Some movie clichés are so firmly rooted into the cinematic experience that we often might forget that they’re even clichés at all; we just accept them as part of the experience, alongside characters breathing, moving and talking. Still, filmmakers have relied on lazy tactics to tell a story, skip through difficult-to-write dialogue and basically just race to the good stuff, even if this is often at the expense of small things like logic.
Should movies be akin to real life? Most of the time, probably not, but there’s a certain irony in movies purporting to offer viewers “escapism” while they simultaneously contravene that attempt with some ludicrous bizarre behaviours that in effect pull us out of the experience. Sure, clichés can make for an enjoyable night out at the movies when a film so ludicrously revels in them – and sometimes they can the most entertaining aspect of a film – but when even good films can’t escape these absurd tropes, it’s a sign that something’s rotten in Hollywood.
Here are 10 movie clichés that just need to stop.
10. People Never Say “Goodbye” To End Phone Calls
We imagine screenwriters don’t think too much about whether Liam Neeson is realistically polite when on the phone to terrorists, let alone his actual family, but it’s distracting how many films of all genres simply don’t have characters converse in a way that even approaches realism. People can have the most engaging, thrilling, hilarious conversation in cinema history, but if it isn’t signed off properly, it just distracts me; in film-land, do people ever actually say the most basic of phone-related pleasantries, “Goodbye”?
While the absence of this word is of course entirely permissible if it’s an emotionally charged, angry scene – because who is polite to their enemies? – but even in dramas and between the most well-acquainted, friendly characters, as soon as all the expository plot information has been spat out, a character will simply hang up without every saying goodbye. In those rare instances that it does happen, it’s so shocking that it ironically doesn’t seem right.
While it’s easy to appreciate screenwriters cutting verbose dialogue for pacing and to keep things moving, this is one daft omission, a 2-second exchange that more films need to be sure to include. Or am I just being British and overly polite?
This article was first posted on December 24, 2012