Yesterday I brought you 2016’s 15 best posters, today I bring you the 15 worst. And as promised, there’s a special category for John Travolta. After all, it wouldn’t really have been fair to compare anything else to these:
John Travolta has turned into Steven Seagal so gradually we barely noticed. Also the man belongs in the hairpiece hall of fame. His hairpieces belong there, anyway.
This one dropped a few months ago and I still haven’t stopped laughing.
Also, before we get to the worst, I wanted to do an in memoriam of sorts. I call this the “Remember That Hall of Fame,” dedicated to those titles that came and went and we forgot existed before the year was even out. May we meet them again one day, in a drug store bargain bin near you.
Mark Strong and Luke Wilson! Starring in, uh… Not Gravity?
This was called Cell, though it should’ve been called Dads Vs. Zombies. It looks like an ad for beanies.
Tom Hanks was in a film called A Hologram For The King directed by the guy from Run Lola Run and written by Dave Eggers. Remember that? Me neither. And someone had to work pretty hard to make sure of that. It’s a safe bet that for us to not hear of a movie with that kind of pedigree it had to be pretty terrible.
Did not remember this at all. But it’s a step up for Eddie Murphy’s career that he’s only in one of these.
I love Kristen Wiig. Was she in a prison movie?
Luke Wilson is apparently the kiss of death this year. Why is this poster a Japanese flag? You know what, I don’t want to know.
Bruce Willis and Mark-Paul Gosselaar! How did we miss this one? I hope he calls “time out” when people shoot at him like action Zack from Saved By The Bell.
Getting human hair mannequin Josh Duhamel to play a famously charismatic pitcher, what could possibly go wrong?
Pierce Brosnan and a Masterson brother? Who knew? More like Dirge, am I right?
Okay, one more section before we start. Here are a few dumb parody posters I made this year:
A bit on the nose, I admit.
In case the last one wasn’t on the nose enough.
Obviously I couldn’t decide which talking dog I liked best. My computer is full of dogs talking on the phone, by the way.
I made these because Damian Lewis’s tiny mouth reminded me of Homer Simpson, you see.
In retrospect it was pretty lazy that I didn’t Photoshop the scarf onto Homer. Or change “Traitor” to “Homer” in the title. By the way, every time I see someone in a dumb scarf it reminds me of this:
“What? E? Sorry, I am not familiar with this E character or this Entourage of which you speak. My name is Reginald and I am a sophisticated gentleman, and I have a crossword puzzle to do, so be off with you, sir.” (*notices he’s holding paper upside down*)
Okay, onto the worst.
(As always, all posters via IMPA)
This looks and sounds like an ad for a winter jacket. “Tumbledown, new from JC Penney! So soft she’ll want to stand right in front of you awkwardly staring.”
14. Now You See Me 2
Mark Ruffalo is trapped in a mirrored case of emotion! He’s magicking so hard in this.
You can really tell the “bad boy” magicians from the professionals in this, can’t you? Also, Dave Franco looks like he’s mid Pee-wee Herman dance here.
I enjoy that Morgan Freeman is apparently chained in a box sinking underwater in the middle of the sea AND COULD NOT BE MORE BORED BY IT. And also may have farted.
13. Yoga Hosers
Okay, in fairness, this Yoga Hosers poster (and homage to Toxic Avenger) probably isn’t the worst poster. In fact, I imagine it’s a fairly accurate representation of the movie — which happens to be the tale of Nazi sausages attacking a Canadian convenient store called the “Eh 2 Zed.” Oy, hold on, I have to sigh for an hour. Okay, I’m back. Put down the bong, man, Jesus.
“Inferno” is Italian for hell, a concept about which Dante wrote a poem that’s been considered a masterpiece for 800 years, inspired countless priceless artworks from Hieronymus Bosch to Goya, and now this poster for Dan Brown’s Inferno that seems to depict Tom Hanks making haste to get to the buffet. Not to mention the words are inexplicably sideways in a way that looks haphazard, like wall pictures after an earthquake, and Felicity Jones sports the world’s most neutral facial expression. The only interesting thing about this is the bizarre (and accidental, I imagine) focus on hands.
“Inferno: Experience the intense boredom we suffered while making it!”
11. Mr. Right
This looks like Mr. And Mrs. Smith reimagined as a twee-sploitation knockoff of Juno. Which, if that statement is the least bit untrue, makes this a horrendous poster. Manic Pixie Dream Assassins? Anyway, I adore both these actors and this still looks like my nightmare.
10. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
I actually like Anna Kendrick, I swear, I don’t think it’s her fault that shows up twice on this list. I think it’s the perceived edginess of sticking your tongue out like a three-year-old that makes this one so offensive. It’s like they based their conception of “wildness” on Miley Cyrus. Who in turn is like a C-student fourth grader with unexpected fame. Shock me shock me shock me with your deviant behavior. OH MY GOD, WHITE GIRLS IN WEDGES ARE DRY HUMPING, CALL A FINISHING SCHOOL!
