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Friday, May 26, 2006

Arbitrary But Fun Friday, Striking Back at Hackery Edition

This version of Arbitrary but Fun Friday is inspired by Punkass Marc, who for reasons unknown actually sat and watched the entire film Charly on cable and found one of the stupidest movie cliches of all time.



The subsequent romance montage climaxes with a shot of Charly and Alice going down a children’s slide together, he behind her with his arms around her waist. They land with expressions of joyous rapture, happier than they’ve ever been in their lives.

Now, I understand why the patriarchy loves a rape-turned-romance story, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out how or why this slide thing is the iconic expression of True Love.

You see the damn thing used in movies like this all the time, but I can’t think of a less comfortable experience than trying to make my way down a tiny, sticky, white-hot metal slide while clinging to another person. Children are often unsanitary little creatures, too, and the thought of wriggling my lower body along the uncleaned path paved by countless kid-butts is hardly intoxicating. Even if you manage to make to the bottom without toppling over, what was the ride, two seconds long? Maybe we could switch the Slide Cliche to something equally as fun, like the Condom-Breaking Moment or the Accidental Burp During a Kiss.


While looking around for images to use for this ABFF post, I found that glass wedding topper that invokes exactly this cliche, which goes to show how big a danger hackery in film-making poses to our society. How long for this world is a couple that says, essentially, “Our love reminds us of the lazy choices of hack directors?” So I knew I had to throw this question out there:

If you could ban one movie cliche from movies forever, on the pain of the director’s execution or at least banishment from making any movies ever again, what would it be?

As I said in the comments at Punkassblog, the one movie cliche that always makes me wonder what wrong turn I took in life to be watching this movie is “I Love You So Please Don’t Get On That Plane.” Or any variation of the scene where one character is about to get on a plane and another character, realizing he/she doesn’t want that person out of his/her life forever, chases him/her down at the airport and stops the beloved from getting on the plane. Presumably, all these planes are flying directly into the sun. How else do explain why it’s always critical to keep the person from getting on the plane in the first place instead of letting him/her fly home, get some rest, let tempers cool down and talk about maybe mending fences at some point in the near future?

This cliche especially bothered me in Meet the Parents, a movie that was formulaic, sure, but was actually pretty funny and managed to capture very well how it feels to be in those alarming situations where everything you do, no matter how well-intended, just makes things worse. And while they tried to dress up the last minute airport dash scene with a lot of admittedly funny business about the airport bureaucracy and while it was amusing that the character who “realized” his love was the father-in-law, not the fiancee, it still didn’t make a lick of sense. All the excitement of it was just there to distract the audience from the obvious--Stiller’s fiancee was indeed a spoiled princess who didn’t have the courage to stand up to her dad and he shouldn’t want to marry her after seeing this aspect of her character.  It basically ruined the “romance” part of the romantic comedy for me.

So, what movie cliche ruins pretty much any movie you see it in for you?


Cross-posted at Pandagon.
Posted by Amanda Marcotte on 05/26 at 07:16 AM
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