The Most Over-Used Lines in Movies

Posted on February 21, 2015 at 3:54 pm

The wonderful screenwriters’ blog Go Into the Story has assembled a terrific list of the most over-used lines of dialog we have heard far too often in movies.  The lines usually mentioned as the most frequent: “Let’s get out of here,” “Please, try to understand,” and “Try to get some rest.”  But those are said all the time in real life, so it makes sense that they would occur a lot in movies.  The wonderful old Rotten Tomatoes show used to have hilarious compilations of lines like “This wasn’t part of the plan” and “I have a bad feeling about this.”

These are ones that writers should be careful to skip, unless they are making the point that the character is unimaginative or trying to present him/herself as a type.

Here are some of the best/worst from the list.

I was born ready.

Is that all you got?

I’m just getting started.

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

Don’t you die on me!

He’s standing right behind me, isn’t he?

Let’s do this thing!

What part of _____ don’t you understand?

We’ve got company.

Wait! I can explain! This isn’t what it looks like.

f we make it out of this alive . . .

You’re either very brave . . . or very stupid.

Not on my watch!

Listen to me, and listen good, ’cause I’m only gonna say it once.

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Understanding Media and Pop Culture

More Cliches for the Never Put This in a Movie Again List

Posted on August 16, 2014 at 8:00 am

Mentorless has a great list of movie dialog clichés that should be banned from all future films.  I really miss the old Rotten Tomatoes show that had great compilations for lines like “That wasn’t part of the plan.”  Here are a few from Mentorless:

1. Try me

2. This is your destiny.

3. Donde esta por favor?

4. I was born ready.

5. Are you sitting down?

6. – Is that all you got?

– I’m just getting started.

7. Cover me. I’m going in.

8. No, no, no, no, NO! I’m not going.

9. No. Come in. ____ was just leaving.

10. We’ve got to stop meeting like this.

And there are lots more great choices in the comments.  I would like to add a category that was unfortunately prevalent in two of this week’s releases, “Expendables 3” and “Let’s Be Cops,” the casually sexist bro-banter demeaning someone’s manhood.  Enough of coaches and other team leaders referring to the guys as “ladies,” and especially enough of insulting men’s courage by referring to them as p****ies.  Please.

And film critic Dann Gire has a great list of visual clichés that should also be banned, from the slowly circulating ceiling fan to the “Wild Bunch march.”

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Film History Understanding Media and Pop Culture

Christian Toto on Movie Cliches He’d Like to Ban

Posted on May 19, 2010 at 3:09 pm

My friend and fellow critic Christian Toto has a blog post about three movie cliches he’d like to ban from all future movies.

# The ambivalent hit man: Yes, “The Matador” gave Pierce Brosnan one of his meatiest film roles. But the conflicted killer routine is getting old, even if it didn’t stop George Clooney from tackling it anew.

# Young, hungry journalists: How many times do we meet a young, fetching female character who we quickly learn is a magazine writer/aspiring journalist/novelist in training? Wake up, Hollywood. Journalism as we know it has been read its Last Rites. Now, go find a new profession to exploit.

# Rom-coms set in New York: The U.S. teems with beautiful, photogenic cities. Heck, has any film producer seen Pittsburgh at night? It’s beautiful. Go find some new ones …. and leave the Big Apple to Woody Allen.

His commenters have added some of my favorites, including the chick flick routine of young women singing or dancing together and the country character or person of faith who just has to be an idiot or a crook. Fun to read!

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Commentary Understanding Media and Pop Culture
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