I like how Zac Efron and Adam Devine are all sad because their super hot dates are drunk and horny. What’s a boy to do!
My dream for 2017? No more “Girls gone BAD!” narratives that only serve to underline how much less bad girls are allowed to act.
9. Bad Hurt
Floating heads inside a silhouette are always bad, but this is the worst. Two people, neither recognizable, with bored looks on their faces, whose eyelines don’t match. Great work! And good thing you saved all that space sticking the heads inside the silhouette, now you’ve got tons leftover for… uh… more dirty grey wall!
Oh, and the tagline: “Family leaves a mark.”
Is that supposed to be a play on words? A visual pun? Where does it leave a mark, on your jacket? And the placement of the single film festival laurel looks like the guy just got his pubes trimmed.
8. Ratchet And Clank
Yes, hyello, welcome Ratchet Clank. Eez Soviet wersion Gyuardian of Gyalaxy. Instyead of raccoon we have tiger fox from veb browser. You like strong hyero viss big muscle? We have Igor the Ogre, he hold up whole title. Also star Syexy Lady Missile Gun and Robot Homosyexual. Free for all comrade.
7. Term Life
Remember when Hailee Steinfeld and Vince Vaughn’s emo wig were in a movie together? This one looks like it took great pains to be bland and inexplicable. Like what is that background supposed to be, are they inside a robot? That background looks like the negative of a city that got kicked around a dirty floor and walked on for two years. Then there’s her hair, which seems to be blowing in a breeze that’s not affecting his. And the fact that they’re both wearing all greys and blacks so you can’t tell where he ends and she begins. Also there’s the composition. Like if I was an alien and you asked me what the most important thing on this poster was, I’d probably guess the eagle on her scarf. And then there’s the font which… I guess… has something to do with the title? I just hope Vince Vaughn doesn’t get so bored that he falls asleep while shooting.
Should’ve called it Vince Vaughn: Narcoleptic Assassin. I’d watch that.
6. Run The Tide
This Run The Tide poster is a beautiful combination of words that lose all meaning when stuck together, images that evoke nothing, and names of people I’ve never heard of. I especially like that they went straight to a run the tide play on words without ever explaining what “run the tide” even means. I honestly have no idea. The image also seems weirdly focused on Taylor Lautner’s strange facial hair and latex skin. Weird angle, weird lighting, I can’t tell if he actually has eyeballs… If this was a Westworld robot someone would get fired.
Whyyyy are they sideways? Dear poster designers, please stop doing this. If you can’t fit enough in without tilting the horizon line 45 degrees with no justification, maybe rethink the design. This one also has two of my other favorite poster clichés, inexplicable sparks and chunks of debris flying everywhere. Good thing they fit all those in there, that’s much more important than being able to recognize the actors, right? God, this is terrible.
4. Total Frat Movie
Alternate title: No Blacks!
I still can’t tell if this weird frat-sploitation concept is supposed to be ironic or not. If not, why not just make it another direct-to-DVD American Pie sequel? And oh look, the “wild” guy is some male model with perfect hair. Get crazy, bro! This poster isn’t as horrendous as some of the others from a graphic design standpoint, but it does make me want to choke out everyone involved in it. That has to factor in.
Anyway, from what I remember, few frat dudes had nice suits, not even Date Rape Dave. And DRD’s dad was like the trundle bed king of the entire Southwest, did you see his Audi NSX, bro? So sick. Dude woulda pulled so much ass in that thing if he didn’t have the lazy eye. Remember when he got blasted on Faderade during the Pi Phi Trail of Cheers banquet, punch the cop, and yakked on the ice sculpture? I think he lost a ball. Anyway, we didn’t haze Spinach to death last spring to put up with this Hollywood bullshit. RIP, Spinach. RIP, Blowjob Stacey.
3. Collateral Beauty
Collateral Beauty‘s poster managed to be as smarmy and full of shit as the television spots, which is really saying something. “We are all connected…”
That’s right, all of us, from Will Smith’s character to some kid to the English lady trying to seduce me to the characters who were trying to gaslight him and steal his company. Life is beautiful. Yes, Collateral Beauty was really quite something.
2. Nine Lives
Honestly, Nine Lives ending up here probably wasn’t the poster designer’s fault. There are only so many ways to sell Kevin Spacey as a talking cat. And yet, even under the circumstances, these were notably bad.
What was the concept here? That no one knows he’s a cat, but he can write legibly in English with no opposable thumbs? That movie should last five minutes. That being said, “his life just got put on paws” is a pretty boss tagline.
Even the cat itself is too pretty.
1. Space Dogs
I know I already made fun of Ratchet and Clank for looking like a Soviet knockoff, but Space Dogs actually is an English version of Belka and Strelka: Star Dogs, the animated tale of the first two Soviet space dogs to return to Earth alive. The Russian version came out in 2010. The poster makes it look like it came out in 1982.