People on the phone never say "good-bye" at the end of a conversation.
March 16, 2015 10:36 AM   Subscribe

Movie cliches that have been around for decades are still alive and well in 2015. Don't believe it? Check out the list and decide for yourself:
  • When men drink whiskey, it is always in a shot glass, and they always drink it in one gulp. If they are wimps, they will gasp for air, then have a coughing fit. If they are macho, they will wince briefly, flashing clenched teeth.
  • There are always carrot leaves and a loaf of french bread sticking out of every grocery bag
  • Explosions in space make noise, etc. etc. etc.
posted by bhb (204 comments total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
 
I forgot to mention this site is ancient. There really needs to be a newer, better one.
posted by bhb at 10:39 AM on March 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


When trying and failing to write, you will soon be surrounded by piles of crumpled up paper. Kills me every time.
posted by nevercalm at 10:41 AM on March 16, 2015 [10 favorites]


Cue angry writer ranting about "nerds nerding".
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 10:42 AM on March 16, 2015


Everyone's password is something you can guess if you know them well--a family name or birthday, probably.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 10:43 AM on March 16, 2015 [21 favorites]


The bursting of a spacecraft would be audible, in a sense, if you were close enough, if there was enough compressed gas inside the thing that burst open. Rapidly expanding outrushing gas would collide with a near-enough nearby vessel. No kaboom, but...

This is how the ship ends, this is how the ship ends, not with a bang but with a whiffle.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:44 AM on March 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


That one's actually sadly accurate. Or it will be the word 'Password'.
posted by Mogur at 10:44 AM on March 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


This is the subject of a dozen cracked.com lists.

And, on preview, yeah, ancient.
posted by Melismata at 10:45 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Enhance....enhance.
posted by Fizz at 10:46 AM on March 16, 2015 [15 favorites]


A message in Morse Code will start several seconds before someone actually interprets it; however, no information is lost, as the message actually begins when the interpreter starts to read it.

Gosh, I miss the days when audience members had any idea what was happening in these scenes.

When a phone line is broken or someone hangs up unexpectedly, communication channels can be restored by frantically beating the cradle and saying "Hello? Hello?".

Dear younger generation: Phone used to be hung up on something called a cradle. We did not beat babies to get our phones working.

Laptops, for some strange reason, always seem to have amazing real-time video phone capabilities and the performance of a CRAY Supercomputer.

Remember when this wasn't true?

-- All VCRs in films are always cued up exactly to the portion of tape you want to show someone.
-- You will always be able to backwind the tape *precisely* to the beginning of the segment you want to see again.
--Whenever anyone scans through a videotape or audio tape on home equipment you can hear the audio portion of the tape being fast forwarded or rewound.
-- Freeze frame is flawless.


These are going to take some explaining ...
posted by maxsparber at 10:49 AM on March 16, 2015 [55 favorites]


There really needs to be a newer, better one.

I am so, so, so sorry to do this to you. You might want to cancel any appointments that you had for this afternoon.
posted by schmod at 10:49 AM on March 16, 2015 [103 favorites]


I assume no one has linked to tvtropes.org yet as we all still have work to do today?
posted by drezdn at 10:50 AM on March 16, 2015 [34 favorites]


My late father worked for the phone company and he used to have two huge pet peeves that, weirdly, technological progress has rendered moot.

First, it used to bug the crap out of him that the "we need time to trace the call" trope hung around for years and years after it became ridiculous. Consider, for example, that this trope is used in Thelma & Louise regarding a land line, something along the lines of five or so years after your family probably had *69 and/or caller ID on your home phone. You could instantly tell who was calling you, but cops needed 5 to 15 minutes? They never really gave up this trope, but now they at least have the excuse of having to triangulate the location of a cell phone.

Second, you'd routinely see cops on 80s and early 90s tv shows "checking the phone records" to see what they could find out. Think back on how expensive hard drive storage used to be. Think back on how local calls were generally unlimited/free. Now try and explain why your local phone company would have even considered buying rooms and rooms of hard drives and servers to store the data about your unbillable calls to the pizza man or your girlfriend, Terry. They did no such thing. This is also rendered moot, though, as the advent of cellphones and billable minutes and the greatly reduced costs of hard drive storage have made it so that keeping logs of even unbillable phone calls is now standard.

It's funny really: the two worst bits of movie BS regarding phones became true, thanks to cell phones.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:51 AM on March 16, 2015 [32 favorites]


One of my least favorites: The process of (usually classical) musical composition involves morose meanderings on the piano until the muse strikes, at which point the floodgates of genius are opened.
posted by slkinsey at 10:53 AM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


They're completely wrong about chess players and economic status, at least in NYC. When I last went to a tournament, I got my ass kicked by hordes of young kids with personal chess tutors.
posted by corb at 10:54 AM on March 16, 2015


Someone needs to create a site called TV Tropes Tropes, and it will just be a single sentence that reads "It is mandatory that any time someone links to the website TV Tropes, the commenter must include a tongue-in-cheek warning about how clicking the link will ruin your work productivity for the rest of the day."
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:00 AM on March 16, 2015 [60 favorites]


Web Tropes: Eventually someone will make the most meta comment possible about tropes that include all other tropes.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:02 AM on March 16, 2015 [28 favorites]


I remember a US friend once, maybe ten years ago now, claiming that US movies were "more or less" an accurate depiction of life in that country. He was especially adamant that those showing highschools were pretty much spot on.

He was studying for his PhD.
posted by Thing at 11:02 AM on March 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


Love this.

Male characters generally are cold-natured. They need to wear jeans and leather jackets when the female characters are comfortable in cutoffs and a halter top.
posted by something something at 11:03 AM on March 16, 2015 [12 favorites]


When men drink whiskey, it is always in a shot glass, and they always drink it in one gulp. If they are wimps, they will gasp for air, then have a coughing fit. If they are macho, they will wince briefly, flashing clenched teeth.

If they're really macho, they'll smile serenely, then launch into a flawless rendition of "Credeasi, misera," lingering a full forty seconds on the high F.
posted by Iridic at 11:03 AM on March 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


He was this close: TV Ropes
posted by chavenet at 11:05 AM on March 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


I've been to that stupid site loads of times, got irritated that 75% of it was just random obscure crappy anime, and left without ruining my entire day.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:06 AM on March 16, 2015 [60 favorites]


Piston-engine airplanes in the movies are unusually subject to engine failure. This failure mode is unique to filmdom - engine coughs, keeps running. Hero doesn't notice. Then it stutters, catches again. Hero notices, taps gas gauge, turns lever. Then it stutters exactly three times and stops immediately, including propeller. No further efforts are ever made to restart.

No, no, that one's pretty much true.
posted by backseatpilot at 11:06 AM on March 16, 2015 [10 favorites]


I remember a US friend once, maybe ten years ago now, claiming that US movies were "more or less" an accurate depiction of life in that country. He was especially adamant that those showing highschools were pretty much spot on.

How do you know he was wrong?
posted by crazy with stars at 11:07 AM on March 16, 2015


-- All VCRs in films are always cued up exactly to the portion of tape you want to show someone.
-- You will always be able to backwind the tape *precisely* to the beginning of the segment you want to see again.
--Whenever anyone scans through a videotape or audio tape on home equipment you can hear the audio portion of the tape being fast forwarded or rewound.
-- Freeze frame is flawless.

These are going to take some explaining ...


You know what would an awesome movie scene? Watching somebody search through a video tape to find the scene they want for 15 minutes. That would be gripping.
posted by GuyZero at 11:08 AM on March 16, 2015 [36 favorites]


also if you take your hands off the airplane controls it will immediately fling itself wildly out of control
posted by backseatpilot at 11:08 AM on March 16, 2015 [4 favorites]



Web Tropes: Eventually someone will make the most meta comment possible about tropes that include all other tropes.


Is this something I'd have to live in the sub-tropics to understand?
posted by sexyrobot at 11:10 AM on March 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


When a phone line is broken or someone hangs up unexpectedly, communication channels can be restored by frantically beating the cradle and saying "Hello? Hello?".

Dear younger generation: Phone used to be hung up on something called a cradle. We did not beat babies to get our phones working.


