Image provided courtesy of Mike Thomas of Encyclopedia of British Dance Bands.
If you want a smile or two, look at this site, which lists twenty-five movie clichés we have all seen a million times. The one about eye-closing really irritates me. In the spirit of imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, I offer the following examples of more movie clichés we see all the time – screenplay writers must be a very unimaginative lot.
1. The overweight, middle-aged cop in jacket and tie who is able to outrun a slim teenager in jeans and tee-shirt, even giving him a twenty-yard head start, and is also able to overpower and restrain him after catching him.
2. In chick flicks, the inevitable cool, funny, yet unpopular best friend who is also a Goth, a lesbian, or both (invariably far above the fray till betrayed by friend trying to be popular).
3. The cop whose wife/girlfriend doesn't understand the demands of his job and either sulks constantly or leaves him during the critical point in an investigation.
4. Rewinding a tape recorder or VCR always produces a high pitched squeaking, as of voices played very fast (which just doesn’t happen with real machines). What’s more, whoever is doing the rewinding is always able to rewind to the exact spot they want, at the first attempt, with no trial and error.
5. Whenever the villain leaves a time bomb, anything from an atom bomb to a cluster of sticks of dynamite, the hero always manages to defuse the bomb with 3 seconds to go. The bomb usually has convenient digital timer on the outside to tell the hero how long is left.
6. Alternatively, if it is a small bomb, the hero is able to pick it up and run to the nearest lake or river and hurl it in, half a second before it explodes.
7. The simplified movie procedure for giving CPR, i.e. breathe once into the victim’s mouth, press two or three times on his chest, and mutter something encouraging like “Come on!” The victim will then cough twice and sit up, as good as new. For a touch of gritty realism, the victim may drool very slightly after coughing.
8. The team of absolute no-hopers in a sporting event wins the key game after coming from behind. The lamest player of all scores the key goal/basket/touchdown/home run with 2 seconds to go, often in slow motion.
9. Soldiers on guard duty at night who say how much they are looking forward to going home on leave in a couple of days are guaranteed to be garroted or knifed in the back within two minutes.
10. With the same inevitability, anyone who agrees to testify against Mr. Big because the police have guaranteed their safety and given them round-the-clock protection, will definitely be shot, stabbed or blown up before the movie ends.
11. The fight between a young girl and her parents just before she stomps out the door into the path of a serial killer.
12. Walking alone through restless city streets to moody alternative music to point up a failed relationship
13. Mad killers are always able to stage elaborate ritual murders in midst of city without attracting attention
14. The driver of a car who, in rush hour in the city, can glance into his rear view mirror for half a second and announce “We’re being followed.”
15. The hero involved in a life or death fight with the villain while his girlfriend/wife stands on sidelines looking worried.
16. Anyone (usually the hero) who gives 100% assurances that he will finish what he has to do in plenty of time to attend his wife’s poetry reading, speech to civic group, kid’s school play etc will arrive just as it is ending. Kid in tears, wife in a sulk – no excuses accepted. Also, no wedding plans ever run smoothly. Either the bride or groom will arrive at the very last moment after a long series of mishaps, usually when the priest is looking at his watch and complaining that he has another wedding at three o’clock and a funeral at four.
17. Finally, the one that irritates me most of all. That line that hardly anyone uses in real life but scriptwriters, with a stunning lack of imagination, put into the mouths of their characters over and over: “Let’s get outta here!”
This list isn't exhaustive. I'm sure some of you have your own suggestions.