5 Movie Cliches

Thursday, February 16 by Joseph Gibson

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When polled, 89% of moviegoers said they had a negative opinion of movie clichés. And yet, filmmakers in Hollywood and all over the globe continue to pack their movies with clichés-something's fishy here, wouldn't you say? On the one hand, the public says they hate them. On the other, they go to see movies filled with these things every year, pumping money back into the coffers of the people who make the stuff we claim to dislike. It's enough to make your head explode! In the interested of helping to point out which movie tropes are the most overused, here are five of the best-known movie clichés around.

1. The Training Montage.

Probably the most instantly recognizable movie cliché, the training montage is a great way to condense weeks or months of progress for your character into a few brief minutes. It doesn't always have to be "training" in the strictly physical sense, though. It can be a plain woman going through a series of makeovers to become dateable, or a drug dealer working his way up the ranks and becoming a successful crime lord (push it to the limit!).

2. The Pie-In-The-Face Gag

One of the oldest and most popular movie clichés, this one is fairly simple: Guy gets hit in the face with a pie, the audience laughs. Silent-era Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle is said to have pioneered the gag, but it's been practiced by everyone from Mel Brooks to "What Would You Do" host Marc Summers in the ensuing century. And it's almost certainly due for a comeback.

3. Getting Splashed By A Car

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Signs that it is just not your day become a lot less diversified when you're a movie character. Generally, if you get splashed by a car driving over a puddle, it means that you are completely screwed in movie-land. Bad luck is following you like a shadow. There's an inverse to this as well, which has to do with the person in the car: If you're the driver who does the splashing, you're just the worst kind of human scum imaginable. Kind of a lose-lose scenario.

4. The Animal Reaction Shot 

 

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	In real life, <a href='http://www.screenjunkies.com/tag/animals-685/' class='linkify' target='_blank'>animals</a> are generally disinterested and thus slow to react to the antics of humans. In movies, animals have nothing better to do than to look quizzically/disapprovingly/hilariously at whatever those kooky humans are up to. One particularly artful use of this <span data-scayt_word=cliché can be found in "Coming to America," in which director John Landis cuts to a small dog reacting to things so often it becomes a joke on its own.

5. Smoking = Evil

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During the golden age of cinema, everyone smoked. It just meant you were cool/liked to smoke, that's all. But in recent years, as tobacco use has decreased in popularity and mainstream acceptance, smoking has become a handy indicator of evil. And if the dude is smoking a cigar, just forget it; you'd be well-served just to take him out right then and there.

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