You forgot to mention that in "Ye Olden Tymes" picking up the phone caused a light to turn on to let the operator know you wanted to connect a call, as "dialing" did not exist. The reason for frantic beating and the "Hello? Hello?" was to draw the operator's attention by making the light flash so (probably she) could tell you if the other person hung up or something.
posted by sideshow at 11:10 AM on March 16, 2015 [37 favorites]


remember a US friend once, maybe ten years ago now, claiming that US movies were "more or less" an accurate depiction of life in that country. He was especially adamant that those showing highschools were pretty much spot on.

How do you know he was wrong?


US high school movies are mostly inaccurate (at least to my experience), but I've had a "red cups? Just like in the movies!" moment with most of the non-Americans I've spent much time with.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:11 AM on March 16, 2015 [10 favorites]


He was especially adamant that those showing highschools were pretty much spot on.

Of all the things in US pop culture it's the depiction of high school life in film/TV that most makes America seem like a truly foreign land to this UKite. It seems like a wonderland of sadism and personality-deformation, and that's coming from the land that gave the world Eton and 'If...'.

Oh, and the Superbowl too. Watching that thing is like trying to do an ethnographic study of Martians.
posted by sobarel at 11:12 AM on March 16, 2015 [15 favorites]


It seems like a wonderland of sadism and personality-deformation, and that's coming from the land that gave the world Eton and 'If...'.

This is pretty accurate, actually. The unrealistic thing is how attractive the teachers always are in the movies.
posted by dis_integration at 11:13 AM on March 16, 2015 [22 favorites]


A message in Morse Code will start several seconds before someone actually interprets it; however, no information is lost, as the message actually begins when the interpreter starts to read it.

Agent Carter did this just a few weeks ago...
posted by Naberius at 11:14 AM on March 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


Also, yeah. First time in France: "do you really drink out of those red cups?". FIrst time in Germany: "do you really drink out of those red cups?". And so on. The same question in a different accent all over the world.
posted by dis_integration at 11:14 AM on March 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


US high school movies are mostly inaccurate (at least to my experience), but I've had a "red cups? Just like in the movies!" moment with most of the non-Americans I've spent much time with.

Heh. A Dutch friend who came over to Canada for my wedding insisted on making room in his suitcase to take back a Costco sized bundle of red Solo cups when he returned to Holland. He was so excited to serve beer in them at his next party, just like in the movies.
posted by 256 at 11:15 AM on March 16, 2015 [49 favorites]


Thankfully, the verb 'rewind' will finally disappear.
posted by vacapinta at 11:15 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Laptops as powerful as a CRAY supercomputer? Not for a while. You can't really make the comparison, but the GPU alone of a 2013 model Macbook Air has something like 10,000x the performance of a Cray-1 (at 10,000x less energy).

Which is odd, as computers back then frequently became sentient, took over the world, out-argued their creators and generally were a lot more fun.

(The Morse thing - it's not impossible to be subconsciously decoding a message before you start to do it properly...)
posted by Devonian at 11:16 AM on March 16, 2015 [8 favorites]


"Movie-related web sites will have a stylized graphic of either Charlie Chaplin's face or a clapperboard, or both."
posted by aught at 11:17 AM on March 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


Asteroids travel through space making a noise like a powerful but subdued engine.

So true.

A message in Morse Code will start several seconds before someone actually interprets it; however, no information is lost, as the message actually begins when the interpreter starts to read it.

Wouldn't the standard thing be for the message to repeat? The character starts transcribing until it loops around again but then reads the message aloud starting at the beginning.
posted by straight at 11:18 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


People on the phone never say "good-bye" at the end of a conversation.

Um...well...I say "Bye" or "Later" depending on who I'm talking with. I know a lot of people who actually do say "Good-bye" though.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:19 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Movie passengers either don't pay cabs at all, or have the exact change. Same is true in restaurants. Checks are always designed to be 15 percent under the bills the male costumer has in his hands first.

Ok, so this list is compiled by a monster who has never even thought of rounding his tip up to the nearest dollar.
posted by straight at 11:20 AM on March 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


I think they mean it's more like a George Kennedy thing, where character picks up the phone, says "yeah...yeah...yeah." then slams the phone down.
posted by bhb at 11:21 AM on March 16, 2015


I was just thinking how awesome it would be if someone started a movement to find, and train as actors, some young people who were not at all conventionally attractive -- just a truly random sample from the small town where I grew up would be fascinating. After a few years, they could start making shows starring these people as heroes, villains, geek girls, police captians, teachers anything really -- it would be novel and incredibly illuminating.

You might have to start training them really early, though, to give them enough confidence. And reading/emotional skill.
posted by amtho at 11:22 AM on March 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


People in films and on TV always do the tossing the head back style of taking pills. Its not really necessary and not something done by those who take pills on a regular basis.
posted by biffa at 11:24 AM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


There's the weird thing that school busses are shown taking kids to school in thousands of movies but I've only seen one film where the bus takes kids home ("Sixteen Candles").
posted by w0mbat at 11:25 AM on March 16, 2015 [8 favorites]


Some time ago I made a similar list of rules for movie villains.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 11:25 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


i tried that tossing the head back couple of times and the pill went into my throat and I was coughtng within seconds.

That taught me that movies weren't reliable indicators of how to do things.
posted by TheLittlePrince at 11:26 AM on March 16, 2015


All of these describe the normal events of my life with precise accuracy.
posted by kyrademon at 11:27 AM on March 16, 2015


American high school movie tropes:
1) are outdated. Those dynamics (jocks, nerds, burnouts smoking under the bleachers) don't really exist anymore; see "21 Jump Street" for a movie that plays with this in a fun way.

2) when they weren't outdated, were always portraying a heightened operatic version of what went on in real high schools (and particularly small-town, largely white high schools).

But I think "more-or-less accurate" isn't a terrible description. Like, Friday Night Lights or Freaks and Geeks are definitely realistic. And there are definitely past-Etonian levels of hazing and cruelty that go on even today.

After a few years, they could start making shows starring these people as heroes, villains, geek girls, police captians, teachers anything really -- it would be novel and incredibly illuminating.

The BBC seems to do this? Or anyway they have lots of great unattractive actors who come from somewhere.
posted by vogon_poet at 11:29 AM on March 16, 2015 [9 favorites]


Um...well...I say "Bye" or "Later" depending on who I'm talking with. I know a lot of people who actually do say "Good-bye" though.

Are you a character in a TV show or movie?
posted by brundlefly at 11:29 AM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I was just thinking how awesome it would be if someone started a movement to find, and train as actors, some young people who were not at all conventionally attractive -- just a truly random sample from the small town where I grew up would be fascinating. After a few years, they could start making shows starring these people as heroes, villains, geek girls, police captians, teachers anything really -- it would be novel and incredibly illuminating.

This is one of the things I like about British TV. So many more ordinary looking people than on US shows.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 11:30 AM on March 16, 2015 [15 favorites]


A lot of this are just examples of Hitchock's dictum of "What is drama but life with the dull bits cut out." Films are only two hours long, you don't want to waste precious seconds listening to someone say "goodbye" or watching someone fumble for change to pay for a cab.
posted by octothorpe at 11:30 AM on March 16, 2015 [14 favorites]


I made a MeFi post about the goodbye thing almost 10 years ago now. As a polite thing, it's always bothered me.
posted by Ekim Neems at 11:30 AM on March 16, 2015


To be fair, lots of tropes are just because real life is so fucking boring. I mean, waiting for change on your cheque is bad enough in real life without watching it happen in a movie. And taking a good month to hack a computer will definitely not make good tv, nor would squinting at the small type.
posted by Bovine Love at 11:31 AM on March 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


For whatever reason the restaurant one that gets under my skin is the thing where people sit down at a table, conduct their business and then one of them gets up and leaves before food or anything. Sure, this happens sometimes in life, but not nearly as often as in movies. People go to restaurants and then actually eat their food there. It's crazy!
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:31 AM on March 16, 2015 [14 favorites]


When trying and failing to write, you will soon be surrounded by piles of crumpled up paper. Kills me every time.

Also happens to animators.
posted by effbot at 11:32 AM on March 16, 2015


One of my favorite tropes is the rich & decadent villain who sits by himself in his home, listening to opera, eyes closed in rapture while pretending to conduct the orchestra.
posted by brundlefly at 11:32 AM on March 16, 2015 [22 favorites]


I recently watched "Blue Jasmine", (which was great), but Allen's dialog can get stuck in 70's speak, especially when characters are discussing their "love making".

