Channel Awesome
Top 11 Coolest Clichés
June 22th, 2010
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Nostalgia Critic: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to.

(Various clips of movies)

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) If you watch my show, then you know that I often make fun of clichés. They're the annoying little plot points and reoccurring moments that never seem to evolve no matter how many times we use them. But, for as much as I bitch about them, there actually are a fair amount of cool clichés. These are the moments you've seen a million times before, but for some reason, you never get tired of. They were awesome when they first appeared, and they're still awesome now. And nothing can ever make them deteriorate their... awesomeness.

Nostalgia Critic: Whether you laugh at them or take them seriously, they're always a ton of fun to watch. And so, I'm honoring the Top 11 Greatest Clichés that ever existed. Why top 11? Because I have my own cliché that will never die. So, sit back and enjoy the Top 11 Coolest Clichés.

(Clips from "Hot Fuzz" play, ending with a house exploding. This is the interlude for the countdown.)

Number 11[]

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) Number 11: Holding the gun sideways. This is also known as "Gangsta Style", and it is completely pointless. There is no reason to hold the gun sideways. It doesn't help your aim, it doesn't make the bullet go any faster, so why the hell do it? Because it looks friggin' awesome, that's why. Though to be honest, I'm not even sure why it looks awesome. Maybe it shows that the killer is just so laid back and cool that he doesn't even need to point the gun up all the way, like, "Fuck you, you're not even worth using the sight on this gun."

(scene from "The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly," where Tuco, played by Eli Wallach (December 7, 1915-June 24, 2014), shoots and kills One-Armed Bounty Hunter with the side grip.)

(Clip from "Superbad")

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) This method has been used so much that they satirize it everywhere. One of the most memorable is in Superbad.

Fogell (AKA McLovin; played by Christopher Mintz-Plasse): Break yourself, fool! (shoots car while holding gun sideways)

(Clip of Date Night)

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) And the more recent satire was in Date Night.

Phil Foster (Steve Carell): God, no! He turned it sideways! Kill shot! That's a kill shot!

(Clips of people point gun sideways)

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) Whatever reason people do it, it just looks badass. Even if it does make no sense whatsoever.

Phil Foster: Kill shot! That's a kill shot!

Number 10[]

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) Number 10: The sexy cry.

(Clips of people crying in movies)

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) Nobody in movies ever has a traditional cry where they start sniffing and snorting and can barely talk. No, no, no. They have the sexy cry. That one single tear that comes down while the rest of their face shows no emotion.

(Clip of the sexy cry. A "Ding" sound effect is heard when the tear comes down)

Nostalgia Critic: (As if sexually aroused) Aw, yeah.

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) There's two recent film series in particular that use this a lot. (Clip of Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith) One was the new Star Wars movies, where Anakin is evil and angry, (Childish sad voice) but sad.

(Cuts to NC pretending to cry, running a finger down from his eye. Another "Ding" sound effect is heard. Clips from Lord of the Ring are shown)

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) And the other is Lord of the Rings. Good God, everybody cried in this movie, but only two people had the sexy cry. One was Frodo, which was framed so over-the-top, you'd swear it was the cover to a new age album.

(Title reading "Tears of a Hobbit by Frodo Baggins" is superimposed in an image of Frodo as "Lord of the Rings" music plays)

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) And the other is Arwen, who, I swear to God, her only purpose was to ride horses and cry. And every scene, that's what she's doing. Ride a horse, cry. Ride a horse, cry. Even when it seems like there's no reason to do it, she cries! And every time she does it, it's the sexy cry. She's practically perfected it.

(Clip of Arwen, but she is not crying)

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) Oh, wait, getting some hesitation.

(Arwen cries)

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) There we go. Sexy cry. Oh, yeah. I don't know why people don't get snot-nosed and puffy-eyed when they cry in movies, but if they didn't, we wouldn't have this wonderful cliché.

(Clip of "A Christmas Story" combined with clips of Arwen)

Scut Farkus (Zack Ward): What, are you gonna cry now? Come on, crybaby, come on, cry!

Number 9[]

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) Number 9: The past. Every character has a dark, tormenting past that always follows them into the present. It either involves something the character's done, or the death of a family member. And for some reason, that character is usually the father.

