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Author Topic: Name those movie clichés ...  (Read 37317 times)
ulthar
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« Reply #45 on: July 10, 2007, 08:18:10 AM »


but can't come up with ANY "Big Government Good" cliches -- If it's a cliche, shouldn't I be able to think of just one? 


There's a plethora of these in the disaster genre.  One of the most glaring examples that quickly comes to mind is VOLCANO in which T.L. Jones is some sort of FEMA hotshot (FEMA is, or at least was, an administrative body, so who knew they had field hot- shots?).  Another I believe is called ASTEROID with Michael Biehn similarly employed.  10.5 with Kim Delaney had a similar theme.  There are others.

Perhaps it was just me being a little hypersensitive, but these movies seemed to hit the audience over the head, over and over again, with the message "government = good," and I always took that as Big Government as implied since it was bureaucratic agencies that were typically represented.

Quote

 Just how WOULD one go about having a "mainstream Environmentalist" be portrayed as a villian?  I think there's a reason that some of the things you mention ain't likely to happen.


Not really villains per se, but the environmentalists in CARNOSAUR were not really painted in a favorable light.  There were a bit annoying (so maybe that one was realistic?).  PCU did a pretty good job of showing environmentalists in caricature.

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CheezeFlixz
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« Reply #46 on: July 10, 2007, 10:23:03 AM »

Quote
Just how WOULD one go about having a "mainstream Environmentalist" be portrayed as a villian?

Environmentalist villain ... hmmm ... Al Gore? Question
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« Reply #47 on: July 10, 2007, 12:07:45 PM »

The hot scientist wearing the Kelly Bundy skimp under her lab coat and the lunkheaded hero with the great cheekbones will hate each other's guts more as the movie proceeds, but inevitably wind up in the sack, the mutual putdowns having become some sort of aphrodisiac in the course of the crisis.

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« Reply #48 on: July 10, 2007, 12:47:53 PM »

When there's a group of evil hot chicks, the leader will be taller, smarter, stronger, more violent and more evil, but not as hot as the others. Second is a hottie that is Asian, Hispanic, or Black, third is a bubble-headed blond that is the hottest, but the dumbest, and the least violent. She will also usually be taken out by the leader, which we can assume is due to jealousy over her looks.
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Inyarear
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« Reply #49 on: July 10, 2007, 08:16:11 PM »

Quote from: peter johnson link=topic=114767.msg150182#msg150182
InYerear:

That's "In yar ear" please, or Inyarear. (I suppose I could've gone with "In yer ear" but I didn't.)

Quote from: peter johnson link=topic=114767.msg150182#msg150182
Hmm . . . I detect a subtle cultural consistency to your post . . .

Yes, I tend to be rather on the right politically myself, so I tend to notice every slight against anything right. There have been a few notable exceptions (Red Dawn, anyone?) but it seems to me that for the last forty years or so, Hollywood and the indie film makers have always favored the left side of the political spectrum.

Quote from: peter johnson link=topic=114767.msg150182#msg150182
Can't say I wholly agree with the bit about the "magic" -- Seems to me I can think of any number of films -- Equinox, The Evil Dead, Wicker Man, Dunwich Horror,etc. etc. -- wherein all and sundry are viciously PUNISHED for casual or "playful" magic use, and even ritual ceremonial magic that they supposedly control.

Maybe I just haven't been watching the right films, then, but on the other hand, was this punishment portrayed as a good thing or a bad thing? I mean, were the sorcerous characters portrayed as getting their comeuppance and the folks carrying out the punishment on them portrayed as heros, or were the folks administering the punishment a bunch of sour-pussed old killjoys and religious fanatics, and the sorcerers the heros in those films? In all the films I've seen, it's always the latter situation I see portrayed.

