Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Best (and Worst) Movie Posters of 2009

It's way late, but I didn't forget. Below are my choices for the best movie posters of 2009. Having already revealed my choices for the best posters of the decade there may be some overlap but not too much. There were some good designs last year so narrowing it down to ten was difficult and I also included some runners-up that just missed the cut. And I've also reveal my choices for the WORST movie posters of 2009 (of which there were plenty to choose from) and some great fake and/or unreleased posters that are in some instances better than the real thing. Just remember, I'm judging the posters, NOT THE FILMS. A bad movie can easily have a great poster or vice versa, but there does always strangely seem to be a direct correlation between the film's quality and poster art. I guess it makes sense that the same amount of effort (or lack thereof) that went into the movie would also go into the marketing.


10. Crank 2: High Voltage

"HE WAS DEAD...BUT HE GOT BETTER." The second best tag line of the year. A crazy bad-ass movie deserves a crazy bad-ass poster. Not usually a big fan of bright yellow designs but it really works well in this case.

9. The International

"Hey Jeremy, why didn't you review The International?" The truth: I got about 20 minutes into it and fell asleep. I woke up during the big shoot-out. That's not a knock on the film. I was just tired and started it too late. I hope to give it another go. In any event, I really dig the approach they took here, emphasizing the architecture angle of the movie while positioning the stars off on the right corner. The poster's subtle, but catches your eye because the design is so unusual.

8. Alvin & The Chipmunks: The Squekquel

Sorry, but let's give credit where it's due. I know very few are interested in seeing a "SQUEAKQUEL," but depicting Alvin in Lite-Brite as the teaser image was a great idea that instantly grabs your attention. You know exactly what movie this poster is for and it accomplishes its goal perfectly, grabbing the kids' attention while also carrying retro appeal for their parents.

7. Crazy Heart

Look a little familiar? When I first saw this I thought Kris Kristofferson was making an acting comeback. Maybe not the most original poster in the world but you can't tell me it doesn't get the film's central idea across as clearly and crisply as possible. Bridges. With a beard. Washed-up country singer. Perfect. The color scheme is also cool. No better poster could have been produced for the movie. This nails it.

6. Where The Wild Things Are

There was a whole series of terrific posters for Where The Wild Things Are but this first teaser was my favorite. It wouldn't be a stretch to say that after laying eyes on it everyone who wanted to see the movie after viewing the trailer had their anticipation level double. A nice touch writing the title and tag line in chicken scratch style.

5. Inglourious Basterds

Another design that's simple and appears at first glance no to do much...mainly because it doesn't need to. And in not doing much it actually does a whole lot. Everyone was anticipating this movie anyway so they were smart to just get the main points across. That it's directed by Tarantino and about killing Nazis. Of course, the big thrill was that it ended up being everything this torture-porn inspired poster hinted at and then some. Effective positioning having all the words on a slant.

4. Antichrist
There was another creative poster for this film these but I preferred this one for just how visually striking it is. Seriously, how does someone even come up with an idea like this for a poster? If this is any indication how sick the movie is I'm in for a trip. Ironically, this design may be TOO GOOD because it's so seriously disturbing it makes me almost want to avoid the film.

  3. The Brothers Bloom

Less a poster than a work of art. I'd even go as far to say that it sells the film as being significantly better than it actually is, which is no small feat considering it was one of the more enjoyable movie experiences of the year. They even managed to squeeze all the main characters in there without it seeming overcrowded. This is some classy work right here. Forget about it hanging on your wall. This should be in an exhibit somewhere.

2. The Girlfriend Experience

It was close between numbers 1 and 2 on my list. This is one of the most unique posters I've seen in a long time and my appreciation for it has only grown after actually seeing the film, which still couldn't stand a chance of living up to the promise of this suggestive, unforgettable image. It also wins for tag line of the year. Brilliant all-around.


1. Moon

A classic example of how a great poster doesn't need a lot of nonsense and visual clutter to get its point across. One clean, simple (and in this case really trippy) image will usually do the trick. Something similar was attempted before but not nearly as well. It captures the isolation of the main character and the mind-twisting ride the story takes you on. Even someone interested in seeing the movie at all would do a double take and immediately be intrigued.

Runners-Up (Alphabetically)

Broken Embraces


(500) Days of Summer

Friday the 13th

Halloween II

The Hangover

The House of the Devil

The Hurt Locker

The Informant!



The Informers

In The Loop


The Stepfather

Trick 'r Treat



Did You Hear About The Morgans?

Or rather, DID YOU awful this poster is? Supposedly the movie is even worse but looking at this that's really hard to believe. Here's hoping I never find out.


