|"The 90s", in pictures|
Now, with original poster art flat-lining, what we have left is an endless run of amateur Photoshop. Sure, you can make the argument that there are and have always been six basic poster designs, but what we have now are the laziest in history. They are the artistic equivalent of Ramen Noodles, and if I were still that teenager collecting these posters in high school, my wall would look like a smattering of collectible plastic cups from McDonald's.
The best of the worst would have to go to every poster that simply has words over a face. Like all lazy trends, it started lofty, with the iconic poster for "The Social Network". The words over the actor's face were simple and bold, and reflected the zeitgeist of social media. To anyone who liked the movie, that poster meant something; like the artwork on my bedroom walls, it was an attitude. But sure enough, what producers saw was the chance to make bank with off-the-shelf photo software. Heck, they could hire their kids! It'll bring the family together.
|"Son, how'd you like to do the poster for my movie?"|
Over the last few years, there have been so many movies -- good and bad -- to utilize this words-slapped-on-a-face formula that it has come to damn sure symbolize apathy in the film industry.
My favorite -- one that almost works as a great piece of satire, if they intended it that way:
Oops, they forgot a step!
I've tried hard to get through this whole blog without tooling the words "In my day..."; mostly, my day was the 90s, when poster art was not really that much better than it is now (just look at any Harrison Ford pic between "Patriot Games" and "Air Force One"). But there was still a competition for your attention going on that just doesn't exist anymore. Think about the video store. Sometimes, you'd go straight to the New Release wall and take what you came for. But what if all fifty copies were gone, and you had to resort to the vault of backlog horrors? When you didn't have your smart phone and you couldn't go home and just stream something, all you had to go on was the artwork; it brought natural selection to your pop culture sensibilities.
|Good God, that's beautiful!|
So that's all I can figure at this time. We tolerate movies as placeholders. They don't have to be inventive, stunning, or include mind-blowing ideas anymore. Their posters can all be the same -- WE DON'T CARE! Just as long as we can click on them and stream the damn flick instantly. It's like comparing a Golden Book to Thomas Pynchon. Movies are real kid stuff, with their cutesy, 1-D characters and shallow plots, while television is dense, literary, rebellious and unapologetically original.
Oh damn it. Et tu, "Breaking Bad"?