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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
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 Sullivan—he'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... Thinking about Angels with Dirty Faces, and about the vast, tawdry repertory of thirties films that I knew so well, 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"
"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
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!"
"The gimmicks are all old. The enemy who turns out to be a front of the real enemy. The mentor who turns out to be your enemy. The companions who turn on you forcing a showdown. The companions who make you choose which of them is going to die. The dark secrets of your companions. It was innovative in its time, but it's all been done over and over again."
"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
"Why does there always have to be a "chosen one"? Why is there always some insanely powerful trinket that can do pretty much anything the wearer wants? Why are fantasy lands always ruled by a single person? And why is that person always either a tyrant — with an army of dark-colored creatures that can't talk — or completely benevolent, causing rainbows and unicorns to appear by his or her mere presence? If you're looking for answers to these questions, or at least a fresh take on the old fantasy clichés, this is not the movie for you.
"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."
"Always steal from the best!"
"[Zed] looks at her, and she backs off, because she's now realized that he's "the One. The Liberator!" Yeah, anyone who didn't think there was gonna be some kind of Christ motif in this movie, raise your hands. Okay, everyone who raised their hands, go home. Have any of you ever seen a pretentious movie before?"
"Clichés again. I swear, is nothing original anymore?"