Not speaking from personal experience here but I'd imagine it would be pretty uncomfortable having a camera aimed at your crotch. We'll have to ask DDL next time we see him. While this lame design could easily double as a perfume magazine pull-out, I'll at least say even though they're airbrushed (bad pun coming) to the nines, Hudson and Kidman look great and really grab your attention. But who cares? The poster's a huge mess.

All About Steve

Oh boy. Doesn't it look like Ken Jeong was just superimposed in the corner of the poster just before it went to print? More believably, someone was walking through the subway, realized he was left out and decided to just physically glue his photo on thinking no one would know the difference. "FROM THE PRODUCER OF MISS CONGENIALITY" doesn't exactly inspire confidence.


Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

What's so sad here is that it's possible to produce a really good poster of this movie (see below). Instead, we're treated to yet another uninspired floating heads poster that looks ripped from a Direct-to-VHS thriller from the mid-90's. Many thought that this alternate design was even worse but I completely disagree. At least it's unintentionally hilarious and attempts to capture the pulpy feel of the film. This is just boring.


Old Dogs

I'll go easy on these guys since I mostly like Travolta as an actor and Williams starred in the best comedy of the year (no, not this one) but, seriously, what were they thinking? And good luck coming up with a worse tag line for a poster. How could two unrecognizably photoshopped stars sitting at a desk possibly interest anyone in seeing this? Maybe that's why they added the cartoon dog. The movie is titled Old Dogs. So THAT'S why there's a dog.


My One and Only

A little overcrowded, no? There really should be some kind of maximum capacity limit for the amount of actors you're allowed to photoshop onto one poster. I feel like evacuating some of them for their own safety, or at least for the sake of their careers. That is if could recognize them. Is that Kevin Bacon on the far right?


Public Enemies
"Hey Jeremy, why didn't you review Public Enemies?" Well, I saw it, it's just that I had about as much to say about the film as this poster does. Johnny Depp. Standing there. That's it. Talk about not even trying. If that's not bad enough, there's the drab color scheme and really unfortunate placing of the title.


A Christmas Carol

Executive 1: Hey, got a great idea for that Christmas Carol poster.
Executive 2: Yes?

Executive 1: An aroused Scrooge riding a giant phallic object. Families are gonna love it.
Executive 2: Perfect!


Inglourious Basterds

These alternate Basterds posters put to shame the officially released, which is really saying something considering that overall this movie boasted the best poster line-up of the year. Love that Indiana Jones-style one, which was actually a proposed poster illustration that didn't make the cut. Too bad. They should have used it, as it perfectly captures the spirit of the film.
(Source: Posterwire)


Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

Now THIS is a Bad Lieutenant poster. What's Nicholas Cage doing to these poor women? Why does he look so crazed and strung-out? I have no idea but this image makes me want to see the movie and find out, which is much more than I can say for that other generic one above. It looks like the cover of a classic crime novel...maybe even better.
(Source: Ain't It Cool News)


Honest Movie Titles: Oscars 2010

These are my two favorites but for all ten nominees click here.
(Source: College Humor)

Retro Illustrated Best Picture Posters

Click here to see the rest.
(Source: In Contention)


JD said...

So many good ones to pick from.
The alternative ones are my favs.

jeremythecritic said...

A lot of good stuff in the past year. Those are my favs also.

Craig said...

This is a fun list. Your assessment of Public Enemies cracked me up; I guess the poster is accurate in that regard.

Of the parodies, I like best the critics' blurbs for Another Bomb (aka ): "Oh God Oh God Oh God...."

jeremythecritic said...

Yeah, I guess you could say it is accurate. And I'll have to check if those blurbs for Another Bomb are actually fakes given most critics' reaction to the film :)

Thanks for stopping by.

The Film Connoisseur said...

Agree with you on the poster for NINE, its so lifeless. Doesnt make me want to go see it.

But I love the one for The Girlfriend Experience, I picked it up yesterday while shopping and it immediately jumped at me! The title, the catch phrase and the idea behind the film simply made me want to see it right away.

jeremythecritic said...

That poster for Nine somehow made me less interested in seeing it than I was to begin with...and I had zero interest to begin with.

Totally agree- The poster was a brilliant marketing strategy for that movie.

Craig said...

Bad as the poster is for "Nine," trust me, the movie is much, much worse.

jeremythecritic said...

I feared that. I'll probably be staying far away from that film.

Ketty said...

You didn't include Superman 3, was the most worst poster amongst all. It seems that it might be designed by somebody who was in very bad mood. The biggest worst thing about the poster is the pose of Richard Pryor and Christopher Reeve.
Top ten worst