Quote from: peter johnson link=topic=114767.msg150182#msg150182
And, really, aside from an Ayn Rand adaptation, how do you imagine the heroic Capitalist Stooge riding to the rescue?  Well, Starship Troopers was sort of pro-Capitalist, and sorta creepy. Adam Smith just isn't as cinematic as Robespierre!  Frankly, I can think of any number of "Big Corporation Bad" cliche films -- the monster comes from pollution(it used to be radiation!)--, but can't come up with ANY "Big Government Good" cliches -- If it's a cliche, shouldn't I be able to think of just one?

Then again, maybe you haven't seen all the right films. But as I said, "big government good" is just one of the ways this political jibe against the free market is expressed. More often, the "good guy" is allegedly a grassroots reformer who wants to bring in some big government to pass more laws against the evil big corporations. What this means in practical terms is not always shown.

I don't particularly like Ayn Rand myself, but it's not as if being pro-market makes you a Capitalist Stooge. (Might as well capitalize the term; your emphasis on this stereotype's name is quite appropriate.) It's not as if Robespierre is up there on the screen either, though: the good guys in political films are usually the activists, not the theorists. Adam Smith needs not be up on the big screen either, but a capitalist action hero who goes around saving his corporation and (especially) fellow employees from the predatory activities of teachers' unions, environmentalist trial lawyers, and other popular and well-funded collectives of meddlesome busybodies would be a welcome departure from way movies usually portray these respective interests.

Quote from: peter johnson link=topic=114767.msg150182#msg150182
The only "gubmint" cliches I can think of is that there's always a Big Government Conspiracy behind the irrational evil occurances/monsters/poison from the sky/etc. etc., which sort of goes against what you're proposing here.  I can think of dozens of those. Can YOU name any cliche films wherein "Big Government" is good?  Really, the only one I can come up with, and nobody I saw the film with took it seriously, was the end of "Born on The 4th of July", wherein the election of Carter (Carter!!) was supposed to be the dawning of a New Age.  Good for a giggle, but other than that one, I'm drawing a blank here.

Yes, the whole "Government doesn't want you to know this, but..." conspiracy theory angle has been pretty well played, but that's really more a distraction from the real evils of big government than a way of drawing attention to them. Again, the big government hero is usually an activist, not a theorist. The emphasis in most films is also more on "big corporations bad" then on "big government good." Nevertheless, I can think of a few rather telling examples of movie reel praise for big government:

Deep Impact:
One notable hero in this film (though there were several) is President Morgan Freeman, who announces that, by executive order, there will be no "price gouging" just because a big meteorite/comet is about to strike the earth. See how easy it is to be a big hero when you're President? Just order a thing to be done, and it happens. Actually, as a few news reports in the background make clear, his executive order is not entirely successful, as some eeevil capitalist guy is declared to have been lynched (and deservedly so, the film seems to be saying) for having charged $12,000 an hour for the use of his backhoe to dig emergency shelters. Still, the message here is pretty obvious. Big government attempts to manipulate the economy in times of emergency=good, "price gouging" capitalist entrepreneurs in times of emergency=bad.

The Day After Tomorrow:
We're all gonna freeze to death from global warming (?) because our otherwise benevolent big government is held captive to the big corporate interests of his political cronies! After the disaster, the newly chastened Cheney-esque successor President presumably adopts a system of meddlesome big-government-administrated environmental regulations to rectify the situation as he was supposed to do in the first place.

Twister:
Cary Elwes plays the epitome of evil among tornado chasers. No, really: he's got full commercial funding for his tornado chasing gear, for which he plagiarized the design from our government-funded protagonists Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt (who are always struggling to do their job while waiting for the next bit of funding to clear Congress). He must be the bad guy and he must have stolen those equipment designs because he's the big corporation's kept man.

The 6th Day:
Okay, so I actually agree with this one: the big bad guy is a corporate sharp by the name of Michael Drucker, who casually ignores the government's 6th Day Law prohibiting accelerated cloning. Along the way, a corporate screwup puts him on a collision course with former soldier and family man Adam, played by Arnold Schwartzenegger. Government is mostly represented by weak-willed politicians who are all too open to Drucker's seductive pro-cloning pitches, but it's the evil Drucker himself who sanctimoniously denounces big government's "frightened politicians" for interfering with his research at the behest of various pro-life groups and other human rights advocates. It's the army-of-one Adam who actually brings down the bad guy in the end, but obviously, if big government had been more meticulously meddlesome in the first place, all this corporate evil would never have happened in the first place, right?

