Friday, October 29, 2021

The horror of movie clichés.

Friday: Comic Relief

Halloween is this weekend and some friends like to celebrate with scary movie marathons. Being the scaredy cat that I am, though, I would rather poke fun at the frightful flicks.

So, I searched through the many clichés listed in Roger Ebert's book titled Ebert's Bigger Little Movie Glossary: A Greatly Expanded and Much Improved Compendium of Movie Clichés, Stereotypes, Obligatory Scenes, Hackneyed Formulas, Shopworn Conventions, and Outdated Archetypes [what a title!] and gleaned some related to horror/slasher films.

(Most of these are Roger Ebert's, but the book also includes some submitted by his readers.)
Dead Teenager Movie.
Generic term for any movie primarily concerned with killing teenagers, without regard for logic, plot, performance, humor, etc. Often imitated, never worse than in the Friday the 13th sequels. Requires complete loss of common sense on the part of the characters. Sample dialogue: "All of our friends have been found horribly mutilated. It is midnight and we are miles from help. Hey, let's take off our clothes, walk through the dark woods, and go skinny-dipping!" (R.E.)

Law of Relative Walking Speeds. 
No matter how fast the would-be victim runs, the slasher can always keep up just by walking steadily. (R.E.)

Premature Disarmament.
In horror films, after the monster has apparently been killed, the heroine inevitably drops her weapon, usually flinging it away in disgust. The monster is, of course, still alive. (R.E.)

Reverse Discrimination.
Whoever backs up in a horror movie is about to die. (Don Howard, San Jose, Calif.)

Rover, Dead Rover Rule.
In any movie that begins with lowering skies and ominous music, all dogs being taken on walks in the countryside discover dead bodies. (R.E.)

Rule of Chronic Tunnel Vision. 
In a horror movie, the character being stalked has vision limited to the camera's field of view. Therefore, anyone coming at any angle not directly ahead will invariably scare the living daylights out of him or her. (Daniel Alvarado, Arleta, Calif.)

Short Life Syndrome.
Night watchmen in horror movies have a life expectancy of twelve seconds. (Sam Waas, Houston)

Still Out There Somewhere.
Obligatory phrase in Dead Teenager and mad Slasher Movies, where it is triggered by the words, "The body was never found. They say he/she is..." (R.E.)

There-Goes-the-Neighborhood Rule.
In horror movies, no matter how many ghostly apparitions or psychokillers appear in a house, the owners will not leave it. In fact, the more scared they get, the more determined they are to stay put. Apparently they're earning some kind of "scream equity." (Raphael Carter, Tempe, Ariz.)
While preparing this post and thinking about the lack of common sense often displayed by characters in horror films, it reminded me of a funny Studio C sketch. I shared this several years ago and it's worth sharing again. Makes me laugh every time!

Studio C: The Walking Dead Survival Guide

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Movies reflect human needs: Sleep

In April I participated in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge and followed a theme of movies reflecting human needs. I had this post ready for the letter 'S' but went a different direction (Storytelling) and left this one in my drafts. 

Last week, though, sleep was a major problem for me... I had difficulty both in falling asleep and staying asleep. It made me think of this post, so I'm sharing it now.

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ThemeMovies reflect human needs...


Image from

There are multiple human needs that begin with the letter S... safety and security, solitude (at times), self-confidence, self-worth, support, shelter, sharing... and yet I chose Sleep. We all need it. Some may need more than others, but sleep is vital.
Sleep is the Swiss army knife of health. When sleep is deficient, there is sickness and disease. And when sleep is abundant, there is vitality and health. (Matthew Walker, Sleep Diplomat)
I've heard some say, "I'll sleep when I'm dead!" And I want to add, "Yes, and without sleep, you'll be there soon."
Insomnia is a gross feeder. It will nourish itself on any kind of thinking, including thinking about not thinking. (Clifton Fadiman)
In my younger years, I suffered with insomnia but didn't realize it. I thought taking hours to fall asleep was normal. Wasn't everyone like that? Well, no, I later learned, some people actually say good-night and then fall asleep. Just like that. I'm one of those now.

