Roger Ebert has an old book out about Hollywood Cliches and i’ve seen posts about stereotype scenes in movies.
I want to know what movies or scenes from movies you’ve seen that break these cliches.
Ones that come to mind are the old Indiana Jones one where it looks like he’s about to enter a hand-to-hand fight with the big guy with the machetes, and he cut’s it short by shooting him.
Or more recently in the trailer for Hollywood Homocide where Josh Harnett jumps onto the awning of a street cart. In the movie cliches an awning always breaks the heros fall. Josh hits the awning and flips over sideways crashing into the cart.
When “To Live and Die in LA” came out, I thought it was kinda neat to see the “hero” and main character get blasted with a shotgun, unexpectadly half-way into the flick. Kinda threw a twist into the story.
Fagjunk Theology: Not just for sodomite propagandists anymore.
I respect any film that can have an unhappy, or unsatisfying ending. I hate happy endings. Life isn’t like that - lots of times things don’t end well all tied up neatly. Films that have the guts to be sad or even depressing stand out, and I give them points just for having the guts to not appease with fluff.
gatopescado, you really should have used a spoiler box for that.
But yeah, totally surprising “bad” endings, esp. where the hero dies unexpectedly, are my forte’. For instance, in The Grifters:
[spoiler]When Angelica Huston and John Cusack are arguing over who gets the money, all seems to be calming down (and getting steamy hot, in an Oedipal way!) when suddenly, while Cusack takes a sip of water, Huston grabs the money case and smacks him with it…shoving a broken shard of glass into Cusack’s jugular vein which causes him to slowly bleed to death. Huston cries (but packs up the blood-stained money anyway), drives away in her car, and…fade to black. The end.
A lot of people in the audience booed. I fucking CHEERED! What a great ending!![/spoiler]
I suspect we’ve all seen “Psycho,” but I’ll use spoiler tags anyway:
As “Psycho” begins, it plays as if it’s going to be a movie about Janet Leigh stealing the money from her boss and trying to get away to be with her married lover (recall the terrifying scene when she’s stopped at the light and sees her boss crossing the street in front of her, echoed in “Pulp Fiction”). Then she stops in a storm, meets a mostly friendly but a little bit weird hotelkeeper, and then OH MY GOD HE’S KILLING HER IN THE SHOWER! The film switched stories amd killed the main character in mid-film, completely throwing audiences for a loop.
That otherwise forgettable movie about the killer genetically enhances sharks – Deep Blue Sea. Samuel Jackson is the biggest star in the movie. When the sharks start attacking and kill a bunch of people, he takes over. He gathers everyone together next to the dive pool and begins to give them a big speech about how they’re going to make it. And then
a big ass shark jumps out of the water and eats him
I was totally shocked, but I appreciated the fact that they surprised me.
I think Memento is a great film in many ways, but two in particular apply to this thread:
It’s a given that the hero of most films will end up having a romance and/or sleeping with the female lead. Christopher Nolan gives us what we expect there, and then changes it all around with a later (ie, chronologically preceding) scene in which Natalie insults Lenny, taunts him about his wife, gloats over how she’s going to manipulate him, and tops it off by saying that he’ll be unable to remember anything, and maybe they’ll even sleep together later on. Puts such a completely different slant on the earlier scenes between them.
The hero always gets revenge, right? Well, once again, the cliche is used but completely twisted. Lenny has already gotten revenge, and it was completely hollow because a) he couldn’t remember it and b) the guy raped but didn’t actually murder Lenny’s wife; Lenny himself is the one responsible for her death.
I just watched Miracle Mile last night, so it’s fresh in my memory. It starts out as a nice, seemingly-happy movie about nice Anthony Edwards meeting nice Mare Winningham at a museum, and their subsequent relationship. About 20 minutes in, however…
Edwards picks up a ringing phone in a phone booth, and and story takes a 90-degree right turn. It turns into a real-time race-for-your-life thriller, with some really good character development. A very nice surprise.
Also, in the first Scream pretty much everyone I know who saw it early on was surprised when…
Drew Barrymore, easily the biggest “name” actor in the movie, gets brutally slaughtered in the first ten minutes.
That certainly changed my expectations of the movie pretty quickly.
Unforgiven. It uses all the standard methods of the modern anti-hero film to convince you that you’re going to see a story of a fallen man redeemed by love and honor (“I ain’t like that any more”), whereas you’re actually seeing the very bleak tale of a damned, unredeemable man. Hence the title. But you’ll still find lots of people who insist Clint’s the hero in this one …
Star Wars: Ep 4. Princess Leia is supposed to be the damsel in distress. She picks up a laser rifle and starts blasting away. She makes a great remark to Chewy, a creature nearly twice her size, “Will someone get this walking carpet outta my way!”
Jurassic Park. A sterotypical weasel coward lawyer runs away from a car with kids to save his own life. A giant man-eating dinosaur finds him cowering on a camode. The rules say that no explicit harm will come to anyone. They usually cut away, show the shadow of the “evil” deed then blood splurting. The movie shows the lawyer get bitten with the lawyer’s whole upper body in the T-rex’s mouth, lifted up then fully swallowed. I thought that was gruesome and COOL!!
Now it’s super cliched, but in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off when Ferris actually talks to the audience and acknowledges the fourth wall was pretty fun :D.
Groucho Marx did it in “Animal Crackers” in 1930 and I doubt it was new then. Oliver Hardy would break the 4th wall by looking at the audience in the silent days.
In talkies, at least, it might’ve been slightly new. In Groucho and Me, he says studio suits told him he “couldn’t” break character and talk to the audience. Likewise, they told him to lose the greasepaint moustache. Doesn’t mean he was the first to do it, of course - but on film, he was probably among them.
Executive Decision accomplished what I’ve been dreaming about since 1988.
Saving Private Ryan for being gory and showing what war is really like.
I think what Fight Club did with Tyler Durdan was incredibly cool, original, and surpising to boot. The real stroke of genius here is that every character in the movie knows the truth about Tyler Durdan except the nameless Edward Norton character and the audience. We find out when he (ed norton character) does and the whole movie comes into question. Was that him? etc. Amazingly well done. If you haven’t seen this, you probably should. If you have only once, see it again with the full knowledge. It’s almost a totally different movie being “in the know”.
The beginning of Airplane!, where the central character addresses the camera saying, “What a pisser!”
After I was done falling out of my theater seat with laughter, I knew this would be the finest American comedy work since the Marx Brothers. Sadly, not so for the sequel.
Usual Suspects and Sixth Sense for reason I doubt if I need to explain. Picnic at Hanging Rock and 2001 for reasons the movies do NOT explain.
I was pleasantly surprised while watching The Mask when
the timid librarian, not the hot oversexed blonde, turned out to be a baddie
In so many action and horror movies, there’s the whiny, annoying and “cute” (at least accordign to the casting director) little kid. Frequently, he’s what provokes the action/horror sequences by wandering off, touching something he’s been told not to touch, or otherwise being a disobedient little brat, usually multiple times. No matter what, however, the little bastard is absolutely, 100% immune from being harmed by the bad guys or suffering any consequences from the chaos he’s caused. The worst that ever happens is a 1-second scolding from mommy before he goes off and does it again.
In Jet Li’s Bodyguard from Beijing, the annoying kid, by wandering off when he’s been told not to or going places he’s been told not to go, sparks off at least three major gunfights that result in the deaths of dozens of people.
[spoiler]In the big finale, the brat once again ignores Li when he tell him to stay down and out of the line of fire, and the bad guys shoot the little fucker! BWAAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!!
Granted, he pulls through, but still.[/spoiler]