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The Clichés of Cinema Keep On Truckin'
House Bunny.jpgThis past weekend a film called The House Bunny opened at your local multi-plex. Not that many went to see it.

I'm not going to see The House Bunny for a few reasons. The whole film is shown in the trailer and the trailer isn't funny. The Bunny gets kicked out of the Mansion because the 90-year-old owner doesn't like girls over the age of 25, she becomes a house mother for a nerd-filled sorority, teaches them to follow the scantily clad, unoriginal lemmings over the cliff and the nerds become "normal." There's also that painful American Idol joke in the preview. I'm betting there is a good amount of woman that are offended by the notion that you need to show your midriff and wear clear plastic hooker heels to gain acceptance.

The film does look bad. But here's the main reason I won't see it; The ridiculous notion of putting glasses on a pretty actress makes her look smart and/or geeky.

The ol' "put the spectacles on the hottie and she'll seem smart" gag is one of the most played out clichés in cinematic storytelling.

The following are the five hackneyed devices that annoy me the most.

The actress Emma Stone - who co-stars in The House Bunny - is obviously beautiful. Classically so. It's so stupid to think that a lack of makeup and thick-rimmed glasses makes her not attractive. There is where we start at number five.

michelle_l.jpgThe Hot Chick Is Four Eyed! - We've seen it again and again. The former Ford model is cast as the nuclear scientist, then the director puts her hair in a bun and pops on the corrective lenses. Like that ridiculously smokin' Australian in Transformers. A girl so beautiful I'm willing to wager cars have crashed into each other as she has attempted to cross the street. But you have her wear a pair of glasses and presto: world-class computer analyst.

Along these same lines is the practice of uglying up a bombshell actress to try to win an Academy Award.

What's That Noise? Let's Check It Out! - I see this one less since I hardly ever watch a horror movie anymore. The terrible "torture porn" that seems to dominate the genre lately is not my bag. Gross is not scary. However, I did watch the horror flicks as a kid. And hardly fifteen minutes would go by until there was a sound in the woods and the dopes would head out to investigate. If you are camping with friends and hear noises, stay in the cabin.

Freeze! Hold It Right There! *click* - Happens quite it bit doesn't it? We see an epic gun battle, a struggle to grab a pistol on the ground, the bad guy with a British accent - number 6 on my list - points the 9mm at our hero, monologues for a bit - number 7 - and right when we think Bruce Willis is going to be killed ... click. Click. Click. "Dammit!" Don't worry about checking the clip, you're out of bullets. It also takes the villain three trigger pulls to realize he's out of bullets. Two dry fires aren't enough. Make sure with three.

Oh No! No Bars! - Faulty phones are the bane of countless heroes or heroines. The lines are cut! The battery's dead! No reception! The call is coming from inside the house! If you feel you are about to be caught in a murderous plot, pop the phone on the charger.

And the cinematic cliché that makes me the most annoyed...

spy-vs-spy.jpg Just Cut the Blue Wire! - The effort to defuse a bomb makes me mental. It's bad enough when the devise is defused with one second remaining on the digital timer. Why does the evil genius always need to include the exact time the bomb squad has left? Out of a sense of fair play? But the worst is when the hero is on the phone with the bomb expert who says "okay, cut the green wire ... then yellow ... then blue." The camera then shoes a close-up of the sweaty, shaking hands of Keanu Reeves clipping the conveniently color-coded wires. Why don't the bomb makers just use all green wires? Or red? All red. How hard is that? "Just cut the yellow wire." "They're all yellow!" Boom.

That's a lot more fun.

Goodnight and good luck.


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man, you know yourself pretty well, i have a friend like you and he pwns my conjectures all the times, cause he knows what he likes and dislike well enough so that he can argue about it with me when it comes up....
good article tho, altho i disagree with the noise one, cause im one of the people who does leave to find out what it was, last time was..... a fox i think, we thought it was an injured dog.... heh just puttin it out there that it does happen

said notjohndoe2 on August 24, 2008 9:16 PM.

I think an injured dog could be an exception for the don't leave the cabin rule. Other than that, I'm staying by the fire with my cocoa.

Thanks for the input John Doe. As always.

said Johnny Wright on August 24, 2008 9:29 PM.

You gotta pay attention Johnny he is not John Doe.

Nice list.

said etantao on August 24, 2008 11:22 PM.

yes... i could be anyone.... just not john doe..... that guys wierd.
do a damn good impression of him tho...

said notjohndoe2 on August 25, 2008 12:37 AM.

Jeez, you're right. I need to pay closer attention. Apologies...

said Johnny Wright on August 25, 2008 6:23 AM.

You forgot one of the clichés I hate the most... When you are inside a house or whatever, and you sense something is wrong inside, why the hell do you have to go upstairs when the front door is clear and five feet away from you? Damn! Go out to the streets and run like hell, dammit!!!

said Leonardo Carvalho on August 25, 2008 8:10 AM.

