Hollywood Hang-ups

I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: I’m a film snob. A big one. It takes a lot for me to actually like a film. Example: I caught that new Jamie Foxx flick a few weeks ago and hated it. Most everyone I know  loves it. Not that it wasn’t entertaining in some respects, but I felt like so much of what happened in the film didn’t make sense and wasn’t plausible (I won’t explain it further because I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t seen it).

There was one thing that thing that sorta shocked me, though: A particular black character lived throughout the entire film when I was certain death was imminent. It made me wonder if Hollywood has really received and implemented that memo about blacks not liking it when black characters die (abrutly/first) in films. Think about it. We’ve come a long way since “Scream 2” when Jada Pinkett and Omar Epps were knocked off within the first five minutes, haven’t we?

That got me thinking about a few other things I hope to never see in film ever again. Maybe Hollywood will listen. Here goes:


Denzel's best roles are the ones where he's not arresting people...like Malcolm X

1. Denzel Washington playing a cop or public official. If I ever meet him, I’m asking him to read me my Miranda rights just to be sure he knows them. He should. Denzel is more typecast Ludacris playing a rapper. I know he does different films, but it has to get old playing a cop. And even when he’s not playing a cop now, he’s still conducting cop-like activity. Take “The Taking of Pelham 123” for instance: He’s a “regular guy” who runs the MTA subway system in New York who just so happens to get caught in the middle of hostage situation and ends up being the negotiator. Right. The craziest part of it is that his best roles (“Malcolm X,” “John Q,” and “The Hurricane” — my opinion) don’t have him playing that recycled role.

2. The black guy chasing/catching cars and trains on foot. “Bad Boys.” Will Smith. You know exactly what I’m talking about. Actually, Will’s been guilty of this one a few times. “Men In Black” comes to mind. Usain Bolt is fast. But he’s not keeping pace with a car going 30 mph for five minutes in a film. Funny thing: Denzel did the exact same thing in “Pelham 123.”

3. Guys walking away from fire cool, calm and collected. The first time I saw this shot (It was probably the Governator in “True Lies”) I thought it was the coolest thing ever. Then I realized that I don’t know anyone who’s going to slowly walk away from fire as though it’s not hot. I get they do it for the “cool” factor, but it’s not realistic. Even action hero skin burns. Anyone with any good sense would run. So it only makes sense for them to do it in the films.

4. No bullets in the good guys, but plenty of shells. If 200 rounds fly in my direction, chances are I’m probably going to catch a few in the chest. Yet somehow, in most actions flicks, action heros are dodging bullets like Neo in the Matrix, and they’re not the one. It makes no sense. Bruce Willis should have died 100 deaths in film by now. Yet the only one I know of is the one where he sacrificed himself for the planet earth in “Armageddon.”

5. Opening the door with the “creeky noise” in the horror film. I get that horror films must have foolish characters in them for them to work. But this is ridiculous. If you’re watching people get knocked off left and right, the last thing you need to do is go anywhere near a strange noise. A character should be smart enough at that point to run the other way. But they never do. Nope, they go toward their inevitable deaths, which often makes the film unwatchable.

6. The girl who trips and gets caught by the bad guy because she can’t get up. This one annoys the hell outta me because it always seems to happen at the most inopportune time. You don’t see people fall just for the sake of falling because they’re clumsy. No, they trip and don’t get up so they can get caught by the killer… How novel.

7. Madea. No need in explaining this for the 1,243,097th time.

What film cliches do you hope to see Hollywood rid itself of immediately?


60 responses to “Hollywood Hang-ups

  1. Denzel just doesn’t do it for me. I do not understand why so many women swoon over him. But in the few movies of his I have watched, he was a public official. So was will smith, he always has to save the day all the time (boring) I love the man but I think he needs to get outta his shell. Pursuit of happiness was refreshing and tear jerking, we saw a totally different side to him. And were I-robot and I am legend kinda similar? or is it just me?
    Ha ha as for the horror films, wat the hell is wrong with those characters who go following the noise holaing ‘hallo! hallo! who’s there?’ its not like the bad guy will reply ‘it’s me the psychopath!’ lol
    The string of bullets missing the lead character always surprises me as well. Movie makers need to stop doing that.

