Editor's Note 01.16.13: The Best and Worst Movie Posters of 2012
Posted by Chad Webb on 01.16.2013
What were some of the best movie posters of the past year? Did they match up with the quality of the film? Check out my list from Savages to Ted and Flight to LOL. Also take a look at my favorite music albums of 2012...
Anyone who has met me knows that I love everything about the movie experience. The trailers are a part of that, as well as the posters hanging around a city or inside a theater. Strolling through the crowded lobby getting a peek at a future film you have been waiting for is an irreplaceable feeling. Furthermore, I love hanging posters in frames around my house. The thing is, some of my favorite movies have some of the worst posters, and vice versa. Every year, I like to salute the highs and lows of movie artwork. Keep in mind, the rating of the film itself means nothing. Also, I elected to eliminate Mondo posters and fan stuff from the running. If I included them, they would occupy almost every spot on the "Best" list. Anyway, on we go...
THE TOP 10 BEST MOVIE POSTERS OF 2012
10.MOONRISE KINGDOM - If you look at the artwork for Wes Anderson's films, the Criterion covers, the theatrical posters, and so forth, they almost always seem to be appropriately striking to the style, tone, and mood of his pictures. This poster for Moonrise Kingdom continues that trend. It is a beautiful image for a brilliant film that showcases the main characters in the middle of the woods with the familiar pastel colors.
9.THE MAN WITH THE IRON FISTS - I was disappointed with RZA's directorial debut. Word is the martial arts epic began as a 3+ hour cut. Maybe that will see the light of day in the future. Nevertheless, it did have a cool marketing campaign, and this poster jumped out at me. A laid-back, old-school design, yet perfectly exemplifying the title and the plot. I also dig the vertical text to display the stars names, in the tradition of Asian letters/characters.
8.THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN - I had a few problems with this movie, but I did appreciate the ad campaign, especially this super cool teaser poster. I like the black, dark alley atmosphere combining with the spider shadow. This was a creative design in general, but I'm sure it enticed many people to see the film.
7.LES MISERABLES - This poster is here because the image of Cossette is iconic and truthfully, that is all the marketing department needed to sell any mainstream version of Les Miserables. Her face is synonymous with Victor Hugo's novel and all of its adaptations, but perhaps moreso with the Broadway musical. It deserves the spot because it's timeless.
?6.KILLER JOE - This is a kooky selection, but there's just something about the image of friend-chicken in the shape of Texas (w/ blood splattered beside it) that would propel me to see whatever movie that is. Of course if you throw in the tagline of "A Totally Twisted Deep-Friend Texas Redneck Trailer Park Murder Story" and my ticket is guaranteed. It's a neat idea for a film that deserves more attention.
5.V/H/S & THE ABC'S OF DEATH - I made this a tie...well, because I felt like it. V/H/S might not have set the world on fire (the latter title isn't out yet), but damn they carry cool posters with them. The V/H/S poster was released long ago, but I was instantly mesmerized. The poster for The ABC's of Death was one I did not see until recently, but it is just as creative as V/H/S. More horror movies should embrace this sort of thinking.
4.TED - It's hard not to chuckle at this humorous poster for Ted. Although it is far from perfect, the movie was hilarious and this poster tells every curious moviegoer what type of comedy to expect. Some of the other designs settled for a plain approach, but this poster was constructed to match the characters' personalities and the sort of jokes that ensue.
3.DJANGO UNCHAINED - The amount of dedication and heart that go into every aspect of Quentin Tarantino's films is amazing. The posters for his efforts are commonly praiseworthy and this is no different. You don't really need to know the title, though it can be deciphered from the illustration. The old-fashioned approach accentuates the fact that this is a western, and honestly, what more do you need to know other than "The New Film By Quentin Tarantino"?
2.SAVAGES - I'm not sure why the poster for Oliver Stone's latest film is so beguiling to me, but it is. When I think about the most memorable artwork from 2012, this one comes to mind because you can't help but stare at it. The various images of the characters stacked on top of each other as the title is displayed boldly in white down the middle is hypnotizing in many ways. I was not in love with the film itself, but this poster is fabulous.
1.THE DARK KNIGHT RISES - Is the hands-down the best poster of 2012? Maybe, maybe not. But this does mark the end of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, which means no more artwork like this. The Dark Knight Rises is #1 because I could have chosen several different posters. They were all ingenious, attractive, and enticing. Each installment of the trilogy was accompanied by an inspired series of trailers, posters, TV spots, etc. I thought it appropriate to honor them here for consistently excellent work.
