Quotes: Cliché Storm

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    Film — Animation 

"Trust me, this process is so simple you could break out the Crayolas and storyboard the whole thing yourself using nothing more complicated than stick figures and tracings of your own hand. Be warned however, most studio execs don't have the attention span to follow the most energetic and entertaining of storyboard pitches for more than three minutes before they start checking their Blackberries for their lunch reservations. The good news is these story elements are so tried and true (translation: stale) that even the simplest of readers will get it and enthusiastically pass it along to their boss, who still won't read it but will take credit for all the amusing gags once he sees the completed picture."
—Writer Paul Dini, describing cliches of animated features (mostly referring to the early 90's Disney features)


"The writing was okay, I guess. But I couldn't take it anymore after Harry returned from his first run-in with the Dementors to find the Ring Wraiths had burned the Lars Homestead.

It seems like I already heard these stories before... only thing is, the names sound different."
Grandma, Ceremony

    Live-Action TV 

Bronn: Two knights off to rescue a princess. Sounds like a great song.
Jaime: Sounds like all of them.

"You know, you're fast becoming a prey to every cliché-ridden convention in the American West."

"I can see it now: the lonely little girl befriended by empathetic aliens who teach her how to smile. It's enough to make you go out and buy a television set. Next!"
—Pulp writer Herbert Ross, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine ("Far Beyond the Stars")


"The catalogue of clichés and obvious situations is as long as the play, which seemed endless. At each rise of the curtain it was possible not only to anticipate the argument but the phrasing of the lines. Probably the only thing that kept the audience from chanting the speeches with the actors was the incurable optimism implicit in theatregoing which engenders the hope that the author just could not dare to use such familiar stuff: 'Doctor, he's just got to get well!' — 'Go ahead, son, every man has to cry sometime,' etc."
Donald Maggini, quoted by George Jean Nathan in his review of the play Winged Victory by Moss Hart

"In due course we arrive at the Mirror Scene: "She was not even comforted by the sight of her naturally rosy skin, her round shoulders, the hair which fell down to her hips and took four buckets of rain water to wash." The Nubile Scene: "She had always avoided undressing even in front of other women, because she was ashamed of her breasts, which were large, big and generous even for a woman of her build." Wisdom Phrases: "The dangers of beauty are well known: narcissism, irresponsibility, selfishness." Or, "Evil people always support each other; that is their chief strength." Like Hitler and Stalin?"
Gore Vidal, The Top Ten Best Sellers According to the Sunday New York Times as of January 7, 1973

"I had already taken in a Deanna Durbin musical and had just settled down miserably to a 1938 Warner Brothers gangster movie called Angels with Dirty Faces. Then it happened. Midway through the first reel, one of the supporting players snarled, "Them rotten coppers will never get Rocky Sullivanhe's too smart for them," and at that instant I knew, as if by magic, everything that was going to take place during the rest of the movie, right down to that final scene where Rocky Sullivan would be dragged screaming to the electric chair... it suddenly dawned on me that the early scenes of virtually every Hollywood movie of that era contained a similar moment of précis—a brief exchange of dialogue, or, in some instances, merely one line, that gave away the entire film... Once the experienced viewer extracted this essence he could switch off his set and go to bed, where simply by adding a generous amount of mental hot water he could turn it into a full-length feature, creating what I've lately come to think of as the Instant Movie, a potion that can be consumed in two or three fast gulps just before sleep."
Thomas Meehan, "Add Hot Water; Serves Fourteen Million"

"Armageddon reportedly used the services of nine writers. Why did it need any?"

    Video Games 

no, that's the zombies


In a world... where people live... and die.
"Do you think you can just go in there and handle this by yourself!?"
"If that's what it takes."
He was about to meet his greatest foe.
"Kill them all. Alllll of them"
And a girl.
And a comic relief sidekick who won't make it to Act III.
"I picked the wrong month to cancel my life insurance."
"No, don't say that. You're going to make it."
With a guy from that other movie that was slightly popular and whats-her-name from that show you sometimes watch, in a movie with spectacular CGI battle-sequences, and an advertising campaign that will leave you no choice but to see this film. See it, because it's a movie, and all your friends are going. In theaters Friday and on DVD in three months.

    Web Original 

"Rule #1: Make sure the hero has a cool name, something to signify that he's a bad-ass and one that reflects what he plans to do with the bad guys. (John CutterCHECK!)

Rule #2: Give him a job, one where he's labeled "the best" and make sure it ties into the main conflict of the plot. (Airline securities expertCHECK!)

Rule #3: Personal baggage. Something that haunts him and either takes him out of the game for awhile (so he can get back on the horse when required) or just so we can parallel a flashback with said horse when the need arises. (His wife was killed as a hostage during a convenience store robbery that he was unable to prevent — CHECK!)"
Erik Childress, "Die Hard on a Roulette Wheel"

"If the cheap gray suit doesn't tip you off to Walken's chosen profession, he helpfully waves around the empty coffee cup of the Shopworn But Still Wily Police Detective. I'm surprised he doesn't take a flask from his coat pocket and fill the cup."

