Top 10 Movie Cliches

Hollywood and Michael Bay are responsible for the downfall of cinema as we know it. Cliche after cliche and predictable plot device after predictable plot device has led to audiences being dumbed down so much that they think this mind-mashingly, ear-deaffeningly loud trash is ‘good’. It isn’t. I, and you, want cinema that’s good. Cinema that shocks, surprises, and entertains. We want cinema that if not all of those, is at least: original.

But not anymore, it’s not about quality, it’s not about originality, it’s not even about artistic merit, it’s about money, and money, as you well know, corrupts.

Here are 10 cliches which I think represent the same old material used over and over and over and over…and over again…

1) Phew!…Just missed that explosion…

Oh…by chance, they’ve just missed a random explosion by running away from said explosion even though the speed of which highly flammable gas travels at is probably faster than the rate at which your legs can move your body, and also the fact that the heat that the gas would give off would probably cause severe burns to the body, and the sound the explosion would give off would probably deafen the people running away from the explosion, yet they never consider putting their hands to their ears to prevent their ears from going pop. But hey, it’s a film, let’s suspend our disbelief. Above the fucking solar system.

2) Bullet dodging…

Quick, run away from around 100 men all with AK-47s! Phew, thank god we didn’t get shot, even thought there were 100 guns which probably shot thousands of bullets by soldiers who have probably been taught how to aim and shoot a target. It’s as if soldiers can’t kill people…(in movies).

3) Bad guys

Why is it that the bad guys are either english or german? Why is it that the bad guy always has a russian sidekick? Why is that the bad guy will kill one of his henchmen for failing, yet all of his other henchmen are still loyal?

Why is it that when the bad guy captures the good guy, he’ll spend five minutes lecturing the good guy on his plans to destroy everything, (plus: times, dates and addresses), just in time so that another good guy can sneak up behind the bad guy and kill the bad guy without being seen?

Why is it that when the bad guy’s dead, he never is? (Usually involve one or at the very most three resurrections). Oh, and why the hell do all bad guys have white fluffy cats?

4) Quick, we’re being chased. Oh look, a helicopter…

Around 100 black-op style bad guys are chasing you, all with machine guns. Fortunately, there’s a helicopter in front of you, and you’ve been trained in how to use a helicopter…ten years ago. You say to your co-worker (whilst he’s shooting at the bad guys) “I haven’t used one of these things in ages!”

Your friend shouts back some inspirational advice (usually just “c’mon, we’re being shot down here, why don’t you try pressing all the buttons”), and god knows how, but…it works (in movies).

5) The best days of your life…

In scenes involved in a school (or in a school drama), there’s always a new kid at school, there’s always a bully who picks on a the weak kid for dinner money (the bully is usually being very fat). The bell usually rings halfway through a sentence the teacher is saying and there’s always a locker (somehow) big enough for a nerd or a wimp to be shoved into by a bunch of (‘jock’ rugby player) bullies

6) “It’s gonna explode!……..”

Oh no, there’s a bomb with lots of wires going around it, and in a few minutes (usually 2 minutes or five minutes) time, it’ll explode and you’ll die. Fortunately, you have a pair of wire cutters with you…but oh no! which wire do you cut?

“Blue wire…wire…or red wire…or yellow wire…”

Quick think! One minute left…

“It’s the red wire, it’s always the red wire…”

A few seconds of unredeemingly pointless dialogue…

You cut the red wire just in time (and everything’s rainbows and unicorns), yet why is it always just in time? Why does the ‘good guy’ character always stop the massive explosion from occurring a millisecond before the bloody device blows up? Mainly, because the directors trying to grip us at the edge of our seat (and fails), that’s why.

7) Guns never run out of ammunition

A classic cliche of practically every movie – and obviously action/thriller flick – ever made. Guns never ever run out of ammunition. Unless used as some pathetic plot device where the hero faces a dead-end between him and the villain, who so happens to be foreign (of course).

Also of note is the fact that when the villain runs out of bullets, he’ll throw his gun away, but when the hero does, he’ll usually just find another one.

8) All heroes have split up with their girlfriend/ex as some form of a ‘backstory’

Action heroes have usually already divorced their wife as ‘backstory’ (note: later on in the film, they’ll probably get back together with their ex to provide that cheesy ‘feel good’ factor for the film). The fact that this happens is essential as a plot device, usually the ex will be held at gun-point, or purely just so that the hero can try to win her back throughout the entire movie as a ‘filler’. Just watch the greatest action film ever made: Die Hard.

9) “Quick! To the bridge!”

You’re being chased by a bunch of vicious tribe members who’ll probably cook your genitals to form a broth, or just slice you into several pieces as a christmas dinner substitute. What to do? Run across the bridge!

Baring in mind there are two dangers:

1) The bridge is very old, therefore meaning that one of the wooden slats will fall down (with you on them) into the bottomless pit

2) The tribesleader will bring out his trusty sword and hack away at the rope (preferably as slow as possible) so that the bridge collapses with you on it.

See Indiana Jones for further details…everything else has copied off it (not the eyeball soup though).

10) Women…

Hollywood loves to be sexist, and as a result portrays all female characters as either: vulnerable, thick, or purely there to ‘look at’.

Or all of these. 

When a woman enters the vicinity of a room the villain is, she will always scream. When terrified, women will shove their fists in their mouths. Women always have perfectly shaved legs and armpits, even in caveman movies. Women will always end up slapping somebody round the face. Pregnant women’s water will break in the most unfortunate of circumstances (like in a lift when there are a bunch of evil zombies outside…as you do). In a slasher flick, the ‘dumb blonde’ character will always die. The ‘strong woman’ character will usually be a middle-aged mother, bitchy and masculine.

Yay. Aren’t films sexist?

Now that’s a note to end on!…

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2 thoughts on “Top 10 Movie Cliches

  1. Pingback: Write About Real Life Instead of Movie Cliches « FilmVerse

  2. Pingback: Write About Real Life Instead of Movie Cliches | Screenwritersdaily.com

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