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Added by Larri on 17 Apr 2012 01:35
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Clichés that belong to garbage

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Interrupted kiss

-"Okay, let's see. Eeny meeny miny...mo. Congratulations, you get to be the cockblocker who interrupts the kiss between our main characters!"

You all know this one. The main characters are already rather predictably attracted to each other and just when they're about to kiss for the first time, and only millimeters separate their lips, someone comes into the room! OH NO! We can't possibly consummate this sexual tension!
I know this is like a classic way of heating up the relationship between the romantic pair, especially when they're not "supposed to" end up together, but it's so overused that it simply makes me think, "get it over with."

Examples: every frigging movie in existence.
But just to name some,
- La La Land (this is the reason it ALMOST won Best Picture, if you ask me)
- Gilmore Girls ("Let the Games Begin")
Larri's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 4041 Average listal rating (2578 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 6.4
It was all a dream / someone's imagination

What a thin-ass cop-out to get you out of a tough situation. "Ooh boy, the main character's in a tough spot now! But how's he gonna get out of it? Wait a minute... it was all a dream! An amazingly, not to mention unrealistically, logical dream where everything seems to fall into place like things do in dreams!"
Not only is it a piece of weak writing, but in the case of Click, it also weakens the message that it's trying to get across.

Related cliché: If you're gonna go through the trouble of filming a one-hour dream, at least make it realistic in a way that it's not logical. But no, you can't have that, because it's supposed to be a surprise that it's a dream. You MUST be able to run in dreams. You can't possibly go from one place to a totally random one in a blink of an eye. I don't know about you but that's what my dreams are like.
That's what they're like...

Remotely related: Not that annoying, but a cliché nonetheless that never seems to die even though it'd be so easy to correct: dramatically sitting up after waking up from a nightmare. I saw the realistic way of waking up (you know, by opening your eyes) some time ago in a film, but I can't remember what it was. Other than that, have you ever seen that happen?
Larri's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 2829 Average listal rating (1775 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.8
The Misunderstanding

A romantic comedy cliché number one. No wait, it was the interrupted kiss. Anyway, the misunderstanding is a way to separate the main couple usually right before the third act so they would think their actions over and change. But what's the point when it's a misunderstanding? I don't know, it seems more like a means to stall running-time.

Another cliché that often goes with misunderstanding is when the main character hides their identity and the revelation causes a short break-up. Causes a break-up... Well, no shit.
However I must admit that I still like 'Roman Holiday'. Probably because they simply ignored the parts about misunderstanding and breakíng up.
(Thanks for the suggestion, MariaJJ!)
Larri's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 367 Average listal rating (229 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 7.2
James Rebhorn character

Who's James Rebhorn? He's not a good guy but not a bad guy either. He's barely even a bully. The only thing he is is THE DICKWAD who always disapproves of the main character's actions or ideas.

"UGHH, you can't do that! That's highly unorthodox!"

He has absolutely no other purpose than to be an uptight drop of testicle sweat.
Often, this character is associated with a certain profession. If there's, for example, a district attorney or a university dean you can bet he's a James Rebhorn character.

Why the name James Rebhorn? Well, don't tell me you haven't seen this guy in action!

Yeah, that's the one. Look at him! How much do you wanna bet that he's whining about someone not having the authority to do something. In Independence Day, in Lorenzo's Oil, in Scent of a Woman, in Blank Check... it's always the same. In My Cousin Vinny at least he looked like he was going for a tongue-in-cheek performance. I'm sure he's a nice guy in real life, but Jesus. You've been horribly type-casted for decades.

Note: in addition to James Rebhorn, there are other similar "rent-an-actors" for this part, like John C. McGinley, but at least he seems to ham it up enough to make it entertaining.

To illustrate the advantage that TV has over films that the industry puts out I should mention Aaron Sorkin's short-lived "Studio 60 on Sunset Strip" for how the show averted this stereotype in Steven Weber's compelling portrayal of Jack Rudolph. The authority in a suit, the tight-ass in power, the man on his high horse - which ever suits you - simply had the benefit of not being narrowed down to a ten minute scene of him objecting the hero, but actually be fleshed out. The show let us see not only his jackass persona, but his caring side (albeit, it slips through the cracks only with great effort), his smarts and his hardened exterior that can only come from years of experience. Even in his "James Rebhorn mode" he's an undeniably charismatic figure in all his confidence.
Plus, he sounds exactly like Christian Bale.

You can see this in:
Larri's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 673 Average listal rating (477 ratings) 5.6 IMDB Rating 5.7
James Rebhorn character punched in the face

The apex of red-neck behavior. Act by the main character, when for a moment, he becomes even more cringe-worthy than James Rebhorn.
Usually, at the end of the film, The James Rebhorn comes to settle his differences with the hero. Hero's like "Yeah, sure" but then SYKE! Punch in the face. What a class act.