  2. Re: #1 – I guess you’re going to be mad about Denzel’s new movie Book of Eli because he definitely is doing some cop like stuff in it.

    That list cracked me up. I don’t think of myself as a movie SNOB because I’ll watch almost anything. I’m more of a movie addict and sometimes I get some bad stuff.

    To go along with the horror/thriller movie theme, when the victim knocks down the bad guy and then runs off. If you’ve been terrorizing me for the last week and I finally knock you down, I’m going to make sure that you are without a doubt dead. Oh and I’m not running UP the stairs when I can go out the front door.

    Also, can we limit the use of the sassy and/or angry black woman character. Especially when she is the ONLY black woman in the movie (I’m looking at you Wanda Sykes).

    • @tam: At some point, I was a movie addict. But I progressed into a film snob at some point. I think it was when I realized how many DVDs I had, and how many of them were actually horrible films… like Shallow Hal.

      “Oh and I’m not running UP the stairs when I can go out the front door.”

      I never get why people doe this… and the angry black women are played, too. That was something I mulled over for this list.

  3. My pet peeve is with the old action films with Jean-Claude Van Damme, Steven Seagal and Wesley Snipes. Unless your name is Bruce Lee, or The Bride Assassin in the Kill Bill series, it’s a little difficult for me to believe that you will be giving the smack down to every enemy coming your way and never get tired or hurt in the process. I hate it when there’s like 20 men coming after these guys and they manage to obliterate all 20 of them and leave with only a few scratches and bruises. It’s completely unbelievable…

  4. Morning, y’all.

    @Damon: Funny list. I enjoyed Law Abiding Citizen. I agree that it was over the top & not a plausible storyline at all but it was entertaining. I agree with you on one of Denzel’s better films being The Hurricane. LOVE that movie. I think that he has played a cop or public official in many roles but he has enough films where he’s played other roles as well.

    @Tam: I’m with you. I don’t consider myself a movie snob but a movie addict. I watch just about everything (except horror…too much of a chicken). I’ve found that the films that receive rave reviews and are the critics’ picks, I usually don’t like and the ones the critics don’t like, I love. I’m weird that way with movies. My husband & our friends give me a hard time for the movies I think are good or the movies I love.

    Others for the list:
    – Scantily clad women or women drenched from a shower or a downpour trying to defend herself.
    – The never ending arsenal of unlimited weapons…who keeps all of these weapons in their homes, offices, cars, etc?

    • @Shawnta: I am the exact same way! Movies that the critics love I hate and the ones they hate, I love. That’s why I don’t even look at movie reviews before I go see a movie.

    • @shawnta: Alot of people are weird like that with films, and that’s why some of them get made, because some will like them and some won’t.

      I’ve just seen too many bad ones that have so many things in them that aren’t plausible, yet it’s supposed to be realistic in them… So while I’ll find a film like Law Abiding Citizen entertaining to some degree, I’d never consider it to be a good film… It’s weird, too, because I don’t read most reviews until after i’ve seen the film. And i usually agree with the critics… *shrugs*

  5. Baysplosions!

    I’d like one smart comedy/action/drama (what have you) movie over 100 stamped out clones. When stuff like “Mall Cop” makes millions of dollars a little bit of my hope for America dies.

    I could do with out remakes. And remakes of remakes. Ridiculous. Get your own darn idea.

  6. Yeah I was gonna ask about the never ending supply of ammo. Even when they empty the clip and put in another magazine, how are these guys continuing to get more magazines? Is it like GoldenEye on 64 where they just pick it up as they go?

    Also the movie scene that pissed me off the most was that movie Waist Deep. Not only because every one there was scared of a dude named “Big Meat” but the final action scene w/ Tyrese in a police chase against LAPD…the most experienced police chase force in the civilized world (they caught OJ!!!). Not only does he almost outrun them, his car jumps the freeway lands in the LA river, LAPD can’t find him in a river for God’s sakes and then he shows up on an Effin Mexican Beach w/ White Linens on @ the same time as his new skeezer and effiminate son happen to be playing “Horsies” on said beach. I’m almost throw my cell phone @ the movie screen when that happen.

