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Top 10 “Most Played Out Movie Cliché”

Top 10 “Most Played Out Movie Cliché”

We all know about the movie cliché. That extra little touch of unoriginality that we fall victim to time and time again as we are forced to watch the same premise repeated in countless movies with different actors.

Hollywood surely has the same 10 scripts bouncing around from studio to studio.

Here are the Top 10 Most Played Out Movie clichés that make this Movie Monkey want to desperately shoot out his flat screen every time I come across them.

#10 The Wilhelm Scream

We’ve all heard it in countless films. The familiar scream we hear when someone is either shot, thrown off a cliff, falls from a great distance, gets knocked off a horse, smacked in the face with a pie or just about any other action where the actor is incapable of making his own sound effects.  It now has become a joke unto itself to use the Wilhelm scream in every action, comedy or drama film you can think of. It all originated with, you guessed it, some guy named Wilhelm in the substandard Western flick 1953’s The Charge at Feather River. Check out this You tube video with a compilation of the best Wilhelm screams.




#9 The toilet flush that suddenly turns the shower ice cold.

Jersey Girl (2004)

Now this one really grinds my gears! Not only because of the absurdity of the whole situation but because it doesn’t ACTUALLY WORK! I don’t know how many times the Movie Monkey has tried this on his unsuspecting showering girlfriend only to be utterly disappointed when she doesn’t start screaming from the sudden attack of cold water. It has been used in countless movies and TV shows and it always has the same effect.

Let me break it down for you. Our film’s hero (or anyone for that matter) is quietly taking a shower when in comes that devious little bastard and gives the toilet a good flush when suddenly our hero lets out a piercing scream because the shower water has suddenly gone ice-cold. Then the culprit has to use an obligatory smart ass remark and we go on watching this shit storm and wonder why it doesn’t work when we try it ourselves at home. IT’S NOT REAL! Stop using it Hollywood!




#8 The evil German who loses his fake evil German accent half way through the film.

X-Men: First Class (2011)

Oh my god I lose my mind whenever they use this one. I literally slap myself over the head when they make a movie with an evil German plotting evil German things in his fake evil German accent only to forget that he is an evil German half way through the film and revert back to his American accent. Quite possibly because he realized he was doing a shitty German accent and couldn’t take the embarrassment anymore.

Used in countess films most recently by Kevin Bacon in X-Men: First Class (2011).  Seriously are Germans really evil?  Every German friend of mine just likes to drink beer and party. Why can’t they create a new breed of movie villain? I would personally like to see an evil Australian or Polak for once.




#7 “Become who you were born to be <insert name>”

This clever bit of dialogue has been used countless times to inspire the reluctant hero who has lost his nerve to suddenly stand up and finally grow a pair. Every time I hear it I absolutely cringe. It sounds so forced and nobody in the real world would ever say anything to that degree unless they are a serious dork who spends way too much time playing XBOX 360 and watching the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Usually if someone is actually saying this to someone else in real life, the hidden subtext behind the line is to tell the person to be who they were born to be, and our reluctant hero will finally come out of the closet and reveal to be super fabulous.



#6 The Magic Gun with the never-ending supply of bullets.

The Matrix (1999)

Everybody knows that in action movies, our heroes gun NEVER runs out of bullets and they can just keep fighting and doing back flips while unloading their magic gun into their unlucky enemies. That is because no actor in Hollywood has ever actually fired a gun in real life and has absolutely no clue how guns really work. This tired movie cliché has been around since the beginning of cinema. There are just to many examples to list them here so I included a picture from my favorite example of this cliché gone bad. Now I know The Matrix is supposed to exist in an alternate dimension but seriously, I’ll take a realistic gun fight over a cartoon gun fight any day. The best example of an actual gun fight in a film is in the 1983 Gangster classic Scarface where Al Pacino actually starts to take bullets while he has to stop everything and reload. Granted he did take like 100 bullets during that scene but bear in mind, Tony Montana had just nose-dived into a pile of cocaine a few minutes prior so he is not likely to even feel those bullets hitting him. Except when that sneaky bastard creeps up from behind him and, well you know how the story ends.

  Scarface (1983) Best gun fight ever!



#5 The Token Black Guy

This cliché is so played out and overly used that the geniuses over at South Park named their only black kid in town “Token” as a tribute to this worn out movie device. Used in almost EVERY single Movie and TV show EVER produced by Hollywood.

