Polish Posters for American Movies

Back in May, I pointed to some Belarusian posters for American movies. They were clumsy hand-painted approximations of the American versions. As a refresher, here’s a Belarusian poster for Scooby-Doo:

Belarusian poster for 'Scooby-Doo'.

The retroCRUSH shows a set of Polish posters for American movies, all of which take a completely different approach. Instead of slavishly copying the American promo material, the artists behind these posters ignored it entirely and created high-concept versions that aren’t just better artistically, they also make the movies seem better than they actually are.

Take Superman III (please). In case you don’t remember — and if you don’t, there’s a recap at a site called The Agony Booth — it’s the one with Richard Pryor. It would’ve been the worst of the bunch, but it was saved from this fate by the even more painful Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.

Here are the American and Polish posters for the movie:

U.S. poster for “Superman III” Polish poster for “Superman III”
Left: Original poster for Superman III. Right: Polish poster for the same movie.

There’s a simple rule when creating posters for Hollywood movies: be as literal as possible. For example, Short Circuit 2 features the sentient pacifist military robot known as “Number 5” in fish-out-of-water antics in the big city with his human friends, and the American poster lets you know this before you’ve even a single frame of the movie. The creators of the Polish poster weren’t afraid to go a little more abstract:

U.S. poster for “Short Circuit 2 Polish poster for “Short Circuit 2
Left: Original poster for Short Circuit 2. Right: Polish poster for the same movie.

The American poster for Alien is quite good and far more abstract that most of the American movie posters of the time, but the Polish one does a better job of capturing the movie’s sticky-icky H.R. Giger feel:

U.S. poster for “Alien” Polish poster for “Alien”
Left: Original poster for Alien. Right: Polish poster for the same movie.

In spite of the fact that the plot of Weekend at Bernie’s is pretty much an excuse to come up with about 90 minutes’ worth of corpse desecration gags (the waterskiing scene is my favourite, especially when Bernie starts hitting the channel marker bouys), it’s a light-hearted comedy. You wouldn’t be able to tell that from the Polish poster:

U.S. poster for “Weekend at Bernie’s” Polish poster for “Weekend at Bernie’s”
Left: Original poster for Weekend at Bernie’s. Right: Polish poster for the same movie.

And finally, we get into deep abstract territory with Trading Places, which the Polish artists go hog wild and make it seem to be an art film that is both a searing indictment of the American capitalist system and three lectures’ worth of stuff for a semiotics course:

U.S. poster for “Trading Places” Polish poster for “Trading Places”
Left: Original poster for Trading Places. Right: Polish poster for the same movie.

If you’d like to see more Polish posters for American movies, check out this page, which features a decent collection.

It Happened to Me

Scenes From a Vacation: All Good Things…

Like all things, vacations must come to an end. Here’s my final shot of the trip: the Air Canada Dash 8 that we took from Hartford back to Accordion City:

Air Canada Dash 8 at Bradley Airport.

The Ginger Ninja doesn’t like flying in general and wasn’t all too keen on boarding a propeller-driven plane, but I reassured her that propellers worked out quite well for the first half of the entire history of powered flight.

Besides, the plane looked better put-together and more sturdy than Bradley’s Terminal B.

They’re slower than jet-powered craft, but speed isn’t always everything, if the rather luxurious service offered by Porter Airlines is any indication.

It Happened to Me

Scenes From a Vacation: The Dodge Avenger

Thrifty car rental logo.The Ginger Ninja and I were going to have to travel some distances that weren’t very well served by public transit if they were served at all, so we decided to rent a car. We needed a car that we could pick up at Logan Airport and drop off at Bradley (Hartford’s airport), and Thrifty was offering the best deal.

“I’m hope we don’t get a PT Cruiser,” she said to me at the rental counter.

“Why not?” said the Thrifty rep as he tapped at his computer keyboard. “They’re pretty easy to drive, and you’re probably going to get one since you requested a mid-size car.”

“I kind of wanted a car with a real trunk,” she said. “One where you can’t see all our luggage.”

“Well, you could upgrade to a larger car,” he said, “but that’ll cost more.”

We were going to have the car for a week, so springing a not-so-insignificant amount of money for a trunk seemed a bit much. We stuck with the medium car.

“Hmmm,” said the Thrifty guy. “PT Cruiser.”

He must’ve seen the look of disappointment on Wendy’s face because he did a little mor etyping and said “Wait, I’ve got another car here.”

