Wednesday 16 December 2015

Movie Clichés (in Quotes) II

Bad things

How to write a horror film:
1. Bad things
3. Yes bad things
4. Defeat the bad things


Just once, I’d like a passing bus or train to obstruct someone’s view of the villain, but for them NOT to vanish once it’s gone. #Luther (@danowen79)

Love the bit in Escape to The Country/Bargain Hunt/ Flog It/ Countryfile/Antiques Road Trip where the presenters learn to shear a sheep. (Sathnam Sanghera ‏@Sathnam)

Are there any modern crimes novels with a detective who DOESN'T have an alcohol/drug habit or a problem with authority? (@Lord_Steerforth)

1. Someone lets themselves into their car and you know, just know, that a sinister figure is going to rise up behind them and strangle them. Plausible perhaps at night, but in broad daylight would someone really not notice that there was a person crouching in the back seat of their car?

2.  This is from my great friend Sue ( In the US Law and Order the police show up to interview a witness at their place of work. Do they give the police their full attention? No: directors don’t like talking heads, so the witness goes on loading their van, polishing glasses or whatever. If they are at home, they will be folding the laundry.

3. Someone – probably a woman – is running through woods. There is wobbly, hand-held camera-work and a soundtrack of crashing through undergrowth and gasping for breath. Cut! The next scene will be the police being called out to a body.

4. Someone’s alone in the house and the door bell rings. They answer the door. Their face lights up: ‘oh, it’s you!’ Cut! The next time we see them they are dead. (Christine Poulson)

That accent is an affront to bad accents everywhere. (imdb message board on Tom Bosley’s “Kentucky?” accent in Murder She Wrote)

Darkness seemed like a two-part story padded out with lots of shots of silently anguished lead characters to fill four hours. (Martin Edwards)

QUESTION: In crappy American disaster movies with a male protagonist, why does the hero ALWAYS send his wife "to [her] mother's in Vermont"? (AlexPaknadel)

Series sound engineer Kate Hopkins said: 'If it's a polar bear on snow, custard powder is usually very popular, with some salt crystals added for a bit of crunch.' The ingredients, she explained, are then mixed together inside a stocking, scrunched up and pressed against a hard surface. Other tricks include imitating the crunch of bones as an animal eats by snapping sticks of celery. Slowly peeling an orange creates the sound of a predator ripping flesh from a carcass. (She explains that most wildlife footage is shot through a telephoto lens, and the technology can’t pick up sound at that distance.)

Times review of Britain Beneath Your Feet: “The only downside is the grandiose orchestral gloop of the sort that is usually slathered over the duller species of natural history programme.”

I've just struggled through Horizon: The Trouble with Space Junk. Struggled not because of the incidental music... but because of the stupid cliched movie sound effects. Computer screens that go zeep because that's what they do in real life, obviously. A deep rumbling accompanying the view from space - I guess there's a crack in the window making wind noise. Dodgy video connections with pictures that break up and make a crackling noise, because they do that all the time, of course.

It also suffered from the insistence of so many similar shows before it – not least the BBC’s Restoration series of a decade ago – on conjuring tension where none existed or was required. Arbitrary deadlines were announced without context or explanation – Six weeks! Seven days! – and the Trust’s experts proved more than happy to play along. (Daily Telegraph on Restoring Britain’s Landmarks Oct 2015 Nick Paget on Twitter: “So much repetition means each quarter almost repeats itself.”)

Whose idea was this 'dramatic 90 second intro of absolutely no benefit to anyone' that begins every single beeb documentary now? (Douglas Murphy ‏@entschwindet)

More in love with production values than the story (quite a common BBC flaw at the moment). (Past Offences)

Talking at the camera while driving, unable to say anything at all without walking, presenter talking to himself from a thousand yards away in a crowd, presenter ending every scene by walking briskly out of the picture... (RI)

Wait wait. There *is* a black guy in Steve Jobs...He plays a security guard. (@redsteeze)
I bet he's a Wise Old Security Guard, who says a Few Well-Chosen Words that give the protagonist a Fresh Insight Into His Life. (Damian Counsell ‏@DamCou)

Though the characters age only 25 years or so in the course of the story, by the film's end they are seen doddering around like nonagenarians. ( on the film of O’Neill’s Strange Interlude)

Reed Richards is soon snapped up by a sinister governmental agency (yep, them again) and set to work with a kindly paternalistic physicist who speaks only in gnomic pronouncements (“We are stronger together than we are apart”)... [There’s a long sequence where the cast pretend to build a teleportation device] and no, the mid-montage scene of the gang chillaxing with Chinese food, and laughing uproariously between mouthfuls (I’d swear they’re just saying: “Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb”) doesn’t help, conveying only the sense that this film is treading water until the cogs click together with such uninspired inevitability that a deranged gibbon who’d been force-fed a couple of Thor movies could probably have done a better job. The gibbon, unfortunately, was unavailable, so we’re stuck with Reed and the Von Doomettes travelling to a rocky volcanic other world (laziest art design ever — like the planet Mustafar from Revenge of the Sith, only duller) and getting infected with super-energy that, for reasons known only to a select bunch of comic-book hierophants, makes Reed bendy, Sue invisible, Johnny fiery and Victor kind of nutty... (Kevin Maher on Fantastic Four, Times 2015-08-09)

From Renault Clio adverts to Hollyoaks episodes, running into a wedding, tears streaming, clutching a telegram or skidding down the aisle on your knees is one of those great cultural tropes that almost never actually happens in real life. Thank God. (

Is there any chance we could never again make Russian movies with British actors who speak in silly fake Russian accents? (Lexi Alexander ‏@Lexialex)

From 100 things you can learn from classic Who, imdb message boards:
7. Don't touch any green glowing stuff when you're down a mine.
11. Massage therapists’ uniforms is the chosen fashion wear for humans going into suspended animation in 'The Ark in Space'
16. The Master with the entire Earth to choose from always launches his crazy power schemes in Britain directly under the nose of the Brigadier and UNIT.
29. If you're a small-minded greedy person who wants to exploit aliens in some way for money, you'll be first in line to die.
31. A lot of alien dictatorships can be overthrown within a day or so.
37. A nuclear power complex with an output enough to power all of Southern Britain can be blown up or bombed without any Chernobyl style fallout.
42. At some point in the future humanity will revert to using magnetic tape computer storage and cathode ray tubes.
51. Pretty much everyone you meet in your travels through space and time initially wants to kill you.

I'm trying to avoid the "classic" counselling photos: trees, waves, stacked up stones, bees, lips, ears, handshakes... (Tina Weston)

Holding his head like a silent movie actor registering anguish. (7 1/2 Cents, Richard Bissell)

I could have lived without the flimsy costume drama interludes. Elizabeth... seemed to spend most of the episode in Richmond Castle, drinking wine and chilling with her pet monkey. Philip II of Spain was portrayed as a bureaucratic weirdo who ran his empire from a tiny cell and who did “I-am-definitely-a-creepy-megalomaniac” things like covetously fondle a globe by flickering candlelight. Also, I’m pretty sure he had a stick-on beard. (Times stand-in TV critic, June 2015)

You're like wossname in GoT who lets his prisoner think he's escaped, only to recapture him. (Lisa Carey ‏@msleedy)

More here, and links to the rest.

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