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The Downfall Of Val Kilmer - A Study In Posters

By TK Burton | Lists | December 6, 2010 |

By TK Burton | Lists | December 6, 2010 |

Val Kilmer is an a mystery wrapped in an enigma surrounded by confoundment, currently buried in a heap of cinematic tragedy.

Admit it. If you think of your all time favorite movies — I don’t mean the most respectable movies, necessarily, but the most fun movies on your list, I’m willing to bet all of the money in my wallet (four dollars) that he’s in at last one of them. Not to say that he hasn’t made some respectable movies, too — The Doors, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang — but mostly, Val Kilmer has just been fun. Nowadays… yeesh.

Now, I’m also something of a nut for things like movie trailers and posters, so I figured (inspired by commenter klingonfree) we’d do a little study on Kilmer’s steady decline using posters as our guide.

We begin, as with all things, at the beginning:

1984’s Top Secret!, one of the most fun movies ever made.

1985’s Real Genius. One of my favorite movies. A study in fun, if you’ll excuse the wretched pun. Just look at him!

1986’s Top Gun. Perhaps Kilmer isn’t featured on the poster, but Iceman is unquestionably one of the highlights of this softcore gay porn film, and another of my favorites.

Willow, Kilmer’s 1988 foray into fantasy. Goofy as hell, but a great goddamn movie. There he is, all long-haired and dashing (and a little crazy).

Then, he took a shot at respectability:

1991’2 The Doors. Less fun. More crazy. But serious-crazy, which is not my preferred flavor of Kilmer. Flamey and serious and just begging for respectability.

True Romance poster.jpg
A contentious choice for this list, as Kilmer is never fully seen and only in the film for roughly 60 seconds. I don’t give a crap. It’s 60 outstanding seconds. I’ve always liked you Clarence…

Kilmer’s magnum opus, the superlative Tombstone, featuring one of his most quotable roles. A film that is defined by balls, testosterone, and, yes, fucking fun. Look at him. He strides purposefully with Kurt Russell and Sam Fucking Elliott! And… um… Bill Paxton.

Oy. Batman Forever. Today, Kilmer looks at The Dark Knight and thinks, “oh, what the fuck, man. I got stuck with fucking Schumacher?” Was this the beginning of the end? Perhaps it’s good that he’s wearing a mask.

“No! Because there I am, featured right between Pacino and Deniro, in arguably the greatest heist film ever!

Fuck you. I love 1996’s The Ghost And The Darkness, though it’s really Michael Douglas that owns this movie (and the poster, to be honest). Still… it gave me hope.

However, we’re now in the stretch where there’s more bad, like these:

Yikes. But still! Your name up there with Brando? Who says no to that? Plus, that’s good postering right there.

I can defend neither this film nor this poster.

Now we enter the land of the decent, but lesser-knowns:
Thumbnail image for 406px-salton_sea_poster_35728.jpg
Decent movie, great poster.

Excellent film that no one saw (which one could say of many Mamet films). Shitty poster, though.

Kilmer gets reunited with Oliver Stone… which was a poor decision. Plus, he has to wear that beard and goofy gold hat. Not good.

BUT WAIT! We arrive at one of the best roles in his career, the beginning of a resurgence, right?
A brilliant goddamn movie and, with its noirish tones and washed colors, an all-around excellent poster. Good things are coming, friends. The Kilmster (h/t: Bedhead) is BACK, bitches!

Wait, what? This actually happened?

Oh, God. No, Val. No.

Make it stop. MAKE IT STOP.

Kilmer! Assante! Roberts! FUCK!

Don’t see him? He was the voice of the car. In the “Knight Rider” reboot. Mercy. I’m begging you, Val. MERCY!

Thumbnail image for gun_poster_2-thumb-500x707-25379.jpg
Rest in peace, old friend. This will be the final nail.

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TK Burton is an Editorial Consultant. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.