The other day, Dustin taught us that one look can sell you on a movie. And, yet, many actors struggle daily with the ability to look at anything ever.
Any actor will tell you this most solid truth: looking at things is fucking hard. Just ask that chick from The Hills who is always looking up. This is understandable. We can’t all have the brainpower required to make our eyes point at a specific direction while attempting to emote or display presence of thought. So when it comes poster time, often studios are forced to make do with what they’ve got, leading to a prevalence of film posters that all vaguely resemble 1950s yearbook photos.
The recognition of this phenomenon occurred to me when I first saw the poster for the new Adam Sandler/Jennifer Aniston trainwreck Just Go With it. Because, seriously, where is she looking?
Aniston is no stranger to the awkward-look movie posters. The poster for Management is fraught with awkward, and I don’t just mean Steve Zahn’s frighteningly pasted on hand.
Even moderately skilled actors fall prey to the looking-at-things disability. Kate Hudson apparently learned well from her mother. Anne Hathaway is not so lucky. It’s not necessarily that she’s totally looking in the wrong place, but her eyes are dead from the effort.
It seems unfair to include low-budget indies, as every low-budget indie poster largely consists of random shots of random things, sometimes almost coming together to look like the movie might be something. The poster for Caffeine is no different. But I thought it was pertinent because look who the only person fucking it up is.
She ruins EVERYTHING.
If this troubling discovery seems primarily to befall romantic comedy actresses, there may be a reason for that: Julia Roberts seems to have built an entire career upon not looking at things. And whatever it is she happens to be looking at, it is nowhere near where her co-stars are looking.
Most recently, her disability went airborne, leading to an entire ensemble cast becoming afflicted.
Afflictees are not merely limited to rom-coms and indie flicks. Generic suspense thrillers, action movies, dramas, no genre is safe. Be it a wistful look to the east, a vengeful look to the north, entertainment graphic designers everywhere pay for their pools and gold Brita filters by pointing the eyes of their leads at some random object and calling it a day.
I don’t ask that every poster feature its leads looking directly at we the audience. But I’d at least like to know what it is they’re looking at.
Nevermind. I think I know.