Monday, 29 October 2012

A Lot More Movie Cliches

Vicar unwittingly drops acid and sees answer to everything. (Rev)

Charismatic therapist cures stammer (it's an update of the old Hollywood psychoanalyst saying "Remember - you want to remember!").

How to be Kooky
If you are an American girl, smile crookedly and look up through your long brunette fringe (bangs). If you weren’t kooky you’d have blonde hair and no fringe like everybody else. And you’d have a boyfriend so you wouldn’t have to look rueful.

Address other characters as “dear sister” so that viewers can work out relationships.

Don’t move, gentlemen! Yes, I have the test-tube of deadly virus you’ve all been looking for! This one!!!! Oh, oooops!!!!
All: [aghast]
Jessica Fletcher: Fortunately I switched it for the dummy!
All: Ha ha ha ha ha!

70s Films
Someone would go mad in a scene lasting about half an hour and shot in one take in which they shambled, mumbled, shouted, tore their clothes off and threw plates down the hall.

30s Musicals
Composer hands singer tatty piece of manuscript paper – here’s something I’ve been working on – see what you make of it – she takes it, starts reading, composer joins in at piano, she puts down paper and sings entire song (sometimes orchestra joins in).

What to Say About...
Your new version of a brilliant 70s sitcom: The old version was terribly slow, we’ve upped the pace and brought it into the 21st century. (We've replaced observation with leaden slapstick and meaningless gurning.)

Films based on comic books: It's really dark, it really redefines the genre, not like those old comic books that were lighthearted and jokey and all about fights between superheroes and monsters (same template as Dickens, Jane Austen). And of course they are comic book heroes for our times. (This is recycled publicity guff. The reviewer has never read a comic book.)

Your new film in an overlong-running franchise: this Batman/Bond has the darkness, edginess and grit of the original.

Never Watch
Anything that claims to be darker and edgier than something else. Ditto visceral - It just means a lot of fake bodily fluids and wetness and squelchiness and people going "blargh!".

A film labelled “comedy remake” or “romantic comedy”.

London Parks
Spymasters meet in St James’s Park (handy for the Foreign Office). Russian handlers meet agents in Regent’s Park. Employees of the Circus have private chats on Primrose Hill. Foreign agents are shot on Hampstead Heath.

Middle Class Handbook commenters on upmarket drama
The funny thing about this kind of drama is that most of them are held up as modern classics at the time, and then forgotten 10 years later. Who watches Chariots of Fire now? Jean De Florette? Chocolat? A Passage To India? No wonder - half of them only get acclaimed because reviewers get overexcited at the sight of a pale woman in a floral dress fingering the edge of a tea cup while she waits for a shy man to tell her he loves her.

You're on the money with The English Patient. It has it all; tremulous English middle-class manners, a vaguely hostile/alien foreign country, war, unrelenting intense misery and excessive length. 

Caitlin Moran
When he’s rejected Everett does what all scripts of a certain genre insist: self-loathingly scrub at himself in a bath. One of the things I anticipate most eagerly about our society becoming increasingly atheist is that, in the future, there will be fewer scenes where lapsed Catholics scrub themselves in a bath. Caitlin Moran Times Oct 7 12

A friend writes
To imply sexual attraction in a 19th century novel, TV adapters now have to have them entering water. There was a stupid scene in Great Expectations when Estella rolled up her stockings and paddled in a river, followed by Pip. See also Colin Firth diving into a lake fully clothed.

Scientist has glasses, bad hair and is first seen in a lecture room manically scrawling a huge equation at least three lines deep on a huge blackboard. Equation is full of = signs as well as more obscure and intimidating symbols so audience will think, oo er e's clever in 'e? He wears EITHER a shabby tweed jacket with patches on the elbows OR a white coat. If the latter, he will later become corrupted by the search for knowledge and will create a monster, destroy a government, blow up a planet etc etc etc. If the former, he may well be saved at the last minute by the love of a GURL.

Or else the hero interviews the scientist in an empty lecture room and the scientist turns out to be rather sweet and helpful and call his laboratory rats Bruno etc.

10 nerd character types we love:
1. The Robot who wants to be human
2. The crazed scientist that no one believes
3. The Accidental Bringer of the Apocalypse
4. The Group of Social Rejects Who Bond Over a Project and Then Go on a Space Adventure
5. The Sexy Female Hacker
6. The Absolutely Necessary Droid
7. The Bumbling Ne'er-Do-Well Nerd Who Inadvertently Does Something Amazing
8. The Necessary Cogs
9. The Billionaire Playboy Genius
10. The Proverbial Dude in the Van with Schematics

Yet more movie cliches, and links to the rest.

Cop show cliches here and here.
Spy drama cliches here
.More plots here.
More dramatic cliches here.

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