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Photoshop Disasters

When you're renting out movies all day a lot of different cover art passes through your hands and past your eyes. So you see the work of a lot of very talented designers, a lot of mediocre ones, and some who you're pretty sure must've worked for free. A lot of smaller labels don't have the budget to pay a topnotch designer, so you can understand when you see an ugly font or a cover where they just take a publicity still and run it through Photoshop's "water color" filter. But the ones that are really fascinating are the ones put out by major studios but that still fail to meet a certain standard of professionalism. I'm not talking about lackluster covers such as Children of Men, where a photo of Clive Owen peering around a corner fails to convey the premise, setting or quality of one of the year's best movies. Many have said that cover is "ugly as hell," while I believe it looks okay visually but just is not representative enough of the movie. But this post is not about those covers with artistic merits up for debate. This is about the Photoshop disasters, the ones where the actors clearly were not photographed at the same time, are not reacting to the same thing, perhaps do not even have their heads attached to their own bodies. There are many worth highlighting in this genre, from the Steven Seagal movies where the same head shot is used on different bodies to the School For Scoundrels cover where Jon Heder manages to give a terrible acting performance even in a still photograph. This year saw what many believe is the all time greatest in this category, the Full Monty Fully Exposed Edition. Take a look: Can you believe that? Unfortunately the printing makes it hard for a scan to do justice to it, but I think even here you can tell at a glance with your glasses off and from across the room that those heads and bodies did not show up together. It brings up a lot of questions: didn't they have any advertising materials left over from releasing the movie? How did they choose the body doubles? Did they have to inform the actors that their heads were going to be badly Photoshopped onto someone else's bodies? Did they at least try to get the actors from the stage musical to be the doubles? I was convined that the Fully Exposed Edition could not be topped, but that was before The Astronaut Farmer stepped in. This just makes me laugh every time I look at it. Some may prefer the crudeness of the simple background and giant fonts on The Full Monty, but I think The Astronaut Farmer takes the genre to a new level, collaging so many separate elements into one scene that it takes on a surreal artificiality that's almost a style of its own. Here's what it looks like: Again, you've got to look at this thing in person to see its true magnificence (as you can see it is currently located in the new releases) but this gives you a rough idea. By my estimation there are at least 7 separate elements that were composited to create this picture, not including the text. Obviously the barn and rocket are separate, since they are at different perspectives. There is the sky, the grass and the stump. Let's be optimistic and assume that Virginia Madsen and family are taken from the same photo. But then there's the horse, the astronaut body, and of course Billy Bob's astronaut head, which is where your eyes immediately go when you pick up this DVD. If you look closely at the family, their feet seem to have been added on or at least touched up in a failed attempt to make them blend in properly with the ground. I do believe they were photographed together, but they were not under the greatest supervision since they are all looking up at the sky but in totally different directions. Literally every character, including the horse, is looking in a different direction. The best is Billy Bob, whose head is a little big for his body and he is looking straight ahead like it's a mug shot. Man, I love that head. I can't imagine a more obviously pasted on head. The Billy Bob head is so great that it is tempting to add it to all our other Thornton covers. For now we won't do that but here is a little sample of what it could look like: I know there are many other great Photoshop Disasters worthy of study. What are some of your favorites?