Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Why Be Normal When You Were Born To Stand Out?

Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts, Chris O'Dowd, and a cute kid all play an important part in a charming movie about forging unlikely friendships in order to survive some rough patches in life.

What's not to love about this? Oh yeah, the official poster:

Advertising (which I often forget is the actual purpose of movie posters, instead of just being tacked up in dorm rooms) is supposed to make people want something. When I look at that poster I think, "Hey, I like all these people!" which then is quickly followed with, "But what a cheesy looking ad."

This type of poster, typically referred to as the "floating head" genre, has become as overdone as the "lean". Yet, this looks more boring than others from that category. At least some of those other heads get to be on top of a scenic location! McCarthy and Murray are just floating aimlessly in front of a flat backdrop by a boring old fence. Plus, what are these three gazing longingly at?

It's just extremely generic. This lack of creativity can really downplay a movies worth. By just showcasing the big stars of the movie in a bland manner, the poster screams, "pitch out $12 for the actors, because, sheesh, this movie is awful otherwise!"

Sure, the picket fence and halo above Murray's head play a little into the theme/events of the movie, but nothing about this image eludes to what makes it a notable gem of cinema, which is a huge missed opportunity.

Would it surprise you then that the writer/director of St. Vincent, Ted Melfi, and several of the lead actors didn't want to sign off on this poster?

No? Didn't think so.

Melfi recently sat down with the Nerdist podcast hosts to talk about making the movie and the overall extensive (and fascinating) process that goes into convincing Bill Murray to join a project. It involves leaving a voicemail, lawyers, writing Murray a personal letter, and then just crossing your fingers that he actually shows up. It makes sense - we all know that guy's busy making the world his oyster.

After awhile, the conversation turned to the above debated poster. Melfi explained that he had actually designed his own posters, but was overruled. Just one second of looking at what he created will make anyone decide that his vision was far superior.

The individual posters feature one of the main characters in their quirky glory. All five instantly capture your attention and piques interest into wondering how it's possible that these vastly different people work into a single movie.

Melfi's ads are clever and unique - I especially like the basketball hoop and graffiti used as a "wink" to a halo. Each perfectly represents the movie in just single images, no multiple heads needed.

This has all been about posters, because who doesn't love a good movie poster, but it hopefully excited some of y'all, and, those that haven't already, will check out St. Vincent.

When most of the movies that are released nowadays are dependent on becoming billion dollar blockbusters, movies dedicated to just telling everyday stories about people living their life seem to not be made as often. That's why flicks like St. Vincent need support.

That's not difficult to do when it features a splendid Bill Murray performance. Oh, and Naomi Watts is a hysterical scene stealer. And, not to mention, Melissa McCarthy gets to show off her chops as an actress with a range outside of a loveable loud lady (think more Sookie, less Tammy).

Overall, not even a bad poster can normalize the final product of a movie if it is an entirely enjoyable and distinctive piece of work like St. Vincent.

Until next time. 

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