And I'm still shocked at how many contemporary movie and TV plots still revolve around answering machines and land lines. Does script development really take 15 years, with nobody thinking to update the technology?
posted by jetsetsc at 11:32 AM on March 16, 2015


"A message in Morse Code will start several seconds before someone actually interprets it; however, no information is lost, as the message actually begins when the interpreter starts to read it. "

Pfft, pros know that the first part of a morse code message just contains boring header information you can ignore...
<!DOCTYPE morse PUBLIC "-//VAIL//MORSE ACP-131//EN">
<body>
    SOS
    HALP
</body>
posted by Hairy Lobster at 11:34 AM on March 16, 2015 [49 favorites]


Done at the second one: Only men are alcoholics. Tons of counter-examples; Sandra Bullock, for example, in 28 Days (not to be confused with 28 Days Later; the title refers to the average stay in rehab).
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:36 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've always considered depictions of public school in the US to be exceptionally tame and white-washed. The only movie I've seen that accurately portrays the obscene cruelty and awkwardness of the experience is Welcome to the Dollhouse.
posted by dephlogisticated at 11:36 AM on March 16, 2015 [8 favorites]


People in films and on TV always do the tossing the head back style of taking pills. Its not really necessary and not something done by those who take pills on a regular basis.

My mother does this, actually. I'm not sure whether that's because she has a hard time swallowing pills (she does) or because she's seen so many people do it on screen.
posted by brundlefly at 11:37 AM on March 16, 2015


When chasing a bad guy across the street, heroes are never struck by a car, thus forcing them to endure months of physical therapy during which time a different hero, never introduced to the viewer, solves the case through careful, detail oriented investigative work.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:37 AM on March 16, 2015 [15 favorites]


Done at the second one: Only men are alcoholics. Tons of counter-examples; Sandra Bullock, for example, in 28 Days (not to be confused with 28 Days Later; the title refers to the average stay in rehab).

I once spent some time in a video store watching two middle schoolers look for the movie 28 Days because they wanted to watch it before watching 28 Days Later so that they weren't confused. I didn't tell them because 1) I'm fundamentally a bad person and 2) If I had opened my mouth I wouldn't have stopped giggling for weeks.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:41 AM on March 16, 2015 [62 favorites]


The football movie/tv show cliches are all still alive:
  • Stern coach who juggles passion for game & belief in team with local town/college/team owner pressure to win at all costs
  • Quarterback with loser/psycho dad who wants son to be the the star he never was, waking him up in middle of night to run plays, embarrassing him in front of stadium of people, etc. Only one who understands moody quarterback is his hot pre-med girlfriend
  • Hot-dog running back, usually African American, who's only into himself until something convinces him that he's part of a team and thats all that really matters. He ends up nodding to former adversary on field after realizing this, and they become friends.
  • Huge guy/lineman is an HGH addict and does something outrageous like lift a vending machine or crack head through wall at party. During a game lineman gets hit, hears a loud crunch, winces in agony, and falls down in slow motion on the field. Injury ends his prospects for good.
posted by bhb at 11:41 AM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


The other weird Hollywood phone cliche, now almost nonsensical to modern viewers, is that when one person hangs up unexpectedly, especially on a call where we're not privy to what's going on at the far end—say they are nabbed by the bad guy or whatever—the line will go to a dial tone almost immediately.

(For those born after 1990 and unfamiliar with landline phones: when someone hangs up or the line is disconnected, you get only silence or "dead air"—easily distinguishable on a real phone from the person on the other end simply being quiet by the lack of line noise—after a few moments more you'll get a loud and annoying off-hook tone. You don't get a dial tone unless you hang up and then release the hookswitch again to begin a new call.)

I'm not sure why that isn't jarring, except that it's part of the suspension of disbelief that we do while watching movies where we expect boring stuff to just be elided in favor of making the plot move forward. Since the "clunk...[dialtone]" is an accepted trope for having the line suddenly be disconnected, we accept it even though it's not true.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:44 AM on March 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


When trying and failing to write, you will soon be surrounded by piles of crumpled up paper.

The next trying-to-write-real-hard montage scene I see should have the author neatly piling the mistakes face-down in a cardboard box labeled "Discards", periodically filing them away in manila file folders organized by month.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 11:44 AM on March 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


I've been to that stupid site loads of times, got irritated that 75% of it was just random obscure crappy anime, and left without ruining my entire day.

I hit my threshold for that nauseating "this troper" convention and haven't been back in months.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 11:46 AM on March 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


When trying and failing to write, you will soon be surrounded by piles of crumpled up paper.

Also there will be montage of crumpled paper balls landing in/missing garbage can, as opposed to just showing person delete what they wrote.
posted by bhb at 11:49 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


At least one of a pair of identical twins is born evil.

As demonstrated in one of the best-known movies featuring identical twins, The Parent Trap.

(Seriously, is he maybe thinking either of soap operas or science fiction television — the latter of which is more likely to involve clones, alternate universe counterparts, or transporter doubles than true twins? Because I'm actually having difficulty coming up with movies for this example.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:50 AM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


How do you know he was wrong?

I don't know. I reckon that I've read enough folks bemoaning tropes that it can't be too accurate.

(Also, those red cups. You can buy them in Tesco now, though it's odd that they've become a "thing". They're just plastic cups, after all.)
posted by Thing at 11:50 AM on March 16, 2015


Bulgaroktonos, you did the right thing. Watching 28 Days before 28 Days Later is not strictly required but does help the viewer of the later film feel better about humanity being destroyed.
posted by AndrewStephens at 11:52 AM on March 16, 2015 [16 favorites]


The high school/post-secondary trope that always gets me is that the only reason for an empty chair in a classroom is that the student who should be sitting there is dead (possibly of a lingering but photogenic illness, possibly by suicide). No chance that one class taught in that room has thirty students and another has twenty-seven.

I once spent some time in a video store watching two middle schoolers look for the movie 28 Days because they wanted to watch it before watching 28 Days Later so that they weren't confused.

Well, to be fair, 28 Days Later does have a sequel with which is has no characters in common. Perhaps this story of a recovering alcoholic in North Carolina unfolds just as a bunch of activists release Rage-infected chimps in Cambridge and a few weeks after Sandra Bullock gets clean and sober, she will be red-eyed and frothing and sprinting after survivors to tear their jugular out. So the rehab was sort of a wash. Makes ya think.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:54 AM on March 16, 2015 [11 favorites]


movie starts and people begin talking but then they are talking to me as i sit and their faces grow pale and white and shrivel and slough off like dried slugs revealing corruption of cinema as their voices turn to chattering bird calls and i cover my eyes but can still see them through the backs of my hands and i wonder why they always go for this sort of thing i mean i though mrs doubtfire was supposed to be a funny movie but its just like all the others with the actors crawling out of the screen and whispering that we should all go to the lobby and get our selves a snack snack snack
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:55 AM on March 16, 2015 [22 favorites]


If they are macho, they will wince briefly, flashing clenched teeth.

Jack Nicholson's drinking scene in Easy Rider turns this trope up to 11, although he doesn't use a shot glass.

I'm also reminded of the drinking contest between Marion Ravenwood and the Nepalese guy in Raiders, though she's more of a professional revenue-generating alcoholic in that scene.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 11:56 AM on March 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


People in films and on TV always do the tossing the head back style of taking pills. Its not really necessary and not something done by those who take pills on a regular basis.

i tried that tossing the head back couple of times and the pill went into my throat and I was coughtng within seconds.

My mother does this, actually. I'm not sure whether that's because she has a hard time swallowing pills (she does) or because she's seen so many people do it on screen.

The best thing about Metafilter is that at least once a month I'm reminded of some way in which my life experiences are utterly foreign and unfathomable to others. (If I don't do the head tilt, pills get stuck on the back of my tongue and dissolve into bitter sludge.)
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:58 AM on March 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


Place pill on back of tongue, take sip of water, tilt your head forwards so that the pill floats to the highest point (closest to throat), swallow. Ta-da!*



*No warranties expressed or implied. Your pill-taking may vary. Void where not applicable.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 12:01 PM on March 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


I dont know if this is on the list but this always bugged the hell out of me: The formula for naming a current movie.. Verb+ Proper Noun. Seems like every 10th movie title does this. I noticed it after Saving Private Ryan but it goes way back. I just found a site about it.

