Tis the season for 2011 film lists. This is the time of year where critics’ circles, bloggers, magazines, etc. roll out an endless barrage of best-of lists. I like to do a bunch of them (all going by favorites, not ‘best’); most will not be posted until January when I’ve seen most everything I meant to catch this year. I’m at 120 2011 films so far and I definitely have more I want to see. By that point, everyone will be sick of these lists, if they aren’t already, but such is the situation.
Coming up with the ten worst posters of the year is a much more difficult task than picking my favorites. For one thing, there are heaps upon heaps of mediocre to terrible movie posters every year. It becomes challenging to sift through and separate the merely bad to the incomprehensibly terrible. Several of my picks would remain under any circumstances; they jump out immediately as being particularly troubling. However, about half of my choices, while brutal, could very easily be switched out and replaced with something equally worthy of a slot.
As I said in my ‘Top 20 Film Posters of 2011’ list, my choices here are going to be a bit repetitious in regards to other lists in this vein. In brainstorming for this, I found myself agreeing with a lot of the choices made by others. So I apologize for the lack of originality here.
10. Certifiably Jonathan
The sole reason this is on here is because of how terrifying Jonathan Winters is in that picture. Font and shameless showcase of which actors will pour on the praise aside, this is just more unintentionally off-putting than words can describe. Who would look at the cover of this and want to watch it?
9. The Darkest Hour
My immediate reaction to this poster was what sealed the deal for its inclusion. The second I saw it, I burst out laughing. Other posters on this list incited guffaws and confusion, but this one really just made me laugh. It is impossible to take seriously on any level; a sorry excuse for a 3D ad. The quality is pretty substandard as well. It almost looks like a Syfy original movie.
8. A Little Help
Maybe it’s because I just don’t like Jenna Fischer. Maybe it’s because her childishly helpless expression suggests that she needs ‘a little help’. Not to mention the weird photoshop work that makes her look like Steven Tyler. In the end, I’m sure many more offensively bad posters could go in this slot…but I just see Pam from The Office when I look at this. And there are few characters I hate more than Pam from The Office.
7. Dear Lemon Lima
I appreciate a poster that wears its identity on its sleeve, but not when that identity makes me want to bash my own head in. This is the kind nauseating faux-quirk I cannot stand. Pink-haired girl’s pouty pout-pout face, the cutesy cursive, the adolescent doodles, the fucking unicorns; I can’t. Thanks, but no thanks.
I have to admit that this poster is so awful that I actually kind of love it. I really do; it’s the only poster on here that transcends how abysmal it is, becoming something I legitimately enjoy.
5. A Bag of Hammers
There’s nothing like having the title of your film literalized in the most pitiful way possible. The title contains the word hammers. So, clearly having a poster with hammers falling out of the sky was the way to go. Are those hammers going to hit any of the characters? Why is everyone placed so awkwardly? Why is everyone looking at this kid who is creepily peeping out of the bottom? Who made these decisions and why? Surely there was a better way to advertise this film. Or is the film so boring that this really is the best they could come up with?
4. Martha Marcy May Marlene
I get that having a QR code as your poster is theoretically a really great marketing technique. But when it renders the advertisement ugly as sin, is it really worth it? Everything about this is off; the version of this without the QR code is misguidedly bare. There are excellent posters for Sean Durkin’s debut feature that were used; it is a pity that this was the one I ran into most often in theaters.
2. X-Men: First Class
Talk about unfortunate. There are only two things happening here and both of them are really poorly handled even beyond the lack of potential inherent within these teasers. First, the shadowy cut-out of Professor Xavier; it looks like it was shorn by a five-year old. Second, there is the disembodied floating head. Its placement was almost certainly decided from a game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey. That this is a teaser image that got approved for marketing is more than a little perplexing. Who thought this would make us want more?
1. Big Momma’s House: Like Father, Like Son
It cannot be disputed that there is a worse poster than this from 2011. It uncomfortably mocks Lady Gaga. If the tagline hadn’t been there, I’m not sure if I would have immediately understood what this poster was trying to reference. I do not see the FBI badges as FBI badges. I look at them and I see…monkey heads? I have no idea who came up with this, but it is all fake, bizarre and borderline disturbing.