I just don't think it's needed at that point anymore.
Was your climax with the actual bad guy so lame that you'll have to resort to fighting it out with James Rebhorn? You wanna humiliate James Rebhorn? Do something that's even remotely creative! Tell an offensive joke. Do a lighthearted prank. Don't go punching people in the dick.

I think it's Ok for the hero to get the bad guys even if it takes violence but these guys aren't baddies. They're colleagues or other kinds of outsiders. They are DICKS, yes, but that's it. They are only dicks.
I think we all know a certain James Rebhorn in our lives who, for some reason, doesn't like us, which is why this scene should make us feel good and extinguish our murderous needs. But no, at that point it's only overkilling it.

Yeah, I don't believe in retaliation even when bullies are involved, but I have no problem with Stallone slaying dozens of axe murderers.

I'm a hypocrite.

But that's action movie logic for you. You can see this at its worst in Rocky V. The George Duke is like "Touch me and I'll sue." Rocky uppercuts the bastard, he takes a ridiculous flight, and Rocky says: "Sue me for what?"
Wouldn't it have been funny if he actually sued and Rocky was sent to prison only to be freed by the start of Rocky Balboa? THAT I wouldn't have seen coming.

You can see this in:
and many other movies.
Larri's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom
Crush shot in slo-mo

This is a passable thing for its minor role that it plays in the bigger picture, yet one that doesn't seem to go away no matter what. It's the shorthand of introducing a love interest by shooting them in slow-motion for a few seconds, often accentuated with a soft pop-song on the soundtrack. I get that it's meant to simulate the subjective view of the character; how someone you're in love with pretty much warps the fabric of time and makes the corner of the universe play music but can we finally come up with a new way of indicating romantic interest? On top of that, most of the time it only suggests superficial interest.

You know how my new favorite movie, Roxanne (1987), movie riddled with clichés, did it? Steve Martin only saw obviously stunning Daryl Hannah's face (because she was naked and hiding in underbrush, of course), Hannah addressed her problem to a professional she needed help from, no music on the soundtrack and no zooms or slow-motion shots to tell us Martin just fell in love with Hannah at first sight. Instead - and here's the crazy part - they actually had a conversation to show they have common interests and personalities that match. I suppose it's inconceivable for two people to fall for each other based on mutual chemistry.

Larri's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 810 Average listal rating (527 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.3
Greeting someone who didn't greet you

This is a teen-flick regular, which apparently bleeds over elsewhere. This is when the crush of the main character says "hi" to the main character and they say "hi" back only to notice they greeted someone else.
I believe the aim's to illustrate how insignificant a character can start the movie off that someone will just look through them like they aren't even physically there. It's an effective way to garner sympathy for the protagonist, but also a reminder of how out of ideas a Hollywood screenwriter can possibly be.

Larri's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 5354 Average listal rating (3541 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.8
Avatar (2009)
Threatening figure behind you

I don't mind Avatar's over-recycled story. It's a story worth telling.
But Avatar took these cartoon clichés to a whole new level. Probably the big one was the scene, where a big monster was behind Sam Worthington and the other guys were suddenly terrified but Worthington thought it was him that was so threatening and he's like "YEAH! Go back to your mommy, bitch" (which, per se, is embarrassing enough) and then, UH-OH! What's that thing behind you? What a goofy misunderstanding straight out of a Saturday morning Disney-cartoon! I cringed in the theater.
Larri's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 5122 Average listal rating (3353 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 8
Way too familiar pop-culture references

When I started watching movies, intertextual references were fun to spot. After you see a film or two, it becomes way too easy and gimmicky.
Probably some of the most exploited references stem from Star Wars, like some kind of variation on "May the Force be with you" or "I'm your father", and Hannibal Lecter's antics from Silence of the Lambs to name a few. Also, it seems that a lot of these otherwise fine animated films of the past few years seem to drop in these references to pass as something for adults. Yeah, good luck with references a 13-year-old would yawn at.

I'm not against pop-culture references, but I would once like to spot a really obscure reference. A nod to "Revenge of the Ninja" or "Oily Maniac." Hell, even references to Predator I haven't seen too often, because it seems that to Hollywood Terminator and Conan are the only movies Arnold Schwarzenegger's ever done.

It's particularly painful when a movie like Paul starts out absolutely fine, but ends with a 20-minute string of lines and twists stolen from Spielberg films. How can we have new material to talk about and quote in the future if all we do is recycle old ones?

This ain't just a matter of movies and TV either. I read "Batman: Long Halloween" some time ago and it was downright swimming in Godfather references from characters and lines to imagery. Somehow they managed to cram in Léon references also. It didn't even make any sense anymore.

Abusers of said cliché:
- Zootopia
- Shrek
- Kevin Smith
Larri's rating:
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Big speech and applauses

Okay, again, this doesn't bug me that much seeing it's such a victorious moment. This is the specialty of many courtroom dramas. Only in some movies, especially Scent of a Woman, I can't even understand what the point of the speech is. If you screw that up, it's gonna feel like there's a speech just for the heck of it. Also, considering what a powerhouse actor Al Pacino is, I can't help but feel the situation is heavily exploited. Like, "Oh shit, we gotta have a speech but we got nothing! Well, Al's a pretty good performer. He'll make it work."
We also see this in a lot of soppy Robin Williams movies. I'm sure Nostalgia Critic's familiar with that.