THE TOP 10 WORST MOVIE POSTERS OF 2012
10.A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD - I am looking forward to the next Die Hard film, but come on now, this has to be the lamest tagline and laziest poster image ever. The image of the building and Willis' face from the first film is legendary, but this just screams "trying too hard" or "not trying at all." I see this poster all the time, because for some reason this is the one the studio decided to send to theaters and every time I glance at it, I cringe.
9.GOOD DEEDS & ALEX CROSS - Look, I'm not an avid Tyler Perry basher or anything, but he looks silly in any poster featuring him from 2012. Good Deeds simply exhibits Perry with a briefcase standing with a plain look on his face (and a lame tagline). O...k? So what is the movie about and why should I care? The Alex Cross posters do not show an actor convincing and intimidating enough to replace Morgan Freeman, but someone in over their head. I feel bad for him, but no one can deny that he doesn't come out of these projects looking ridiculous.
8.BAD ASS - Suffering from the dreaded photo-shopped appearance is Danny Trejo, who for years made his living as a tough looking SOB. This poster however is laughable as Trejo's body and face is watered down, faded, air-brushed, and altered so significantly that one cannot help but shake their heads in disgust. And he's carrying a bloody bat, which he evidently just used to destroy a school bus full of children or harmless citizens? I have yet to see Bad Ass, but I imagine the peeps that churned out this design being under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
7.PITCH PERFECT - For the most part, the posters for Pitch Perfect are ordinary, but 2012 proved to be the year for idiotic teaser and taglines, and this one is just about as moronic as you can get. Rebel Wilson is a funny female, but if you read "The Pitch-Slapper" and "Get Pitch Slapped" aloud you'll no doubt hear the sad trombone sound playing somewhere. I swear the clueless employees that think of taglines have lost sight of what their job entails.
6.LOL - I could have chosen any poster from this horrid film. Every single one is tacky, irritating, and stupid. The primary image gives you Miley Cyrus laaying down texting. If that doesn't urge you to stay away and go see any other film instead, I don't know what will. The title alone is painful. Ugh!
5.FLIGHT - I enjoyed Robert Zemeckis' return to live-action with Flight, but could they not figure out a way to use the space on a poster better? There is almost nothing to look at except the small image of a plane at the top. Maybe the goal was to be restrained, yet effective, but this is too conventional. I doubt many even noticed it if they passed by. It's a shame, but I feel like someone could have put more heart into this.
4.JOURNEY 2: THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND - In a bizarre roundabout way, the posters for Journey 2 are masterful. The sloppy integration of colors and CGI on the artwork is precisely what viewers will see when they watch the movie. But it's so unbelievably ugly, so clumsily thrown together, and so lacking of any intelligence that I question how it was approved for release. Who wouldn't want to see Michael Caine riding a bee fleeing from giant birds?
3.WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU'RE EXPECTING - The character posters for this mediocre picture were indeed hideous, but none more than the one below featuring Elizabeth Banks. I adore her, truly I do, but man oh man does she look absurd and maddeningly artificial in this poster. Whoever made her sport that weird grin and pose in such an off-putting way should find another occupation.
?2.HYDE PARK ON HUDSON - The lukewarm reception of this period piece is one of the biggest surprises/disappointments of 2012. The poster most of you have seen gives us a profile view of Bill Murray as FDR, and it's average, but this one is hilariously dumb. And look out for Laura Linney creeping behind him. She's up to no good...
1.THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKIND DAWN – PART 2 - Similar to my #1 choice for BEST poster of 2012, my #1 WORST poster mentions a franchise we can all rejoice in knowing is finished. I first saw this posted on Facebook where someone wrote "Epic Running!" I had to laugh. Beware boys and girls, Bella, Edward and the gang are coming for you! I am of the opinion that the marketing teams spend an allocated amount of time on a given movie's posters. If they can't think of anything remotely passable, they throw their hands up and choose the goofiest design on the table, hence we must endure this:
THE TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2012
I'm as much a lover of music as I am movies, and I listen to anything and everything so I love making a list of my favorite albums. I have reviewed a few CDs and concerts in the past, and hope to do more in the future. I gather my list of best albums similar to that of my list of films. The goal is to incorporate many different styles of music. Yes, I know I have a lot of honorable mention albums this year, but I couldn't help myself. There were so many great releases that I loved that need to be heard in their entirety. I'm always eager to hear new stuff and discover bands that I have not heard of before, so if you have any suggestions that you think should have appeared below, feel free to let me know.
