The Top 10 Worst Movie Clichés

Mike Matei / January 20th, 2010

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  • horrorfanboy

    April 9, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    What’s the name of the movie at 1:25?
    “I know it’s not gonna start. It’s not gonna let us leave.”

  • April 9, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    @horrorfanboy
    The Evil Dead

  • Bajsepolade

    April 11, 2010 at 5:48 am

    am i the only one missing “theres no signal!!” that is in every fucking movie? It doesnt even have to be a horror movie or at a place where there really is no signal. comedy? horror? action?…atop of a mountain? at the beach? in the city? doesnt matter, theres no fucking signal! :P
    please reply ^^,

  • abc3000

    April 14, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    My favorite Cliche is missing: The guy that accidentally walks in a chess game and after not even watching at the board gives fucking advise how to win the game. Always the players keep watching at the board and wonder what a fucking jerk that clever bastard is…

  • JAM

    April 17, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    Wow, James, I’m inpressed that you use the clips from “It’s Alive”, maybe you could use the other clips from “It’s Alive” in the next AVGN review.

  • OoOo101112

    May 2, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    number 4 is in the new nightmare on elm street, they have it WAY to many times

  • BCvonRayfus

    May 16, 2010 at 2:52 am

    Dude, I CANNOT BELIEVE you took a scene from the “Thankskilling” trailer!!! This made my day, because the “hero” in that “movie” is played by my former high school history teacher…I’m not even kidding! Lance Predmore was my history teacher freshman year of high school, and he either quit or got fired, can’t remember, but he went on to be in B-rated horror flicks. :P I’ve been an AVGN fan for a few years and to think that somehow there’s the lightest connection…wow.

  • Edward

    May 23, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Actually, I kinda like the 360 shot. Of course, when done right. Like a nice pieceful moment, or suddenly the world revolves around you, or just to get a good look around to show what’s around the subject (like in the middle of no escape or getting your barings).

    The fading to black, I know can be a bit much, but it kinda sets the mood for some of the thrillers. At least in my opinion.
    You know, to those “In a world…” kinda things.
    Oh, and don’t forget the big pause of black and suddenly a voice “I’m too scared…”

    But oh yeah, stupid villans. Suppose it is all about the hidden message: “Being a villan never pans out”. Even the classics where they don’t shoot right away, no, gotta make it ellaborate, then tell what you are planning, and then get busted for it.

  • Antoine Goubel

    May 28, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    I remember that I saw some movies with the vilain not talking, and shooting quickly, but it’s like a message to the audience :”hey i got you, the vilain is not stupid”, and it remembers me I’m watching a movie so I dont like that to much.
    More than a cliche, it’s nearly a rule, and I enjoy it !

  • May 30, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    Absolutely awesome. I wish I could just invite James to watch a MST3K marathon at my place. All the cheesy movies they review have one or more of those cliches.

  • June 8, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    Yes! Definitely villains talking a lot and telling their plans to the good guys is the very last minute MUST be number one. It’s the biggest cliche EVER! I’ve always called this action “monologuing”, though LOL! Like… “OMG the villain is gonna start monologuing now…”

  • creecreehoneybee

    June 17, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    The worst one for me is the cliche with the trailers always stopping the music, that one has always bothered me. It’s just as bad as the cliche car commercials that show the car driving around while this “bad ass” music is being played.

  • Wilford111

    June 18, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    I already knew about the 3rd worst and 1st worst but the 3rd is the most annoying to me.

  • June 29, 2010 at 11:21 am

    a trailer i saw faded to black 30 times no kidding im serious gosh why even more than ten ,why 30.

  • xXVheissuXx

    June 30, 2010 at 2:47 am

    Great list, as always James.

    Just wondering, can anyone tell me what song is playing in the beginning and during all the 360 Shot scenes? Thanks.

  • WatchmenFTW

    July 2, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    Well, there no way to finish off a show about cliches than from Tuco of the Good, Bad and the Ugly.
    Anyway, you’re really right about these things James, good list. The villain is District 9 is such a twat, as we British say.