J-Dub, I went to this movie ,The house Bunny, and was really suprised at how good the movie was. It had laughter, it had a deep plot, an unpredictable ending. I'll even admit that it hit me where Old Yeller did and brought out a few tears.
Hollywood didn't disapoint me this time.
In fact, it rivals the Dark Knight in my book.

Johnny, I would suggest keeping an open mind before blowing off such talent.

I don't know if you knew or not but Pearl Jam did all the music for the movie.


said Dave on August 25, 2008 9:46 AM.

I will reconsider my stand. Thank you for setting me straight Ebert.

And I'll order the soundtrack on Amazon.

said Johnny Wright on August 25, 2008 9:54 AM.

What about the beloved: "Whoever pulls hardest on the steering wheel smashes the other car off the road!"

I loathe that one.

said Don't Swayze Bro on August 25, 2008 10:17 AM.

J-Dub, YOu know I'd rather mop the floors at a peep show than watch this movie.

I did have a thought.
What if Pearl Jam and Poison did a duet to Poisons Um Skinny Bop?

That would be Awesome!

Yeeaaaahh! (in Deep Eddie Vedder voice.)

said Dave on August 25, 2008 10:19 AM.

Dave, what's the problem with you? Man... I tried to figure out how coud this duet be, but I simply couldn't.

said Leonardo Carvalho on August 25, 2008 10:26 AM.

Yeah, it may not work. I'm just trying to work up the J-dud this morning, it just doesn't seem to be working.

said Dave on August 25, 2008 10:42 AM.

I think you've fried his brain with the idea.

said Leonardo Carvalho on August 25, 2008 10:47 AM.

Perhaps I did.
The place is dead today.

said Dave on August 25, 2008 11:55 AM.

or how bout when time is a serious variable in the plot, and the heroine says, "wait!......................................
................................ be careful...."
and he's like "..............dont worry baby............." than smiles for like a minute.... i mean thats valuable orphan-saving time or whatever, yknow? how many children lost their lives cause of that epicly important exchange?

said notjohndoe2 on August 25, 2008 12:05 PM.

Yep... it's quite quiet around here. I'm working on 10% power today. My brain is running very slow today because of the heat. Can you believe, we're having 27° C in winter?

njd2 - In the list of the most heard lines before one dies, "don't worry baby" is in the top 10. It sounds to me almost like "baby, I know I'll die in the next scene, and you'll be by yourself then".

said Leonardo Carvalho on August 25, 2008 12:48 PM.

Johnny Wright, you need to change your tampon...

said eduardo corochio on August 25, 2008 2:11 PM.

I was away. Dave you're just crazy. Like Ed would lower himself and cover a Poison song. My brain is fried just thinking about it.

said Johnny Wright on August 25, 2008 3:01 PM.

you forgot training montage scenes.

said hobonirvana on August 25, 2008 7:04 PM.

A staple of the 80's films; the training montage. Beauty hobonirvana.

said Johnny Wright on August 25, 2008 7:05 PM.

Yes, but its ALWAYS going to be the "pretty" girl cast. There are very few movies where there is an actual unattractive person as a lead. Type casting only goes so far in Hollywood. Everyone out in tinsel town is a cookie cutter plastic blow up doll, as far as i'm concerned. They will ALWAYS have to fug up the actress playing the "pretty ugly girl". And of course, it's a known fact to all women.. glasses make you ugly.

I can think of like 1 movie that actually has an unattractive person as the lead. Im hard pressed to come up with any more. I don't think it's too much of a sin to cast a bombshell and fug her up a bit. Though it would be cool to see some truely ugly people rock it out on screen. But i dont think people could stand it for 2 and a half hours.

But then again.. they DID cast Rumor Willis.

said katie on August 26, 2008 12:00 AM.

Can we discuss why every goddamn broad in a suspense/who done it/whatever detective type movie is wearing fucking heels? Honestly, if she's in a fucking job that requires running after bad guys she should be wearing sensible shoes, not 4" heels!

And why the hell does the guy always fall whenever a couple is running from a bad guy? He's all "Runnnnnnn, save yourself"...

God... douchebagery...

said Jeni Gump on August 26, 2008 12:58 PM.

Ten points to Jeni and her upside down picture.

said Johnny Wright on August 26, 2008 12:59 PM.


I forgot this lil gem.... when the fucking bad guy is about to die somehow, he gives up all his shit to the cop and then bad guy ends up living and going to the slammer. Put that fucking plot line in the slammer.

I'm gunna be coming back here all day...

said Jeni Gump on August 26, 2008 1:07 PM.

Keep 'em coming...

said Johnny Wright on August 26, 2008 1:09 PM.

Ohh Ohhh Ohhh, what about the romantic comedy wherein the heroine is always in love with her best friends/sisters boyfriend/future husband? DIE DIE DIE... shit like that makes me hate being a woman because I get associated with fucking chick flicks.

