Mike’s Favorite Movie Posters of 2017 (30-11)
I say it every year — the movie poster is a lost art. That statement is even more relevant this year. I’m not gonna sugarcoat it — this year sucked for movie posters.
In today’s marketplace, about half the product is based on built-in IP that can trade off iconic images in previously known versions of that product. The other half are smaller movies that maybe get one poster at most, and usually that poster is created off the same generic template as most posters and is designed to make you think of other movies that you went to see in the past. Or, the new wrinkle is that a bunch of movies are now being released on Netflix, who doesn’t need to bother marketing the films and doesn’t even bother giving you posters for them. As such, there’s really no great use of imagery out there anymore.
Last year, I felt, was actually a really strong year for posters. This year, it felt like every poster I saw was either trading off its own brand (Disney, Marvel, even Blade Runner) or reminiscent of some other movie poster from years past. Few posters actually gave a shit to give you a great image. Usually at least one of a movie’s posters is great — because, as I usually say, there are like five different posters for every major movie. Teaser, first official, second official, character posters, IMAX poster, etc — but this year it didn’t even feel like they tried on those.
A good movie poster is one that sells its stars and its subject matter, boiling down the themes of a film into a single image. Ideally, you look at that poster, know exactly what it’s about, and are left with the thought of, “Oh, I wanna see that.” Did anything really stand out to you this year?
What I do every year — and I struggled mightily this year. You’ll see that the first bunch is basically “Hey, this looks like that other one, so sure” — is find 50 posters that I liked among the films that came out that year.
So here are my favorite movie posters of 2017:
30. Thor: Ragnarok
It’s the coloring, really. There’s a very disco, acid-y vibe to the poster, which is almost how the film feels in relation to the Marvel universe. It’s like the very traditional, proper Thor went and became a hippie out of nowhere and loosened the fuck up. Which is fitting.
29. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
It’s three billboards. Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
Nobody said this had to be difficult.
28. The Little Hours
The stained glass is so nice. This looks like they took a real picture and photoshopped the actors’ heads onto it. Which makes it feel even more wrong, which is perfect for what they’re going for.
Ultimately there was too much going on here for me to put it any higher, but still, I’m a fan of this poster. I believe this is what’s known as blas-phenomenal.
27. Goodbye, Christopher Robin
You pretty much had to recreate the Winnie the Pooh shot for this poster, and I like the idea of them stepping into the storybook Hundred Acre Wood. I also really like that it has that old timey, worn paper look to it.
26. Good Time
A lot of people would take the other one, with him sticking out of the Sprite bottle. Ehh. I like this one. Reminds me of that Carol poster a few years back, where they just sort of freeze framed a very particular moment in the film. Since this movie is basically him on the run the whole time, it makes sense to have this be the poster. It implies movement, and this is a very kinetic film. I don’t need all the quotes on it, but you gotta sell the film, so fine.
25. Brigsby Bear
This poster makes me laugh every time I look at it. It looks like a proper graduation photo that’s just wrong. And that’s what the movie is. An earnest movie with some really not right stuff in it.
This also makes me think of that music video thing, where they put the bubble up of the other singer in a different location. Or like, that Eurotrip thing where Hasselhoff suddenly shows up during the sex scene.
It’s just funny. Also one of the more memorable poster images of the year. If I just handed you playing cards of all the movie posters (which… please, let’s do that, someone. I can get to 52 if I need to. Let’s make a deck for each year), you’d remember this one more than most of the others.
24. All the Money in the World
Speaking of memorable images, kinda hard to screw up this poster. The bloody ear wrapped in money is brilliant.
Also the tagline — everyone wants a cut. Perfect.
Good thing they waited to put this poster out until when they did, huh? Otherwise they’d have had to pull this one right back.
23. Get Out
The letterboxing is great, and the black-and-white monochrome is perfect, thematically. Also, the dude’s eyes are all you really need to sell this movie. It’s a pretty perfect poster.
22. Darkest Hour
What more do you need to sell your movie other than Oldman as Churchill?
The red, white and black coloring is something I’m always a fan of.
Again, not flashy, but simple and solid.
21. Lady Bird
The bordering is quite good. And again, nothing more necessary than your main character, who is your movie. I’m no art enthusiast, but something about her looking to the right just feels like defiance to me, the red hair notwithstanding. There’s something about this image that feels iconic. Or maybe it’s iconoclast. Either way — big fan.
Really nice image. The standard, boring, middle class office look, and then the blood stains and the imagery of the houses inside. Really big fan of this one. Damn shame the movie didn’t turn out as we’d hoped.
19. Loving Vincent
Do I need to explain why this one works?
18. The Lost City of Z
Oh man. What an image. I like that it extends up into the distance, giving you that glimmer of hope that the main character had that he’d eventually find where he was going. Of course the zig-zagging meant to evoke the letter of the title. Huge fan of this movie and this poster.
It’s a busy poster, but a strong image. Plus… land, sea, air… you get it.
Probably not as great as my ranking, but I like it. What do you want from me?
16. Phantom Thread
I’m surprised this ended up as high as it did for me, but it made more sense after seeing the movie. It really didn’t need to be much more complicated than the two of them.
Also, I can’t not look at this poster and think, “Do she got a booty? She do!”
Just because the movie didn’t work doesn’t mean the poster isn’t nice to look at.
I like how it puts both timelines front and center, fading from black-and-white to color. I also like the drawings in place of the sky. That’s the touch that made me put this so high. It looks like something I want to see. I look at this and am drawn to it. And I want to know more about it.
14. Kong: Skull Island
Maybe I’m a sucker for the marketing campaign. They’re basically running the Godzilla playbook on this. (I mean, they are.) But that doesn’t mean I still don’t like it. This variant, of the helicopter going down in the O is nice. I’m also a huge fan of the Apocalypse Now ripoff one. But I like the symmetry here. That’s basically your story in a single image. I probably shouldn’t have gone this high on it, but what the hell. I like it.
13. Wonder Woman
There’s empowerment in this poster. This image says a lot without trying at all. And honestly, it almost made my top ten. This is one of the most important images of 2017.
12. Baby Driver
You thought this would make the top ten, didn’t you? You thought I’d go all in on this, huh?
I’m actually kinda surprised it didn’t. But here we are.
The car being shot out of the gun is a great image, and I like the pink. That’s a great color choice. A good color choice definitely makes your poster way more appealing.
I don’t know, though. I just… liked all these other posters better. Shit happens, man.
Because, what the actual fuck, guys? I couldn’t pick the other one, which is a blatant Rosemary’s Baby ripoff. This one actually does sort of represent the movie. You only realize it after you see it, but still. It’s definitely one of the more memorable images you see in 2017. While I probably liked some other posters ranked lower than this more than this, I feel like this is one of the best posters of the year and deserved such a high spot. Darren Aronofsky rarely disappoints, and this is definitely one of those posters you talk about.
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