12 Clichés in Films That Are More Irritating Than Un-Popped Popcorn
Artistic exaggeration is a perfectly acceptable element of any film or TV series. After all, they’re created primarily to entertain us, and without a certain level of convention they would become much more boring. But some techniques end up being so over-used from film to film that they start to bore viewers and become nothing but a cliché.
Here at CHEERY, we’ve decided to find out which storylines and artistic elements have categorically outlived their time.
Rivalling main characters get married
This is a very common plot device among filmmakers because it adds spice to the story. One minute the characters can’t stand each other, but the next, they’re in love.
That’s what happened in The Proposal, where the boss fell in love with her assistant, and in Jungle Cruise, where the scientist suddenly fell in love with her jungle guide. In real life, however, such cases can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
- Jungle Cruise would have been a good movie without them falling in love. They could have just been friends. © Poptartmama / Reddit
Women always have perfect makeup
Let’s face it: none of us look as perfect in the morning as actors do in films. But don’t worry — they don’t put on make-up just for the sake of making us feel bad about ourselves. It just happens to be an unavoidable requirement of simple cinematic conventions.
Good makeup artists try to make the makeup look natural and and not stand out, but sometimes there are inconsistencies. Like, for example, with Katniss from The Hunger Games waking up with perfect eyeliner, or Claire from Lost who, after a month on a desert island, still has perfect skin tone and eyelashes.
Women will never be seen with a single strand of body hair on them
Just like the previous entry, this one concerns obsolete ideas about what a woman should look like. The stereotype that a girl, even on a desert island, should always have shaved legs, wear neat make-up and the latest fashions, still prevents film-makers from following reality.
- Women can be in the jungle for days but no body hair anywhere. Men instantly grow a beard. © bubblebumblejumble / Reddit
Pregnant women are always nauseous
This technique is used by filmmakers universally to hint to the audience that the character is pregnant, like Penny in The Big Bang Theory or Rachel in Friends. If you see a girl who suddenly puts her hands to her mouth and runs to the bathroom, you know she’s pregnant. This is the so-called “crutch”, hinting at further developments in the plot.
The relevant show is always on the TV at the perfect time
Whenever someone switches on the TV, or radio, it’s bound to come on at the precise moment when the news is revealing some sort of information that’s crucial to the plot. It was on the news that Sarah Connor heard that the Terminator was after her. And in How I Met Your Mother, Ted practically stalked Robin through her TV appearances.
Sometimes filmmakers try to add a bit of realism to this technique with phrases like “We repeat...” or “For those of you just joining us...”. But it doesn’t usually make this cliché more believable.
- In real life, this would probably go like this:
“Turn on the TV!”
“...So, why do you want me to watch Sailor Moon Crystal?” © rowan_damisch / Reddit
Astronauts taking off their helmets
Astronauts, astrobiologists and other highly trained space personnel in films and shows are constantly removing their helmets on unfamiliar planets, risking infection and poisoning. Fans have heavily criticized these types of scenes in Alien: Covenant and Prometheus.
- My wife watched the beginning of the movie with me and she stopped watching the instant the helmet came off. “These are terrible scientists. They don’t know if there are unknown pathogens in the air. They are probably all going to die.” © fdc7719 / Reddit
The women wear heels no matter what
Even if she has to run cross-country, climb mountains, or save the world from villains, the female protagonist won’t part with her heels. After all, according to the filmmakers, a woman should radiate femininity in any situation.
But the audiences no longer agree with this view. This choice of footwear has angered some feminist fans. The stars themselves have been debunking this myth for a long while now. For example, the beautiful Gal Gadot, who was forced to fight in high heels in Red Notice or run around in platform shoes in Wonder Woman, in real life wears flats even on the red carpet, and feels great about it.
Women always turn to food when they’re upset
The famous ice cream, among other unhealthy snacks, in Bridget Jones’s Diary, Lily eating away her problems in How I Met Your Mother... We’ve all been in a situation where food is the perfect escape from existential dread. But in films, this move has been used so often that it has completely lost its sentiment. Perhaps it’s time to look for new ways of showing the characters going through emotional turmoil.
Characters arrange meetings over the phone, without specifying the time or place
Most likely in order to save screen time, creators often don’t spell out the place and time of the characters’ upcoming meetings in phone conversations. Sometimes, though, these conversations can sound rather ridiculous: “Shall we meet?” — “Yes, let’s!” and they hang up. Why not add something along the lines of, “8 o’clock in our typical place”?
- I have a hard time getting friends to meet up for legitimate reasons with advanced notice. Meanwhile, movie characters come together in an abandoned warehouse in Brazil. © huazzy / Reddit
Breakfast is made up of 15 different dishes
Such scenes are an integral part of sitcoms and the more serious type of TV shows alike. We’ve seen breakfasts that could feed an entire army in Trophy Wife and Gossip Girl. But films are no exception, either, notably Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot.
This is the filmmakers’ way of trying to add realism to what is happening on the screen. They want to show that the characters are not only involved in the twists and turns of the plot, but also have a mundane life, just like us. It’s a shame that these “super breakfasts”, made up for the sake of a beautiful scene, are always left uneaten.
- Mom makes a huge breakfast and lays it all out. Kids and husband grab a bagel on the way out the door ignoring all the food. © FTAKJ / Reddit
Women only cut their hair in moments of personal crisis
It’s rare to see a girl in a film just going to the hairdresser’s. If she’s getting her hair cut, it’s bound to be under dramatic circumstances. And despite the blunt scissors and dim bathroom lighting, she’s bound to end up with the perfect haircut.
This common plot device dates back to the days of the Disney cartoon Mulan. Remember, when the protagonist cut her long hair so she could pretend to be a man and protect her father? It was a truly desperate act at the time. Now all that’s left is a film cliché.
Main character gets resurrected
This move was used by the makers of Supernatural when they decided to resurrect the Winchester brothers’ mother Mary. Game of Thrones did the same with Jon Snow. Certainly, it adds action to the story. But it’s become so overused that now, you can’t help but expect a resurrection whenever a main character dies in a fantasy film or TV series.
- I wasn’t thrilled when the mom came back. To me, it decreased the value of Supernatural. She’s been dead for X amount of time, but can pick up where she left off. Yes, the brothers were grown when she resurrected but her attempts to be a mother was inconsistent. © MotherAgnes / Reddit
Are there films in which you notice clichés that bother you?