Five Lines Henceforth Banned From Scripts

1) "That went well, I thought."

2) "Showtime!"

3) "We've got company."

4) "I'm getting too old for this."

5) "I've got a bad feeling about this."

Write any of these, and I shall magically appear and set fire to your laptop (see helpful pic). Over to you - any more for the list?                                                                          

                                                                              ***


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79 comments:

Jonny Quest said...

'here we go again'

Phill Barron said...

"He's behind me, isn't he?"

Spec Odyssey said...

"That was bad on so many levels"

“Yeah. A little TOO quiet.”

“Don’t you die on me!”

And anyone asking for X amount of money in "unmarked bills"

Chip Smith said...

"Did I just say that out loud?"

William Gallagher said...

"What's that supposed to mean?"

W

David Bishop said...

"We have to talk."

"What are you trying to say?"

"I can't talk about this now."

"I don't understand."

Paul Campbell said...

"What's going on?" is officially banned from EastEnders scripts, though I think a few sneak through when no-one's looking.

Si said...

"Please, no - "

"I - "

"Don't - "

"I just - "

Followed by an interruptionm (usually a bullet or a line from another character)

DavidM said...

Just came to post most of the ones above, but there's still:

"I just threw up in my mouth"
and
"a little bit of wee came out"

Use other lines please, chuckleheads.

rob said...

'Hi sis!'

'So...'

'It's like some kind of movie...'

'Impossible!'

'CHARACTER X looks to camera'

redscharlach said...

"Try to get some sleep..."

Lucy said...

You bunch of dialogue fascists!

Though if any of you lot write a screenplay with as "steaming mug" of any type of beverage or have your characters BASKING IN THE AFTERGLOW of sex in your scene description, you are officially dead to me. DEAD.

Mark e said...

"Let's go to work."

DavidM said...

"This isn't over 'till it's over"

Kevin said...

Ha. I did a whole list of these. Will have to amend my post, thanks to some of these add-ons, though.

Here was my post on the definitive list of cliché dialogue: http://kevinlehane.com/2008/09/15/the-definitive-list-of-cliched-dialogue/

(Btw, pardon the rudeness if it seems that way by linking to my own post -- just thought you'd get a kick out of it.)

Phill Barron said...

"You just don't get it, do you?"

Which roughly translates as "Either we haven't explained this properly, or the audience are fucking morons, so let's have another go."

Eleanor said...

4 & 5 should have been banned ages ago!

Eleanor said...

all of these are rgeat, I'm gonna have to go look at the link.

DavidM said...

"That's it - I'm taking you OFF THE CASE!"

"What's up with you, you look like you've just seen a ghost.
"(thoughtful) Yeah. Maybe I have... "

"McMurphy, you and I go back a long way, don't we? But the DA's all over me on this one... "

"Hey detective, don't you have enough work to do without giving decent citizens a hard time?"

martin said...

'Put that Banana away, you big, beautiful fool'

In the words of Hedley Lemarr, I hate that cliche!

Jason Arnopp said...

Lord Lehane, how dare you divert my traffic like this? If they're not here at Bloggery-Pokery, how are people supposed to buy my officially-licensed Jason Arnopp mugs, pens, garlic crushers and cock-rings? Sheesh.

Feel free to give us a linky-credit, too, on your splendidly amended list. You've got 48 hours, Lehane!

Kevin said...

Done and done.

Oh, there's another one for the list!

:-)

Jason Arnopp said...

Thank you sir - you JUST made the 48-hour deadline. If you'd failed, it would've been your badge!

Kevin said...

Just try and stop me. You'll never take me alive! Ahem.

This could run and run and run.

David Lemon said...

'This is where the fun starts'
(Lucas used this in the SW prequels, yp help us know that what was unfolding constituted 'fun')

Any scene in which the young rookie is about to leave and the older gruff mentor stops him at the door to say 'Thanks' or 'You did good'.

Anonymous said...

"Breathe, dammit!"

I take it you've been watching Demons from the list?

Anna

Adaddinsane said...

Any sentence including the word "smite" in any variation.

John Soanes said...

"I don't believe I'm 'earin this!" (mainly EastEnders)

"We're in." (said by a hacker)

"You wouldn't pull that trigger - you don't have the guts!" (Dunno about you, but I wouldn't taunt someone pointing a gun at me)

"You know how I said that I'd let you go if you [did X]? I LIED."

J

Lara said...

"Don't worry. Everything's gonna be alright"

So, where the hell is the link to the officially licensed Jason Arnopp cock-rings, then? I've looked everywhere... :0/ And who is modelling, eh, Jase? Tsk.

DraconianOne said...

"This is the best way - the only way..."

"You complete me!"

David Bishop said...