    *Sorry to blow up but thats been on my chest a long time*

    • @Oates: Well what did you expect from a movie named “Waist Deep” that starred Tyrese? I think he is a terrible actor (no I didn’t like Baby Boy) who is only good at looking sexy LOL.

      • I never liked ‘Baby Boy’ till I watched it again years later and I got the message that John Singleton was sending. Ironically I thought Tyrese did a great job playing a shiftless, lazy, baby making momma’s boy who didn’t have any direction in life. He was very convincing to me and that’s why I hated the movie so much at first because it reminded me of how many of these types of knuckle heads are running around here…lol

        • @jlbd: I like Baby Boy, too. But moreso because it’s unintended comedy throughout. Tyrese is a terrible actor… If you pay attention, you realize that he never ever changes character. Same guy, every film — whether it’s Transformers or Baby Boy.

    • “Is it like GoldenEye on 64 where they just pick it up as they go?”

      That’s hilarious…… and why are you hating on O2 (Tyrese’s character)? lol. In all honesty, that was one of the five all time dumbest endings to a film I’ve ever scene and Tyrese should be ashamed to call himself an actor for that mess…

      • Tyrese was just getting a paycheck for ‘Waist Deep’ and Megan Good was hoping to get some more calls from her agent. I try not to hate on fly-by-night movies like that because they are entertaining to a degree but they shouldn’t be taken seriously or considered for awards on any level…

  7. lol im so glad you wrote this letter. i joked a few years ago that i was going to write an action movie where the hero died shortly after being established as the hero, the sidekick had to save the day, there were no bullets, explosions, fires, the black man didnt die, and in the very last moments of the movie the sidekick died of a heart attack. all of this to fly in the face of every hollywood movie convention. my friend told me i would be stoned.

  8. i just need production companies to no longer use these ingredients to do nothing but waste money:
    -white girl (WG) goes to “urban” school (translation, it so happens she’s the ONLY caucasian you see whenever there’s a school/cafeteria scene)
    -WG meets dance team whose members are only black students
    -WG meets hostility from some fellow dance team mbrs who happen to be black girls (who are really grown women like gabrielle union still playin’ sophmore high schoolers)
    -WG proves she has some moves
    -WG catches eye of black boy (also, another hollywood actor too od to be playin’ a sophmore)
    -WG joins dance team and they win in some random battle/competition royale
    -er’ybody walks off with smiles, hugs & high-fives.

    • @nn: And the fact that you just described at least 5 different movies is a mess. UGH, I can’t stand those movies because they are just ridiculous.

  9. Hello fellow snob!

    1. Denzel Washington playing a cop or public official.

    Ditto! At some point, Pelham123, Inside Man, etc they all just kind of run together. I watched Glory the other night and Denzel scared the bejesus out of me. His character, while coming from a place of extreme hurt, was so threatening and scary. It’s like he was just always on that edge, you never knew when he was going to snap. I’m glad he got an Oscar for that.

    3. Guys walking away from fire cool, calm and collected.
    4. No bullets in the good guys, but plenty of shells.

    I think this is why I like the direction the Bond franchise is going in. It’s like they are trying to be more realistic, especially emotionally with the character. He gets wounded plenty of times. In CR he gets drugged and passes out before he can defib his heart, I thought that was great.

    5. Opening the door with the “creeky noise” in the horror film.

    I have strange noises I heard from time to time when I’ve been home alone. After much trepidation, I’ve gone to investigate. It’s either that or call the cops. I did that once and felt really dumb…that’s all I’ll say. I think this is okay in horror films.

    6. The girl who trips and gets caught by the bad guy because she can’t get up.

    You’d be amazed at how often people trip and fall when their emotions are high…

    • @dmilz: Hey you… i do like where the Bond franchise is headed. I know a lot of people are upset because it isn’t as cheesy as it was during the Brosnan years, but the fact that it’s realistic now humanize the character and the franchise. I love it.

      on No. 5, I’m talking about when you’ve watched all your friends get killed… specifically. And then people are still crazy enough to move toward weird noises… Nah, homey. It’s time to bounce. lol.