  • Superzone

    July 5, 2010 at 4:04 am

    Can’t agree more with this list, especially #3. I frickin hate it when comedy trailers do that and EVERYONE laughs, even if the joke wasn’t even remotely funny.

  • Sinima

    July 11, 2010 at 3:28 am

    what is the name of that song at the very begining

  • BrandonLee

    July 22, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    For me, the absolute worst movie cliche is: The Love Interest. It is so not necessary. If it’s a romance movie movie, then I understand but to have a movie where two characters meet and fall in love is just stupid.

  • kamakazi geek

    July 31, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    in the last cliche i thought that the scene from die hard 1 would be in it.
    when john mclain is under the table and the terrorist is above him and he says.
    “When you have a chance to shoot somebody, do it”
    the john mclain shoots the fucker through the table. yeah

  • DarkSlayer

    August 4, 2010 at 2:31 am

    I had thought the whole “Bullet time” cliche was started in John Woo movies. I remember some where the action would slow down just like in The Matrix. Some I remember seeing it in Face Off and I think The Replacement Killers.

  • sinkheadhxc

    August 19, 2010 at 10:08 am

    I can agree w/ the John Woo statement, to an extent. Funny list tho.

    Can any1 tell me what movie it is where in #9 ‘the car won’t start’ there is a mother and son in the car? I wanna say Kujo but eh I dont remember.

  • ragingwilly

    August 20, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    Bullet time is by far the worst. It genuinely angers me to see it in movies after the years of abuse.

  • Squallina

    August 26, 2010 at 12:09 am

    Damn you for pointing out the Fading to Black cliche! Now I can’t enjoy ANY pre-movie trailers anymore! EVERY trailer does the stupid fade to black thing nowadays!

  • September 19, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    My number 1 Movie cliché is: It was all a dream! This happens all the time, it’s so lame, because the ones making the films can then make pretty much anything happen but still have a happy ending or something…

  • September 27, 2010 at 2:17 am

    The ones I hate the most are the Matrix .. ohh so used !!! ,.. and the stupid villan , that seems to be every villan.. …

  • Yeroc1337

    October 6, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    That’s sooo funny at the end “If you’ve gotta shoot, shoot, don’t talk.” Haha. AVGN, if you see this, please tell me what movie that clip was from?

  • JohnFred

    October 6, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    “If you’ve gotta shoot, shoot, don’t talk”, is from, ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” Tuco Ramirez, (the Ugly), is having a bath and some bloke bursts in to kill him, but instead of just shooting him he goes on to tell him how long he’s been looking for him and what’s going to happen to him now he’s finally caught up with him, etc. Tuco shoots him dead from beneath the bubbles of him bath and makes that famous quote.

  • B. C. Masters

    October 8, 2010 at 12:21 am

    The Cliche` that I call the “push out pull back” method (I don’t know if thats what its called) is where the background of a scene moves farther away and the foreground moves toward you. It usually happens when a suspenseful situation arises. I guess it started with Alfred Hitchcock but I could be mistaken. I’ve seen it in countless movies including LOTR. Let us kill that cliche` too before it gets too out of hand.

  • Schloss Ritter

    October 11, 2010 at 12:51 am

    The comedic pause also reminds me of how annoying I find laugh tracks on TV shows. I stopped watching sitcoms because it’s like they think we’re too dumb to know when to laugh.

  • cobaltnightsky

    October 13, 2010 at 2:41 am

    Thanks James for these clichés! it’s true we keep seeing them time and again, and just like the “fade-to-black”, we, sometimes, do not even pay attention to them anymore…

    thinking of the clichés, that reminded the sounds that we keep earing, time and again, just as shown here:
    http://listverse.com/2009/09/25/top-10-movie-sound-effects-we-all-recognize/

    I don’t know if you have talked about it in another of your video, but I remembered it when you talked about the ring bell :) Especially for the Wilhelm scream!

