Batman. Ghostbusters. Goodfellas. Spider-Man. Rocky III. When you hear the titles of these movies, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Blockbuster movies, right? WRONG! The correct answer is: paintings! That’s right, some fancy-schmancy artwork! Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit, but these flicks all feature portraits that movie geeks have wanted to own for themselves…in some cases for decades. Some are hard to spot, some are hard to miss, and some are just downright hard to believe that someone in the film’s art department took the time to create them! Get yourself a glass of wine and some expensive cheese, and appreciate yourself some fine art!1. Rocky III Closing Credits PaintingRocky III (1982) – Director: Sylvester Stallone“DING! DING!” The ending of Rocky III is a very cool moment in the franchise, when Apollo Creed finally gets a rematch with Rocky Balboa…in an empty gym. The music builds, the athletes each move in for a punch, and then BAM! FREEZE! The still of Rocky and Apollo landing punches on each other fades into an extremely colorful Leroy Neiman painting. The painting not only represents that exact moment in time, but it’s a beautiful piece of work, whether you like the movie or not.Neiman’s painting is so marvelous and wanted by so many fans of the artist and of the film, that although no reproductions have ever been officially released, you can find posters of it online for sale. Some overseas art studios even reproduce it as an oil painting for people to order! Neiman also created another Rocky painting, this one of just Rocky wearing the title belt, which can be seen hanging on the back wall in Rocky’s restaurant Adrian’s in the movie Rocky Balboa.Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for all news updates related to the world of geek. And Google+, if that’s your thing!
5. Norman OsbornSpider-Man 3 (2007) – Director: Sam Raimi Willem Dafoe is a menacing looking man. I think we can all agree on that. Even his smiles are creepy. He always looks like he can turn on you at the drop of a hat. His role as Norman Osborn/Green Goblin in Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man series was great casting for all of these reasons. Even though Norman died in the first film, Dafoe cameoed in the second and third films to remind Harry to avenge him. Harry worshipped his father, and what better way to remember your disturbing looking hero than to have a painting of him sitting in his favorite chair on your wall to remind you, not only of the bond that you shared, but that you need to seek revenge for his death.And that damned painting, whether you keep in mind that it is supposed to be Norman Osborn or just Willem Dafoe sitting there is unnerving and glorious. Movie geeks love Willem Dafoe from the Spider-Man films, from his idiosyncratic role as Special Agent Paul Smecker in the Boondock Saints flicks, or even some of the more offbeat parts he’s taken on in his career. Whatever role of his that you love, just look at that painting and tell me you wouldn’t want that macabre picture displayed in your house. If I could get a copy of it, I would put it in a classy frame with one of those overhead lights shining on it and hang it in my living room like it was a beloved relative. I would even tell people it’s of someone in my family who we adored that passed away to freak the hell out of them. 4. The Fisherman Painting.Goodfellas (1990) – Director: Martin ScorseseWhile having a bite to eat at Tommy’s (Joe Pesci’s) mother’s house after the brutal beating of Billy Batts (Frank Vincent), Tommy’s mother shows Tommy, Henry (Ray Liotta), and Jimmy (Robert DeNiro) a painting she made. Tommy says, “I like this one. One dog goes one way, and the other dog goes the other way…And this guy’s sayin’ ‘Whaddaya want from me?’”Now, I don’t need to convince you about what a cool piece of Goodfellas memorabilia this is. You probably know all of the dialogue from that scene by heart. Some little tidbits about that scene: first, Tommy’s mother was played by director Martin Scorsese’s mother, Catherine; second, that scene was entirely ad-libbed; and third, the painting was based on a photograph from the November 1978 issue of National Geographic, and painted by the mother of Nicholas Pileggi, who wrote Wise Guy (the book that Goodfellas was based on). You probably haven’t ever thought to look for a copy of this online. Well, just like many of the other entries in our list, if you look around you can find a poster reproduction of it. Don’t forget to get a blue wooden frame for authenticity.
3. “Joker Was Here”Batman (1989) – Director: Tim Burton Even before we were graced with Christopher Nolan’s Bat-Universe, people hated on Tim Burton’s Batman for plenty of reasons: the casting of Michael Keaton and/or Jack Nicholson, the style outweighing the substance, or just the fact that a guy named Sam Hamm worked on the screenplay. Whatever your feelings, you’ve gotta admit that having Jack Nicholson as The Joker was pretty funny…whether you think it’s actually funny or for the craziness of it. Regardless, what we’re talking about here is Joker defacing the artwork in the museum. He arrives with his gang and has his henchman (Laurence!) holding a boom box blasting neo-funk (you know you remember it was Prince’s song “Partyman”) while Joker and crew add their own touches to famous pieces of art on displayed.Out of all of them, the one that made it to our list was the one Joker himself tags with “Joker Was Here.” I couldn’t find any information on the original, so I asked DoG contributor and art connoisseur extraordinaire Gerri Mann about the painting and she said, “That’s Edward Hopper’s Approaching a City. Hopper is most famous for painting Nighthawks which has been spoofed by literally everybody. The train piece is owned by The Phillips Collection in Washington DC. Funny, Nighthawks is owned by the Art Institute of Chicago, where you can see a few of the other paintings the Joker defaces in that scene, including the Rembrandt. It’s pretty funny that what the Joker graffitied on the tunnel wall of the painting made it more realistic if you think about it. When have you ever seen train tracks that clean?”Now who wouldn’t want to have hanging in their home a reproduction of a famous piece like this with Nicholson’s “Joker Was Here” on it? Your in-laws wouldn’t get the reference but might think you were classy. 2. Vigo the CarpathianGhostbusters 2 (1989) – Director: Ivan ReitmanAfter having a knock-down, drag-out against the likes of Gozer the Gozarian, Zuul the Gatekeeper, and Vinz Clortho the Keymaster, the team next has to tangle with…a possessed painting. You follow up a classic like Ghostbusters with mood slime, an animated Statue of Liberty, and one ugly man in a painting? You know what? Who even really cares about that stuff anymore? I’m not here to review Ghostbusters 2, I’m here to talk about that damn painting! It’s still creepy…and it would be pretty cool to have hanging on your wall. Admit it!Forget the plot, forget the dancing toaster, and forget the name of the actor that played Vigo (but you SHOULD know that it was Wilhelm von Homburg with the legendary Max Von Sydow doing the voiceover for him). How could any Ghostbusters fan not want to have a 7-foot painting (or some sort of reproduction) of “The Scourge of Carpathia” on their wall? Any father would love to show Ghostbusters 2 to their son and tell them that Vigo will get them if they misbehave, and then hang a copy of this in their room to always remind them of that. Well, maybe that’s just me talking, but this piece of Ghostbusters history is another item that is so wanted by fans that you can find poster copies of it online. And I was kidding about hanging it in my son’s room. But now that I think about it…Oh, and another treat for you. This is what the Vigo painting turned into after his defeat. Because…why not, right?