10.Woods of Ypres - Woods 5: Grey Skies & Electric Light - I checked out Woods of Ypres last year when I listened to Woods IV: The Green Album and was instantly hooked. David Gold's vocals reminded me of Peter Steele from Type O Negative, but Woods of Ypres had a different sound. Obviously this pick is bittersweet since Gold died in December of 2011, but that is not why the album is on my list. I put it here because Woods of Ypres is a fantastic metal band and this effort is intense, moving, and lingering. Every track is heartfelt, soothing, and infectiously aggressive.
9.Rush - Clockwork Angels - I have been a fan of Rush since I was little, but over the past few years they have become one of my favorite bands. I saw them in concert last year and they performed two songs from Clockwork Angels. I knew that if the rest of the album was as first-rate as those tracks, it would be another magnificent offering from a truly great rock band. The end result met my expectations wonderfully. Clockwork Angels continues the consistent trend of heavier, consistent Rush albums since their return with Vapor Trails. I won't say that this is their best album ever, but it is f'n awesome and like most of their material, I can and will listen to it regularly.
8.Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra - Theatre is Evil - I had not heard of Amanda Palmer before 2012, but her third LP Theatre is Evil with the Grand Theft Orchestra was being praised in many circles. After checking it out for myself I understood what all the hype was about. This is a fabulously fun album that mixes 80's goth, new wave, standard rock, and pop in a most glorious fashion. Although I initially listened to it on Spotify, I have since picked it up and replayed on numerous occasions. Palmer's vocals are strong, emotional, and natural sounding with catchy melodies and marvelous members backing her up. For an effort that was funded by a Kickstarter project, the success of Theatre is Evil is amazing. Give it a shot if you haven't already.
7.Jamey Johnson - Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran - When it comes to country music, I have very few friends that like it at all. I've always considered myself more of a classic country listener. The newer stuff is watered down, generic, and all sounds the same. I changed my tune when I discovered Jamey Johnson, whose approach to the genre is well, much like the legends of old. His vocals are deep and passionate and every stroke of the guitar is done with feeling. I almost hesitated in putting Living for a Song - A Tribute to Hank Cochran on my list because it is a tribute album and contains help from many other artists. But Johnson is the constant factor, establishing chemistry with every single partner. He and his contributors no doubt loved the music of Hank Cochran, and that can be heard on every track. Not one is weak.
6.Frank Ocean - channel ORANGE - I first learned of Frank Ocean when his 2011 mix-tape Nostalgia, U.L.T.R.A. ended up on so many "Best of" lists. Of course he is also featured on some Odd Future tracks, but Ocean is better on his own. His first official album accentuates his soulful, committed voice amidst lasting R&B ballads, hip-hop, and pop sounds. The R&B genre has been stagnant for awhile now with artists that refuse to shake it up, but Frank Ocean
5.Kendrick Lamar - good kid, m.A.A.d. city - Thank goodness that the rap genre has some promising new talent for the world to look forward to and not irritating circus acts, wannabes, or imitators. This is a rap artist that is smart and confident without being too arrogant, a breathe of fresh air in other words. His album is mostly about growing up in Compton, hardly the first person to rhyme about that, but Lamar's lyrics are fun and poignant. This is a poet who has something interesting to say, and when he does cover areas most other rappers do, he does so with feeling and sharpness. If Dr. Dre signs you, you know this must be a talent to watch. I look forward to his future material.
4.Ben Folds Five - The Sound of the Life of the Mind - Ever since I heard "brick," I've been an enormous Ben Folds Five fan. The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner is one of my favorite albums. When Ben Folds went solo, I enjoyed his work still, but I missed the chemistry and freshness of Ben Folds Five. The Sound of the Life of the Mind was the return fans have been waiting for. This is an album that showcases all of this trio's strengths, whether it be fast, creative tunes or slower, piano-based melodies. For me, there was some mixed emotions before listening to this. I had wondered if they would still possess the spark they once did. This outstanding effort put all my doubts to rest. I adore every single song on the record and if this is their last outing, I consider a brilliant one to go out on.
3.Bob Dylan - Tempest - People talk to me all the time about why Bob Dylan's albums always get such glowing reviews. Is it because he's Bob Dylan? Does the quality of the material match the legacy of the artist every time, after all these years? The answer, is yes. Tempest is Dylan's 35th album, and he rattles off each folk number with a natural passion, a sly sense of humor, and a masterfully moving approach to writing lyrics. Of the unanimously praised albums so late in his career, this is one of the best from that/this period. The title track is epic in every conceivable way, but Tempest is saturated with influences ranging from blues, doo-wop, rock, and more. The topics he touches on throughout this offering are fascinating and surprising. What makes all of Dylan's albums going back to so wonderful is that they will bring joy to listeners 10, 20 30, or more years from now.
