Year-end lists don’t need much introducing, but in any case, I’ve spent nearly every week this year elbow deep in movie posters for This Week In Posters, so when I choose my top 15, you know I’m no dilettante. That’s right, I’m a professional guy who bitches about posters on the internet. Also, I’m red-green colorblind. That’s your disclaimer if any of these have a sickening green tint I didn’t notice.
I pared them down to 15, which seemed like the minimum number needed to recognize the posters that truly stood out. I judged them on two basic criteria: did they look cool, and did they make me want to see the movie in question. Posters aren’t pure advertising, because if they were just great sales pitches and didn’t look cool we wouldn’t care, and if they just looked cool and didn’t sell a movie they wouldn’t be posters. Makes sense, right? Okay, enough palaver, it’s time to quantify.
15 (tie). 9/11
Sheesh, I probably shouldn’t have started this list with my most controversial picks. I admit, this isn’t a great poster, graphically, so much as a thing that you’re shocked exists. But all things being equal, it’s fantastic at being that. And it’s the only poster of the bunch that so piqued my interest that I drove 45 minutes out of the city to see it on a Friday morning. The movie itself was even weirder than the poster, not just a stunt-cast Charlie Sheen movie about 9/11, but a stunt-cast Charlie Sheen movie about 9/11 that was weirdly also kind of a libertarian morality fable — from the production company who did the John Galt movies. Anyway, not the year’s coolest poster, but one could make a case that it was the most memorable.
15 (tie). Flatliners
Not every good poster has to be great art, some of them are just great pulp. This is a poster you look at and think, “Now that’s a movie poster.” This is the moviest movie poster that ever postered.
“You haven’t lived until you’ve died” is absolutely the perfect brilliant-stupid tagline for this nearly transcendently stupid movie.
European arthouse cinema and pulp combine in this beautifully simple poster for Julia DeCornau’s Raw (which I loved). She looks like she’s having the ol’ “Cathartic Moment Near A Body Of Water™” from every arthouse movie, only she’s… also some kind of a cannibal? That sums up Raw pretty well, actually. And “bound by love torn by flesh!” and “disturbingly erotic” is a perfectly chosen pull quote/tagline combo.
13. Atomic Blonde
Atomic Blonde had easily one of the year’s most memorable homage posters (and the movie itself had enough good imagery that you could overlook the plot). It’s hard for me to even look at this without hearing the intro to “Call Me,” which seems like a success. Simplicity plays.