As usual, films (and writing about films) got my mind to wandering…again. I’d pointed out many of the film fight clichés, but there are so many other kinds of clichés in films. Some of these I find amusing, some slightly annoying, and frankly, some just piss me off.
So without further ado, here are some clichés we’ve all seen in countless films, but that I would like to see disappear…forever…or at least until they become the “forgotten clichés” and can be used again without being a cliché. (Got you thinking on that one, didn’t I?)
In no particular order:
1. Walking Away From an Explosion Without Flinching
There are two problems with this film cliché. The primary problem is that, no matter who you are, some of these ginormous explosions ARE going to make you flinch, if not out-and-out crap your pants. When most people have a bang the size of a small nuke go off behind them, they tend to drop to the ground, curl into a fetal position, and start crying for momma. The other problem is, of course, there would be about 50 different shades of authorities immediately converging on the spot. But our hero takes his time getting away from the destruction. In fact, if he’d have brought a picnic lunch, he’d probably pause to scarf that down as well.
So….gotta call bullshit on that cliché.
2. Bullets, bullets everywhere and not a one can hit.
There is a caveat to this one, which I’ll hit (pun intended) in just a minute, but think of how many movies you’ve seen where bullets are quite literally filling the air…but not one of them hits the hero. Okay, the hero might get a slight flesh wound, but just enough to show what a badass he is in taking pain.
The caveat to this one is, although the hero sometimes also struggles to hit a barn wall from the inside himself, he is able to carry off that one critical shot that will knock the microscopic detonator off a gnat’s ass at 400 yards with a .45 caliber pistol and save the day.
Another ‘bullshit’ called in either shooting case.
3. Specific body part shots.
Okay, this is similar to the last one with the main difference being that the hero can shoot a bad guy in just about any part of the body the hero chooses. This includes arms, legs, ears, toes, fingers, and in primarily older films, hands. Tons of guns shot out of bad guys’ hands back in the day.
As anyone with even the slightest amount of shooting training knows, you aim center mass and continue to shoot until the threat is neutralized. Then you walk over and shoot them a couple more times just for good measure.
So, as in #2….bullshit.
And they friggin’ nail it.
The take after each other as though their trying to suck the little dangly thing at the back of the throat out (what the hell is that thing called anyway?). They’re so passionate it almost looks like they’re eating watermelon instead of kissing.
Does that happen in real life? Well, maybe for you (show-off), but for most people, no way. There’s hesitation, there’s uncertainty, there’s sometimes even halitosis. She moves to her left, he moves to his right and they do that face dance trying to get aligned.
And there are the thousands of thoughts and questions flying through each person’s head: “Tongue or no tongue? Hey, I didn’t notice that nose hair he has sticking out. What if she turns her head at the last second and this ends up being a kiss on the cheek? God, please don’t let this be a kiss on the cheek…etc.”
All this awkwardness goes on with just about every first kiss. Except mine. In the 9th grade I was pinned against a wall by a girl who (I later found out) people referred to as “Snake Tongue Sally.” But that’s a story for another blog posting.
Once again, bullshit called on movie cliché #4.
5. What the hell happened to the airbags?!?
Hugely exciting chase scene (action directors continue to try top Gene Hackman’s chase scene in “The French Connection”). Cars are flying around 100 mph. They ram each other in the rear (phrasing), sides, front, top…you name it. Finally, there’s a really cool spin that throws off one driver or the other and they crash into (fill in the blank here).
And not a single, solitary, government mandated airbag goes off in any of the cars. How the hell is that possible? If a modern car did just a small portion of what movie cars did the interior would explode engulfing the occupants in an instant marshmallow.
How the hell did these movie cars even make it out into the public domain without a safety recall of some kind?
Ummm, need I say? Bullshit.
6. Women are weak and need a man’s protection…or love…or superior action skills…or his cool car…or…whatever.
If you go by what the movies put out there, women wear high heels, usually something tight and/or skimpy in way of a top, and are completely helpless.
Hey guys, here’s a good tidbit of information to hang onto: at some point in your life you will have a woman completely, totally, inescapably, undeniably…kick your ass. You won’t even know what hit you. You’ll be sitting in a puddle of your own testosterone wondering, “What the hell just happened? And how can I put a spin on it that, if it won’t make me look good, will at least not have me go bankrupt in regards to man-points?”
Trust me. Physically, mentally, or emotionally if it hasn’t happened yet, it will. Remember to wear your helmet and athletic cup.
So, huge cry of bullshit on that one.
This cliché is so over-the-top dramatic that it’s laughable. And just about every movie director is guilty. Even fucking George Lucas pulled this shit…more than once…and with Darth Vader (give me just a second here, my stomach is churning a bit). George Lucas - brilliant filmmaker, crappy writer. Just sayin’.
Think of it…many of us have experienced huge catastrophes in our lives…but when it hits have you ever, in your life, dropped to your knees, clinched your fists together and looked up and yelled, “Nooooooooooooooooo!!!!!”?
If you did….wow, let loose of your dramatic tendencies, will ya? It’s cheesy and well, frankly, embarrassing for everyone else around. Suck it up and go find an empty room somewhere where you can curl into a fetal position and cry into the carpet like the rest of us.
And so there you have it. My small list of movie cliché pet peeves. Obviously, this list isn’t all inclusive, so if you have a movie cliché that just makes you want to throw your soda at the screen, please feel free to share in the comments section. And if it’s better than one of mine, I might just drop to the floor, clinch my fists, look up, and yell, “Nooooooooo!”