Movie cliches you hope to never, ever see again

To get us started: I hope I never again, while watching a movie, see a car crash into something, or go over a hillside, and instantly explode in a fireball. It just doesn’t work that way in real life. You’ve seen plently of wrecked cars on the roadside, haven’t you? Some of them really smashed up? How many of them were on fire, or appeared to have been burnt and/or exploded?

Let’s try to think of cliches that haven’t already been covered on the “Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics” website –

An obvious corollary to your own rule Brainglutton is seeing the hero(es) leap out of the way of the “really huge explosion.” You know, as seen in “Charlie’s Angels”, “the Relic” and numerous ‘Aah-nuld’ movies. Big, big mounting fireball in the background - mini explosions abounding, the hero struts (most often in slow motion) toward the screen and leaps for cover just before the big bang. Ugh. Unrealistic, unexciting, always, always overdone.

Another car one:

When a car hits a parked car and flips over.

If I never ever again heard the line, “I don’t know what you’re talking about!” again, I wouldn’t complain.

I never want to see nuclear handgrenades, bottomless magazines, and “Let’s fire pistols with both hands, sideways, because that way I can hit a moving target 50 yards away more easily.”

What are you talking about? I’m unfamiliar with said “cliche”.

Eyewitness who has witnessed a murder or knows who the murderer is.
Said eyewitness calls a Private Investigator, a Reporter, the Police, the DA, etc and says “I can’t talk to you right now” (Usually it’s about 2:00 in the afternoon). “Why not meet me in the most deseted, poorly lit part of town at some convenient hour - oh maybe midnight?”
Eyewitness stands in the middle of a vacant lot at midnight, then from out of nowhere, a car appears travelling about 80 miles per hour, smashes into the witness and then the car vanishes into the darkness. OR the witness is sprayed by gunfire OR the witness is blown up by a blast that would make an A-Bomb feel inferior OR the witness is …

I’m as tired of movie cliches as anyone, but if it’s “real life” you’re looking for, don’t watch movies.

That weird clapping sequence that some movies have. Main character says something to bunch of people, goes over like a lead balloon, and then it happens–some guy in the back starts a slow clap. Gradually all join in until everyone is grinning and clapping–they look like loony toons, I tells ya.

I could do without that.

I could also do without intrusive product plaement–who has that much Pepsi or Coke stashed in full sight in every room in the house?
I got lots of these, but will cede the floor to others.

How about the “they can’t shoot me while I’m doing somersaults but I can’t miss them” thing. Jeez that annoyed me in The Matrix and you can hardly see an action movie without it now.

This was a running gag in Not Another Teen Movie.


After seeing Darth Vader do that in ROTS, it’s offically jumped the shark and thusly should only be used in a tounge-in-cheek manner from here on.

-Fuel barrels that explode when shot by bullets, or lit on fire. Hell, Fuel barrels that explode, period. Fuel doesn’t explode. If it did, nothing would be safe to drive.

-People racking the slides on their guns gratusilously. People, you only need to do this when the gun jams, or when you’re reloading. Doing it over and over may look cool, but to people who know squat about guns, it just shows the gun is actually empty, or the characters are ejecting perfectly good ammo.

-Huge, Clean sewers or air vents. In real life, maintence tunnels are rarely that big and very rarely clean. And they are almost never easy to access.

-Idiot “elite” combat teams who die very quickly when put into real combat.

-Crappy Romantic Dialouge. “Promise me that you will never die” moments in many movies. It’s amazing how often this pops up.

-Amazingly crappy dialouge, period. Whenever something is to be said, the writer should ask himself “Would someone actually say this in real life?”. If no, rewrite it.

allowances can be made for genre but the rule still stands.

The tacked on love story. I think this classifies as a cliche since it’s in around 80% of the movies out there. No matter how unlikely the chances of a main male character and a minor female character have of falling for each other, they do so anyways each and every single damn time. Many times the writers don’t even give the two a reason for going from hating each other with the intesity of a thousand burning suns to dry humping each other at the end of a hour and a half. Why? Does tacking on this damnded element to seemingly every movie actually win more viewers? I’d like to think that there’ll be a day when people get as sick of it as I do, but I doubt it’ll happen. Ignorance is the slipperly rug under art and entertainment’s attempted advancements.

Any vegetable stand/cart = high-speed car magnet.

Anyone under 6 years old = nearly killed, but saved by hero/unlikely hero.

A personal peeve: radios that transmit on all frequencies all the time. The terrorist who hijacked the plane is talking to the pissed off local cop while the FBI, FAA and the terrorist’s buddies all listen in. They can all talk to each other at any time, and can get a phone patch to anyone (usually the hero’s estranged wife) and include them in the conversation as well. This works better if only one guy (usually some poor government sap) has to hold a headset to his ear the entire time in a nod to realism, while everyone else hears the radio call whenever the plot says it’s convienent and can otherwise walk around freely.

The new kid at school can’t get his locker open. Street-wise veteran stops by and hits the locker next to it and it miraculously opens.

What I hate most of this dynamic is that the couple seem to only be able to acknowledge their undying love at the most dangerous time. The bomb timer is ticking, the plane is about to crash, whatever, and the lead couple takes precious time to kiss. Not just a peck, but full fledged foreplay. I have a pretty good idea that, if I were facing imminent death and destruction, the only thing I would be kissing was my ass goodbye.

I’m probably being whooshed here, but I’ll explain it anyway. Whenever a character says, “I don’t know what you’re talking about”, usually in response to questioning from an adversary, what they actually mean is “I know exactly what you’re talking about, but damned if I’m going to tell you!”

For example:

Darth Vader: “Where are the plans that were transmitted to this ship?” (or words to that effect)

Princes Leia: “I don’t know what you’re talking about!”

The line is always delivered defiantly, so that even the adversary should be able to immediately see through the lie.

You see, Leia (or her counterpart in any other movie) could simply say, “Huh?” What?" or “We didn’t receive any transmissions.” or “I didn’t do it, man”. Instead, the response is always the exact words, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

The line is clearly a standard dramatic device that is puposely used to convey to the audience that the person really does know what the other guy’s talking about, but doesn’t want to tell. I just wish they could be more imaginative and find other ways to get the point across.

The corallary to this is the eyewitness who goes off with the murderer to a secluded spot and tells the murderer that he is the eyewitness who knows he’s the murderer. What do these idiots think said murderer is going to do: Surrender to the eyewitness?

More eyewitnesses are killed that way.

Hand grenades with 30-60 second fuses:

"Ah! A grenade!’
“A grenade?”
“Yes! a grenade!”
“Grenades go boom!”
“I know”
“pick up the grenade!”
“I said: pick.up.the.grenade”
“But grenades go boom!”
“Pick it up and throw it back!”
“But…I don’t want to!”
(picks up grenade, throws it perfectly back at the enemy where it explodes .00002 seconds after being noticed, just enough time for a ‘what the’ reaction shot from the director.)
Violators: Die Hard 2, Steel, Spies Like Us. far too many more to list properly.

The strip-club scene. Oh, how I dread it.