Eating Raoul (1982)
Crossing Delancey (1988)
Driving Miss Daisy (1988)
Becoming Colette (1991)
Boxing Helena (1993)
Leaving Las Vegas (1997)
Chasing Amy (1997)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Becoming Mozart (1998)
Being John Malkovich (1999)
Finding Forrester (2000)
Saving Grace (2000)
Saving Silverman (2001)
Finding Nemo (2003)
Being Julia (2004)
Finding Neverland (2004)
Raising Helen (2004)
Taking Woodstock (2009)
posted by Liquidwolf at 12:02 PM on March 16, 2015 [11 favorites]


Doing Thing (2015)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:05 PM on March 16, 2015 [22 favorites]


I'm also reminded of the drinking contest between Marion Ravenwood and the Nepalese guy in Raiders, though she's more of a professional revenue-generating alcoholic in that scene.

Yeah one minute she's almost blackout-inebriated then a couple mins later she acts like she's only had one Coors light.
posted by Liquidwolf at 12:06 PM on March 16, 2015


I think she was hustling them.
posted by pearlybob at 12:06 PM on March 16, 2015 [10 favorites]


I think she was hustling them.

You're probably right. She tricked me too.
posted by Liquidwolf at 12:12 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Desperately Seeking Susan was the one that sent me over the edge. I hate this trope!

Back to movie cliches:

At the dinner table, everyone talks with their mouth full.
posted by maggiemaggie at 12:23 PM on March 16, 2015


Getting shot in the shoulder is horribly traumatic experience. If you don't lose complete use of your arm (or the arm itself) you'll still spend a long time recovering and going through physical therapy and will likely never be the same again. But that's where everyone gets shot in movies and following the mandatory arm in sling the following day scene, it's usually a scene or two later and there's no evidence of any injury at all.
posted by tommasz at 12:37 PM on March 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


Oh wait, I forgot my favorite one:

"Gimme a beer."

WHAT KIND OF BEER SIR? WE HAVE A BUNCH OF KINDS.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:41 PM on March 16, 2015 [42 favorites]


US high school movies are mostly inaccurate

Don't let those cynics fool you- high school movies are well researched and quite accurate.

Why, when I worked at a school it was extremely common for the principal to spend all day chasing after a single truant student, only to return at the end of the day defeated, with his suit torn and muddy. It was quite annoying when I needed him to sign those payroll requests.
posted by happyroach at 12:44 PM on March 16, 2015 [22 favorites]



The one I always notice is that when people make plans or a date they never have to go into anything detailed, like where the person lives or even a phone number. Doesn't matter if the people just met or know little about each other, addresses are always automatically known.

I don't know why this one bothers me but I always notice when it happens.

"Hey you wanna go for dinner on Friday?"

"Sure. I'd love too."

Both so happy. It's romance!

'Okay pick you up at 7.."

"Okay"

Me in my head. "BUT HOW will they know where to drive to. Hey wait they haven't even exchanged phone numbers. What if something happens before the date? How does this magic work?"
posted by Jalliah at 12:49 PM on March 16, 2015 [16 favorites]


Somewhere (here?), I read that screenwriters or directors often write or direct scenes based on what they remember (or think they remember) from their own childhoods, because those recollections were so vivid to them. (And no one really cares about challenging them.) But it's a contemporary movie, because it needs to sell. Ergo, phones, high schools, psychiatrists' chairs that are so ridiculously outdated.
posted by Melismata at 12:49 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Gimme a beer."

WHAT KIND OF BEER SIR? WE HAVE A BUNCH OF KINDS.


That's why I say "gimme a cheap beer."
posted by atoxyl at 12:51 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Getting shot in the shoulder is horribly traumatic experience. If you don't lose complete use of your arm (or the arm itself) you'll still spend a long time recovering and going through physical therapy and will likely never be the same again. But that's where everyone gets shot in movies and following the mandatory arm in sling the following day scene, it's usually a scene or two later and there's no evidence of any injury at all.

From Cracked: The Gruesome Truth About Being Shot (it's really pretty gruesome, borderline NSFW).
posted by dirigibleman at 12:52 PM on March 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


Liquidwolf: I dont know if this is on the list but this always bugged the hell out of me: The formula for naming a current movie.. Verb+ Proper Noun. Seems like every 10th movie title does this.

Dear GOD, yes. This drives me up the wall.
posted by brundlefly at 12:53 PM on March 16, 2015


Oh wait, I forgot my favorite one:

"Gimme a beer."

WHAT KIND OF BEER SIR? WE HAVE A BUNCH OF KINDS.


Right up to the 70s you could actually do this. Bars, particularly working class places, that had draft beer would frequently have a single tap and the bottle selection might be the local beer (if you had one) or Bud/Miller/Schlitz/etc. Starting in the 80s, obviously, asking for "a beer" subjects you to a long reading of the available selections and makes this one hilarious.
posted by tommasz at 12:53 PM on March 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


Heh. That reinforces my "well it was like that in my childhood" theory.
posted by Melismata at 12:55 PM on March 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


Why, when I worked at a school it was extremely common for the principal to spend all day chasing after a single truant student, only to return at the end of the day defeated, with his suit torn and muddy. It was quite annoying when I needed him to sign those payroll requests.

I'm pretty sure that I saw my high-school's principal once or twice during assemblies but other than that he had exactly zero contact with students.
posted by octothorpe at 12:55 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


When women get drunk, it's always a bottle of white wine and an oversized glass.
posted by jonmc at 12:58 PM on March 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


Doing Thing (2015)

The highly anticipated 50 Shades/Fantastic Four crossover.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 1:00 PM on March 16, 2015 [35 favorites]


I just want someone to go for broke and name their film Gerunding Gerald.
posted by anthom at 1:02 PM on March 16, 2015 [20 favorites]


Reality is much more important in mise-en-scene and characterizations for a movie or TV show set in high school than for other settings because everyone in their audience went to, or is presently going to high school, and generally has a sharp and opinionated view of it, as well. This doesn't mean the high school setting has to be realistic, but, if not, its departures from reality need still to ring true in important senses.

Here's the thought exercise. How much did movies and TV shows set in high school resonate with you versus movies or TV shows set in the profession where you work, or the foreign country you once lived in, or the traumatic event (war, disaster) you actually experienced. There was a heck of lot more Buffy the Vampire Slayer in my high school experience than there was LA Law in my legal career or Wall Street in my finance career.
posted by MattD at 1:02 PM on March 16, 2015 [11 favorites]


Fucking Amal (1998)
posted by vacapinta at 1:02 PM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I've been to that stupid site loads of times, got irritated that 75% of it was just random obscure crappy anime, and left without ruining my entire day.

chekhov's gun

chekhov
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 1:03 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


-People casually having their eyes open, unprotected, in salt water. (I don't actually know if this is harmful or not, but based on my limited experience with seawater it seems like it ought to sting miserably.)

-Someone grabs something in mid-fall when the forces involved should seriously wreck their arm(s), if not tear them off completely, but instead everything is fine.

-When you only hear one side of a phone conversation, and you can tell what the other person must be saying but the silences aren't nearly long enough for it.
posted by jinjo at 1:10 PM on March 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


chekhov

Oh god. I wrote that linked article on The Seagull way back when TVTropes was 75% Firefly references.
posted by Iridic at 1:11 PM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


When two people go see a movie, they will not speak of it through the walk to the parking lot, during the car ride home, or during the walk up to the door. Only as they walk through the door of their home will they begin discussing it.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:15 PM on March 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


When a character answers a phone and immediately starts talking as if they know who's on the other end you can be sure it's a scary person calling.
posted by Liquidwolf at 1:16 PM on March 16, 2015


"Gimme a beer."

Although "Gimme a lager" will immediately produce a bottle of Yuengling. (Philly only)
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:17 PM on March 16, 2015 [3 favorites]




"Gimme a beer."

How about "Leave the bottle"

Does anyone do this? Has anyone ever actually asked the bartender to leave the whole fucking bottle of whiskey in front of them to consume while they're depressed? It must cost about $175 for that.
posted by Liquidwolf at 1:20 PM on March 16, 2015 [16 favorites]


We totally covered pill-swallowing techniques just a few months ago, y'all. tl;dr: head thrown back for tablets, lean forward for capsules.
posted by asperity at 1:25 PM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Getting shot in the shoulder is horribly traumatic experience. If you don't lose complete use of your arm (or the arm itself) you'll still spend a long time recovering and going through physical therapy and will likely never be the same again. But that's where everyone gets shot in movies and following the mandatory arm in sling the following day scene, it's usually a scene or two later and there's no evidence of any injury at all.