"Leave it! He's/She's/They're not worth it!'

michellelipton said...

And don't forget:

"how long have we known each other?"

and

"I know you're my brother/sister/mother/father/best friend/neighbour but..."

Ergh.

*spits*

Ike said...

"You just don't GET it, do you?"

Followed by exposition to make sure that WE get it.

Gavin Williams said...

(interrupting geek/ scientist Character A's technical explanation...)

Gruff Character B: "In English, please..."

Jon Peacey said...

"Congratulations Detective XXX, you just screwed up 3 years undercover work."

Has no TV/Film 'tec ever heard of inter-departmental co-operation?

Jon Peacey said...

"I'm not falling for that watch out behind you trick."

Followed by beng clobbered by the 'whatever' behind them.

rob said...

"What are midichlorians, Master Qui gon?"

Piers said...

"I'm through the firewall"

Any scene in which someone purporting to be a hacker, or indeed is just using a computer randomly hits keys on their keyboard.

"You'll never get me to [do whatever]."

Tom Murphy said...

I'm a bit late to the party, but...

"I don't hate you... I feel sorry for you."

Tom Murphy said...

...and when someone's about to die, instead of being frightened they look a bit annoyed or resigned and say, "Oh sh--" BOOM!

David Lemon said...

My God. If it carries on like this the cliche cupboard will be bare.

Does a character in a police station/CTU scenario being told 'walk with me' and then being briefed on the fly about everything that's happened so far (purely for our benefit) count?

It might also be worth calling time on the rooftop epilogue with rookie and mentor both having learned something and staring into the middle distance...

(Note: I may end up using both of these at some point...)

Tom Murphy said...

I seem to remember that Garth Marenghi's Darkplace did a real job on rooftop epilogues.

And I pretty much gave up on Fringe the moment Special Agent Hardass opened his team briefing with "OK, people..."

Piers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jon Peacey said...

"Is it raining? I hadn't noticed."

Truly "a cowpat strewn from the devil's own Satanic herd".

(See what I did there?)

James Moran said...

I think some people are confusing bad lines with overused lines - this is about lines that have been used way, WAY too often, not just really bad lines that have been used once. Blasphemy! How about:

"No, I won't kill you - that'd make me just like you / bring me down to your level" - when in reality, you'd blow his fucking head off.

"Let's go!" - supposedly the most common phrase in action movies (I think the original Dawn of the Dead holds the record for most uses). Trouble is, it's really handy and sounds exciting. And yes, I've used it a lot.

"*Not* good" - when something catastrophic is happening.

"Okay, I'll tell you what's going on. The murderer is-- AAAGGHHH!" - cue the informant being shot. Oh Jack Bauer, I love you, in a deep and sexual way, but 24 does this way too often.

"What you don't know? Wow. You really don't know, do you? You honestly, really don't remember?" - NO! HE FUCKING DOESN'T! NOW TELL US!

And John Soanes: "I LIED" is a CLASSIC, sir! How DARE you?? I don't believe I'm 'earin' this - you're off the case!

How about lines we should hear more of? Like "I suppose you're all wondering why I gathered you here", or "will somebody please tell me just what THE HELL is going on here?" (also known as "The Line", used in every disaster movie ever, and shamelessly stolen by me in nearly everything I write).

Jon Peacey said...

I wasn't confusing bad lines with overused... 'Is it raining etc.' is such a bad line that using it even once is over-use!

Even by the time it appeared in Four Weddings I'd heard variations a couple of times.

A line I want to hear used... just once... is 'Grease the otter, Private, we're going in.'

Jon Peacey said...

Do they really use "Okay, I'll tell you what's going on. The murderer is-- AAAGGHHH!" in 24. I don't watch the programme... but that was an old chestnut back in the Silent Era!

james henry said...

I heard "It's just a scratch" on something the other day, which should by rights be the classic overused line, yet I can't remember ever hearing it before.

james henry said...

Ooh, how about "We don't want to make a martyr out of him" as an unconvincing reason why the baddies haven't simply shot the goodie when they had a chance.

Fuck martyring, shoot him in the head, and then write "I bum goats" on his head with a magic marker. Simple as.

James Moran said...

John: Oh they do, about every five minutes - I sympathise that they can't give the characters too much otherwise the story will wrap up, and they have to fill 24 eps - but sometimes you can even predict it. Oh, they've caught him! He'll be dead in a minute, then.

Another one is someone coughing, and then saying "no, I'm fine" - they have cancer, or AIDS, or TB, and will be dead before too long.

Jon Peacey said...

Sounds almost Pythonesque... The Black Knight's 'Tis but a scratch'* and the Old Man's 'I feel much better'.

(*is that where you heard it, James Henry?)

