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.
4. 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!
8. 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?