The best instance of this is in Trapped in Closet, where Sylvester's brother-in-law Twan gets shot in the arm, lies incapacitated on the floor just long enough to make the cliff-hanger work, then wanders over to the bathroom, throws some gauze on it, and merrily goes on about his day. They didn't even bother with a sling.
posted by Copronymus at 1:28 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


One of my favorite tropes is the rich & decadent villain who sits by himself in his home, listening to opera, eyes closed in rapture while pretending to conduct the orchestra.

Other people don't do this in real life?
posted by notquitemaryann at 1:32 PM on March 16, 2015 [15 favorites]


Does anyone do this? Has anyone ever actually asked the bartender to leave the whole fucking bottle of whiskey in front of them to consume while they're depressed? It must cost about $175 for that.

And illegal in the two states I've bothered to be licensed to bart-end in - it's a great way lose a liquor license.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 1:33 PM on March 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


Everyone in a given movie uses the same cellphones, computers, and cars.

(House of Cards, while it does some heavy-handed product placement, is remarkably ecumenical in this regard)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:35 PM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Getting shot in the shoulder is horribly traumatic experience.

My favorite satire of this is in Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid. Hero gets shot in the shoulder, leading lady sucks the bullet out and then puts a band-aid over the wound. Later in the film, he gets shot again, in precisely the same hole.
posted by rifflesby at 1:35 PM on March 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


The obverse to "gunshots can be easily shaken off" is "a person hit by a single shot falls down and dies immediately." The truth is different, and pretty disturbing: On April 11, 1986, eight Miami FBI agents were involved in what turned into one of most brutal gunfights in LEO history. (Shot-by-shot analysis can be found in the Wikipedia article.)
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 1:37 PM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Keys in the motherfucking visor.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:49 PM on March 16, 2015 [9 favorites]


The phone one has always been my personal pet peeve, not because it cuts out a nonessential formality, but simply because it indicates that each person on the line has a copy of the script telling them that no other pertinent information is coming and so the conversation is safe to end.

- All right, so the mad bomber will be there at midnight?
- Yeah, he'll be in the black suit with the white hat. He'll have 10 kilos of explosives in a duffel bag.
{BADASS HANGS UP}
{TO TEAM} Let's roll.

In real life, the badass has no way of knowing the conversation is over.

- All right, so the mad bomber will be there at midnight?
- Yeah, he'll be in the black suit with the white hat. He'll have 10 kilos of explosives in a duffel bag.
{BADASS HANGS UP}
{TO TEAM} Let's roll.
{GUY LEFT HANGING ON OTHER END} Anyways, he's protected by 14 elite Serbian mercenaries in key ambush positions, and whatever you do, don't cut the blue wire or you'll blow the orphans sky high. A second hit team is en route to the president's house -- Frank? Frank? You still there?
posted by Palindromedary at 1:51 PM on March 16, 2015 [44 favorites]


-- Unless it is specifically intended for them to die, when someone falls from a height, or is ejected from an exploding car in a non R-rated film, there is always a reaction shot of them moving about vigorously or popping out of a bush and appearing to be fine. Even in cartoons.

(I seem to recall reading there's some kind of death tally kept by the MPAA, and the filmmakers do this so that a random character won't be pointlessly counted as a death, but I'm not positive about this.)

-- Butting someone else on the forehead with your own forehead will always injure the other person much more....unless they are muscular brutes.

-- When both coexist in the same film, villainesses always have better clothes and makeup than heroines/the hero's gf.

--- There is no consistent rule for heros/villains as to which one will be better coiffed, but still certain rules apply. In particular, heroes almost never have skinny mustaches. And never have long fingernails. Villains have a decent chance of having both. If the hero is bald, it's never the horseshoe pattern, he's completely shaven. Except for Jason Statham.
posted by xigxag at 2:00 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


In crime movies, mob underlings always have to meet boss in restaurant while he eats spaghetti at a secluded table. They always bring him bad news, and he always calmly/ominously tells them what to expect if they fail him again, as he twirls the spaghetti.
posted by bhb at 2:05 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


One of my favorite tropes is the rich & decadent villain who sits by himself in his home, listening to opera, eyes closed in rapture while pretending to conduct the orchestra.

Other people don't do this in real life?




Ha! I totally do this at home, and I'm not a...

Oh, wait...
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:11 PM on March 16, 2015 [11 favorites]


One of my favorite tropes is the rich & decadent villain who sits by himself in his home, listening to opera, eyes closed in rapture while pretending to conduct the orchestra.


I don't see anything wrong with this.
posted by Alexander J. Luthor at 2:12 PM on March 16, 2015 [23 favorites]




When chasing a bad guy across the street, heroes are never struck by a car, thus forcing them to endure months of physical therapy during which time a different hero, never introduced to the viewer, solves the case through careful, detail oriented investigative work.


This is kind of what happens in The Other Guys actually.
posted by The Whelk at 2:15 PM on March 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


I swear there was either a previous MeFi or an AskMe on things that happen only in the movies/on TV and not real life, but I can't find it. I remember someone mentioning the thing where one person claps at the end of a speech/performance and then others join in until the applause is thunderous. Someone else mentioned that wrapped gifts in movies often have a lid that's wrapped separately, so to open the gift you just need to lift the lid.
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:16 PM on March 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


Back to movie cliches:

At the dinner table, everyone talks with their mouth full.


Related, but perhaps not so common as to be a cliché is something I first saw in Rome. The set-up: after the Battle of Pharsalus, a defeated Brutus and Cicero surrender to Caesar's army, glumly expecting to be executed. To their astonishment, Caesar welcomes them with open arms, brushing aside their reminders that they are enemy combatants: Caesar declares, "We are old friends, who have merely quarrelled." Caesar then invites them into the tent where fifteen or twenty of his staff and generals are at a feast. The seated diners fall silent when they see the traitors enter, and remain quiet for a minute or two, but once Caesar and the two new arrivals begin eating, their conversation quickly ramps back up to its previous level.

The strange part of this scene is the boisterous conversation which we see interrupted and which soon resumes. As best as I can see, literally ever person at the table is talking at the same time, each delivering a loud monologue to his neighbour who cannot hear a word of it because he is doing the same.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:21 PM on March 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


"-People casually having their eyes open, unprotected, in salt water. (I don't actually know if this is harmful or not, but based on my limited experience with seawater it seems like it ought to sting miserably.)"


While your eyes are in the water it's ok it won't sting. As soon as you pop out of the water (or replace/empty your mask), it's very annoying.

The thing is, you won't see clearly the refraction from water to eye is different than air to eye, and you eye won't be able to focus well.

The 2 things most movies miss with underwater scenes, are darkness and cold. Without a light you don't see nothing underwater at night, it is really dark, even during the day in a lake or some other non pristine body of water it can be difficult. And the cold.... I think people just don't realize how paralyzing really cold water can be.

That lake with ice in skyfall was WAY too illuminated!
posted by coust at 2:23 PM on March 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


I swear there was either a previous MeFi or an AskMe on things that happen only in the movies/on TV and not real life, but I can't find it. I remember someone mentioning the thing where one person claps at the end of a speech/performance and then others join in until the applause is thunderous. Someone else mentioned that wrapped gifts in movies often have a lid that's wrapped separately, so to open the gift you just need to lift the lid.

This?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:23 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've been to that stupid site loads of times, got irritated that 75% of it was just random obscure crappy anime, and left without ruining my entire day.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:06

SOLUTION: Watch anime. It won't be stupid any longer. You're welcome.
posted by Fizz at 2:23 PM on March 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


The person behind the wheel is talking to and looking at their passenger for the entire journey without actually looking at the _road_, changing gear, signalling etc. (ex. "When Harry Met Sally").

The commentary at our house is usually:

Look at the damn road! Pay attention! You're going how fast? AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!


I keep waiting for some show to have an accident because the driver wasn't paying attention.
posted by Revvy at 2:30 PM on March 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


/When two people go see a movie, they will not speak of it through the walk to the parking lot, during the car ride home, or during the walk up to the door. Only as they walk through the door of their home will they begin discussing it.

