Do you sometimes get the feeling you are watching the same movie over and over again? And you are definitely not a movie freak like I am who watches as many movies a month as she has makeup. Still, you feel things may be becoming predictable. Hollywood goes through seasons of typical cliches, like back when all action movies had to have a high speed car chasing scene where at least one street vendor stand would be run over (usually a fruit stand).
Today’s Hollywood is still pumping us with highly entertaining films, but some of the plot features are starting to get a little repetitive. Here’s a list of the 10 recent movie plot features I’m really getting tired of seeing. Again. And again. And again……
1. Casting a “known” actor in a seemingly trivial/minor role
Suspense and/or action thrillers these days have a tough job in entertaining audiences because, basically, we have almost seen it all. But do you want to know a sure way to ruining it for all of us? Cast a known actor in what I call a “peek-a-boo” role. This actor will show up at the beginning of the movie, has a couple of lines, then completely dissappears. You know, that guy. That actor you rarely know by his/her name, but often notice in movies. For me, as soon as that guy shows up and dissappears in a sort of abrupt way, it’s a dead giveaway: he/she is the culprit of whatever mystery is unfolding in the movie.
2. Using a drop-dead gorgeous actress as “ugly duckling”
Oh, yes, the most believable of all movie cliches: first, hire a super beautiful actress with a flawless face and fit physique. Second, put her in baggy clothes, give her curly hair, a unibrow, glasses (maybe a couple of pimples, too to really get the point across) and voila, you got yourself the raw material for a makeover movie! Who would’ve thought under all that clutter would be a stunning swan? The worst part of it all? How the girl’s unrequitted crush finds himself attracted to this monstruosity of a woman only to be rewarded at the end with the good looking version of said woman. Ah! Love is a many splendorous thing!
This is a traditional cliché of romantic comedies. At some point this was a fun movie to watch, nowadays, I mean c’mon, are you telling I’m supposed to believe Sandra Bullock is just horrendous because she has a terrible hairstyle and snorts when she laughs?
3. Kristen Stewart as the angsty character
Yes, people, that is a smile you see in young Kristen. What could’ve happened to that sweet young child that turned her into this surly young adult? I have so far seen 8 movies of Ms. Stewart (3 if you consider the 5 installments of the Twilight saga as just one – she plays the same supernatural accident prone character anyway) and in not a single one of those movies can she portray an “emoting” character. It seems all she can convey is the extreme discomfort one must go through when dealing with an intestinal obstruction. I’m not sure if it’s a casting issue on the part of movie makers or Ms. Stewart knows that’s all she can do…. In any case, someone please cast her in a romantic comedy ASAP! Maybe even one with plot #2… That’d be a twist on that annoying storyline I’d loove to see!
4. The “proactive dumbass”
There is always a movie that involves a characters journey from being a spineless idiot to a badass motherf… You’d think that movie would be an inspiring tale of courage, rising against all odds, and discovery. But it’s often a painfully frustrating tale of an idiot who tries too hard to be something he/she clearly has no aptitude for and in the process gets everyone around them in trouble. And usually at the end they do this very heroic sh*t that’s somehow supposed to make us forget of all the stupidity of the rest of the movie. I’m not buying it.
I’m not sure what’s worst: the sheer annoyance of this plot feature or the fact that I transform myself into a banshee and start screaming at the screen as if the characters could hear me. Yeah, I’m gonna go with sheer annoyance of the plot feature…
5. I payed for this Louboutins with my minimum wage salary
Most romantic comedies tend to deal with this pitfall, but we are too busy dealing with cheesy lines and romantic twists to notice the jobs of these characters in the movies would not be able to afford them the same lifestyle in real life. The example from the photo above is so over the top; seriously, a poor Iowa waitress gets a job as a poor L.A. waitress then turned cabaret singer and all of a sudden she can afford custom Louboutins. For your reference a similar model available for retail is nearly $2000. Sure, go ahead and get one of those on your teacher salary. Forget eating, utilities, or rent. And speaking of rent, how about the freakishly large New York apartments of these characters in jobs such as assistant, marketing analyst, intern, columnist writer? In a lot of these movies they blatantly flaunt their financial challenges, yet they can afford these places.
