You’ve been awed by the best, now gawp at the worst. There was truthfully more competition for this dishonor this year, but… well, there always is. And by now, surely you know some of my biases — unnecessary diagonals, mismatched names, Josh Gad — but most bad posters just look cheap in some indefinable way. Knowing that, I didn’t want this to just be a collection of movies with no design budget and people who didn’t care. Don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of those, but I think you’ll also find some megabudget blockbusters that made the list too. Proof that a bad poster can happen at any budget.
The “old guys doing stuff” genre is one of my least favorite, but the badness of this Going in Style poster transcends even the crappiness of the movie it’s advertising. This is really the full house of bad posters — unnecessary, inexplicable diagonal, mismatched names, and a good third of the poster depicting something I can’t even identify. What the hell are they even walking on, gravel? Yes, this poster was very sucky.
This isn’t a terrible poster so much as a terrible title. This Beautiful Fantastic makes me grit my teeth and roll my eyes at the same time. It sounds like someone saw Wish I Was Here and thought they could make an even more nauseating wondercore fartwarmer. “See this trash can, boy? This is where I’ve collected all the snot-filled tissues I ever blew my nose into. It’s everything I’ve ever smelled. Now, let us turn our faces towards sun as Imagine Dragons plays.”
I mean… maybe it’s good. But that’s where the title/poster takes me.
Den of Thieves, kindly provide me with the address of your lawyer so I can submit an invoice for my neck pain reimbursement. I post this in the hopes of communicating why diagonal posters are so obnoxious. I’m offended that this movie thinks it’s important enough for me to crane my head around trying to figure it out.
Bad eyelines, bad Photoshop, bad idea, bad movie.
15 (tie). The Fate Of The Furious
Come on, man. You made a $250 million movie that went on to gross more than a billion worldwide and you’re going to give us a poster where you Photoshopped the characters onto a fog background and then STUCK THEM INSIDE THE WORDS OF THE TITLE? It must be because this film didn’t have any obvious poster imagery. You know, like, say, a Russian sub exploding through a frozen ice shelf with muscle cars on top.
15 (tie). Angelica
I’m not sure if this is bad poster, per se, or if it just cracks me up that it seems to be advertising a movie about a ghost that lives in Jena Malone’s vagina.
*heavy breathing, handsome gentleman fumbling with chastity belt*
I… I wouldn’t do that if I were you…
*the chastity belt unlocks with a click*
*A loud cackling is heard from… somewhere….*
15 (tie). Anabolic Life
To be honest, I’m not sure if this is a bad poster or a GREAT poster, I just felt it needed to be included. FEED ME MORE STEROIDS, GAHHHH! *tears off barista’s arms*
14. Game Night
Serious question: does merely turning the letter sideways mean it’s no longer a curse word? And thus makes this acceptable to put in theater lobbies in bus stations? I don’t even really believe in profanity, but if you do, doesn’t this transparent loophole just put the lie to the entire concept? GALAXY BRAIN: Wait, is this actually a subversive attempt to undermine the very idea of profanity???
More likely it’s more like that time-lapse shot in Idiocracy where Fuddruckers eventually becomes “Buttf*ckers” when every gets too dumb for insinuation.
Aside from all that, it’s also just blue tile pieces on a black background. Gosh, how thrilling. With a crappy title font. This poster sucks, is what I’m saying.
13. Spider-Man: Homecoming
I don’t even get it. Is the Chrysler Building supposed to be his dick? And if so… why? I’d get it if this was for Deadpool, because Deadpool is supposed to be “naughty” (mostly in the same way that Cards Against Humanity is “naughty”), but at least that would’ve made sense. This one just combines two of the most overused poster tropes — pointlessly tilted horizons and the New York City skyline — to achieve… whatever the hell this is.
This poster starts with “from the writer of 2 Fast 2 Furious and the director of Taken” and somehow only gets more ill-advised from there. It’s bad diagonal plus Dodge commercial plus SCOTT EASTWOOD. No offense, guys, but I think you’ve vastly overestimated the draw of Scott Eastwood.