This is absolutely true for Mr. Doodles and me. We usually talk about something else, sometimes until the next day.
posted by toodleydoodley at 2:33 PM on March 16, 2015


Reminds me of Ebert's Little Movie Glossary.
posted by whistle pig at 2:45 PM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


I keep waiting for some show to have an accident because the driver wasn't paying attention.

Which does happen now and then, of course, but it's interesting because it's not consistently so; lots of shows will have way too much eyes-off-the-road talking and go nowhere with it, but then some shows will be good about keeping eyes on the road and just keep those scenes relatively under control (or limited in length) or play to that awkward necessity to make it work.

And the thing is, it's not always clear which kind of scene you're watching, and so it can become a kind of accidental misdirection; less an "obviously this director is an idiot/unconcerned about driver discipline" thing the way e.g. some flamboyant gun stuff in action flicks is really obviously not meant to be treated as realistic, and more a point of incidental viewer tension when you're trying to figure out whether or not you're supposed to figure it out.

I've even seen this be inconsistent within a given TV series run. Walking Dead has had driving scenes where someone was distracted by conversation and got in an accident or near-miss; it's also had scenes where the driver was distracted by conversation and...it was just dramatic dialogue. And at that point, where are you supposed to go with it, as a viewer? You spend a lot of time guessing about whether you're even supposed to be in a state of guessing what's coming.
posted by cortex at 2:47 PM on March 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


You know what drives me crazy is when the exteriors of houses don't come even close to matching the interior sets the shows are actually filming on. I spent so much time as a kid trying to make that living room in Who's the Boss work with the way the house looked from the outside. And Monica & Rachel's apartment in Friends shows absolutely no sign of that glass wall and patio from the outside. It's just a regular square apartment building.
posted by something something at 2:48 PM on March 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


Oh god, I thought I was the only one
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 2:52 PM on March 16, 2015


Yes, ricochet biscuit, that's exactly it! I swear I looked high and low for that. Thank you!
posted by Metroid Baby at 2:55 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


The steering wheel thing drives me crazy. Apparently, either power steering does not exist or everyone is swerving all over the road like a maniac at all times.
posted by Token Meme at 2:55 PM on March 16, 2015


I do that too!
posted by Jalliah at 2:56 PM on March 16, 2015


I hate cups and soda cans that clearly have nothing in them. Such a trivial thing to fix I'd think and it's so obvious.

I saw a movie once that had what looked like a white coffee mug painted brown on the inside to look as if it had coffee in it.
posted by RustyBrooks at 2:56 PM on March 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


While we're at it, any movie that features a man who's been a captive, or living in the wilderness, or on the run for days, or doing anything away from his home in an unexpected way.... that dude better have a beard or at least a lot of stubble.
I don't believe for a second that a man under extreme stress takes time to shave.
posted by Liquidwolf at 3:14 PM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


For that matter, you can lock a woman in a dungeon for a month or have her running from danger in a post-apocalyptic hellscape for a year and her legs and armpits will still be perfectly smooth every day.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 3:28 PM on March 16, 2015 [19 favorites]


Fresh is a pretty good counter-example to the 'Chess' section.
posted by lkc at 3:33 PM on March 16, 2015



When chasing a bad guy across the street, heroes are never struck by a car, thus forcing them to endure months of physical therapy during which time a different hero, never introduced to the viewer, solves the case through careful, detail oriented investigative work.

This is kind of what happens in The Other Guys actually.


Also Breaking Bad...at least until they get bored of it and skip over a bunch.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 3:35 PM on March 16, 2015


Pater Alethias, it's because a woman's body recognizes when she's in a post-apocalyptic hellscape and God shuts down the hair follicles on her legs and pits.
posted by a halcyon day at 3:35 PM on March 16, 2015 [25 favorites]


When a phone line is broken or someone hangs up unexpectedly, communication channels can be restored by frantically beating the cradle and saying "Hello? Hello?".

Dear younger generation: Phone used to be hung up on something called a cradle. We did not beat babies to get our phones working.


Ah, but you can get them working by tapping on them. Well, not cell phones. Remember the click of the dial phones when you listened on the line? That's just a number of the on/off switch pulses. You could literally dial the phone by tapping the switch (or beating the cradle) the appropriate number of times. Might even still work on landlines. Haven't checked in awhile.
posted by readyfreddy at 3:39 PM on March 16, 2015


SOLUTION: Watch anime. It won't be stupid any longer. You're welcome.

Eyeh. I watch tons of anime and TVTropes is still full of too many "This troper remembers that one scene in Clannad a wee wee wee all the boo home" type entries.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 3:51 PM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


SOLUTION: Watch anime. It won't be stupid any longer. You're welcome.


It won't seem stupid anymore because you, yourself will have become stupid. It's all about point of view.

(No offense intended, some of my best friends are anime lovers, etc.)
posted by gentian at 4:03 PM on March 16, 2015


I wince every time someone steps into the shower and then turns on the water instead of turning on the water first and waiting for it to warm up before stepping in.
posted by Jacqueline at 4:42 PM on March 16, 2015 [14 favorites]


Walking Dead has had driving scenes where someone was distracted by conversation and got in an accident or near-miss; it's also had scenes where the driver was distracted by conversation and...it was just dramatic dialogue. And at that point, where are you supposed to go with it, as a viewer? You spend a lot of time guessing about whether you're even supposed to be in a state of guessing what's coming.

you can rest assured in Walking Dead that whenever someone looks away from the road for a few seconds they're about to run into a horde of zombies
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 4:47 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also my favorite is when a man is shaving in front of a mirror and is interrupted, and wipes the shaving cream off the unshaven half of his face with a towel and goes on about his day
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 4:49 PM on March 16, 2015 [16 favorites]


When i moved to the US i was actually surprised that life here was really so close to how the movies depicted it, i always assumed that it was just a hilarious satirical exaggeration, but to this day i feel like i live in a SitCom...
posted by palbo at 5:14 PM on March 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


Where I live you can listen to old-time radio on Sundays, and I listen to "Dragnet". That show tried to seem real ("The story you just heard was true; only the names were changed to protect the innocent") and one way was by having things happen in real time, like having Joe Friday pick up the phone and ask an operator to connect him and then wait and then have her tell him she had the party on other line, etc., or having a bartender cleaning up behind the bar (with sound effects) before he can talk to the police. It is strangely mesmerizing, partly because the show is only a half hour long and wastes unheard of amounts of time with the sound of people slamming doors and walking places and partly because you'd get interested in how a long-distance call through an operator actually worked in 1954.
posted by acrasis at 5:17 PM on March 16, 2015 [7 favorites]


"In every school, there is at least one nerd or wimp that is shoved into lockers that are big enough to hold them."

Then the football player who shoved me into a locker and shut it on my second day of high school in the 9th grade must have been copying some movie. And I wasn't a wimp, I was a 4' 6" girl!

He didn't get in trouble either, because he was the quarterback - I'm sure that's got to be another cliché.
posted by droplet at 5:24 PM on March 16, 2015


In my real life, a sudden realization that I've made a mistake only makes a record scratching sound if it occurs when I'm lowering the tonearm on an LP.

That said, whenever I sit on a toilet in a broke-down bar on a minor planet, two gentlemen come in with a portable record player, do a song and dance number, take a Polaroid of me on the toilet, and then leave, turning the lights out in the process, so some movies actually do capture reality.
posted by sonascope at 5:27 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Jacqueline: "I wince every time someone steps into the shower and then turns on the water instead of turning on the water first and waiting for it to warm up before stepping in."

That's how I take a shower, I'm way too impatient to stand there naked waiting for the water to heat up.
posted by octothorpe at 5:30 PM on March 16, 2015


Also, "you should probably come see this."

Yes, sorry Mr. President/General/multizillionaire, I'm just a mere functionary but I'm going to interrupt you in the middle of some vital conversation and insist you come to see what I could have easily explained in ten seconds and you're not going to have my head on a platter for it. I know you have nothing but time, and your favourite activity is unnecessarily mysterious puzzle time with your advisors concerning city/world shattering threats.