Assuming there is a way the clothes, the shoes, the apartments can all be afforded: credit cards. Not exactly a financially responsible message to transmit…
6. Triple S: Sultry Sexy Supernaturals
After plot feature 5 I thought this was going to be a top 5 list. I could not think of anything else until, out of curiosity I asked my husband if he thought there was some recurrent movie feature he thought had become “repetitive”. He very calmly said, but almost without thinking “well, why does every movie have to be about vampires these days? Like, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter….seriously?” That was a very good point,but he was wrong in one thing: it’s not just vampires (although those are the hot ones right now). It’s werewolves, vampires, witches, wizards, zombies (this one even has most of the above). There are still movies where supernatural creatures are still scary, but most of them today have these dark mysterious supernaturals that could easily land the cover of Teen Beat magazine. The age of the vampire seems to be dwindling, and I have a feeling the age of the zombie may begin. “But Paola, I’ve seen Resident Evil, they are not pretty, nor sexy”. Well, someone in Hollywood thought they had potential because this is happening.
7. Are we all just 14 year-olds trapped in our 30 something bodies?
And speaking of supernaturals…. The start of it all was the Twilight series of books, a collection of stories about how important it is to have a boyfriend originally sold in the category of Young Adult books. There are A LOT of best selling books in this category which have and are being turned into movies. And the trend is not really stoping. At first I thought it was perhaps how the entertainment industry is really milking the tween demographic cow really, really hard (how else would you explain Justin Bieber and his throngs of psychotic 14 year-olds?). But recent articles have shown Young Adults are not the ones bringing the numbers up. It’s adults. My age. Are there really no good stories out there for more mature audiences that are worth a movie adaptation? Can those movies not just be adaptations of mommy porn?
Maybe this is a reflection of our society’s grinding and cruel standards that have filled us all with nostalgia, a longing to relive our teenage years, stop time, and not having to face the harsh reality. Or maybe Hollywood likes recycling. A lot.
8. Women can do other stuff, not just own bakeries
This one is a fairly recent trend and at least it is a possitive one: strong women as business owners. However, I wish the women would own something other than bakeries. I can think of at least 5 movies off the top of my head where these strong, independent women own (or at some point owned) bakeries. I can certainly imagine women owning consulting companies, factories, IT businesses and still make a very entertaining movie. But nooooo, Hollywood, you have decided the only entertaining areas a woman can work in have to do with fashion, media, publishing, and of course, baked goods.
As usual, the men get it a bit better as in a lot of cases in general, but even them seem to be pigeon-holed in certain trendy roles: talented musician or media mogul, creative designer/architect striving for a raise or promotion, troubled writer in the middle of the worst block ever, and of course “business executive” in a wide variety of industries sometimes not even specified as long as they look good in a suit.
9. The death of the epic slow motion scene
You may think slow motion scenes are as old as movies, but you are thinking of your typical “explosion imminent, run like hell, fall in style by the blast, still makes it out alive and covered in dust” style. I’m taking about the epic slow motion scene. The one that show a certain action movie scene (most of the times a fight of epic proportions) in normal speed, then slows down at pivotal moments of it, then goes back to normal speed. Remember the movie 300? There is one scene where my boyfriend Gerard Butler’s character Leonidas fights the Persians like he’s swating flies. That movie alone popularized this style and it was AWESOME. But too much of a good thing can be bad. I say I could eat chocolate all day, but I’m sure by lunch time I’d be getting nauseaus by the sight of it. Maybe you’d last longer, but eventually, you’ll get tired of it. Take note Hollywood. It’s happening!
10. Where have all the original stories gone?
This is not a new Hollywood feat. It is as old as movies themselves. Tons of movies have been rebooted time and again. It’s no big deal, really… Except when you start looking at the time lapse between reboots: For instance, Pride and Predjudice, the beloved 19th century novel by Jane Austen was first made into a movie in 1940. The next big screen adaptation was in 2005 (not counting the TV mini series of the 80s and 90s). Now let’s take The Hulk. Thirteen years after the famous Lou Ferrigno /Bill Bixby TV series ended, Hollywood makes this movie. It wasn’t epic. 5 years later, another movie is made. It is basically a stand alone sequel because not only are the actors replaced, the plot has very little resemblance to the 2003 version (and to make sure the called it The Incredible Hulk). Sure, in some case, say, with the Batman series, some of these stories get a very nice boost. But c’mon people! Original content can be awesome! Take a chance on something that wasn’t already tried 5 years ago!
These are not the first, nor the last cliches we’ll see coming out of Hollywood. Do you have any favorites or ones I did not mention? Write your comments down below!