101 Movie Cliches

101 Movie Cliches

Never published, and God knows I tried. Perhaps it was too good. Yes.

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  1. People on the phone never say goodbye.
  2. An alley will contain aluminium trash cans and an unseen cat that always makes the same noise running away.
  3. The bad guy mercilessly shoots everyone, but not the hero. Instead, he is told the entire evil scheme and given plenty of time to escape.
  4. Her orgasm face is always shown; his never is.
  5. People firing automatic weapons can never hit anything.
  6. Police test strange subsances by dipping their little finger in and tasting it.
  7. The police chief and the judge are always black.
  8. Cops always obsess about their case. They can never leave their shift on time, go home, put their feet up and forget about it.
  9. In space, no-one can hear you scream, but for some reason weaponry and vehicles make lots of noise.
  10. People in horror films defy all normal human behviour by:
    Splitting up at moments of greatest danger and wandering around on their own;
    Investigating dark/foggy/scary areas (if you’re a woman you do it wearing a revealing white slip);
    Never doing what they’re told by sensible people/the police.
  11. In scary movies, if someone’s name is called out, it won’t be them.
  12. People who back towards the camera always bump into someone and turn around with a gasp.
  13. Air ducts are always big enough to make comfortable escape/entry routes.
  14. Only movie computer screens make a little electronic noise when information is flashed up on screen.
  15. That information is always in enormous lettering so we can see it.
  16. People on PCs don’t use a mouse, they just type furiously.
  17. Animals always sense the paranormal. And know good guys from bad.
  18. A punch to the chin results in the puncher wincing and shaking his hand, instead of breaking every bone in it.
  19. Women sleep with make-up on.
  20. Despite just having spent the night shagging, a woman will sit up in the morning with the sheet modestly held up to her chin.
  21. Everyone, no matter whom and from what era, has perfectly capped teeth.
  22. Glass will never hurt you.
  23. Policemen with entirely mismatched temperaments will for some reason be assigned duty together. They will abuse each other, develop a grudging respect, and resolve the case in an unorthodox and violent manner.
  24. Black people always have a street background
  25. Europeans play villains. Poms will be icy and sophisticated; Germans will be arrogant and crazy; henchmen will be of obscure origin, have dirty blond Euro-trash hair, and be enormous.
  26. Highly trained female enemy agents will sleep with the hero, and turn into non-people who run around after him.
  27. People who smoke marijuana always look and sound like Californian surf bums.
  28. All Italian-American men wear vests at home, and say, “Fuxa matta witchu?” to their wives/children/friends.
  29. In mob dramas, it’s never personal, except when it is.
  30. No matter what a person’s illness/injury, they show it by coughing. Coughing is a sign that you are about to die.
  31. Americans reveal their inner feelings by looking into the middle distance and starting a long anecdotal monologue with, “You know, I…”
  32. If something really bad happens in the hero’s personal life, it is also raining.
  33. If a minor character gets a scene to themselves, they will die at the end of it.
  34. Children are smarter and more streetwise than adults.
  35. Sex is accompanied by an open-ended jazz riff.
  36. Barmen always have time to wipe glasses and hand out advice.
  37. When aliens visit earth, they land in America first, and it’s down to Americans to deal with everything.
  38. When people have nightmares, they always wake up, and sit up, sweating and gasping.
  39. Family scenes/movies = piano music.
  40. When people put lights out, it’s never totally dark, and often a subtle shade of blue.
  41. Women being chased can never find their car keys, and when they do, they drop them. When they pick them up, the car won’t start.
  42. If a woman is alone and singing along to a song, she is about to die horribly.
  43. Sick children are insufferably cute and optimistic.
  44. A woman never has a quick shower.
  45. Policemen never have anything in their fridge, except an old Chinese takeaway box and half a bottle of rancid milk, which they pour into the sink.
  46. People live in places they should not possibly be able to afford.
  47. All Asians know martial arts.
  48. Someone shown meditating is always very good at martial arts.
  49. Meditating is also a sign of depth of character.
  50. Old people are always feisty and swear unexpectedly for comic effect.
  51. A policeman’s gut instinct is a more effective crime-fighting tool than the rule book and proper procedure.
  52. Poker games will involve at least one once-in-a-lifetime hand.
  53. Prototypes always work, except in comedy, when they never do.