Compare this to real life, where most big corporations have chosen to stay out of the morally controversial matter of embryonic stem cell research because they prefer the more immediately profitable and far less controversial exploitation of adult stem cells. It's actually those big-government-loving "human rights" advocates (to whom taxpayer-funded abortion is a "human right") who are pushing for government funding of embryonic stem cell research, and denouncing pro-lifers like yours truly for all those children--children, you heartless abortion opponents, you!--who are going to die horrible deaths from leukemia or some such just because George W. Bush vetoed the funding for government-sponsored human sacrifice. (It's not as if he actually passed any bans on the research, even; he just refuses to fund it with my tax dollars. But, you see, Hollywood sees me as one of "those" people who must be opposed to all science just because I don't favor murdering and chopping up any little babies for research.)

Quote from: peter johnson link=topic=114767.msg150182#msg150182
Speaking of Silent Running -- Just how WOULD one go about having a "mainstream Environmentalist" be portrayed as a villian?  I think there's a reason that some of the things you mention ain't likely to happen.

It's not that difficult, really: just consider that a lot of mainstream environmentalism is a sort of big business and religion in itself, and then treat it the same way most movies treat big corporations and religion (especially Christianity) right now. Have the bad guy be a rabid environmental lobbyist or (more likely) trial lawyer who gets rich off of suing companies for any and all infractions against obscure overbearing environmental regulations, even going so far as to have any researchers skeptical of his pseudo-scientific alarmist scenarios assassinated. Think of Al Gore at his worst, add a layer of exaggeration (what Al Gore would be like if he were willing to hire an actual hit man for his cause, and not just a professional character assassin), and you're there. The hero, of course, is the guy he's trying to assassinate.

I agree it's not likely that anyone in Hollywood will be doing any adaptations of Michael Crichton's State of Fear anytime soon, however.

Quote from: peter johnson link=topic=114767.msg150182#msg150182
Executing cute puppies and kittens in animal shelters is a horrible necessity, and those who do the dreadful task have a certain heroism, but I doubt strongly we will see either a heroic shelter gas-chamber operator or happy vivisectionist (Bonzo Dog Band!) portrayed on film.

Maybe a happy vivisectionist would be hard to pass off for a hero, but I could see a hard-bitten animal shelter operator being the hero in a noirish "hard-boiled" mystery or the like. The narrative would go something like this:

"Cute little puppies and kittens were lying there dead in the chamber, tongues lolling out horribly. It's no mystery how it happened. Like the poor saps of the Sonderkommando, my job is pulling the lever that kills 'em. Yeah, working the shelter's a rough gig. That's why I'm a professional snoop on the side; somehow, I don't feel so bad about beating some low-life stool pigeon bloody when I think how this is probably all his fault somehow. That's also why I've got two friends who travel with me at all times. The first one travels with me in a concealed-carry holster, and I have to keep him loaded at all times. The second one accompanies me in a hip flask, and he has to keep me loaded at all times. Yeah, it's a tough job."
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CheezeFlixz
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« Reply #50 on: July 14, 2007, 01:20:57 AM »

When a young couple or a girl is being chased by a killer, monster, demon, animal they always run upstairs, thus trapping themselves.
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RobtheBarbarian
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« Reply #51 on: July 14, 2007, 06:11:50 AM »

Whenever a traveler enters a small midwestern town, he finds out the whole place is ruled by a corrupt corporation and/or rich tycoon that he has to dismantle in order to bring justice back (Road House, Man-Thing, every other episode of most '80s TV series, etc.).

Government divisions always employ people who are basically useless, requiring them to canvas for 20-year old geeks, janitors and other outsiders to figure out what this code means or where the monster is going to strike next (Transformers, Godzilla, etc).