And the dopey klutz chick who fucking falls into a whole fucking wedding cake or knocks over all the oranges at the grocery store because she sees the dopey dick she likes. No one does that shit... come the fuck on Hollywood...

said Jeni Gump on August 26, 2008 1:14 PM.

Most overused cliche of the 90's: Outrunning an explosion or a fireball. I think it caught on because the SFX guys figured out how to do it effectively.

said Kevin L. on August 26, 2008 1:20 PM.

I love the outrun the fireball. The principle was taken to a new level in The Day After Tomorrow when the kids ran away from COLD. Yes, according to the filmmakers, cold moves at 7 miles per hour and can stopped by a wooden door. That film made my head hurt.

said Johnny Wright on August 26, 2008 1:27 PM.

The helicopter/plane hanging scene. How did I forget that? Or the grab the ladder from the moving helicopter scene... any combo of helicopters or small planes and hanging from them. No way in fuck anyone can do that unless they have some hard core Marine training. Why does every bad guy seem to have been through Military training? Honestly...

said Jeni Gump on August 26, 2008 4:30 PM.

And on that note, how the fuck does the bad guy know how to use rocket launchers or drive tanks? By watching movies with other bad guys using rocket launchers or driving tanks?

said Jeni Gump on August 26, 2008 4:35 PM.

And how does the good guy kick 15 bad guy asses at once?

said Jeni Gump on August 26, 2008 4:37 PM.

Jeni, the bad guys, though we think they don't read, actually they do it. And in their primary library are the books: "Marines for Dummies", "Militar Armory 101 - Tanks, Missiles and Rockets", "Military Armory 202 - Choppers, Jets and Ships".
As you can see in many action movies, they almost never read "How to aim and shoot right at your enemy: 10 steps to a sharp shooting".
The good guy, on his side, took the classes of sharp shooting, and learned to fight with Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris, even when they fight another style than martial arts. Lee also taught 'em how to dodge bullets.
But only Bruce Leroy can stop a bullet on his teeth.

said Leonardo Carvalho on August 26, 2008 4:48 PM.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhha, thank you Mr Miage.

said Jeni Gump on August 26, 2008 5:20 PM.

"Marines for Dummies," that made me laugh.

And Bruce Lee could catch bullets in his mouth. That is scientific fact.

said Johnny Wright on August 26, 2008 5:24 PM.

Yep, Bruce Lee could, while he was alive.
As far as I know, his only pupil who could to it too and still alive is Bruce Leroy.
Need to research. Be back later.

said Leonardo Carvalho on August 26, 2008 6:29 PM.

you mentioning bruce lee made me remember another one. in every kung fu movie, someone is surrounded by like 50 evil ninjas but only one steps in to fight while the rest just stand around, looking mildly menacing.

said hobonirvana on August 27, 2008 3:49 PM.

I do love that. "One at a time guys, give the hero a chance. Form an orderly queue ... Okay, he's dead, you're up Ping."

I can't tell you how much I hated the sequence in Matrix Reloaded when Neo fought eleventy-million Agent Smiths. It just kept going. I hated that film so much I refuse to watch the third one.

said Johnny Wright on August 27, 2008 3:56 PM.

I attempted to watch the third one. i got five minutes in and stopped watching. Another cliche that's starting is the "people put in alternate reality" thing. The Matrix and The Island both have people getting cloned or grown or something like that and then put in enviroment designed to keep them from figuring out somethings going on.

said hobonirvana on August 27, 2008 4:06 PM.

I can't believe we didn't touch on this considering the DNC is on. What about the corrupt politician or the corrupt FBI/CIA guy? Both of them have been through the training Leo described also neglecting to read the "How to aim and shoot right at your enemy: 10 steps to sharp shooting." The movie ends with a helicopter scene and doofus giving himself up thinking that the cops time is up.

said Jeni Gump on August 28, 2008 11:09 AM.

Another cliché is in the fighting movies (Rocky, Karate Kid, any one of Van Damme's movie, etc), when in the final and most thrilling - at least supposed to be thrilling - fight, the protagonist gets the shit beaten out of him, almost faint, and when he is nearly dead gives one last ultra-super-dupper-megaboga-punch/kick in the other guy, and pronto! The fight is over. I win! It's my movie, did you hear? MY MOVIE!!!

said Leonardo Carvalho on August 28, 2008 12:52 PM.

Another thing related to military training, how does the good guy shoot all of the bad guys henchmen in 2 seconds, and then can't shoot the bad guy once when he's chasing him for 10 minutes.

said hobonirvana on August 28, 2008 2:13 PM.

He certainly haven't completely read the "How to aim and shoot right at your enemy: 10 steps to sharp shooting" book.
There's a chapter on how to shoot in a chase. Divided into sub chapters: on foot, car, bike, plane, helicopter, boat, paraglide, delta plane, etc. It's complete.
But noooooooo... I'll trust my instinct.

said Leonardo Carvalho on August 28, 2008 2:37 PM.
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