Now I don’t like to talk about depressing things, but something has been bothering me for some time. I feel it is time to talk about it, right here, right now. It is something we all know about, but are not quite sure when it raised its ugly head. It is something that invades our everyday life. It is the horror of Photoshop, the tool to make stars look even prettier.
Everyone is aware of the scandals. Kate Winslets Photoshopped picture is one of the more famous examples (she was altered to look thinner without her permission). There is no doubt that it is tragic (because she is awesome just the way she is), but I never felt like it affected me personally, until recently. Only when I realized that my beloved movies are being affected quite dramatically that I felt the sting of Photoshop. No one messes with my DVD covers! So here we have a little collection of some of the worst examples I could find, the Photoshop beasts which you must beware of. Be warned, it is not pretty.
So from my experience, Photoshopped covers take two different forms. The poorly photoshopped head and the full head which covers the DVD cover. The full head DVD cover is not always Photoshopped, but it annoys me so much I have included it as an added bonus in my article. That’s an abuse of writing power if ever I saw one! The head that is too big for the body is a relatively new Photoshop idea, but links into the poorly Photoshopped heads section quite nicely. It is used quite a lot in low budget comedies, to make the lead star seem more wacky than the plot probably allows. Steve Carell did an excellent sketch about this with the guys from Funny or Die about his head always being oversized. Check that out here as it is great. It is also ironic because he normally suffers from the head too big for the screen problem (check out examples of that later on in this article). But a prime example of this is the Jeff Daniels classic (ahem, sarcasm) flick Daft as a Brush. Look at the size of his head here; he looks like a bobble head. I bet you think he looks pretty stupid, right? No, it looks awful and cons loads of people into watching the movies that a main starheadlines. See what I did there?
The poorly Photoshopped head creeps up again and again and is easily spotted. Ali Larter suffers for her art here, in her bargain basement flick Confess, where it looks like someone has taken a picture of her from a magazine and then Photoshopped a camera in her hand. It all looks so natural you will hardly notice it (again I am bringing out the sarcasm card!). Low budget movies use this technique, which I can understand to some degree (low budget movies only have so much cash to spend), but some of the real bad offenders are Martians Go Home (Randy Quaid) where a bog standard screen grab has been clumsily put onto a DVD cover, and looks like Randy Quaid is devolving into his own chin.
Both Ryan Reynolds comedies Waiting and Just Friends have awful front covers, with the actors all Photoshopped together into a weird loop that just looks very unnatural. The worst offenders by far is Meet the Parents. This film shows a body that clearly does not belong to the actor, because the head just weirdly bobs on top of it. With Meet the Parents the join between them is utter tripe. Look at Robert de Niro’s face and the weird angle his head is at. Look at the way they have tried to connect the Photoshop head to another body and see how they fail. In low budget comedies I can kind of forgive this but this is a top grossing film with two sequels. Poor show Hollywood, poor show. To get an extra large look at the Meet the Parents cover just click on the image, but watch out as the larger sized photo is terrifing!
This leads us to the last section, the big head phenomena. I believe this started in the ’80s with such classics like Die Hard paving the way. Now the Die Hard covers look great and very cool, but later attempts by action movie producers fall flat on their arse. Seagal loves these kind of covers. In the ’80s, his body at least had the chance to appear on the DVD sleeve. But over time his entire face has decided to eclipse the DVD cover. Movies like Under Siege make his head look like some kind of god creature lording over the ship. Then we have The Patriot where a scraggy looking Seagal floats over a desert. Why does this massive head have to be floating over anything! Who thought that as a good genre device to lure people in? It gets worse with Fire Down Below. Saegal’s face is so big it does not fit on the screen. . This kind of thing looked freaky when they did it for the Jaws 3 VHS cover ( Check out my article on Jaws movie covers here for more information on this) but here it seems like a nightmare version of Zardox. I’m surprised the heads have not started spouting guns out from their mouths (check this link if this has no meaning to you what so ever).
Finally comedies have really embraced this type of advertising. As I mentioned before poor Steve Carell cannot put out an Office DVD with out his huge head covering the entire page. Dan In Real Life shows you exactly what I mean. His head dominates the cover. Yes, I know it is this way because they are funny and people see the covers and see the funny comedian and buy the film. It is just sometimes nice to have a feel of what the movie is about. Cedar Rapids just has Ed Helms massive grinning head on it. I had no idea what the film wasbout on first glance, other than he is probably going to get in some hilarious japes.
But to end this article in style I left the best for last. Ladies and gentlemen for your pleasure let me introduce the craptastic piece of celluloid that is Cop Out. Cop Out is an awful film, everyone knows it and most people knew it before the flick even came out. It is all over the place and none of the humor works. It does not help that Bruce Willis looks like he is half asleep throughout it. So how do you sell this awful movie? Well, go back into your Die Hard advertising book and pull out a doozy. A picture of Bruce Willis face that is so big it blots out the sun. Really, this is the worst DVD cover I have ever seen. Just banging Bruce’s face on it and not even bothering to put on fellow co-star Tracey Morgan is awful. The explosions in the back to try and sex this up and make it look more like an action flick does not go over well either. As you can see this article is just scratching the service and I would love to hear from all of you loyal readers on some of your favourite DVD cover photo bombs. For now this collection is enough to depress even the most die hard DVD collector!
Check out a few more awful examples below!