  • captain redbeard

    October 14, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    some of the points mentioned are not really cliches, more like cutting- or camera-techniques.

    the two trailer-”cliches” are proofed working ways of catching an audience that´s still talking or sorting beer and pop corn.

    and the fades to black are simplifying the cutters work cause they can cut together whatever pictures they want as long as they´re seperated by black. would be a much harder task to do that well if you can´t use that trick…

    seems to me maybe you should do a list “top 5 things that i hate about trailers” (4 – showing the 3 only funny scenes of a whole movie) and to maybe update this list in a way that really only “MOVIE cliches” will remain.

    otherwise some really dumb cliches out of tv-series or even commercials must be added…

  • kawamura2

    October 18, 2010 at 4:48 am

    I hate a couple of the cliches in this list, but you know, if you kill all of the cliches, there will be nothing left but straight on, uninteresting shots. Sometimes a cliche can at least be familiar, though most are way over used. I think there is a place for most of them, when appropriate. The problem is, directors seem to have no idea what moderation is, or when a good time to use one is.

  • October 18, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Let’s not forget the cliché in which a character is thought to be killed but comes back right at the end. Seriously, do they honestly expect us to go “oh my gosh, he’s alive! Oh joy! I didn’t see that coming at all!”

  • October 18, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    @B. C. Masters Oh, you mean the “dolly zoom” (aka vertigo shot). I actually like it a lot, if it’s used well. But true, it wouldn’t be the same if it was used over and over again.

  • Nicardy

    October 23, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    I find that there’s a cliche that happens in superhero or action movies or shows:

    There’s a hoard of similar enemies (or maybe identical, robots or clones):

    The first bad guy is tough, or they all start out tough, and then at some point the good guys plough through them like they’re nothing.

    Maybe they just want to show one cool looking, elaborate fight, but often it is just something people notice and complain about.

  • Metal_Island

    October 24, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    I noticed that you used “Cujo” as an example of the “tripping and crawling” cliche. I thought it might be worth pointing out that in the book at least it’s an important part of the story because that trip gives the main charachter an opportunity to finally kill the dog. I also think that the “car won’t start” cliche shouldn’t apply to “Cujo” either for obvious reasons. Thanks for using it though, Ive never seen it used anywhere let alone a proper review

  • galileoacosta

    November 21, 2010 at 2:25 am

    @Yeroc1337 the one at the end is from “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” i think

  • lfgubrs

    November 21, 2010 at 11:13 am

    Whats the song in the backround when its the 360 shot cliche?

  • Ghillie_Suit

    November 21, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    whats the song used for the 360 shot cliche?

  • November 28, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    My favorite is that in movies trained soldiers are so dumbass they can never hit a target and the dozens of them can be easily eliminated by a single person :D

  • Snafu

    December 27, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    The “Jump Scare” cliche is a bit old.

  • unholyasshole

    January 5, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    #4 The False Alarm: Reminds me of when I was watching “I know what you did last summer” in the theatre. One reason while this movie just sucked ass was that it was really abusing this “technique”. It became totally predictable. You (well, I) could always tell when it was false alarm or not. I got so bored that I used one of those moments to shock my seat neighbor friend. It was so perfectly timed, that she screamed out loud and the whole audience got shocked ^^. Well, she didn’t speak to me, the rest of the evening…

    #1: Love that scene with Tuco because I always thought of it as spoofing this whole cliché. And it’s Eli Wallach! He’s just so great in this film, cause he’s a real scumbag, but somehow naive and childish at the same time. The scene when he’s paying back on Eastwood, chasing him through the desert and euphorically laughing like a child is one of the most memorable scenes.

  • January 27, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    Blade started the bullet time not the matrix.

  • mcnerven

    January 28, 2011 at 5:12 am

    @Yeroc1337 The movie is “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly”

  • Dennizjoon

    February 2, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    1 What is the song in the beginning named xD 2 Great video James!

  • gamer_guide123

    March 7, 2011 at 2:41 am

    yeah fucking hate that matrix shit over and over again

  • Dark Omega

    April 6, 2011 at 8:46 am

    How about guns that have almost infinite ammo? Ya know, that revolver that popped off 20 rounds?

  • cgholds

    April 18, 2011 at 12:12 am

    The one where people trip in the face of danger, first off adrenaline kicks in and you don’t think of anything but running very fast AWAY. Secondly when you do fall, the only way to get up (in a paranoid mind) is to put your back towards them and that makes you vulnerable (in their mind) to them lunging at you, My guess is the film makers wanted to make this realistic.