"One day this hot babe shows up and is like, 'Yo. Hercules. My dad, John Hurt, is getting totally douched by this warlord. We'll pay you mad gold nuggets if you come help. Also, centaurs are real.' So Hercules is like fiiiiiiiiiiiiiine, even though Hercules is getting too old for this shit, and they bop over to Thrace in their hero-chariots to do John Hurt a solid... Of course John Hurt immediately looks at the girl one and goes, 'I fear that the task ahead might not be suitable for a woman,' so she's like oh yeah? BOOSH. And she shoots an arrow really good. And John Hurt's eyebrows are all, 'What sorcery is this!?!? It looks like a woman, but it acts like a human being, kind of!' And Hercules is like [pat, pat] on her widdle head."
Lindy West, "Brett Ratner's Hercules Is Bullshit and I Will Never Forgive Him"

"It’s ironic that a movie based on a superhero who’s [sic] power is derived from his imagination is so derivative and unimaginative."

"Smallville is a story you can find many other places, better executed, and without the excess fat. Smallville's like walking to work when you usually drive. Except it doesn’t get you exercise, and the music sucks."
ComicsAlliance on Smallville'' ("Finale")

"If you ever saw a chase scene from Law & Order, a movie where a guy has to disarm a bomb, or a scene where someone has to go undercover in a casino, watch that instead. Nick Wolfe does all those things, and he does it in the most boring way possible. The only fun that can be derived from most of his scenes is naming off all the movies his character is ripping off from as he speaks."
The Screamsheet on Highlander: The Raven

"It is interesting that this is the show’s first real story about organised crime, but the fact that all of the mobsters in 'Omertà' look like they wandered out of Miller's Crossing'' would suggest that this might be a good thing. Boney, Paulo and Donny arrive in Coker Creek in the most conspicuous manner possible. Boney wears a giant fur coat while attempting to assassinate Eddie with a sniper rifle, which seems like a somewhat unlikely mob hit. More than that, the plot hinges on the contrivance that the only shot that Boney can take on Eddie is a sniper shot while he plays on a swing with Rose.
Darren Mooney on Millennium, "Angels living in the woods! Mobsters! Sniper rifle! Christmas! Fur coat! Jon Polito!"

"Cop woman’s got a schizophrenic younger sister (we know she’s schizophrenic via the highly original and unclunky line “have you gone off your meds again?”) ...Wow, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that on TV before.

The woman cop finds out that her rebellious younger sister is doing porn by happening to raid the place where she happens to be doing porn. So that’s not contrived at all.

We later learn of the underlying problem with Cop Woman's life, and guess what... it all traces back to a man! Guess which man. Go on, guess. Yep, you guessed it: Daddy. She’s got Daddy issues! Colour me fucking astonished."

"If you held a gun to the head of the most secluded Eskimo seal farmer and said, "List California stereotypes," you would not be able to distinguish his list from a GTA V Mission FAQ. 'B-breast implants! Bottled water! T-traffic! Please! This is no way to write a video game!'"

"There are too many stories about hot elf chicks and poor village boys. Or farm boys, whatever. They all seem to get their villages burned down and a parent murdered here and there by a dark overlord. And thus begins another cliche-plot!"
Soap Committee, How Not to Run a Comic

     Web Video 

Lupa: Her father was blamed for the operation's failure! I just Won Movie Cliche Bingo.
Cecil: Damn, you beat me! I just needed Killed One Week Before Retirement.
Lupa: I mean, I realize these are all cliches for a reason, but they're gleaned from multiple sources; it's not like there's one movie with all of these things... until now.
Good Bad Flicks and Allison Pregler on Lethal (2005)

Mall Santa: I'm not a detective anymore.
Jack: (watching) This is henceforth called Everything!: The Movie.
Best of the Worst Christmas Special on Elves

At this point the turbolift opens, revealing an cop-on-the-edge who doesn't play by the rules, a greedy corporate big-wig looking to get rich by poisoning the water supply, and a skinny black guy whose job it is to say 'Dayymn!' and refer to 'My black ass!'
SFDebris on Star Trek: Voyager, "Twisted"

Flo Rida rattles off a stream-of-consciousness string of derivative club dance buzzwords, dutifully namechecking the fact that he has a private jet, that 'bottles' and 'models' are present and that he has literally so much money he doesn’t know what to do with it all to the point he doesn’t even sound enthusiastic about it.

"It has an orphan, a dame, and a rusty old fighter nobody believed in, and damned if it doesn’t play every terrible cliché completely straight."

Gee, an epic RPG where I have to collect four treasures of the elements? I've never heard that one before. (Holds up a copy of Final Fantasy I)
ProJared, whenever a game does this sort of plot.

ProJared when he realizes that Final Fantasy Mystic Quest shares a simular plot to what the game's he holding up.

    Real Life 

Like the Nerds, the Surfers take every bullet-point cliché of a subculture and roll it into one broad representation. The trio are early 90' s So-Cal personified. One of these new faces wears a backwards red baseball cap, Durst style, while the other has long, ratty, rocker hair and chequered shorts. Together they resemble Bodhi's gang from Point Break, with eyes half-lidded in a perpetually stoned droop, and their mouths hanging open in a frozen “no way.”
Stuart Millard on Saved by the Bell ("The Friendship Business"), So Excited, So Scared