      • @Damon @dmilz: I wasn’t upset that the Bond movies aren’t as cheesy but I’m still not 100% sold on the new guy that is playing Bond. I hate, hate, hate the way he purses (sp?) his lips all the time. It just isn’t Bond-like to me.

        • @Tam

          How dare thou speak ill of the beauty that is Daniel Craig…I love him as Bond! 🙂 He is not only s3xy and extremely masculine but he has that realistic edge that is so captivating.

        • @tam: i know what you’re talking about. It is weird. But idk, I just think he’s a little bit more realistic and rugged, what you’d expect from the character if he were real.

          Reminds me a lot of the new Batman/Bruce Wayne.

        • @jlbd: HA! I will agree that he is sexy (when he isn’t pouting his lips) and he does make the role a bit more realistic than some others have.

          @Damon: So you like Christian Bale as Batman? I love him as an actor, ever since American Psycho, but I don’t think he has a strong enough jaw to play Batman. And that weird thing he does with his voice confuses me.

  10. And to actually answer the question now, what film cliches do you hope to see Hollywood rid itself of immediately?

    The Black person as:
    a) the wise sage (go away Morgan Freeman)
    b) a loud obnoxious fat transit operator
    c) sexy beast preparing to take a young nerd’s virginity
    d)providing drugs to rich kids

    • I would like for Hollywood to do away with the ‘Help a Negro’ movies myself. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, refer to the new Sandra Bullock flick coming out called ‘The Blind Side’. To sum it up, I’m tired of seeing the disadvantaged athlete, student, inner-city child who is headed down the wrong path, that is until the suburban well-off folks with less melanin in their skin comes along and lends a helping hand. I’m not trying to sound crass, but that plot is so boring to me and it’s played out!

      • Omg yes. I change my mind, THIS is my all time most hated cliche. I thought I was overreacting when I saw the preview for The Blind Side. Especially since the actual story is inspirational, but they positioned the movie in such a way that made me cringe. They are focusing on the white family and not on the person himself and what he went through and had to overcome.

        • You know what the weird thing is about the cliche that’s going to be shown in that film? It happens all of the time… that exact one.

          Hell, Jeremy Maclin is a product of it. Idk. I’m curious to see the film because it’s about Michael Oher, and I didn’t know he’d gone through so much… but yeah, the idea is a little played, I guess.

          • @ Damon That is true. It does happen. I guess my beef is that the black kids are always just by-products of the movie with no actual character depth. They show cliches of the “poor lifestyle” they had, but never really delve into the growth of the child. They always just show what the white people have to struggle with. Also, the previews for this new movie make Oher seem like some big dumb Green Mile looking negro.

      • @jlbd

        Oh yes, when I saw that preview I could just hear my dad ranting about “magic white woman saves the day, again”

      • and I just saw Finding Forrester and cringed throuhg all of Anna Paquin’s scenes.

        • @dmilz: Finding Forrester is one of my favorite films of this decade…

          I don’t think it falls in this category because of how brilliant that kid/character was… He made Sean Connery’s character feel like an idiot some of the film. They learned from each other, which I thought was a great relationship.

          • @D yeah that’s why I got it. I like the writing aspect. I like how he clowned people (like the guy with the BMW and his teacher o nfamous quotes).

            I did not, however, like the Anna Paquin character. so while I wouldn’t put it into any of the “cliche” bins that have been mentioned, I don’t think its that great of a movie. Actually, it was delightfully boring to me.

    • “b) a loud obnoxious fat transit operator”

      This one annoys the hell outta me, too, but they will not stop doing it…

    • In addition to my frustration with ‘Help a Negro’ films I’m also frustrated with ‘Let’s see white people try to be cool’ type movies. If you’re confused again think of Queen Latifah’s ‘Bringing Down the House’. Sure, those movies make you laugh and are overall light-hearted, but it gets old to see the sterotypes get pushed even further. Like why did ol’ dude in the end have to be getting his hair braided? And, in the movie ‘Beauty Shop’ why did the white lady have to all of a sudden start growing an azz for everybody to start giving her props? I am one of those ‘rare’ black women with no azz, so the azz thing never applied to me…EVER…ok, I’ll step off my movie snob soap box…

      • @jlbd: I can’t STAND “Bringing Down the House” that movie is just terrible all around. And some of us wonder why white people go around saying stuff like “go head girlfriend”, “talk to the hand” or other ridiculous sayings. Although, I am quick to shut that mess down especially at work.