(Clips of characters in film saying, "You killed my father")

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) Why is it always the father and never the mother? It's like, "Yeah, bitch, all you did is push me out. What the hell do I owe you?" I don't know, but whatever the reason, it's always a touchy subject, which requires our main character to always brood away from the crowd as the one curious onlooker wants to understand.

Nostalgia Critic: I always wanted to see a backstory that combined all the backstories, like creating the ultimate past, something like:

(Clip from Blade)

Whistler (Kris Kristofferson): Blade's mother was attacked by a vampire while she was pregnant.

(Clip from Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi)

Obi-Wan Kenobi: He's more machine now than man.

(Clip from Who Framed Roger Rabbit)

Dolores: A Toon killed his brother.

(Clip from "Sin City")

Marv: And along the way, he just happened to become the most powerful man in the state.

Nostalgia Critic: Now that would be an awesome movie!

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) Like they always say, "The dreams of the past create the realities of the future." As well as one of my all time favorite clichés.

(Clip of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope)

Luke Skywalker: How did my father die?

(Clip of Who Framed Roger Rabbit)

Dolores: Dropped a piano on his head.

Number 8[]

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) Number 8: The Dramatic Choir. This is when the composer of a film decides he or she wants the movie to sound more epic, so a full-on choir is brought in to sing straight-up gibberish that sounds like some sort of dead language.

(Clip of the famous duel scene from "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace", with Duel of the Fates playing in the background)

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) Sometimes, they use a real language. Like in "(The) Hunchback of Notre Dame", they really are singing Latin.

(Clip of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, showing Quasimodo swinging down Notre Dame to rescue Esmeralda as a choir sings Latin)

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) Hell, in (The) Lord of the Rings, they're actually singing Elvish.

(Clip of Lord of the Rings, where the Black Riders are chasing Arwen and Frodo as a choir sings Elvish)

Nostalgia Critic: (sarcastically) What's next? A Star Trek choir singing Klingon?

(Image of Star Trek Klingons singing (fake) Klingon to the tune of Ode to Joy)

Nostalgia Critic: (annoyed) Never play that again.

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) But for the most part, it's just made-up words. You can see this a lot in film trailers. In fact, there's actually musicians now who specifically specialize in only writing songs for movie trailers, and you can guarantee if it's an action film, there's almost always going to be a choir.

(Clip of the trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End is shown with a choir singing in the background)

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) Sometimes, they use straight-up English, but try to make it sound like it's a foreign language. That's really weird.

(Movie clip. The choir sings, "A hero will rise" in a manner that makes it sound as if they are not singing English. A subtitle appears at the bottom of the clip to show what they are saying)

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) Sometimes, the most simple ones are the most effective. For example, film composer Danny Elfman uses choirs all the time. But what do they usually say?

(Clips from "Edward Scissorhands" with Danny Elfman music, one with the choir singing, "Oooooooooo" and the other with them singing, "Ahhhhhhhhhhh")

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) He literally has the choir do all the "Ooohs" and "Ah's" for you. No need for the audience to participate. The movie is praising itself already! (Clip of Airplane!) My favorite in terms of comedic ones, though, is at the end of Airplane!, when the dramatic choir is literally so dramatic that they can't even make the very last note.

(Choir singing, Choir attempts to sing the last note, but messes up)

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) What can I say? I'm a sucker for choirs and it looks like most of America is, too.

(Movie clip with choir)

Number 7[]

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) Number 7: Mano y Mano. (A.K.A. Jousting) This is when our hero is going through, like, a bajillion bad guys, which always results in the one-on-one battle with our main villain. For some reason, the main villain always seems to be the longest person to fight, too. How come they didn’t just use that person to begin with? Clearly, that was the strongest opponent! But, oh, well. There’s another cliché that evolves from this, which I like to call “Jousting.” This is when the hero and villain stare at each other down and just...lunge after each other. It’s practically caveman-like. It’s pure emotion building as they run down an often very long pathway. We saw them lunge for each other in The Count of Monte Cristo...