Just once I'd like to see one of these incredibly busy and powerful authority figures reply with:

"How about instead you just tell me what's going on right the hell now, like you're goddamn well being paid to?"
posted by Palindromedary at 5:33 PM on March 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


I concur heartily with Liquidwolf on the titles thing, which I've been calling "fuck fucking movie titles that start with a fucking gerund," not that I'm all grumpy about it or anything.

I'm getting awfully tired of a cutesy inexplicable "city, state" combo, too, Paris, Texas notwithstanding.
posted by sonascope at 5:40 PM on March 16, 2015


And don't get me started on the teal/orange latter-day nightmare that's driven me into the loving arms of black & white on TCM forever and ever.
posted by sonascope at 5:42 PM on March 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


That's how I take a shower, I'm way too impatient to stand there naked waiting for the water to heat up.

I let it warm up while I take my morning shit. Multitasking!
posted by Jacqueline at 5:48 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


There is often a scene where the bad guy in a film calls the good guys to taunt/demand something. The bad guy always seems to know exactly when to hang up so the call/location can't be traced....

"Keep him talking!"

then

"Damn, he hung up before I could get the trace!"
posted by CrowGoat at 6:02 PM on March 16, 2015


I've only seen one film where the bus takes kids home

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

How much did movies and TV shows set in high school resonate with you

Not much, because the only TV shows set in high school I've ever seen have been from the U.S.

Some that always bug me:

Pregnant women always cradle or rest their hands on their baby bump.

It's impossible to have above-average intelligence without also being socially awkward / misanthropic / Aspergers.

It is only possible for a computer to compare images/fingerprints etc by rapidly displaying them in sequence on the screen.

CCTV cameras magically pan and zoom when the person of interest comes into view.

Anyone shot while wearing a bulletproof vest will initially appear to be dead, but will then wake up and unbutton their shirt/jacket to show off the vest.
posted by HiroProtagonist at 6:42 PM on March 16, 2015 [3 favorites]


Choo~Choo smoke.
posted by clavdivs at 6:52 PM on March 16, 2015


Right up to the 70s you could actually do this. Bars, particularly working class places, that had draft beer would frequently have a single tap and the bottle selection might be the local beer (if you had one) or Bud/Miller/Schlitz/etc. Starting in the 80s, obviously, asking for "a beer" subjects you to a long reading of the available selections and makes this one hilarious.

The idea of a bar with only one tap is mindblowing to me. Surely you would have Coors and Bud, not just one of them? Wow.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:18 PM on March 16, 2015


I went to a place a bit out in the country once and when I asked what kind of beer they had she perked up and said "oh, we have BOTH kinds" (I don't remember what the 2 were, probably bud/coors). But it was unique enough in those parts to be proud of, apparently.
posted by RustyBrooks at 7:21 PM on March 16, 2015


I went to a place a bit out in the country once and when I asked what kind of beer they had she perked up and said "oh, we have BOTH kinds" (I don't remember what the 2 were, probably bud/coors). But it was unique enough in those parts to be proud of, apparently.

Was she making a Blues Brothers reference joke?
posted by Liquidwolf at 7:27 PM on March 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


I've been to a couple places, in a major metropolitan area of 3 million people, that only had Bud and Bud Light on tap.
posted by LionIndex at 7:29 PM on March 16, 2015


I was in a place this weekend that had a choice of Yuengling or Iron City. That plus the food menu consisted only of fish sandwiches since it was a Friday in lent.
posted by octothorpe at 7:42 PM on March 16, 2015


If a woman vomits, she's pregnant.

That's the only reason women vomit, apparently.
posted by pompomtom at 7:48 PM on March 16, 2015 [14 favorites]


McSorley's Ale House in New York, around for more than a century, has always only had two kinds of beer: light and dark.
posted by plastic_animals at 7:52 PM on March 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well, it is the only reason I've ever seen my wife vomit.
posted by Bovine Love at 8:06 PM on March 16, 2015


Personally I like how when the good guy pulls the flash drive out of the bad guy's computer at the very instant the unreasonably accurate and strangely consistent progress indicator finishes, not only does the villain not see a "you removed the drive without unmounting it first" alert when they come in and unblank the display, but the flash drive is never corrupted.

I also like how evil geniuses always pick stupid, simple and obvious passwords.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:07 PM on March 16, 2015


What's great is that they are continually creating new ones of these, so you can always discover more.

My favorite recent such moment was as the lights went down for Interstellar, and without really thinking I suddenly had a flash of how these space movies always start, and leaned over to my SO to whisper "So is this going to open on a farm, or in a cockpit full of emergency beeping lights?" When it opened with both I had a fierce pang of regret I hadn't whispered louder and awed the jam-packed crowd of fellow nerds with my tropey acumen. The move was all down hill from there...
posted by chortly at 8:19 PM on March 16, 2015 [15 favorites]


not only does the villain not see a "you removed the drive without unmounting it first" alert when they come in

Well, I assume volcano lairs and henchmen cost enough that villains don't buy Macs, so that at least is plausible.
posted by tautological at 9:15 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


You know what drives me crazy is when the exteriors of houses don't come even close to matching the interior sets the shows are actually filming on. I spent so much time as a kid trying to make that living room in Who's the Boss work with the way the house looked from the outside. And Monica & Rachel's apartment in Friends shows absolutely no sign of that glass wall and patio from the outside. It's just a regular square apartment building.

And while I love Arrested Development more than I love much of my own family, it always made me mildly crazy that the windows on the exterior went up the spiral staircase the opposite direction from the way the stairs went up on the interior set.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:25 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Pregnant women always cradle or rest their hands on their baby bump.

I did this when pregnant. That kid was heavy toward the end and I needed scaffolding. However, I rarely rested my hands on top of the bump because that's the shelf where the plate of snacks rested.
posted by jamaro at 10:04 PM on March 16, 2015 [9 favorites]


If a woman vomits, she's pregnant
Also if she's the least bit unwell.

If a woman between 18 and 45 has appeared on screen for the first time we know that having sex with her is going to be a plot point.
posted by bleep at 10:19 PM on March 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


showbiz_liz: "Oh wait, I forgot my favorite one:

"Gimme a beer."

WHAT KIND OF BEER SIR? WE HAVE A BUNCH OF KINDS.
"

Well, barkeep, whatever paid the highest product placement fee... Seriously, how do you keep your job?

Now, listen to me bemoan the greatest error of my life, since suddenly everyone else is satiated...
posted by Samizdata at 10:22 PM on March 16, 2015


> Gerunding Gerald

(2017) Romantic comedy. A philologist, an ontologist, and an etymologist are at their regular Thursday afternoon lunch when a phlebotomist attending the entomologists' convention next door crosses their path. Sean Connery as the sinister otorhinolarynxologist.
posted by ardgedee at 3:31 AM on March 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


Only close the door if someone is chasing you, otherwise just leave it open.

Replace all HD Screens with fuzzy see-through holograms, that's how you know it's the future.
posted by zinon at 4:16 AM on March 17, 2015


The most irritating thing to me is when they use paper maps to delineate search areas, or pinpoint where murders have taken place. This is what GIS is meant for!
posted by desjardins at 6:43 AM on March 17, 2015


Guns making clicky-clanky noise when the character raises them or moves position drives me nuts. Also when disarming someone, taking their automatic pistol, and theN pointing it at them without racking it. No different than pointing your finger at them.
posted by humboldt32 at 7:27 AM on March 17, 2015


> "My favorite satire of this is in Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid. Hero gets shot in the shoulder, leading lady sucks the bullet out and then puts a band-aid over the wound. Later in the film, he gets shot again, in precisely the same hole."

As I recall, later in the film, someone *else* gets shot in the shoulder, the Hero asks if he's OK, and the guy says something along the lines of, "Oh yeah, I'm fine, it's just a bullet. My wife will suck it out."
posted by kyrademon at 7:32 AM on March 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also when disarming someone, taking their automatic pistol, and theN pointing it at them without racking it. No different than pointing your finger at them.

Depends on the gun and the person. Many many people keep one in the chamber and rely on their grip or trigger safeties.

(also, I assume you mean semi-auto)
posted by RustyBrooks at 7:38 AM on March 17, 2015


Speaking of maps, did they mention the thing about the maps, the thumbtacks and the colored strings?

Also, wall covered with taped-on snapshots = either the crazy serial killer/stalker villian, or the hero dedicated to pursuing the theory that nobody else will entertain.

