The worst movie cliches — you’ve seen and heard hundreds of them during your time going to the movies, and you’re likely to encounter hundreds more. For all the creativity that comes out of Hollywood, there is also quite a bit of laziness when it comes to storytelling. Often times, we blame bad writing, and that may be true, but don’t think for a moment the screenwriter is the guy to blame.
As you know, filmmaking is a collaborative process, and so the final draft that a writer turns in may not necessarily be the one that the director shoots and the movie studio signs off on. So as you read through these 10 worst movie cliches, keep in mind that it’s hard to place blame with any degree of accuracy.
All we see is the finished product, and so it’s easy to tell when something sucks. But it’s a little more difficult pinpointing who is responsible for the sucking in the first place. In other words, there is plenty of condemnation to go around for everyone.
At the end of this list of worst movie cliches, we encourage you guys to sound off with your own picks. Now, let’s get started!
1. ‘You Just Don’t Get It, Do You?’
The video below, compiled by Filmdrunk, runs just north of eight minutes in length, but you’ll get the point after the first 60 seconds. The line, “You just don’t get it, do you?” has been used so much since the dawn of cinema that you could probably compile a feature length piece comprised of nothing but various characters saying it. Let’s not, though. Eight (minutes) is enough.
2. Horror Movies, Period
If you’ve happened across any of my previous work — I know, probably not many of you — you know I’m a huge fan of horror movies. Even so, they are some of the worst offenders when it comes to recycling the same cliches over and over again. False scare setups punctuated by loud cats jumping out at the victim, fumbling with keys during the climactic chase scene, a car that won’t start, the killer always catching up to the sprinting victim (in spite of walking everywhere he goes). There are a million more, but we think it best to let NonRandomNonSense show you exactly what we’re talking about:
3. Tripping For Comedic Effect
Slapstick comedy is a tradition that has been around for longer than Hollywood itself. And while its effectiveness is still very much in the hands of the person pulling it off, there are certain cliches that (by now) should be permanently retired. A big one for us: the main character tripping for comedic effect. Romantic comedies are very bad about this one, and for some reason, have given this one to the ladies more often than not, as seen in this piece from Nerve.com.
4. Explosion Behind Me — What’s Your Point?
When putting this together, what immediately became apparent is just how many movies and TV shows — et tu, Breaking Bad? — that actually use this cliche and get away with it. The ultimate sign of cool in an action movie or gritty crime thriller is the hero (or villain), who can walk away from a massive explosion at a leisurely pace without even blinking at the loud eruption going on behind him. It’s a stupid and lazy cliche that has worn out its welcome, even though, as you’re about to see from this compilation, it doesn’t necessarily mean the entire movie or show is crap just because it uses it.
5. ‘There Are Two Kinds Of People In This World’
If there are only two kinds of people in this world, then why are there 2,000 movies in this 2:43 YouTube video from honsco that define the two types of people differently?
6. Bullet Time
The Matrix is the movie that started the horrible bullet time special effect, which slows down time to show you the bullet traveling at a character. It’s our belief this entry on our list of worst movie cliches ushered in the death of the action movie. While it was an interesting concept at first, after it was either copied or parodied a million times by other movies, it officially became one of the stupidest looking FX of all time. Gotta admit to liking the first Matrix, but when you go back and see this today, it does NOT hold up.
7. Pointless CGI When Real FX/Actors Would Be More Effective
Chase scenes, characters, and in the case of the Star Wars prequels, whole settings have been the victims of bad CGI creation over the years. Most recently, the final 45 minutes of Man of Steel ruined what was otherwise an interesting take on the Superman character through one bad use of it after another. WatchMojo.com has an even more in-depth look of what we’re talking about here:
8. Shaky Cam Overuse
Cloverfield and other found footage horror films are notorious for outstaying their welcome with the use of the shaky cam. Action movie fight scenes are also over the top with it. It’s as if the filmmakers are too lazy to create real suspense or choreography, so they decide confusing the audience with some vertigo-inducing camera work is the best way to go. On the video below, if you haven’t seen Cloverfield but want to, don’t watch it. Spoiler-heavy.
9. Villains Who Talk Too Much
James Bond, we’re looking at you.
10. ‘You Look Like S**t!’
Usually, this one is used in some way to denote the main character has been through it. It could be said by a villain, a hero, a confidante. But it shouldn’t be said at all, because as you can see, it’s been used way too much already. Video is NSFW (in case you have a boss, who’s never heard the “S” word before).
Which of these worst movie cliches bother you the most?
[Image via Static.Videomaker.com]