    I find most of your cliches defendable except the 360 camera and the talking villain. I agree that villains should just kill, but it goes to show that theyre so insecure that they want the hero to know why theyre dying yet being one step behind as usual. The 360 camera, yea at certain times its annoying but in the dark knight it was letting us know at an all around view how evil and messed up the joker was, I loved it.

  • cheezdoodle96

    April 25, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    @Dennizjoon Stayin’ Alive by The Bee Gees

  • Darkrai1276

    May 13, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    huh someone actually metioned the film kung pow thats the one with the cow shoting milk in bullet time, the film is hilarious

  • SippinCoughee

    May 17, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Excellent Video, Amigo! Now let’s go get taco’s!

  • rolflobker

    May 25, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    @people asking about the music played during 360 shot. That’s Monte Carlo Nights by Elliot Easton’s Tiki Gods’s

  • jerseys

    May 28, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Anyone know what’s the music during the 360 degrees shot cliche?

  • Druza

    June 12, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    Not to to be racist, but when you did “Fading to black” you faded to a black guy. Was that on purpose maybe?

  • August 3, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    I hate the trailers cliches, its in all movies damit!, the bad joke, the fade in black, man, the 80s movie trailers were the best D:

  • tatripp

    September 7, 2011 at 2:14 am

    Great video, great ending. I love the good the bad and the ugly and i cannot think of a better scene in any movie to get your point across.

  • Gekkou

    October 16, 2011 at 11:23 am

    I think using the song “I’ve got the power” should have been on this list. I just HATE that song and every time i see scene with it i start hating the movie too.

  • covcov86

    October 22, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    sorry to point this out James but you have actually used some of these cliches yourself, namely the record scratch……by the way i’ve watched all of your videos at least 3 times each (your awsome) and i’m really looking forward to the movie (hope it gets into the theatres).

  • Universal

    November 2, 2011 at 7:43 pm

    Actually… Whenever there is a time sensitive situation, the car won’t start. That is the law of nature.

  • RabidDog

    January 2, 2012 at 5:38 am

    Bonus points for making the most true statement in #2: Fade to Black. I’ve tripped so many times during trailers thanks to that cliche.

  • ConroyHolds

    March 8, 2012 at 5:30 am

    There are a few good points but honestly most of these are needed for starter film-makers. Yes parody-ing something over and over is annoying and fading to black is bad in a theater, but oooh lets be artsy? Thats like saying oooohhh lets be artsy and paint gloomy pictures with black and gray. Its a given, how else are they going to express something?

  • HorazStCruz

    March 20, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    “When you have to shoot, shoot! Don’t talk…” GREAT T-SHIRT.

  • Senna4ever

    May 21, 2012 at 6:28 am

    Also notice during “the trip” they always trip over nothing?

    Oh and The Matrix did not “invent” bullet time. It popularized it, not invent it.

  • The Bman

    July 12, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    Haha! Thankskilling at 5:56.

  • lotusclown

    September 13, 2012 at 4:09 am

    the last one omg… me and my best friend always argue about this one, i’m like *why tha fuck doesn’t he just shoot the bastard?* and he’s like *because he wanted to have the last word and it cost him* fuck that! just once i’d like to see this cliche broken in a movie!

  • binaryfruit

    October 8, 2012 at 2:33 am

    One I hate is when people are going to say something really important, usually a backstory or something, they turn away from whoever they’re talking to. For one thing, doesn’t that make it harder to hear them? And for another, people don’t actually talk that way!

  • Iron65

    October 8, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    “Audiences are so trained to hear this. It’s like they don’t know there’s supose to laugh ” Wise words man , that is so damn true… SOmehow my main reason why I stop watching movies for a time is that I found it very repititive and lack of originality… I like to wacht it with people but most of time not alone,, The dark scenes are frustrating to me … And by the way,, I should place Innecesary explosions on top list! To many of them make so predictable ! Thanks for the video bro… My favorite top ten

  • thedankens

    November 11, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    The thing that always pisses me off is when the good guy has the bad guy beat, but doesn’t kill them. Instead, the good guy walks away and the bad guy goes to kill the good guy while his back is turned, but gets killed in the most random fashion. Fuck that shit! I wanna see the good guy get his hands dirty and fuckin kill that bitch!

