The 50 Most Annoying movie cliches: Part One


The Extra-large Air Vent: 

If the hero is locked in a room by the bad guys, there is a usually a huge air vent in the wall, big enough to crawl through. And better still, the front grill is not screwed into the wall. It can easily be removed with no tools.

Binoculars Views:

When we see point-of-view shot through binoculars in films, we will invariably see that double-O shape, although if you’ve ever looked through real binoculars, you won’t see that.

The Lethal Cough: 

Coughing in a film indicates a terminal disease. (Unless the character has just come out of a burning building.) No one coughs in a film because they have a cold. (Sneezing means “I have a cold” in film. Coughing is more ominous.)

No Smoke Where There’s Fire:

The inside of a burning building will always have lots of flames but no black smoke. There might be a little white smoke, but not enough to obstruct anyone’s vision, so the hero can easily see who he needs to rescue. There’s also no need for those breathing apparatus that real fireman carry.

Look at the cool Bomb Timer:

Hidden bombs set to explode will always have a visual display, counting down the seconds until detonation. I guess it’s for the convenience of any curious passer-by who might stumble upon it accidentally. Also, bombs are apparently built with multi-colored wires, so the hero can be told to “Cut the red wire, not the green wire” when he is defusing the explosive.

Cabs and Trains-No Waiting:

The hero will never have any trouble catching a cab when he needs it. He steps out of the building and a cab is passing, just waiting for his hail. Similarly, if a good guy is chased onto a train station by killers, he/she will just barely make it onto a departing train, and the bad guy will arrive moments too late, glaring furiously as the train departs with his intended victim aboard.

Pedestrian Safety First in Car Chases:

No innocent pedestrian is ever run over during a wild movie car chase. Shopping carts are sure to be mowed down, as are fruit stands, but no people ever get hit. Even other drivers who are caught up in the action are able to skillfully spin into an emergency stop without hitting anything.

Don’t forget the French Bread:

Whenever we see a character coming back from the supermarket with a bag of groceries, there is invariably a loaf of French bread sticking out of the top of the bag.

The Straight-Ahead Escape Method:

People being chased by a car which is intent on running them down will always run straight down the middle of the street. No ducking in doorways or hiding behind telephone poles. Just sprint down the center of the road. And don’t worry—the car won’t catch up with you.

Car Boom:

Cars will always explode after falling off a cliff. Sometimes even before they hit the ground.

First Time is not the Charm in Cars: 

Cars never start on the first try in an escape. If the bad guy or the monster is coming for you, you’ll have to try three or four times to start the engine before it’ll finally cooperate.

One Size Fits All:

If the hero needs to steal clothes from someone to disguise himself, the clothes he takes will always fit him perfectly. (If only clothing stores were so convenient.)

The First Day on the Job Never Goes Well:

If a character says it’s his/her first day on the job, you know trouble is coming. Disaster is afoot! Similarly, the person who has one day till retirement is probably not going to make it

Thunder/lighting Synchronicity: 

Thunder and lightning always strike at exactly the same moment in films. They must rehearse before the storm.

Get the Umbrella Ready: 

When it rains it pours. It never drizzles, sprinkles or mists in films. Every rain is a heavy rain. And it’s always sudden—one minute it’s clear and then the skies open.

Wait Your Turn to Kill Me: 

In Martial arts fights where the hero is vastly outnumbered, the bad guys will obligingly only attack one-at-a-time, giving the hero the chance to beat them all in turn. Who says there’s no honor among thieves?

Money is no Object: 

The main characters in films (unless it’s a sad tragedy like about poor people, like Precious) always live in opulent surroundings, no matter what their job. The guy who works in a shoe store will have an apartment or house far beyond his means.

Fooled Ya:

Horror films are full of fake scares. For instance, the heroine, alone in the house, will investigate a creepy noise. After a long, suspenseful build-up, we’ll learn it was just the cat. Another example: If the camera is closing in menacing behind the heroine, while spooky music plays, and we see a hand reach out toward her—don’t worry; it’s just the best friend or the boyfriend.

Look, there’s the Eiffel Tower Again:

If a movie takes place in Paris, practically every window will have a view of the Eiffel Tower. Even windows on opposite sides of the room.

Written in Neon: 

If a hero is meant to be living in a cheap, seedy hotel, you can be sure there will be a large, flashing neon sign outside the window, flashing the name of the place.

No Concussions Allowed:

Characters in movies are constantly being knocked unconscious by someone coming up behind them and giving them a good ‘Konk’ on the head. Yet there is never any lasting damage. You’d think a blow powerful enough to knock someone out would lead to a concussion or a cracked skull, but it never does. Talk about thick skulls!

Wounds? Ha! 

Bullets wounds won’t hurt the hero much. A hero will frequently take a bullet (Always in the arm or shoulder) but continue his heroic ways for the rest of the movie, unencumbered by trivial details like gunshot wounds. In Eraser, our hero gets a spike through his hand early on, but it doesn’t inconvenience him at all. He never mentions it again. In fact, when we see his hand later in the film, there isn’t even a mark on it.

No One’s As Smart as a Fifth Grader:

Super-smart kids are everywhere in films. Kids are always much smarter than the adults. They can hack into computer networks, build rockets and know all the rules for killing monsters. Kids are always the first ones to realize there is a monster or alien around. Young children can drive cars without even taking a lesson. There’s nothing a film kid can’t do, except deal with the school bully.

Wake up the Dead:

If a character dies in a film, and conventional methods to resussetate her/him don’t work, you can always revive your dead friend by yelling at them. Say something like, “Live, damn it, live! You’ve never given up on anything before! Breath, damn it!” It always seems to work. For couples, declarations of love can be substituted for the above passage.

They All do It:

If you see an Asian character in a film, you can be sure the he or she is a Martial arts expert. It doesn’t matter if they’re a book keeper or a shop keeper. If someone messes with them, the feet will be flying. Even the kids (Think Short Round in The Temple of Doom) will start kicking butt if the need arises. Do they teach it in kindergarten over there?

Sit ups:

If a character is awaking from a nightmare, he/she will suddenly pop up and sit upright on the bed, sweating and breathing heavily.

End of part one…To be continued