- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing; Original edition (May 1, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0836282892
- ISBN-13: 978-0836282894
- Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 5 x 0.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 39 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #416,030 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Ebert's Bigger Little Movie Glossary: A Greatly Expanded and Much Improved Compendium of Movie Clichés, Stereotypes, Obligatory Scenes, Hackneyed ... Shopworn Conventions, and Outdated Archetypes Paperback – May 1, 1999
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Roger Ebert has been noticing these things, too. And he’s noticed a lot of them, organized them into a list, and even explained a few of them. Ebert has gathered recurring movie clichés from his fans (two thirds of the entries in the book are credited to others) and listed them along with his own gems. And he gives each of them a cute name. Some will seem quite familiar; others may prompt you to watch your favorite movies with a new eye.
Here are ten that stood out to me:
- “As Long as You’re Up, Get Me a 2 × 4.” When a fight in a bar breaks out, nearly everyone in the place begins fighting, spontaneously and without cause— even with people they have been sitting next to for some time.
- Bathroom Rule. No one ever goes into a movie toilet to perform a natural function. Instead characters use the bathroom to take illegal drugs, commit suicide, have sex, smoke, get killed, exchange money, or sneak out through the bathroom window.
- Climbing Villain. Villains being chased at the end of a movie inevitably disregard all common sense and begin climbing up something— a staircase, a church tower, a mountain— thereby trapping themselves at the top.
- Female Voice of Destruction. If the auto-destruction feature is activated at a secret base or spaceship, the countdown is always announced by a female voice.
- Grave Talk. Handy screenwriter’s tool where a character can reveal his personality and motivation by explaining everything to a tombstone.
- Law of Poignant Remnants. Whenever the wreckage of a plane crash is shown, there is always a teddy bear or doll in the midst of the wreckage.
- Magic Shave. When a shaving actor is interrupted after just a few strokes, he wipes the lather off with a towel to reveal a close-shaved face.
- One-at-a-Time Attack Rule. In any situation where the hero is alone, surrounded by dozens of bad guys, they will always obligingly attack one at a time.
- Phantom Photographer. A family’s vacation snapshots always include every family member, even if they were twenty miles from the nearest neighbor.
- Sci-Fi Currency Conversion. In any science-fiction movie, anywhere in the galaxy, currency is referred to as “credits.”
So if you are creating a drinking game for your favorite movie or just want to be reassured that others see these things, too—this book is for you. It is both amusing and thought-provoking, good for reading in the bathroom or other rooms. I recommend buying it instead of checking it out of the library. Mostly because of the bathroom reading thing.
The only real problem with the book is the inherent flaw in having a book that features submissions ... quality is uneven, and a few cliches appear multiple times submitted by different people. This is balanced out by some very clever observations, patterns that I hadn't noticed before and which informed by later movie watching.
It's not quite as good as "I Hated, Hated, Hated, HATED This Movie," but it's still a seriously funny book for anyone who's fed up with seeing the same movie made over and over again with different titles.