  54. Police holding cells are always full of huge, menacing black men who either want to beat you up or rape you.
  55. The Irish are always good, simple folk, often accompanied on-screen by the sound of fiddles.
  56. A man can take the worst beating without pain, but winces when a woman dabs at a wound.
  57. Kitchens are spotless, packed with stainless steel, and illuminated at night only by the fridge when the door is opened.
  58. Even on the gentlest corner, an American car’s tyres will squeal.
  59. All bombs have big handy readouts showing reversing numbers, plus red-and-blue-wire mechanisms.
  60. If crashed into, still in mid-air, or even bumped a bit, cars and helicoptors will explode in furious balls of flame.
  61. Beyond a brief bawling-out by the chief, police officers are never called to serious account for the massive amount of damge they cause. Indeed, it is never mentioned again, even if they levelled a building, drove along a crowded pavement or wrote off 15 cars.
  62. If the bell rings in an American school, the kids will instantly leave, no matter what is going on in class.
  63. A credit card can open most doors and windows.
  64. Cheap motel rooms always come with a neighbour who bangs on the wall and demands you keep the noise down as he’s trying to get some sleep.
  65. People can effectively hide from you in the backs of cars. In reality, this is impossible.
  66. Doctors are always doing everything they can.
  67. Newly operated-on patients are always “sleeping now”.
  68. After doctors have done all they can and failed, their first words to the family are, “I’m sorry”, in a husky whisper.
  69. Policemen and PIs on their own at night are accompanied by tuneless yet mellow sax solos.
  70. Drivers of cars spend worrying amounts of time looking at the passenger they are talking to, instead of the road.
  71. When a man and a woman are being chased on foot, the woman will fall, no matter how even the ground. The man will help her up and drag her along by the arm.
  72. Computer monitors are so bright, they project onto the face of the user.
  73. A dying person’s last words will be coherent and significant. If he’s on the good side, a friend or loved one will be there to listen.
  74. Following a crack of thunder, it will start raining straight away.
  75. During a sword fight, the opponents will always find a moment to cross swords up close and snarl insults at each other.
  76. No-one eats much breakfast, especially Dad, who will come down still putting on his jacket, have a sip of coffee and bugger off out the door. This, despite a full breakfast often waiting for him.
  77. People who know there’s an intruder in the house will press themselves flat against a wall, and inch along it.
  78. Native Americans always have mystical powers or knowledge.
  79. During a war, if you show anyone a picture of your girlfriend back home, you’re not going to make it.
  80. Groups of baddies will attack the hero one at a time.
  81. The way to keep someone alive is to shout encouragement, like you’re at the footy..
  82. In a car-chase the person driving can evade bullets by ducking.
  83. An older male hero can pull young attractive women, but never the reverse.
  84. Alcoholics don’t shave.
  85. Hitting a bad guy around the back of the neck with clasped hands is enough to knock him out.
  86. Hispanic characters have mastered every aspect of the English language, except “Sir” and “Thank you”.
  87. When total strangers first have sex, it lasts most of the night and results in a mutual orgasm.
  88. Incriminating evidence is most often handily kept in a desk drawer.
  89. Significant news reports always start within moments of the radio/TV being turned on.
  90. Psychopaths often station themselves outside windows and wait for lightning to strike.
  91. High powered female executives wear revealing clothes, five-inch heels and hint at a very high sex-drive.
  92. An alien race will all wear identical clothes.
  93. Stuck lifts always offer a convenient escape-route through the top of the car.
  94. It is the role of security guards to be shot, beaten, killed, tied up, stupid, incompetent, lazy, old, half-blind or corrupt. In any event, they are crap at their job and always fail.
  95. People with martial arts knowledge can move their limbs fast enough to make a noise.
  96. Glasses are the most effective way of disguising someone’s beauty or identity.
  97. People being chased by monsters or psychopaths shouldn’t stop running. If they do, they’re dead within seconds.
  98. A woman who hates a man will always fall in love with him.
  99. Attractive women will tend to undress and wander into the bathroom with the curtains carelessly left open.
  100. Crime scene investigators are useless. It takes the male lead to show up late and find the only important clue.
  101. When the hero wakes up in the middle of the night, he will go and brood on a balcony. His wife/girlfriend will wake within minutes and tell him to come back to bed because it’s cold.