From Carlton Banks doing the Carlton dance to Lando Calrissian in Empire Strikes Back, to Anthony Anderson’s quirky one liners in Transformers to sadly even the hilarious Craig Robinson in Hot Tub Time Machine. This is a movie cliché that needs to end soon!

Why can’t they start using the Token Russian immigrant singing death metal songs like in Kevin Smith’s Clerks? That guy was friggin hilarious! “My love for you is like a truck BERZERKER! Would you like some making f*** BERZERKER!!”

And here now for your viewing pleasure my Movie Monkey’s, the Carlton Dance.



#4 The Hispanic House Maid

This cliché is actually quite hilarious considering the truth involved. No offense Maria, I still love you and you are doing a fabulous job. The meek Hispanic house maid has recently become a staple of TV and Movie clichés because they are just so damn funny to talk to.

Watch this clip of TV’s most famous Hispanic house maid, Consuela from Family Guy.




#3 The pissed off renegade military officer with a vendetta against the US.

Ed Harris in The Rock (1996)

When will this guy finally catch a break? Not only does he have to fight in a war that he doesn’t believe in so a bunch of pansy ass politicians can buy a new sports car and set of golf clubs. He is also expected to sit quietly while his loyal soldiers died in the field “without so much as a god damn military burial!!!” Well not for long. Ed Harris is the man! This interesting movie cliché’ is actually quite relevant today because you begin to sympathize with him and his cause even when he is targeted by his former boss and cast as the villain. This clichéd movie character has been used in countless action films but in this Movie Monkeys opinion was played most eloquently by the great Ed Harris in 1996’s The Rock.




#2 The hooker with the heart of gold.

Ok this movie cliché is just completely bogus and totally unbecoming. There is no such thing as a Hooker with a heart of gold. Didn’t you see Charlize Theron in Monster? That was probably the most accurate description of your typical “working girl” (minus the serial killings of course).

Hookers aren’t nice. Hookers don’t have a heart of gold. Hookers don’t make you feel good about yourself and make you want to marry them. If they did, they would be working volunteer in an animal shelter while writing children’s books on the side instead of going down on strangers to support their heroin habit.

This tired old movie cliché was made popular by the always loveable Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman (1990) who is probably the only actress in Hollywood that could have pulled off that role without feeling forced. When she gets attacked by George Costanza at the end, you actually feel sorry for her and want Richard Gere to beat him down like the little weasel that he is.

If you want to see a fairly accurate movie description of your typical street-walker that isn’t a psychotic serial killer, check out Elizabeth Shue in Leaving Las Vegas (1995). Great performance!



And the NUMBER 1 most played out movie cliché is:

#1 The ruthless businessman who suddenly finds his conscience. 

The Family Man (2000)

This cliché has been done to death! I can literally count over 50 films where the corporate big shot who is cold to his wife and kids has a magical revelation and suddenly decides that money and power are not important. He would rather be poor and in love than rich and powerful.

100% erroneous!! This is the most unrealistic cliché ever inflicted onto the movie watching public since the aforementioned Token Black Guy. There is no possible way that a wealthy businessman is suddenly going to give up his extravagant life to live a more modest life in the suburbs simply for love.

Watch the infamous boardroom scene from Dogma which sums up this dilemma best.




Honorable mention:

The cheeky little kid that is inexplicably much smarter than the rest of the adults.

Jurassic Park (1993)

Where do I begin with this ridiculous movie cliché? In almost every science fiction and action film there is always some cheeky little kid who has intelligence that far exceeds the normal capacity of a kid of relative age. This is beyond unrealistic and is actually an insult to my intelligence.

I have met many kids these days and almost 99.9% of them are complete brain-dead idiots due to reality TV and endless hours of playing Xbox 360 while stuffing themselves with junk food.


Categories: Best of Lists
  1. 07/26/2011 at 10:03 AM

    I think this is one of the most significant info for me. And i am glad reading your article. But should remark on some general things, The site style is ideal, the articles is really nice : D. Good job, cheers

  2. Jack
    08/10/2011 at 8:01 PM

    Gotta disagree with the cold shower thing. I grew up in a house that was built in the 1920’s and it seemed like all the appliances were connected. If someone turned on the washing machine, dishwasher, or flushed the toilet while you were in the shower, all the hot water would immediately disappear and you had to huddle in the corner for a few minutes until it came back on. Maybe it only happens in old houses, but it does happen.

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