        • @Tam

          Lol, I hear you. My aunt got all defensive and annoyed when I called it a new aged minstrel show. She told me I didn’t know what a minstrel show was and that she was happy Steve Martin was making a comeback. Ummmmm, newsflash, this movie is not just about Steve Martin and his comeback, are you going to just ignore all the subtle racial undertones? All in all, I enjoyed the movie for what it was worth, but I can’t get past some of the parts that made me cringe…

  11. oh, and no omarion/chris brown never again “play” the role of a amateur dancer–only to realize the steps are the exact same choreography in their next MTV music video for their upcoming album single.

  12. My favorite Denzel film is and always will be Man on Fire. He was also fantastic in Training Day. As long as it’s a fresh take on a cop role (it can happen) I’ll be interested. Also, I’m pretty sure the deaths of Jada Pinkett and Omar in Scream 2 were supposed to be a wink at that cliche, not an actual example.

    That being said, my all time most hated cliche is when a woman falls out of a window/plane/etc. and the man (who does not have super powers) dives after her and catches up to her to save her. See, The Dark Knight. That’s just a violation of physics and therefore unacceptable.

    • @kim: on Scream 2, they didn’t have a clue as to how much that would actually upset people. We went into the film thinking “cool, Scream has black people in it. Good stuff.” and then for them to die within like three minutes? Nah, that was no wink at the cliche. I refuse to believe it. lol.

    • I saw the cliche and laughed my arse off when it happened. I knew that’s what they were going for…

  13. 1. The severely beaten hero, who somehow due to some anthemic music, musters the strength to get up and finish off the bad guy. Seriously, you were just getting your ass whupped and now some how your Superman? really?

    2. Happily Ever Afters, unless they are realistic. Most aren’t realistic though. That’s why I loved “Million Dollar Baby”. Cause she doesn’t live in the end. If she would have miraculously lived it would have ruined the film

    3. African-American characters that cannot/refuse to speak proper English. It’s one thing to have a character speak with a certain dialect or cultural slang, its a completely other thing to have the characters sound unintelligent. (i.e. – Tyler Perry’s characters)

    4. The white male lead needing the black male co-star or supporting actor in order to find some greater level of self actualization. (i.e – Radio, Hancock, Men in Black 2, Legend of Bagger Vance, The Matrix, Remember the Titans, Finding Forrester, The Soloist, Blood Diamond, Men Honor, Rocky III, The Bucket List)

    5. Black character whose only purpose for being in the movie is to bring comedic relief with witty one-liners and quips (most recent movie I’ve seen like this: G.I. Joe)

    • I just ranted on your 4 and 5 in detail up top. I hate that ish!

    • @t.jackson: Your No. 1 reminds me of Hulk Hogan in the wrestling ring for some reason. you know, when he randomly gets all his energy back like a replenished video game character.

      No. 5: This happens all the time. GI Joe is up there, but there are so many more… the first on that comes to mind is You’ve Got Mail with Dave Chappelle. He had more random, almost-outta-place jokes in that film…

  14. Dance sequences in romantic comedies/teen flicks. I’m sorry but people just don’t bust out into dance unless the movie is an actual musical. Add to that the accidentally-saw-me-naked shot; the uptight-girl finally loosens up while teaching the reckless-guy responsibility premise; and kids as truth-tellers. Actually, just all rom-com cliches. I just don’t like them.

    Remakes of my favorite ’80s movies. I’m talking to you, Footloose and Fame.

  15. I agree with you on all of these…especiall about Denzel and heries not getting shot…

    Also, not every movie has to have a romantic interest in it…Movies that are comedies or action, but somehow he falls in love along the way…

  16. back when Arnold Schwarzenegger used to be in the movies, he’d frequently have the most regular names ever (for example, in True Lies his name was Harry Tasker; in Last Action Hero, his name was Jack Slater; he was John Kimble in Kindergarten Cop, etc), knowin’ good & well he had an extra heavy Austrian accent. it irked me sooo much lol.

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