David Lemon said...

Wow. This is the mother of all discussion points, isn't it?
Could I respectfully suggest maybe a new thread about lines we love?

After all, long, long ago some of the stale old lines listed here were fresh and shiny.

For example 'He's behind me, isn't he?'worked wonderfully in 'City Slickers'. (Shut up. It did)

james henry said...

Aha! The 'scratch' line does of course come from Python! Thanks Jon.

Jon Peacey said...

Finally, I have found some use for my misspent youth! :)

Michelle Goode said...

"It's not you, it's me"

Neil said...

Two guys square off to each other.

"All right, motherf*cker. Let's dance."

Any mention of fighting being like dancing is banned!!! Anyone who's been in a fight would say dancing is the complete opposite.

Jon Peacey said...

Most fights don't start with a mission statement either...

Piers said...

Just hold me.

Jon Peacey said...

Anybody storming out of a room saying I never want to see you again/ it's over/ etc. then immediately coming back, sheepishly, for a left behind folder/ handbag/ whatever...

...cue laughter.

DraconianOne said...

Armstrong and Miller have taken that last one and run with it as a recurring theme for a sketch. It's quite amusing.

Jon Peacey said...

...ah yes... the one about the Prime Minister-type who exits to plaudits having got something agreed and then...

Lucy said...

No Piers!

It's

"Hold me like you don't ever want to let me go."

I read that frighteningly often.

Jon Peacey said...

I'm always amused by 'kissed me like I've never been kissed before'. (Or variations thereof.)

I always hope for a flashback to an elbow or nose being passionately kissed.

Ruth Newman said...

Completely agree with Rob on "hi sis!", and anything else that is used in the first film minutes of a film to tell rather than show - saw a really shit horror film the other day and this dialogue appeared in the first scene:
Boy A: "I can't believe you made me take this trip a few days before my medical school finals!"
Boy B: "Well I'm you're irresponsible older brother, what else do you expect me to do?"
You can pretty much eject the DVD at that point, no?

"You're my brother and I love you, but -"

"We were just kids ... we didn't know what we were doing"

"I'm not leaving without you"

"That the best you've got?"

containsnuts said...

There is absolutely no way you're going to make me...

Cut to same person doing it. Grrrr

This is like scriptwriting therapy

Eddie Robson said...

A similar one to Phill Barron's "You just don't get it, do you?" is the horrid "Let me get this straight..." where a character repeats the situation and/or plan back to someone as a means of recapping it for the audience. And possibly also underlining how MAD it all is - as if, by having a character say the situation is ridiculous or the plan bizarre, the writer can protect themselves from the same accusation from the audience. (Ref: TurkeyCity - "You Can't Fire Me, I Quit")

Darren Goldsmith said...

Heck... I'm gonna write a movie with all of these in. ALL of them!

Tom Murphy said...

Heck... I'm gonna write a movie with all of these in. ALL of them!

That's what Shakespeare done with Hamlet, innit? Got loads of well-known phrases and stuck them together in a play?

Piers said...

In that case, I must demand that your hero crawls through air vents.

I love air vents.

Jon Peacey said...

If you get vents I demand the bit where there's a sound which turns out to be 'just a cat'...

rob said...

"It's not me, it's you."

Darren Goldsmith said...

As long as right after the 'just a cat' bit, the real nightmare/psycho/nameless horror leaps out and stabs them.

Stephen Gallagher said...

I remember a police procedural TV movie which began with a body face-down in a pond and the line,

"Three weeks in the job as Chief of Police and look how he ends up. Some days I wish I wasn't Head of Internal Affairs."

I could tell you the title of it, but then I'd have to kill you.

(actually I can't remember it)

Boz said...

This could go very Dr Seuss and you shall be banished to write scripts composed entirely from these lines.

h said...

actually i think that's what you need to do, run a competition to either create a short script using only cliches - or (perhaps better) a script that contains the phrase 'Grease the otter, Private, we're going in.'
you could offer some official arnopp merchandise as a prize.

Sam said...

How about "This isn't the movies/tv you know"...

Phill Barron said...

I've just seen an episode of the 2008 Knightrider - it had every single one of these lines in it and about 300 more which *should* be added to the list.

Jesus.

Anonymous said...

In this uber-cliche movie, make sure your hero gets shot and 'killed' only to be saved by the lucky bible/coin/flask that he put on earlier.

I thought they officially retired that until I saw it in White House Down.

Jon Peacey said...

'In this uber-cliche movie, make sure your hero gets shot and 'killed' only to be saved by the lucky bible/coin/flask that he put on earlier.I thought they officially retired that until I saw it in White House Down.'

Especially having been subverted so well in the final episode of Blackadder III.