this one Nicolas Cage is wearing a pilot’s uniform and looks thoroughly confused, all while hell-fire blazes the cityscape behind him. Why are these people stranded on a stretch of highway? Shouldn’t they be sprinting, maybe ditching the unnecessary clothing to speed up their escape? Moreover, why wouldn’t they be watching the city burn, especially if they’re just going to stand there? Even the apocalypse needs to make some sense.
9. The Immigrant
Not only has this embarrassing poster for The Immigrant been airbrushed to hell, but the oddly shiny faces and confusing gold, satin sheets appear to be suffocating the floating heads for no apparent reason. Made worse is that the Weinstein Company insists upon including the Cannes stamp of approval, but absolutely refuses to make a poster that in any way speaks to the tortured spirit of James Gray’s impassioned revisionism. Instead, the poster works well as a parody of Oscar-bait marketing tics.
8. Sex Tape
The premise of Jake Kasdan’s Sex Tape is deliberately sleazy, so naturally Sony’s marketing department decided to make a poster of equally lowbrow and problematic measures. Managing not only to slip in an iPad advert, but also integrate the “play” symbol into the poster’s title design, the entire concept here exploits cultural fears regarding privacy invasion, but reduces them to a sight gag premised on Cameron Diaz’s horrified reaction shot.