As you can see from the last poster and this one, Scott Eastwood’s expressions range roughly from “bro!” to “bro…” Very exciting.
11. Person To Person
Say what you will about this poster graphically — I don’t think anyone ever suggested black on white on brick with floating heads as a dazzling combination — it does do a brilliant job communicating “unnecessary framing device.” It’s very conceptual.
10. Bad Match
I love that they thought calling the movie “Bad Match” with the tagline “Love at First Swipe” didn’t communicate the concept well enough, and so they had to give her a giant cell phone with “It’s a match!” on the screen. This is like when you see a bad political cartoon and the cartoonist doesn’t trust their caricature skills enough so they just give everyone shirts that say “JEFF SESSIONS” or “CONGRESS” on the front. This is like when someone does too much coke and they think they’re brilliantly using analogies to explain a thing except they just keep repeating the same thing over and over again.
I’m not sure if it’s the lighting, the costumes, or the Photoshop but this poster looks like they bought it at a Western gift shop. Also, the title has sparks!
8 (tie). Pirates Of The Caribbean: A Dead Man Begs For The Sweet Release Of Death
I lumped these next three into the same slot, because they’re all not necessarily terrible-looking posters so much as honest advertisements for things I very much would not want. Like, say, a stunt-cast 75-year-old Paul McCartney wearing eyeshadow. Coooool cool cool cool.
Again with the non-diegetic sparks. That was a theme of this year’s posters.
8 (tie). Kingsman: The Golden Circle
I still haven’t seen this movie and this dumb outfit is most of the reason why.
8 (tie). Beauty and the Beast
NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE.
(and the wiiiind / cries “but he was so good in Book of Mormon!”)
7 (tie). Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul
This poster is so disturbingly normie it makes me fear those around me, it is the reason I lock my doors at night.
7 (tie). American Folk
I take it back, if it’s a choice between listening to whatever gold prospector warbling these sentient IPAs start strumming and the normies from the last poster, I’ll take the normies.
“What if a New Yorker’s idea of Austin, Texas was a person?”
6. Peter Rabbit
This isn’t an especially ugly poster, it’s just that literally everything in it makes it look like Peter Rabbit wants me to blow him. Every single thing. Phallic name, euphemistic tagline, sexy pose, on top of a bed of phallic symbols. I can’t imagine what kind of person wouldn’t notice the sexual overtones in this. Caveat: If this poster is for an R-rated telling of Peter Rabbit aimed at adults, this poster is fantastic.
5. Swing Away
Whenever I complain about mismatched names and faces in posters, someone always pipes up that some actors have it in their contract that they have to be mentioned first. In that case, wouldn’t a better solution be… just putting the contractually obligated actor first? Or better yet, just not putting their badly Photoshopped floating heads above the title in the first place? I seriously doubt anyone who wasn’t interested in this golf movie is going to be swayed by the mention of Manos Gavros. And what happened to that third guy that he doesn’t get to have sunglasses on his head? This poster is a beautiful mystery. Okay, a kind of ugly mystery, but the point stands.
4. Roads Trees And Honey Bees
Yes, the top five are all movies that you probably never heard of. This was inevitable. But look at this poster and tell me it doesn’t belong on the list. This looks like a poster for a FarmersOnly.com commercial.
3 Crash Pad
Domhnall Gleeson was in Star Wars this year. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a movie that more loudly screamed, “This was actually filmed four years ago and has been sitting on the shelf ever since!” As far as I can tell, this was actually shot within the last two years. That is the power of a bad poster.
2. One Mile To You
WHY IS HE HEADBUTTING THAT GIRL!? I don’t know what’s funnier, the “run with your heart” tagline, the awkward running style, or the awkward Photoshop. This might win the award for funniest bad poster of the year.
1. Cook Off
And here we have our clear winner, Cook Off, which was actually finished in 2007 and shelved until now, which has to be some kind of record. Credit for truth in advertising: the poster looks exactly like you’d expect from a movie that was inexplicably shelved for a full decade. Hope you like bad Photoshop, terrible fonts, unrecognizable stars, and disgusting looking food!