He handed us the keys and pointed us at this car:

Dodge Avenger

Looking at our rental agreement, we found that the Thrifty guy had exercised his discretionary powers and gave us a free upgrade to a Dodge Avenger. Thank you Thrifty guy, and if any of the Powers That Be at Thrifty stumble across this post, you’ve got a couple of pleased customers here.

The car handled pretty nicely and had some decent power under the hood. Wendy thought it “felt as if its nose was too wide” — meaning that she found ti somewhat difficult to pull into parking spaces, but I didn’t think so.

My only complaint was the car’s colour, a shade that I referred to alternately as “Obnoxio Blue” or “Trying-Too-Hard Purple”. I will admit that it was easy to spot in a crowded parking lot.

The car had a couple of luxury goodies that served us well on the trip from the Boston area to Hartford. One of them was Sirius satellite radio and the other was this:

Dodge Avenger dashboard fridge

I noticed it when we first took the car off the lot and Wendy was doing the driving. I was putting the rental agreement in the glove compartment when I noticed another latch on the dash. Opening it revealed an extra compartment on top of the dash, and inside was a diagram showing its purpose.

“Cool, I’d read about these!” I said. “In-dash fridge!”

It was clearly meant for standard soda cans, but it could accomodate a couple of bottles if you laid them on their sides. It may seem a silly luxury, but if you’ve ever gone on a road trip of at least a couple of hours, it’s actually a nice thing to have. Besides, the auto companies’ market research have shown that cup holders are an important part of the North American driving experience, and a lack of them have proven to be a deal-breaker in a car purchase.

Maybe it’s the way they name cars these days, but “Avenger” seemed silly to us. Through out the week, I ended up singing the song that the Russian guy from Clerks sang, substituting “Berserker” with “Avenger”. In case you don’t remember that scene, here it is (warning: it gets sweary)…

All in all, not a bad car, and a pretty nice deal.

Accordion, Instrument of the Gods It Happened to Me Music

Scenes From a Vacation: Wedding Music Notes

My brother-in-law Andy Ramoniac honoured me by inviting me to join his balalaika group in performing a selection of Russian and Jewish numbers at his wedding reception. Between my terrible music reading — one of these days, I’m going to have to get better at it — and having to read tiny chord markings in a dimly-lit dining room, I decided to scribble out some quick chord charts for the performance:

My notes for music for the balalaika performance


Scenes From a Vacation: Random Television

While flipping through the TV channels, checking the weather before going to Andy and Sue’s wedding rehearsal (I was a groomsman and the Ginger Ninja). I saw this:

Scene from “Jerry Springer” with man in woman’s clothing, sitting in a wheelchair with severed legs.

The show — an episode of good ol’ Jerry Springer titled I’m Happy I Cut Off My Legs — featured a man who really wanted to be woman, and so he sliced off his legs with a circular saw.

I kept thinking “Wrong appendages, dude.”

It Happened to Me

Scenes From a Vacation: Blogger Lunch at Changsho

On our vacation, we had the good fortune of catching up with several bloggers from the Cambridge area thanks to the work of Betsy Devine, who organized a lunch at the Chinese restaurant Changsho. Here’s Betsy with a squishy cow I gave her, taking care of the bill:

Betsy Devine, a squishy cow and the cash for lunch
All Betsy needs is a squishy cow and some cold hard cash.

We were also happy to catch up with Suw Charman, who came over from London to attend the Enterprise 2.0 Conference taking place that week in Boston. Here she is, taking a shot of me:

Suw Charman taking a picture of me
Suw Charman takes a photo of me.

We were joined by a number of locals…

…some of whom are included in this shot:

Lunch crowd at Changsho
From left to right: Marc Abrams, Michael Feldman, Halley Suitt, Betsy Devine.

One minor gripe: while Changsho’s dinner selection is excellent — the Ginger Ninja and I have had many excellent meals there, including our wedding rehearsal dinner — the lunch buffet isn’t up to their evening meal standards. In fact, it’s no better than your typical Chinese all-you-can-eat buffet place. Not there’s anything wrong with those places; it’s just that it’s Changsho’s dinner food sets certain expectations.

However, the point of this get-together was the people. It’s been a good long time since we’ve seen them, so we’re glad that we had the chance to catch up.


Happy 140th Birthday, Canada!

Canadian flag

You may not be the land of my birth, but you’ve been home for over three decades. For the fun, the laughs, the learning, the opportunities and the pretty sweet life I lead, I offer my thanks. Happy birthday, Canada!