Hardened, experienced female soldiers will always wear makeup and skimpy clothes to battle and won't have the slightest muscle mass or tone to detract from their supermodel bodies. (King Arthur, etc.)
« Last Edit: July 14, 2007, 06:19:51 AM by RobtheBarbarian » Logged
Doc Daneeka
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« Reply #52 on: July 14, 2007, 12:59:08 PM »

Quote
but can't come up with ANY "Big Government Good" cliches
Every country has at least one elite shadow organization dedictated to protect us against werewolves, flying saucers, and such.
Quote
Hardened, experienced female soldiers will always wear makeup and skimpy clothes to battle and won't have the slightest muscle mass or tone to detract from their supermodel bodies.
Female soldiers will always be ultra-sensitive about their ability to kick ass while maintaining their femininity. They are also always just covering up for their sensitive interior.
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« Reply #53 on: July 14, 2007, 06:13:20 PM »

when a guy gets fataly stab/shoot, even if its in the arm, it will come blood out of his mouth, even if he is hit in the arm
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Doc Daneeka
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« Reply #54 on: July 14, 2007, 07:28:20 PM »

Do you have an example? Question
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asimpson2006
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« Reply #55 on: July 14, 2007, 08:32:40 PM »

My favorite cliches:

1. During a fight scene someone comes doing all sorts of flashy stuff like back flips and what not trying to be tough, and then knocked with 1 hit.

2. People who constantly get hit in the face and chest and are not phased by it, but then are hit int he groin and then are able to take damage any where on the body.

3. The storm trooper effect need I say more.

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peter johnson
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« Reply #56 on: July 15, 2007, 12:31:46 AM »

Hidey Ho! --
I still don't know, really, Mr. Inyarear . . . I've read your analysis, but don't quite get it still --
For the record, I am a registered Libertarian, so my Right Wing credentials should be unsniffable!
I still have a problem with a lot of what I read/hear on TV/radio re. the alleged "persecution" of majority Christianity or majority conservatism in film.  Seems like a buffet-style pick-and-choose complaint to me, a bit -- I would suggest, by all means, DO go out and see the films I've mentioned. 
The claim that "magic" is always used unquestioningly by the so-called "heroes" of a given film, without consequence, is a particular bugaboo for me -- one I think is promulgated by the Benny Hinn Christian crowd with no respect for nuance or anything like "truth" as such. 
I find it particularly galling in "modern times" that a faction of our culture is unable to distinguish "fiction" from within the morass of book and film we encounter currently.  Ergo, any appeal to magic or the supernatural can be seen as a veiled endorsement of Hell and Satan, and not merely fun for its own sake.  I speak primarily of the ongoing shreik-reaction from the cultural Right re. Harry Potter, but other examples could suffice.  We had, for instance, a very lengthy diatribe in the Denver Post about how the Harry Potter books invoke "actual demonic spell-casting as practiced by Satanists today", and so on.  The author went on to cite a number of books ("The Satan Sellers", etc.), that have long ago been shown to be fictional works, in defense of her position.
Anyway, the thread was about cliches, and I'm still not sure that some of the things you mention qualify -- Certainly you may have COMPLAINTS about them, but I don't think they occur with the frequency required to constitue a "cliche".
peter curmudgeon/denny harumph!
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« Reply #57 on: July 15, 2007, 01:11:18 AM »

How about a big chested, no ass woman running in the woods/long hallway/alleyway from a psycopath/monster/alien/rapist(s) when, all of a sudden, she twisted her foot/trips.
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« Reply #58 on: July 15, 2007, 01:39:49 AM »

Any movie that the target market is older (15-19) teens will have topless girls at some point.

To numerous to list.
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ulthar
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« Reply #59 on: July 15, 2007, 12:50:04 PM »

Black characters in otherwise middle class, suburban settings (or upper crust settings) talk like they are in the 'hood - or any example of a character fitting common stereotypes.
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