2.Jack White - Blunderbuss - Jack White going solo was inevitable. The White Stripes were great, but if they are never to reunite, that's ok with me because White's versatility and love for music can be felt in The Death Weather, The Raconteurs, his work on the Cold Mountain soundtrack, and how his solo career. Those who had followed his resume even a little bit before Blunderbuss knew that his first achievement by himself would be a success. He exhibits as many inspirations and influences, styles and approaches, as he can throughout this record. Long ago when The White Stripes had just hit the mainstream a random blogger looped White's name in with classic rock icons and proclaimed him " the future of rock" or something similar. At the time I chuckled and thought it was incredibly presumptuous. It doesn't seem that way anymore.
1.Bruce Springsteen - Wrecking Ball - Wrecking Ball is Springsteen's 17th album and in my opinion it is definitely the best of the year. Bruce Springsteen's streak of great albums since the beginning of the millennium is pretty incredible considering 63 years-old and shows no signs of slowing down. The lyrics in Wrecking Ball cover a wide range of topics, including the recession, Barack Obama's presidency, Giants Stadium, and more. They are personal, heartfelt, and pointed. Wrecking Ball not only captures the classic Springsteen & the E Street band sound, but is also ambitious, acerbic, and most of all, fun.
*Green Day: Uno!, Dos!, Tre!
*Deftones: Koi No Yokan
*Jimmy Cliff: Rebirth
*Leonard Cohen: Old Ideas
*Testament: Dark Roots of the Earth
*Overkill: The Electric Age
*Dexys: One Day I'm Going to Soar
*Bill Fay: Life is Good
*De La Soul's Plug 1 & Plug 2: First Serve
The Editor's Compilation
1. Van Halen - "Stay Frosty"
2. Niki & The Dove - "Somebody"
3. Metalocalypse/Dethlok - "I Ejaculate Fire"
4. Nas - "Daughters"
5. 3 Inches of Blood - "Men of Fortune"
6. Linkin Park - "In My Remains
7. Toy - "Dead & Gone"
8. ZZ Top - "I Gotsa Get Paid"
9. Betrayer - "Innocence Forgotten"
10. Grizzly Bear - "Speak in Rounds"
11. Waylon Jennings - "Goin' Down Rockin'"
12. Travis Barker & Yelawolf - "Director's Cut (Michael Myers & Superman)"
13. Between the Buried and Me - "Silent Flight Parliament"
14. Gary Clark Jr. - "Numb"
15. Sharon Van Etten - "Give Out"
16. The Rolling Stones - "Doom and Gloom"
17. Marilyn Manson - "No Reflection"
18. Dave Matthews Band - "Broken Things"
19. The Darkness - "Everybody Have a Good Time"
20. B.o.B - "Where Are You (B.o.B vs Bobby Ray)
21. Accept - "Stalingrad"
22. Howlin' Rain - "Self Made Man"
23. Lana Del Ray - "Dark Paradise"
24. Fozzy - "Storm the Beaches"
25. The Cult - "Life > Death"
26. Matchbox Twenty - "I Will"
27. The Beach Boys - "That's Why God Made the Radio"
28. Glen Hansard - "High Hope"
29. Metallica - "When a Blind Man Cries
30. The White Buffalo - "The Whistler"
31. Usher - "Can't Stop Won't Stop"
32. Neil Young & Crazy Horse - "Ramada Inn"
33. Alabama Shakes - "Hold On"
34. Kanye West (Featuring Pusha T, Big Sean, and 2 Chainz) - "Mercy"
35. Mumford & Sons - "I Will Wait"
36. MxPx - "Aces Up"
37. Muse - "Explorers"
38. Kiss - "Long Way Down"
39. Alanis Morissette - "Numb"
40. Killer Mike - "Willie Burke Sherwood"
41. Tremonti - "Leave it Alone"
42. Stone Sour - "The Travelers Pt. 1 & Pt. 2"
43. Save the Clocktower - "Like That"
44. Grand Magus - "The Hunt"
45. 2:54 - "You're Early"
I never know where to put my Top 10 Albums of the Year list. It looks random in this column, but hey, wanted to put it somewhere. Stay tuned for my annual list that looks ahead at my most anticipated films of 2013, as well as looking back at my Oscar predictions from the beginning of 2012. I hope you enjoyed this article. In case you were in the mood for more Chad Webb writing, you can check out any of the following: