Julia Roberts, Gary Coleman and a Monkey: Inside an Epic Collection of Forgotten Movie Posters


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By Michael Colton

Michael Colton writes for film (Penguins of Madagascar) and television (Childrens Hospital). He is also the owner and curator of the only $5 Movie Poster Collection in the known universe, which decorates his office in Los Angeles. (Click images to expand.)

On The Right Track, The Hazing

Orca, Broad Street

Walk into any producer’s office in L.A., and you’re likely to see a framed French lithograph of Casablanca, or the original one-sheet for The Godfather. Yawn.

Come to my office and you’re greeted with a beat-up poster for Robby Benson’s Die Laughing.

Die Laughing

I have not seen this film, nor have I ever met anyone who’s seen this film. Or even anyone who’s heard of this film. Or anyone who can explain why there’s a monkey. But that’s what you get for five dollars.

The Prize Fighter

I started collecting posters years ago when I lived in Washington, D.C., and a local movie theater went out of business. They gave away a bunch of posters from their storeroom, and I was drawn to the ones from the ’70s and ’80s, for movies with big stars and directors which are completely forgotten now.

Lucky Lady

I found more posters at flea markets, then discovered the troves on eBay and other sites. To stave off bankruptcy, I set myself an arbitrary cap of five dollars. Fortunately, that suits the kind of ignored movies that I like (i.e., posters that no one else wants). Like 1977’s The Chicken Chronicles, which carries the historic text, “introducing Steven Guttenberg.”

The Chicken Chronicles

Some of these I have a soft spot for because I actually saw them in the theater.

Blue City, Gotcha

Quicksilver, Vice VErsa

The only thing I remember about Earthbound is that my parents fucking hated it.



This one I like because a young, pre-Pretty Woman Julia Roberts is in the photo, but she’s not named in the credits block. (For Liam Neeson it’s the other way around.) Also, Justine Bateman is gruesomely airbrushed.

Satisfaction closeup

This one, Playing For Keeps, is perhaps my favorite poster.

Playing for Keeps

Why? Oh, I don’t know…

Playing for Keeps closeup

Sometimes I organize the posters by genre. For instance, “Unlikely Creatures Playing Sports.”

MVP, Gus, Blue Skies Again

And a “Science Fiction” section: Krull (alien invaders), Spacehunter (hostile planet), Moment by Moment (Lily Tomlin and John Travolta are attracted to each other).

Krull, Spacehunter, Moment By Moment


This one appears to be a Cannonball Run knockoff starring Stockard Channing’s breasts.

Safari 3000

And according to the poster, it was made in 1932.

Safari 3000 closeup

Can I interest you in a western with Diane Lane and Amanda Plummer?

Cattle Annie and Little Britches

A scathing satire of our health-care industry starring the Fat Boys and Ralph Bellamy?


A wacky Boy Scout comedy starring Louie Anderson, John Goodman and Richards Lewis and Belzer?

The Wrong Guys

Dyan Cannon’s sexy legs wrapped around a future murderer?

Coast to Coast

It’s too bad they never made the sequel, “ROTH.”


Phoebe Cates. Panties. Cross-dressing. A perfect poster.

Private School

I fell asleep halfway through reading this one.

Four Friends

Two different titles. One inspirational journey.

Forever Young Forever Free, Lollipop

My introduction to Andy Kaufman.


Of all my posters, Albert Brooks’ breakthrough film is the only one that’s a genuinely great movie. Don’t know how I got this one so cheap.

Real Life

I keep buying these posters because there’s something comforting about them. Knowing that so many movies are utterly forgotten keeps me from getting too precious about my own writing. After all, nobody’s perfect.

Nobody's Perfekt

All photos courtesy of Michael Colton.

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Documentary Now! Robert Evans Mansion

The Reel Deal

Everything You Need To Know About “Mr. Runner Up” Inspiration Robert Evans

Watch the two-part finale of Documentary Now! this Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

In its upcoming two-part finale, Documentary Now! spoofs the crown jewel of docs: The Kid Stays In The Picture. It’s the autobiographical documentary about Robert Evans, the unlikely Hollywood mogul whose mix of self-aggrandizing bravado, classic good looks and extremely circumstantial good luck took him from being a salesman to an actor to the head of Paramount Pictures.

If you’ve never seen the film, it’s totally worth it. Rotten Tomatoes agrees, with a staggeringly-high approval rating. Watch it before, or watch it after — doesn’t matter. You’ll appreciate it whenever.

