Monday 8 April 2013

Even More Movie and TV Clichés

It's snowing occasional flakes that only ever happen in films just before he comes back to her. And they realise they've run out of budget.

I think it is only fair to assume someone who begins by saying "Greetings..." is a Martian.
(Mat Ranson ‏/@matr77)

Why are fictional basements so dirty and mysterious? Can't they clean? Can't they tidy up?

That thing in drama when a woman's angry with a bloke, but he hugs her; she thumps him a bit, then collapses into his arms.
(Lee Jackson/‏@VictorianLondon )

I've worked out what US audiences want from Brit films: posh people, funny posh people, funny old posh people, posh people in frocks. There.

Seems to me that past = utopian, present = dystopian, future = apocalypse is the cultural norm in most film/TV currently being discussed. (Suzanne Hardy/@glittrgirl)

How to be a politician on telly: Walk rapidly down corridors flanked by a male aide and a female aide who are saying things like “I’ve checked with the Justice Minister”. Always be in a hurry. If an aide, always be cross.

‏The morning after a battle where the good guys are hugely outnumbered, but win, a small weedy enemy is found in a circle of good guys who are taunting him and slapping him as he runs from side to side trying to get out. Meanwhile two older good guys walk slowly among piles of bodies looking grim and wounded men are carried off the battlefield. They turn over a dead body and find it is a character who yesterday was keen to fight his first battle. They continue until they find Mordred, run through by an ancient elvish blade, with a faint smile on his face.

How to expose a fake priest: quote Thoreau and attribute it to Thomas Aquinas. (Murder She Wrote “You attacked reason – it’s bad theology.” Father Brown)

Sue Perkins'... terrible sitcom, Heading Out (BBC2) was nosing toward disaster, but could have pulled back from the brink until the arrival this week of protagonist Sara's French ex-girlfriend. Some of her exes are walking cliches, and some are exercises in surrealism, and the unlucky ones are both, but at least the only one some schmuck has to bring alive is the French one, who is angry for no reason, stays for no reason and shouts for no reason, unless "we want to remake 'Allo 'Allo with lesbians" is the underlying reason, in which case, I will grudgingly remove my hat. The jokes are stale, the punchlines are awkwardly delivered, as if the actors are deservedly ashamed, the tropes are two decades old (a therapist with made-up qualifications and a drum? Why stop there? Where's the critical mother who wants to be a grandmother, what about a nice lady vicar who likes a drink, we could use a spoilt Sloane Ranger here, if anyone's got a moment, SOMEONE CALL FRENCH AND SAUNDERS. Ask them if they've got any ideas left over from 1987). ( Zoe Williams, Guardian 2013)

If there's a clock with life-sized automata wielding axes or spears... you can fill in the rest.

Films of the 40s and 50s often feature a lodging house furnished in the 1900s with a landlady living in the basement surrounded by Victoriana. (London Belongs to Me, Seven Days to Noon)

If Hollywood has taught me anything, it's that working for a multinational corporation (or investigating one as a journalist) carries the risk you'll uncover damning information revealing a vast criminal conspiracy, which will lead to your attempted murder (if you're the main character) or your successful murder (if you're the main character's source/best friend/avuncular mentor). (Writer-in to

If you're Bette Davis, instead of telling your husband your terrible secret, you pack a suitcase for him while making arch, brittle conversation. (The Letter, Dark Victory)

Mini e-book here.

More clichés here, and links to others.

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