Monday, February 21, 2011


Here in New York, there is no shortage of advertising.

Sometimes this is great, like when you are handed free bags of M&M's on the street corner by "street teams", who are paid by corporations to make sure that you don't forget about M&M's.

But other times, it's just endless parades of posters, logos, and branding. This is especially true when a new movie is coming out. Believe me, if you were a baby born in November of 2010, you could identify a poster for Tron Legacy before you could pinpoint who "mama" was.

Movie posters have tended to be on the very tasteful, graphic-design end of things as of late. Even the Saw sequels of the world have afforded the dignity of a campaign you could hang alongside your IKEA Bjoorg couch. Unless, however, you are making a big-name comedy. Then you get the first-year photoshop intern to hash out some piece of advertising poop.

Here are three inescapable posters that I have to stare at while waiting for my train to come. All I want to do is go home, you guys! Not look at eye-poop! Which is the worst offender? I will let you, the gentle reader decide. (click on images to enlarge, if you wish)

Look. I am a reasonable man, with reasonable expectations in life. I don't think that the latest Adam Sandler ad is going to be the next Obama "HOPE" poster. But COME ON. THE FIST BUMP BELOW THE BUTT? And just look at the two stars, lounging in the luxurious pre-installed MacBook Pro wallpaper. I can almost feel the warm glow of the setting screensaver. (This is a little off-topic, but the poster copy reads that it is "based on a French stage play". A fantasy for any playwright, I am sure. "Sacre Bleu, eef only I could zomday hav' Adam Zandlar een my play. But of course, theeze eez just a beautiful dream!")

While this is isn't some hideous design, and whatever, just two be-oo-ti-full people with perfect skin and teeth and a million dollar apartment (and a nice, oddly stacked book shelf) grinning their faces off at each other. Typical movie stuff, that. But that tagline? COME ON. Some movie exec read a blurb on Huffington Post that the kids are having "friends with benefits" sex, what with the skinny pants and the rock music today. Next thing you know, one fresh, steaming pile of script was ordered up.

As I was searching online for the poster image, I found out there is an alternate tagline that reads "Friendship has its benefits". A little more more subtle than the hilariously on-the-nose text I get to see everyday. I'm sure that they changed it for all those backwoods, gator-eating "red state" theaters,who would have heart attacks if they saw S-E-X on the marquee. Having said all that, the original title of this movie was, no joke, F*ckbuddies. I don't know how they would have handled that. Renamed it "Snugglepals" for Iowa markets?

Good god. Look at this. Again, it's just two movie stars, who cares? But seriously, REALLY LOOK AT IT. This thing is so lovingly blurred, softened, and touched up it might as well be airbrushed on the back of a denim jacket. Vince Vaughn does not look like this anymore. He looks like someone painted a face on a bruised sausage and pushed it through a striped shirt. But here he is, doing the MySpace photo trick where you tilt your forehead waaaaaaay forward so you look thin and brooding and neck-cramp-y.

Again, there is an alternate tagline on the posters in NY, and I wish to high heaven I could've found it to show you. Instead of "The truth hurts", we get: "Two best friends...nothing could come between them...or could it?"

Ha, wow. Poster, there is a saying in business: stop selling when you've already sold. I would bank any money that nothing could come between these two friends. And yet, there they stand! "How am I going to tell this guy?" wonders Vince. "Tell me what, Vince?" says Kevin. "Oh brother! What a dilemma I am in!!!!!" exclaims Vince inside his head but not out loud.


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