In the meantime, here’s a bit of background that will come in handy…

Robert Loves Robert

Robert Evans desk

USA Films/Everett Collection

Robert Evans is the ultimate Robert Evans fan. The movie was narrated by Robert Evans and based on his memoir of the same name. It is totally unbiased.

He’s Kind Of A Big Deal

Robert Evans, Chinatown
Paramount Pictures

Evans produced some of Hollywood’s true classics: Chinatown, Rosemary’s Baby, The Godfather, Love Story…the list goes on. Totally legit and amazing movies.

He’s Also Kind Of A Joke

Wag The Dog
New Line Cinema

Evans has been parodied in TV shows and movies like Entourage and Wag The Dog. He is the quintessential “producer” you already have in your head.

So Wrong He’s Right

Robert Evans Slap
20th Century Film Corp

Robert Evans is a notorious narcissist whose love of self is so blind and sincere that it’s actually adorable.

There’s Something Missing

via Giphy

Entire sections of Robert Evans’ life are left out of the documentary. Maybe it’s because of timing. Maybe it’s because real life isn’t a tidy narrative. Who knows.

He Blew It

Spider coke

Evans had a pretty spectacular fall from grace. He was convicted of cocaine trafficking in the early 80’s, and was connected to a contract killing during the production of The Cotton Club. Oops.

Losing Is For Losers

Everett Collection
Everett Collection

In the Robert Evans mythology, all tragedies are just triumphs in disguise, and every story has a happy ending…for Robert Evans.

Bill Hader Jerry Wallach

With these simple facts in hand you are now prepared to thoroughly enjoy the two-part finale of Documentary Now! starting this Wednesday at 10/9c on IFC.

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Weird Roles

Anthony Michael Hall’s Most Rotten Movies

Catch Anthony Michael Hall in Weird Science on Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Universal/Everett Collection

Anthony Michael Hall was the quintessential ’80s nerd. We love him in classics like The Breakfast Club and National Lampoon’s Vacation. But even the brainiest among us has his weak spots. In honor of Weird Science airing this Rotten Friday, we analyze Hall’s worst movies.

Weird Science (1985) 56%

A low point for John Hughes, Weird Science is way too wacky for its own good. Anthony Michael Hall’s Gary and his pal Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) create the “perfect woman.” Supernatural chaos ensues. The film costars a young Bill Paxton, floppy disks, and a general disconnect from all reality.

The Caveman’s Valentine (2001) 46%

This ambitious drama starring Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t live up to its rich premise. Jackson plays Romulus, a Juilliard-educated, paranoid schizophrenic who lives in a cave. Hall co-stars as Bob, a rich man, who wants to see Romulus play the piano. The plot centers around Romulus investigating a murder, but with so much going on, the movie never quite finds its rhythm.

All About the Benjamins (2002) 30%

Ice Cube plays a bounty hunter who teams up with Mike Epps’ con man to catch diamond thieves. Hall plays Lil J, a small-time drug dealer. It’s definitely a role we’ve never seen Hall in, but overall the movie isn’t funny or original enough to justify its violence.

Freddy Got Fingered (2001) 11%

This showcase for Tom Green’s goofy gross-out comedy is often hailed as one of the worst films of all time. Green plays Gord, a 20-something slacker, who dreams of having his own animated series. Hall is Dave Davidson, a CEO of an animation studio who eventually helps Gord find success. Too bad Tom Green wasn’t so lucky.

Johnny Be Good (1988) 0%

Hall plays against type as Johnny Walker, a star quarterback. Robert Downey Jr. is his best friend and Uma Thurman plays his devoted girlfriend. Despite the support of a future A-list cast, the movie lacks central conflict and charm. Or, as TV Guide put it, “Johnny be worthless.” Ouch.

Catch the “Too Rotten to Miss” Weird Science this Friday at 8P on IFC.

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Season 6: Episode 1: Pickathon

Binge Fest

Portlandia Season 6 Now Available On DVD

The perfect addition to your locally-sourced, artisanal DVD collection.

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End of summer got you feeling like:

Portlandia Toni Screaming GIF

Ease into fall with Portlandia‘s sixth season. Relive the latest exploits of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein’s cast of characters, including Doug and Claire’s poignant breakup, Lance’s foray into intellectual society, and the terrifying rampage of a tsukemen Noodle Monster! Plus, guest stars The Flaming Lips, Glenn Danzig, Louis C.K., Kevin Corrigan, Zoë Kravitz, and more stop by to experience what Portlandia is all about.

Pick up a copy of the DVD today, or watch full episodes and series extras now on IFC.com and the IFC app.

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