  • Smokingspoon

    December 14, 2012 at 3:53 am

    #10 : It’s a movie cliche alright. But actually in real life, in a very stressing scenario my keys do slip off my hand, I do lose balance or even get paralyzed. It’s like that other cliche of someone who is about to get run over by a car, but people really do this, it’s like you get scared before you understand what’s happening XD.

    #1 : Oh yeah, I hate this one. But as for Mr. Bond, he’s never been that skilled, he’s just the most LUCKIEST man alive. All the gals love him, he’s banned from all casinos, people can’t aim at him, he randomly and successfully shoot enemies, nemesis execute him in an easily escapable and eccentric way… kidding, but would be funny.

  • FinallyGAF

    January 11, 2013 at 10:42 am

    I hate the recent’Run over by the bus’.
    I mean it is already liek 8 years old or something, but it goes like this:
    A person is saying dramatic things to another one and is walking backwards. Then he must walk on a street, but we didn’t see this because the camera is focused on that person.
    Then in comes the bus at top speed, without honking, breaking or any kind of remorse just running over this guy.
    I think it is in Lost, Final Destination and this Lindsay Lohan Flic, I forgot the name…

  • FinallyGAF

    January 11, 2013 at 10:46 am

    Oh, and 3 years later, the fade to black still goes on… like in EVERY Trailer…

  • FrankenPC

    January 21, 2013 at 9:42 pm

    You forgot shaky-cam and gasoline explosions. I’m incredibly sick of both.

  • Joseph

    February 25, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    Thanks for including a thankskilling clip James.

  • Joseph

    February 25, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    The Juiciest poon comment makes thankskilling a laughable horror masterpiece. Nice Tits Bitch.

  • Jcr3ws

    March 8, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    I think massive battles with awfully noticeable cgi should be on the list. Its very predictable and useless anymore in movies. The good guys are out numbered so they call up some “greater” power to end the battle for them… only worked well in LOR trilogy.

  • zebra homer

    July 13, 2013 at 10:51 pm

    number one’s importance was explained in austin powers

  • December 31, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    How did you not mention Last Action Hero where they specifically make fun of that stupid thing of the villand. Another thing I would’ve added is the stupid shit of action movies where a hell bunch of armed guys shoot at just one dude, and they all miss. Is soooo common and soo fuckin stupid that it deserve to be in the top 3 at the very least. I wonder where was this abused the most, Rambo 3? Commando? that trilogy with antonio banderas? Is hard but I vote for Rambo 3. What do you think?

  • February 5, 2014 at 9:56 am

    I cant believe you use a clip from ThanksKilling. I thought i was the only one to see that movie on the face of the earth.

  • May 13, 2014 at 11:29 am

    Here’s one which I think deserves a mention: Voice over narration – in both movies and trailers. Now, let me elaborate: It’s not the concept that grinds my cheese, it’s the fact that 9 out of 10 voices (and that’s me being a generous bastard) are… predictable. What do I mean? Deep, basso profondo voices with limited vocal inflection. Not everybody has the vocal chops of the late Don LaFontaine or James Earl Jones. So what if the voice is higher or thinner? As long as it suits the role and tone of the story… who gives a smeg? I don’t mean chipmunk voices, but you know what I mean.

  • June 27, 2014 at 5:35 am

    I love it but you forgot the one where in any movie, mostly Horror movies, where the main or a sub protagonist knocks out the main villain and instead of just KILLING them or tying them up for the police or Finishing it once and for all one way or another… they … turn around drop their weapon on the ground or some dumb shit, then flee wildly and erraticlly only to be either killed later (sub characters) or have someone die on them or have to go through massive bullshit when they could of just killed the damn villain… BUT… then the movie wouldn’t be as interesting I guess.. but it IS the writer’s job to make it interesting.. but I guess that would be too hard, eh?

  • August 3, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    i totally agree

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