Also, the thing where the hero has one last surefire technique that he will only use when he's virtually at death's door, instead of using it at the beginning of the fight when it would've been a cakewalk.
posted by xigxag at 7:49 AM on March 17, 2015


Also when disarming someone, taking their automatic pistol, and theN pointing it at them without racking it. No different than pointing your finger at them.

You clearly need to read the TSA blog with its weekly firearms report to see how many people carry a weapon with a round chambered. It never ceases to shock me.
posted by Bovine Love at 7:59 AM on March 17, 2015


On April 11, 1986, eight Miami FBI agents were involved in what turned into one of most brutal gunfights in LEO history. (Shot-by-shot analysis can be found in the Wikipedia article.)

About 3000 feet from my High School. We were annoyed they closed the campus for lunch that day, and I will not pretend that at age 16 we were emotionally mature enough to feel bad about our irritation later.
posted by phearlez at 8:33 AM on March 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


I love this comment which points out how, in police procedurals, it always takes three or four investigators to explain to their boss what's going on, when in real life only one is necessary. ("Yeah, good point. Let's go do whatever detectives do.") :)
posted by Melismata at 9:23 AM on March 17, 2015


From that comment: "From the point of view of a television show, it makes sense; this is done to give all the actors some screen time."

More likely it's an attempt to break up a gigantic exposition drop and create the illusion of the scene being dynamic in some way.
posted by brundlefly at 10:27 AM on March 17, 2015


Whenever police detectives go to a worksite to interview a blue-collar worker, the worker (if they don't run because they're guilty of something) will continue to do their job while talking to the police. No blue-collar worker on the job ever stops to talk to police.

I feel like Law & Order may be single-handedly responsible for this one.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 10:44 AM on March 17, 2015 [3 favorites]


Whenever a sword, or any kind of knife, is drawn from a scabbard it goes 'shhhinnngggg'.
posted by Flashman at 10:47 AM on March 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


People on the phone never say "good-bye"

In real life, the badass has no way of knowing the conversation is over.

I dated a girl for a long time who did this; she'd just hang up when she thought the conversation had ended. I frequently had to call her back for the reasons you described, even though it was usually dinner plans and not a hostage situation (usually.)
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 10:52 AM on March 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Whenever police detectives go to a worksite to interview a blue-collar worker, the worker (if they don't run because they're guilty of something) will continue to do their job while talking to the police.

They also tend to end the interview with something vaguely hostile, like "We done here? I got a lot of customers!"
posted by maxsparber at 10:57 AM on March 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


And people say it's porn ruining modern relationships!
posted by phearlez at 10:57 AM on March 17, 2015


Pater Aletheias: "Everyone's password is something you can guess if you know them well--a family name or birthday, probably."

Well art follows life there; the vast majority of users passwords are that hard to guess. Especially if you already know a previous password.

DirtyOldTown: "something along the lines of five or so years after your family probably had *69 and/or caller ID on your home phone. You could instantly tell who was calling you, but cops needed 5 to 15 minutes? They never really gave up this trope, but now they at least have the excuse of having to triangulate the location of a cell phone."

CallerID is easily spoofed. Everyone with a business class line with more than a few numbers had this power built into their equipment.

something something: " And Monica & Rachel's apartment in Friends shows absolutely no sign of that glass wall and patio from the outside."

Mad About You doubled down on this by having a fire escape or not depending on the plot. IE: once Paul and Jamie get trapped in their bathroom when the door knob falls off and another time Paul gets trapped on the fire escape outside the bathroom.

readyfreddy: "You could literally dial the phone by tapping the switch (or beating the cradle) the appropriate number of times. Might even still work on landlines."

Yep. Truth in Television in a scene in Hackers (one of the few true to life things in the film).
posted by Mitheral at 11:15 AM on March 17, 2015


They also tend to end the interview with something vaguely hostile, like "We done here? I got a lot of customers!"

"Listen, Bud, these boxes ain't gonna unload themselves."
posted by brundlefly at 11:44 AM on March 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


There was a door in night court that would send you anywhere, depending on the needs of the script.
posted by maxsparber at 11:46 AM on March 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


According to Transformers 2, if you walk out the back door of the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum you'll find yourself in an airplane graveyard out in the desert somewhere.
posted by brundlefly at 12:21 PM on March 17, 2015


Oh! Mentioning Hackers brought up another one: all computers are used by people who don't know what a mouse is. Everything is done with rapidfire typing.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:25 PM on March 17, 2015


Two nerds, one keyboard.
posted by brundlefly at 12:33 PM on March 17, 2015


readyfreddy: "You could literally dial the phone by tapping the switch (or beating the cradle) the appropriate number of times. Might even still work on landlines."

It'll work on anything that's still supporting pulse/rotary dialing. Your traditional rotary phone worked by breaking the connection for a very short period of time for 1 to 10 intervals. That actually became more of a hassle (or at least more computationally expensive) to support as time went on, which didn't stop the phone company from charging an additional fee for access to tone dialing.

The scene in WARGAMES where Broderick gets access to a dial tone by shorting a payphone headset similarly really worked, though not anymore by the time it was filmed.
posted by phearlez at 12:37 PM on March 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh! Mentioning Hackers brought up another one: all computers are used by people who don't know what a mouse is. Everything is done with rapidfire typing.

Yeah, but a lot of programmers really are like that. Keyboard shortcuts for everything.
posted by desjardins at 1:14 PM on March 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh for sure. I'm referring to, for example, the House of Cards episode when someone visits a cop, who then shows him video footage. Not some lab tech--cop-with-gun. Who then bashes away at keys on a computer to open the footage, rewind it, make it go slow, etc. In the real world, there would be a mouse and point-and-click.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:20 PM on March 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


CallerID is easily spoofed. Everyone with a business class line with more than a few numbers had this power built into their equipment.

Yes: it was possible for "needing time to trace the number" to have been used correctly. Nearly infallibly, it was not. The point in mentioning CallerID was not to say it was a foolproof tool that could defeat even the most nefarious people. It was to say that by and large the technology for identifying which phone a call was coming from was old hat. How many times for instance, did you see the "we need time to trace the call" trope used with a pay phone? The instant the person dialed the last digit of their desired number, anyone monitoring the line could identify the number. The location of the payphone could be sussed out a minute or two later.

One thing I meant to add to my dad's period phone error complaints: you know the thing about having cops "check the phone records"? Cops occasionally believed this was a thing before it was, too. My dad was cursed out and threatened with subpoenas once by a detective until the cop's boss explained that my dad was right: local phone call logs (at the time) were not a thing.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 4:32 PM on March 17, 2015


Constantly rewinding and pausing and such with a keyboard is way better than a mouse, I still remember when I first looked up all the Winamp shortcut keys and it's a niche frustration in healthcare when upstart medical transcription systems of any kind don't have good keyboard shortcuts or a foot pedal system. Or the complex financial system doesn't have shortcuts for every thing. Apple actually embraces having a shortcut for nearly everything under their control except locking your desktop, which is cute in healthcare too
posted by aydeejones at 11:34 PM on March 17, 2015


Essentially the keyboard is still the ultimate cheap "control surface" for a computer so i sort of like the "clackety clack" cliche and specifically that phrase when employed to represent intense nerdery in nerdy comics. /nerdery complete
posted by aydeejones at 11:37 PM on March 17, 2015


Along the lines of the "I'll have a beer" example is the, "Did you watch the Big Game last night?" conversation, usually between guys. Just once, I'd like the second guy to ask, "Uh, which one? Ducks game? Lakers game? Dodgers?"
posted by The Gooch at 12:19 PM on March 19, 2015


Hah, I watched Joe last night and someone had that exact line. Maybe it was meant to be ironic but I groaned when I heard it.
posted by octothorpe at 1:56 PM on March 19, 2015


Apple actually embraces having a shortcut for nearly everything under their control except locking your desktop, which is cute in healthcare too
posted by aydeejones
cmd + opt + power/eject

you're welcome :)
posted by TheNewWazoo at 10:45 PM on March 19, 2015


I remember a US friend once, maybe ten years ago now, claiming that US movies were "more or less" an accurate depiction of life in that country. He was especially adamant that those showing highschools were pretty much spot on.

Ah. A Heathers fan?
posted by McCoy Pauley at 8:30 AM on March 21, 2015


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