05 February, 2009

"10 Cinematic Clichés That Must Die!"

Big Hollywood:

"As a writer and consumer of entertainment, I really hate clichés and stereotypes. They’re only useful for misdirection, making readers believe the story is going a certain way so you can fool them. But Hollywood keeps trotting out the following lame tropes over and over again. It’s about time they were called on the carpet for this stupidity. These stereotypes are not only offensive; they’re overused to the point where they must be retired for good. If you really care about not offending people, Hollywood, stop offending me and the legions of people who are sick of this drivel.

1. The Crazed Vet/Soldier:

2. The Professional Bitch:

3. The Evil Christian:

4. The Stupid Dad/Male: —

5. The Magical Minority (aka “Magic Negro”):

6. The Pedophile Priest:

7. The Traditionalist Hypocrite:

8. Evil Republicans:

9: Wise Trashy People:

10. Flyover Losers:"

Article in full


While I don't agree with him entirely (Republicans are fracking evil. All of them.) he makes good points.

I watched The Apostle - about a preacher who goes on the run after killing someone - on Sky Movies yesterday, reluctantly at first as I am very anti-religion.

On the surface the central character was a "stupid dad/male", "traditionalist hypocrite", "evil Christian" and a "flyover loser" but the screenplay was without judgement, we understood the character and we even sympathised with his later difficulties and when he realised what he had lost due to a moment of madness.

Rather than focus the story on religious hypocrisy, as I might have, the writer-director, Robert Duvall, had real preachers and gospel singers in the film and he showed how faith can create and unify a community which can do good in the world. It's the truth and authenticity that made the film. It also allowed the audience to think for themselves a little which is the main thing.

Even films which have political viewpoints I agree with are boring if they don't challenge my beliefs in some way and give the, for example, "evil Republican" character, the best lines and most convincing justifications.


martin said...

My personnal peev is the Assassin With A Code Of Honor - "I don't kill women and or kids"

What do they want? A fucking medal? I don't kill women or kids, but I don't go on about it.

The idea that someone who kills people for money being honorable is ridiculous in itself, but the real reason it's annoying [like alot of the above cliches] is thats its been so overused.

Robin Kelly said...

I agree that it's the over-use that's annoying. It's people writing characters based on previous films and not based on psychological truth. Sure, it worked once in a movie and it may work again but the audience get wise to it pretty quickly, unfortunately.

Just reversing the cliché can open up massive possibilities in character development I think.

Imagine a hitman who loves killing women and kids. The challenge is trying to make the audience still interested in him, and wondering what in his backstory made him that way.

Neil said...

Happy to say I'm always tempted to use those characters but am wise enough not to. Yay me!

Martin - you're so right. A merc would kill whoever they wey were told to for money. That's why they're mercs. Simple really. You want an original merc or assassin? Deadpool from Marvel. May not be new, but no merc is a fun as that guy.

Désirée said...

There are so many clichés out there in the movies. Sad. I think it is a responsibility as a screenwriter to avoid those things.

Ooops, and my bad guy is... Aaargh, better rewrite :-)