Mike’s Favorite Movie Posters of 2018 (30-11)
I start this article every year with the same statement: the movie poster is a lost art.
It gets truer each year, and actually becomes more disgusting as time goes on, because now, with the rise of the streaming service, they don’t even bother putting out posters for some movies anymore. And the big mainstream stuff, it’s devolved into character posters and giant collages of all the actors’ faces on them. They’re only interested in selling the IP and the people in the movie rather than selling the movie. They’re either trading off a known property or images from great posters from years back, or they’re putting famous faces into the same collage they use for everything else. If you love a good movie poster as I do, you should be disgusted with the stuff they’re putting out.
A good movie poster should give you everything you need to know about a film in a single image. It should be both eye-catching and thematically relevant. Bonus points if you look at it and immediately want to see the movie more than you did before you saw it.
Offhand, can you immediately name more than five posters you saw this year and went, “Oh wow”? And here I’m trying to come up with 50. So that’s my struggle each year. But in listing as many as I do, you start to learn certain things. One, you’ll realize just how little the big studio films need to bother doing anything creative in their marketing. Two, you’ll learn that certain filmmakers are always the same ones putting care and consideration into their marketing, which always makes them stand out. And three, you’ll see, with me including so many different posters, just how few there really are that are truly fantastic. And four — this one’s more of a pipe dream — hopefully you’ll learn just how easy it is to put any kind of creativity in a poster, and if you end up being someone that is a part of this process at any point, maybe you’ll help change this disturbing trend we’re on.
But anyway, here are my favorite movie posters of 2018.
30. Fahrenheit 11/9
It about says it all, doesn’t it?
Honestly if it weren’t so depressing it would probably have gone higher.
A nice happenstance that the much more uplifting documentary ended up ahead of that last one. Mostly what I like about this is that it tells you all you need — her initials and that lace collar thing she wears. Amazing. Also, the word dissenter in the tagline is so dope.
28. White Boy Rick
I can’t really explain why I like this poster as much as I do, but I kept feeling something toward it that made me rank it higher and higher as I went along. It makes it look like a father-son movie, which I guess it is, to an extent. But I don’t know. It’s that thing of the characters being in the corner of the poster and the majority being something else. Here, it’s text. But I don’t know, I just like the look of this one. I don’t know. Everyone has the one they like they can’t really explain. This is like the Law and Order opening narration of posters.
27. We the Animals
Love this poster. Screaming crayon, and the chalk title? So great.
26. The Death of Stalin
Amazing poster design. Them tugging at the moustache. There’s always a stretch where the posters pretty much speak for themselves and I barely have to say anything. This seems to be that stretch.
This one is just simple and beautiful. It just feels like it’s exuding childhood. Netflix posters generally aren’t very good because they don’t seem to put much marketing into them (nor do they need to, really), but this one’s nice even despite that.
24. The Girl in the Spider’s Web
It’s funny. This is the poster that, at first, I didn’t even have it on the list. Then I was like, “Well, okay at the bottom.” And now look where we are. This happens every year too. Something not on makes it to the top 25. And there’s always something I think is middle of the pack that ends up in the top ten.
I love the red of this poster, and I like the spray paint raccoon mask thing going on. That’s pretty much it, really. I just really like that coloring. They’re selling you on the character and the words “Dragon Tattoo.” They didn’t need to do a whole lot past that. But the red and white is nice here.
23. A Simple Favor
This is about as Saul Bass as you’re gonna get in 2018, and I am here for it. The only reason this isn’t top 15 or even top ten — looks a little too colorful and cheesy. I don’t know. There’s something about it that’s turning me off. Maybe it’s the color choices? It’s almost perfect, but instead it’s just very good. I love everything about this poster except the last 10% of the execution. That doesn’t make it less of a great poster.
22. Can You Ever Forgive Me?
I feel like this is a poster I should like more. I love typewriters, I like the idea of her being on the paper like that, I love all of it. But for me, the whole is less than the some of its parts. It’s objectively pretty great, but I don’t love it enough to put it higher than 22. Oh well.
21. Sorry to Bother You
Purple is an underutilized poster color, and the bordering of the reviews is nice. I hate when they plaster reviews all over the center of the poster. This way is really nice and makes you look all around at every little detail. The image of him is a little basic but it makes sense for the film. It’s a hard sell, this one, so I commend them for that. Though I can’t in good conscience put it any higher than this because it’s a pretty basic “single character” poster. But still, it stands out. All you need is purple.
The floral wallpaper in the back is what made it go this high. The movie is basically just a showcase for Keira Knightley, but the nice colors and texture of the poster is what sells it. Plus the fade into Paris is nice too.
The Transformers franchise usually uncorks a cool poster. The fourth movie comes to mind, with the bounty hunter guy walking up the road with the ship in the background. But this one — this is the best of the Bumblebee posters. They released it specifically at Comic-Con, but it’s just so awesome. Plus, the movie is him, so it’s not really cheating. Look how fantastic this is.
18. Isle of Dogs
It’s the saturation of the frame that I like. Plus, it’s adorable stop-motion dogs. What more do you need?
17. The Commuter
There’s always one movie that has amazing posters, even if it’s not that great. I remember The Maze Runner having a bunch of cool looking posters. This one, fortunately, is quite fun. It’s a throwback kind of movie, and a sort of Hitchcock homage. And as such, the posters for it are very much in that Saul Bass style.
I had such trouble picking one of these. So the entire collection is sort of the honorable mention for #17. I love them all. I love when they use these types of posters. And this one has seven cool posters. Most movies don’t even have one.
16. If Beale Street Could Talk
I docked it slightly because of the Moonlight coloring, but it’s a movie about these two people, and I think the color grading does make it look really nice. It makes it feel like they have a very simple love story, and here’s society or whatever you want to call it, pressing down on them, on their love. So it works. I just… you know what they’re doing here. So I can’t put it in my top ten. But it’s fantastic.
15. Mary Poppins Returns
It’s the fact that it looks hand drawn that got it so high. I mean, yeah, it’s Mary Poppins, so you’re selling it on the imagery of her. And yeah, this is basically a collage of everyone in the movie. But goddamn, does it look good the way they drew it.
14. Hearts Beat Loud
It’s the vinyl as background that I love so much. I just love what they did with this. And yeah, that’s basically the entire film in a single image, which is even better. I thought long and hard about making this a top ten poster. But it feels a bit too photoshopped in the front, which is what kept it here.
13. The Favourite
Love the image on this. Two women with designs on the queen. Simple, effective. And the positioning of the queen sideways makes you feel slightly uneasy about the whole thing, which is also perfect, because it’s Yorgos. Love this poster.
12. A Star Is Born
This one was very close to making the top ten. I just love how they shot it. It almost looks like something they took on set that ended up becoming the poster. The black and white is really nice, and honestly, this is all you need to sell the movie. Him and her. That’s always what this story is about. The gold title is really nice too. This is one of those that isn’t reinventing the wheel, but it just looks really nice and sells its film really well.
11. Creed II
In a way, it’s the perfect sequel poster. Now that you’ve set up your characters, you want them to go through some difficult shit you’re not sure they’ll be able to overcome. This is that. Your main character is a boxer — here’s him, on his knees in the ring, screaming out in anguish. Perfect. It’s visceral, and it makes you want to see the movie. And sure, my affinity toward the franchise is probably making me like this more than I should, but whatever. You like what you like.
– – – – – – – – – – –