(P.S. I'm sure Scent of a Woman has a point, I just never figured out what it was. Flamethrowers, liar liar... I guess it makes sense.)
Larri's rating:
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Back from the dead

This is a trick used in countless horror movies to get the final jump scare. Or in the case of actioners and thrillers, there's no real scares but some kind of misunderstanding that makes us think there's no threat anymore. Phew.
What gives it away in most cases? Well, the bad guy is supposedly dead, but there's still 15 minutes left! You think they're just gonna spend the rest of the time eating ice cream? No, they always come back.

Not all cases are necessarily bad though. In some action films it works (Die Hard, Lethal Weapon), and when it happened in the original Friday the 13th, I was genuinely shocked. But when the remake tried to make the best of it, I don't think it took anyone by surprise.
Larri's rating:
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Confession postponed

To be fair, this is more of a daytime soap-opera trait than a movie one, albeit it seems even a master like Scorsese can't avoid such a thing.
So what is "confession postponed?" It's whenever a character is about to confess something important - be it "I love you" or "There's someone else" - the recipient of that confession always seems to have something more important at hand.

- "There's something I gotta tell ya..."
- "What is it -- Oh, the phone rings! Hold that thought until next year, would you please!"

Sometimes the other one has something "more important" to announce that postpones the first announcement. Usually something cruelly ironic. Only it's been used so many times it only becomes cruelly repulsive.

Very much related to this is the cliche when someone needs to explain a thing or two, but the other one refuses to listen. It's not like you can't just use your mouth and capability of speaking, forming words, to forcefully get it out there, because I guess you have to follow some bullshit code of conduct. "She doesn't want to listen to me even though it could straighten everything out, so I must respect her will."
Larri's rating:
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Comic side character

Let's make one thing clear: I'm NOT talking about the main character as the comedic half cos that's what some of the best buddy cop films are made of.
I'm talking about the Jar Jars everywhere. Those unfunny little shits that seem to tag along everywhere the main characters go. Their importance to the plot is minuscule, but somebody obviously thought they were hilarious so there's a good enough reason for their existence.

But you know who I honestly loathe even more than Jar Jar?

NOOGIE from Miami Vice.

Fuck this son of a bitch. You know the character who we are not supposed to like, initially, but who we, in the end, find somehow irresistibly charming and funny. Done right it's like Joe Pesci in Lethal Weapon. Noogie is not that kind of character. He's always putting on a show, he's loud as fuck, he raps, he's all around unintentionally awkward to watch and somehow he even gets the lady at the end - this can't be something that happens on Earth!
Shortly put, he's ungodly annoying.

Small wonder why Michael Mann didn't include him in the movie adaptation.
Larri's rating:
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Being shot... NOT!

I remember seeing a bit of this anonymous TV show back in the day where a guy showed up in another guy's front yard pointing a gun at him. It was a suspenseful moment: "How's he gonna get out of this??"


Shots were fired but how on Earth was the main guy still standing? Well, there was a third person involved that we never saw until now who came in to rescue the main guy.
I thought that was so cool back then, but it was only because I hadn't seen any movies or TV anyway.

Also in:
Larri's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 8575 Average listal rating (5386 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.9
Overused songs

I don't hate 'Bad Reputation' by Joan Jett (or The Dollyrots, if you prefer that version) but I happened to see Kick-Ass, Easy A and Shrek all within six months and every one of those films played this song. I barely got excited over it the first time, so by the third time I couldn't even pretend.

Also, is it me or is Shrek - as fun as it is - basically the dumpyard of familiar songs? Maybe even too familiar...

One for the road: this is a tie between this and way too familiar pop culture references as it's a way too predictable song choice: I swore to myself I would give Kung Fu Panda only 1 star if it played "Kung Fu Fighting" at any point. Just for the sin of being predictable. And it did.
Fortunately, it was too good a movie to give only 1 star.
Larri's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom
People who added this item 2791 Average listal rating (1833 ratings) 5 IMDB Rating 5.3
The Deathblow Fakeout

You all know this: hero has the bad guy on his back, ready to put them out for good, but no - this is when the good guy very intentionally strikes right next to bad guy leaving them alive, because he has moral boundaries. For he's not a criminal! Only a murderer. And only faceless pawns and small-time thugs deserve the sweet embrace of death.
Larri's rating:
Watched Wanted Custom

There's more clichés in movies than you can possibly even count, so I'm not looking for making a list of ALL of them, just the ones I find irritating. Suggestions are welcome, I forget a lot of good bad ones, but again, I'm not making a book or anything.

Also, the comments are for satirical purposes. Comedic exaggeration. Mostly.

Be sure to check out my favorite clichés as well:
Vive la Cliché!

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