Quotes: Cliché Storm

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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 

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? The dialogue is either shouted one-liners or romantic drivel. "It's gonna blow!" is used so many times, I wonder if every single writer used it once, and then sat back from his word processor with a contented smile on his face, another day's work done... Characters in this movie actually say: "I wanted to say—that I'm sorry," "We're not leaving them behind!" "Guys—the clock is ticking!" and "This has turned into a surrealistic nightmare!"

    Video Games 

no, that's the zombies


    Web Animation 

Duty bound, the game plot can't do more than go through the usual motions: Ganondorf wants to steal the Triforces of Courage and Wisdom, held respectively by Link and Princess Zelda, Princess Zelda being some kind of embodiment of 'wisdom'—which explains why she thinks she can pull that Sheik bullshit a second time and no one will figure it out.

Still, I enjoyed the story mode, mainly because it kept making me laugh. Like at the start, Zelda's mooning about the castle going: 'Oh If only we could find the new incarnation of the hero?' and then walks out into the courtyard and Link is literally the first person she sees. Well, that was easier than usual!

Or when Link bursts into the stronghold of the villainess and finds it plastered in pictures of his face like a member of Boyzone walking into a teenage girl's bedroom.

Then a boss shows up that I should by rights been able to wipe the floor with, but the cutscene had to pretend I was in real trouble until a bunch of secondary characters showed up, and Link could learn that friendship was the TRUE strength! Also known as 'standard hackneyed epiphany #6'.

    Web Original 

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"

David: Shaq comes home to his sassy grandma and his rambunctious cousin, because literally everything in this movie has to be a ’90s sitcom cliche.
Chris: His little cousin could not be more of a walking cliche if this was done on purpose. I guarantee you that if you have seen more than, say, five movies in your life, you will be able to predict what this kid is about to say with 100% accuracy.
—Chris Sims and David Uzumeri on Steel

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

Picard: Great. I whacked some guy with my rifle and it broke in half... Well, now I have an excuse for yet another contrived scene: hand to hand combat with Shinzon. I hope the audience won't think to ask why I don't just pick up a gun from the floor, since I just killed a whole room full of armed Reman crewmen.

The most obvious thing to seize on is the fact that the Doctor’s half-human nature, which is explicitly said to be reflected in his retina structure, is never actually used to affect the Eye of Harmony, which we’re told can only be opened by human eyes. A major revelation about the character, repeated three times throughout the movie, never actually has anything to do with resolving the plot. There’s some evidence that this is something that got lost in successive rewrites — But it doesn’t actually parse or make any sense... The answer, I think, is the logic that it gets at. Its sheer superfluousness within the narrative suggests that it’s there for no reason other than that everyone involved thought it was the sort of thing that belonged in the script. The Doctor/Grace kissing scene is similar: a detail that exists for seemingly no other reason than having an obligatory romantic subplot.

Primitives and giant lizards, is that all they could come up with for the crew to face on the planet? Scenes of Neelix and Kes surrounded by (ugugug) cavemen are painful to watch, it feels as if we have entered B movie territory and leads to hilariously inept scenes of Chakotay being offered a cavewoman in exchange for his people and Tuvok and company appearing over a ridge with bows and arrows and spears to fight them! Follow that up with scenes of them hiding in a tunnel with a giant lizard ready to eat them and you have to wonder if [Michael] Piller is even bothering anymore...The volcano erupting is the final straw where this episode tips over from being bad to irredeemable – how many obstacles can they throw at the Voyager crew whilst they are stranded on the planet? If we had had to endure another week of this there would have been a tidal wave, ravenous pterodactyls and an earthquake! Oh give me strength…
Doc Oho on Star Trek: Voyager, "Basics"

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. By this season, the show’s primary appeal was an opportunity to see these specific actors do scenes we’ve seen better in myriad other media.
ComicsAlliance on Smallville'' ("Finale")

Wolfe has absolutely no character of his own – he’s one-dimensional to the extreme and made up entirely of bad cop clichés... 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

You go through bland cityscapes, sewers, dilapidated buildings and empty factories. Many areas are reused (always raining, always at night). Everything is murky and colorless. There's usually only one right solution to every situation and Vampire Rain does none of the things his betters do... The game tries to go through the usual motions: a tragic past, the wiped out advance team, the ally that betrays you for reasons that make no sense and the bad guy with an incomprehensible motive. The scriptwriters, the animators, the voice actors, no one puts much heart into it, though.

Most media outlets praise the game for outrageously mocking every aspect of Los Angeles, but it mocks them without any understanding or tact. 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.

Eskimo: B-breast implants! Bottled water! T-traffic! Please! This is no way to write a video game!

Roddy [Piper] and Jerry [Lawler] proceeded to sleepwalk through every trope and cliché in the wrestling world. Cowardly heel trying to leave the match early? Check. Improbable ref bump? Check. Bad guy reaching into his tights for a foreign object? Check. After an evening full of up-tempo, athletic matches, it was refreshing to see the two veterans effortlessly perform timeless spots. You know what else is refreshing? A fifteen-minute nap. That doesn’t mean anyone wanted to pay admission or a bigger cable bill for it, though.

"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 

Joe: Sometimes, the only way to deal with a madman is to send in another madman.
Linkara: That's a stupid plan.
Joe: Exactly! A stupid plan for a stupid man.
Linkara: Are you high?!

Allison: Her father was blamed for the operation's failure! My God, I just won Movie Cliche Bingo.
Cecil: Damn it, you beat me! All I needed was Killed Two Days Before Retirement.
Allison: ...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"

Here's what 'Fancy' is about: She's fan-say. She spends money and is attractive. That's basically every rap song from the past 10 years— minus all the parts that are threatening, ugly, dangerous, witty or interesting... Minimalist beat, dark tone, trashy vibe; this is fancy in the same way as a 'Fancy Ketchup' packet from McDonald's.

C'mon. Fuckin' bats? How cliche. Man, that dragon sure looks scary. I'm gonna have nightmares over that. (Could they have made the dragon look any more CUTE?!)...(groans) The music. It's just one loop. One single piece of music that plays over the whole fuckin' game. It's the most cliche horror music they could have found. You recognize it, it's that famous Bach composition; y'know, the one everyone thinks is from Dracula. Once you've heard it for a half-hour straight, you get sick of it. Fortunately, you have the option to turn the music off—but you have to turn it off at the right time when they're isn't a note playing, or else, it sustains it!
The Angry Video Game Nerd on Dark Castle for Sega Genesis

It's a jumbled collection of horror movie references and a throwback to RE4's gameplay (which is ironically not that uncommon these days). A lot of things that 'worked before' got thrown in a blender. The final game is this messy cliche-smoothie. The good ideas that got thrown in are ruined by just how worn-out this whole ride is.

It's not uninteresting because it's bad and I hate it, because I don't think it's bad; I think it's derivative as hell. I've been there. I've done that. And it was better the first time...The law of diminishing returns is, after all, the law.

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.