by D.W. Lundberg

Monday, December 2, 2013


While we're stuck on a movie poster kick, I happened to catch a 10-minute featurette on Ridley Scott's The Counselor the other day, which, among clips and talking-head interviews and the like, also featured red-carpet footage from the movie's October 3rd UK premiere. As they questioned star Michael Fassbender for the camera, I couldn't help but notice a peculiar poster for the film in the background (note: this photo is obviously from an Entertainment Tonight report from the very same event, and not, obviously, from the featurette I watched on the TV the other night, since I couldn't find a photo from that):

It's nothing special as far as posters go, just your typical mishmash of the actors' profiles to let you know who's actually in the movie, except for one particular problem: their names don't line up with their faces! And it took my brain a moment to process it (Why, that isn't Fassbender - that's Cameron Diaz! And that isn't Cameron Diaz - it's Brad Pitt!). Here's a closer look, so you can see what I'm talking about:

I understand this sort of thing probably doesn't bother you as much as it does me. Yet that momentary brain check is something I'd rather avoid, thank you very much. It must be the obsessive-compulsive in me, I don't know. Or an adjunct of the Stroop Effect, in which your mind processes information differently than what the eye can see. I could, I suppose, go into the long and tortured history of why actors' names are listed in specific order (it has to do with contracts), but that is hardly the point. It's another cliché in a long line of movie poster clichés, and more common than you might think. As always, some examples of this:


Why do advertisers and marketing gurus insist on arranging their images this way? Wouldn't it be just as simple to rearrange the actors so that they match their names in corresponding order?

This one, at least, makes some sort of sense (think about it, it'll come to you):

Then there are the posters that get it absolutely right, that require virtually no brain function at all - simple, direct, what you see is what you get:


I especially like this last one, as the position of the names on the poster mimic the actors' (and their characters') position in the movie itself:

What say you, oh Faithful Reader? Are there any examples excluded from above that you find particularly irritating? Or do movie posters fail to influence your decision to see a movie at all?

For previous articles highlighting other films flubs and movie maxims (or, as we like to call them, Staples of the Cinema), head on over here, here, here and also here.

No comments:

Post a Comment