Ten movie cliches I can’t stand

Posted: April 12, 2013 in Movies
Tags: , ,

Just about every movie or TV show is filled with some sort of cliche. And, you know, it’s not always a bad thing. One or two movie cliches seems to be the norm per flick, and sometimes you just have to put them in there to get from point A to point B, or to show what you need to show in terms of character development.

But, most of the time, they’re just annoying.

Hence, my list of ten movie cliches that I can’t stand (in no particular order):

1. When a character rips his shirt open. This only works when you’re the Hulk. Other times, it’s just an obvious ploy to get the main character shirtless. Most of the time I don’t complain. But usually it’s just unnecessary.

2. When a character looks up and yells, “Noooooo!” Look, if my best friend died in my arms, I probably wouldn’t even be able to speak. There’d be tears and snot and general disgustingness. I wouldn’t look up and yell at the heavens, shaking my fist at the universe. This also wouldn’t cause me to get up and seek revenge. I’d probably spend the next six months confined to my bed wondering if I would ever function normally again.

3. Super obvious product placement. You know the kind I’m referring to. It’s when the camera lingers just a moment longer on a bag or a piece of technology and you can clearly see the logo. Now, I totally get why product placement is necessary – especially for low budget TV shows. But, come on. There are better ways to do it than the main character not-so-subtly holding out the iPhone for everyone to see a text message that they could’ve read out loud for more dramatic effect. Get creative, people.

Buffy is Awesome4. When a character just has to get in that one-liner right before they kill someone. This drives me bonkers. I’m sorry, but no. You’re not going to hesitate before you shoot the guy that murdered your entire family just to say something witty. You’re going to put a bullet in his brain and be done with it. With that being said, the only time I’ve ever actually enjoyed this was on Buffy. It works on this show because it’s actually part of Buffy’s personality, and the dialogue often pointed it out and made fun of it. That sort of self-awareness makes it okay in my eyes. Plus, Joss Whedon.

5. When someone has to crack their knuckles before they get into a fight or begin torturing someone. What? Is this supposed to make them look tough? Like, all of a sudden it makes them more badass? Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way. And it always makes me look at the bad guy as the dumb brute hired to be the muscle. You’ll notice the people with brains don’t usually do this.

6. Insta-love. And, in addition to this, trusting someone the minute you meet them. It’s hard to pull off an on-screen relationship that runs at the right pace. On the one hand, one of the major focuses of the story is probably the romance between the two main characters. You don’t want to drag it out too long because your audience wants to get to the good stuff. However, making two strangers fall in love at first sight is super unrealistic. And it’s been done before. A million times. In the past five years. Literally. It’s hard to find balance, but I usually like to err on the side of slow-burn rather than insta-love.

7. When someone is dying, they have enough time to say something witty or heart-wrenching, but not enough time to tell you highly important secret information. I mean, come on. My first objective if I was riddled with bullets would be to tell you who shot me, not to apologize for whatever I did that got me into that situation in the first place. Screw forgiveness. I’m dead. I don’t need it anyway. Avenge me!

Jawbreaker Poster8. The “ugly girl” is never ugly. Like, seriously. I enjoy makeover movies like Jawbreaker and Mean Girls, but those girls are not awkward and ugly. And a little bit of makeup always transforms them into super models. Obviously nothing much can be done when you’re working with beautiful or high-profile actresses, but a little bit of normalcy would go a long way with the plebs (ie. me).

9. Saying “I love you” brings the main character back to life. They’re dead. They’ve flatlined. You’ve given up hope. Banging on his chest and shaking him back to consciousness hasn’t worked. As a single tear falls from your eye and onto his face, you whisper, “I love you.” That final admission, that thing you had been holding inside this entire time, has seeped out. His eyes flutter, he coughs, and says he love you too. …………Yeah, right.

10. Good guys rarely get shot…no matter how many times they’re shot at. Okay, really? You’re an FBI agent in a firefight with members of a notorious gang, all armed with semi-automatic weapons. You’re dodging bullet. You’re rolling on the ground. You’re jumping from one place to the other. And you never get shot. Yet, you manage to take them all out one at a time. Life is just not that clean. It’s actually one of the reasons why I respect Firefly so much. Those guys get shot and cut and beat up all the time. And the doctor has to fix up their wounds. It’s realistic. Plus, you know. Joss Whedon.

What are some movie cliches that really bug you? Any that you’ve seen pulled off well, like those witty one-liners in Buffy?

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Comments
  1. I’d have to add just about anything that is standard on a soap opera. like the meaningful glance away before glancing back and responding with some important info or the csi miami sunglasses removal for the same effect. *gag*. and i totally agree with, you know, joss whedon.

  2. ddog13 says:

    Loved this post. I agree with each and every one of these. The last one especially ruins a lot of films. If the protagonist is a bullet-resistant machine, why feel concerned for him? Why root for him? He’s not in any danger, there’s no conflict, so the story falls flat.

    • Karen Rought says:

      Exaaaactly. I mean, we have to suspend our disbelief a little bit. It wouldn’t be as entertaining if it was totally realistic, but I hate when they’re running away from the bad guys, bullets are flying, and they just seem totally invincible. Either that or it makes you think the bad guy is just a really, really poor shot.

  3. Those cliches remind me of every Arnie movie ever made in the 1980s….deliberately sent up by the very same Mr Schwarzenegger in ‘The Last Action Hero’, where I didn’t stop laughing.

    Have to say I never could figure the one where the Bad Guys blast away with automatic weapons without hitting the Good Guy, who shoots back randomly with an un-aimed revolver shot and drops the Bad Guy at some ridiculous range. Only movies I ever saw where the shooting was anything like realistically handled were ‘Unforgiven’ and ‘Flags of Our Fathers’, both of them by Clint Eastwood.

    Don’t get me started on stupid product placement! 🙂

  4. Julie Glover says:

    Love this, Karen! How true! Another one is when someone says the equivalent of: “Someone is in the house trying to kill us. I think I’ll go down into the dark basement with a low-battery flashlight.” Or something like that.

    And one more: Who fights crime in stiletto heels?

    • Karen Rought says:

      Hahahaha. That is SO true. Or when they all decide to split up to get help? Um, no.

      While stilleto crime fighting is totally unrealistic, it actually doesn’t bother me. It looks awesome! (We can do whatever a guy can do AND look fashionable while doing it.)

  5. PoppyLyghtfoot says:

    Oh my gosh I totally agree with all these!! Another one is that all the ‘guards’ in almost every film ever made are completely rubbish at guarding things!
    (Just to say you are the first person I’ve followed, your blog looks really cool, and you like Starkid!!!:D)

    • Karen Rought says:

      Yes! Or whenever the bad guys attack one at a time instead of all at once? I should have totally added that to the list. That drives me bonkers!

      Wow, thanks! That’s such an honor. And, yes! StarKid! Love them!!!!!

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