But... I've developed a different problem... staying asleep. If something wakes me up in the middle of the night (hearing a sound, too hot, too cold, need the bathroom) it's almost guaranteed I will not be able to go back to sleep.

So, yeah, I'm a bit obsessed with getting a good night's rest. 

Sadly, I don't have much of a list for movies that reflect the need for sleep. I Googled "movies about sleep" and most of the results were ones I haven't seen because they are the types of movies that would keep me awake at night!

But here are some relaxing films with "sleep" in the title...

And for a bonus, here's a serene sleep-aid... a storybook "Jungle Night" by Sandra Boynton (I love her work!) put to video and accompanied with Yo-Yo Ma. 

And now I feel the need for a nap.

Do you have trouble sleeping? What movies come to mind while reading this?

Friday, August 6, 2021

Movie-themed puns.

Friday: Comic Relief

Movies and popcorn go butter together.

As I mentioned during the 2020 A to Z Challenge with my theme Humor in Film--what makes me laugh, I love a play on words (see the post: Wordplay).

I need a good laugh today, so I'm sharing some movie-themed puns I found:

  • What do you call security guards working outside Samsung shops?
    • Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • How did Reese eat her ice cream?
    • Witherspoon.
  • They want to open a floating cinema in Paris with drive-in boats. 
    • I think that's in Seine.
  • A Plain Bun and a Vanilla Cream Bun goes to the cinema. During the sad movie, the Vanilla Cream Bun cried while the Plain Bun did not... Why?
    • 'Cause Vanilla Cream Buns have fillings.
  • In Disney's Beauty and the Beast (1991) Cogsworth (voice of David Ogden Stiers) says...
    • If it's not Baroque don't fix it.
And for a grand finale to this post of puns, I love this dialogue from The Lion King (1994)...
  • Zazu (voice of Rowan Atkinson) gives the morning report...
    • Well... the buzz with the bees is that the leopards are in a bit of a spot. And the baboons are going ape over this. Of course, the giraffes are acting like they're above it all... The tick birds are pecking on the elephants. I told the elephants to forget it, but they can't. The cheetahs are hard up, but I always say, cheetahs never prosper...
Thanks for humoring me. 

I'd love if you'd share puns in the comments!

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Take 43: Collateral Beauty

Tuesday:  My "take" on a film.

Collateral Beauty (2016)

We are all connected.

One of my sisters died in May, and ever since her death it seems like everything I select to read, watch, or listen to, includes something about grief. A flash-flood of tears nearly washed me off the highway when R.E.M.'s "Everybody Hurts" came on the radio while driving.

I'm not consciously selecting things with that topic, but apparently my subconscious knows I need it--so, I shouldn't be surprised when a movie I placed on the Netflix "My List" awhile back, and just recently decided to watch, turned out to be about...grief, of course.

On the film's website, Warner Bros. describes: "When a successful New York ad executive suffers a personal tragedy and retreats from life, his friends devise a drastic plan to reach him before he loses everything. ...  [T]his thought-provoking drama explores how even the deepest tragedy can reveal moments of beauty."

In one of the scenes, a woman (Naomie Harris) who facilitates grief therapy meetings shares:
...something started to happen to me, you know. I would be walking or on the subway, whatever, and I would just burst into tears. But these weren't Olivia tears. These were tears born from something else, from this... from this kind of profound connection to everything. And I realized it was the collateral beauty.

HOWARD (Will Smith)
There's no such thing as collateral beauty.

There is Howard. There really is. It'll never bring her back. And it will never ever make it okay. But I promise you, it's there.
What a beautiful movie! Intriguing and original. I love the concept of collateral beauty--blessed moments accompanying or following painful events--and as I reflect on the heart-breaking days spent next to my sister's deathbed, I recognize many of those beautiful moments.

I originally added the movie to My List because I figured with such big names in the cast (e.g. Will Smith, Kate Winslet, Helen Mirren, Kiera Knightley) it ought to be good, right? I've seen most of Will Smith's films, so I'm not sure how I missed this one when it was released, but I certainly needed to see it now.

Warner Bros. Trailer: Collateral Beauty

Notes on content:
  • No sex or nudity, but there are some references to adultery.
  • One F-word, and infrequent mild swearing.
  • Some anger portrayed, but no violence.