(Such a lunge sequence is shown)

Nostalgia Critic: ...we saw them leap for each other in the Planet of the Apes remake…

(Two apes in the remake jump in the air to lunge at each other)

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover): ...but my favorite, and by far the goofiest, is from Mission: Impossible 2, when our enemies race after each other on motorcycles and literally propel themselves, crashing into the air. (Such a scene is shown before the two fight each other on the dusty ground) Oh, yeah, five fractured bones later, maybe you can fight like that! I just love how they were both thinking the exact same thing, that they were going to end up in the air crashing into one another, like they both coincidentally said to themselves;

Nostalgia Critic: (pretends to grab on a motorcycle’s handlebars) "Motorcycles aren’t enough. Somehow, I’m gonna get myself into the air. I don’t know how; I’m just so filled with rage!"

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) Pure emotion coming out in one solid charge. That’s a cliché that’s worth seeing a few times more.

Number 6[]

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) Number 6: Things Blowing in the Wind. This is why so many heroes and villains wear such long clothing, because it looks freaking awesome when it’s blowing in the wind. Hell, the invention of the cape has no real purpose; it’s just there to look cool! In reality, that thing would get in the way if you were ever trying to fight. You’d trip over it all the time!

Nostalgia Critic: But in movies, it just makes the motion of our hero look all the more flowing; therefore, more cool. But to be fair, it looks pretty intimidating on villains, too. I think I first started to realize how good they look when Nicolas Cage stepped out in Face/Off. All I could say to myself was, "I want that fucking coat and a giant fan to follow me around all the time." But women aren't left out of the loop, either. In fact, they can often get away with it a little more. Long hair, long dresses, long scarves, whatever, they're practically designed to look cool when the wind is blowing. So, how long will it take for this cliché to get so old that we're sick to death of it?

Background Singer: ♪ The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind. The answer is blowing in the wind. ♪

Number 5[]

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) Number 5: The explosion just a few feet away. If anyone has ever been around a real explosion, you know how powerful it is, as well as how deafening it is. Nobody can just stand around while an explosion goes on; you'd either fly up in the air, or your ears would explode from the sound of it. Yet, we constantly see people run, walk, and even just stand perfectly still while they happen. My favorite are the ones where they don't even turn around, as if to say, "Yeah, I know it's there, but I'm just too badass to turn around and look at it. What, you think I don't see explosions? I do. All the time. They bore me now." No matter how over-the-top, they try everything, like how about when Keanu Reeves outruns a friggin' mushroom cloud in Chain Reaction?

(Such a scene is shown)

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) And need we forget the world's strongest fridge in the last Indiana Jones movie?

(A clip of "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" shows the fridge flying away a great distance and landing in the desert and Indiana Jones climbing out of it is shown)

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) Yeah, your house would be torn apart, but at least your popsicles would stay safe in the icebox. Isn't that good to know? Explosions are awesome, but they just don't seem to have as big a threat in movies. We almost ignore them. Even in the new film The Other Guys, they satirize how literally blown out of proportion they are.

Allen Gamble (played by Will Ferrell): How do they walk away in movies without flinching when it explodes behind them?! There’s no way! The movie industry's completely irresponsible for the way they portray explosions!

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) Well, it still looks neat. It makes our heroes look tougher, and our villains much more menacing. 'Cause, let’s be honest; Anyone looks tough when they can honestly look at a giant ball of fire and smoke, and simply utter, "Seen it."

Number 4[]

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) Number 4: The simple shouting of "NO!" ("4. Shouting 'NO!'" is shown onscreen)

Virgil "Bud" Brigman: (from The Abyss; played by Ed Harris) NOOOO!

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) Why do so many people shout this, anyway? It's so basic, and yet, it conveys so much.

Bishop II: (from "Alien³") NOOOO!

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) I guess as humans, we just want things to go according to plan. We always want to hear "YES!" so whenever we hear a "NO!", we immediately think, "Oh! Something was suggested that resulted in a negative verbal response. That immediately creates drama, and that’s bad. I better watch this."

Frodo: (from “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”) NOOOOO!

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) It's like a gut reaction. We hear the word "NO!", when we instantly associate it with something going wrong.

Lieutenant Data: (from Star Trek: The Next Generation") Yes!

Nostalgia Critic: Good!

Obi-Wan Kenobi: (from "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace") NOOOOO!

Nostalgia Critic: Aww, bad.

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) There’s a lot of famous "No!"'s out there, probably the most notably when Luke Skywalker finds out who his daddy is.

Luke Skywalker: (from "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back") NOOOOO!

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) My absolute favorite, though, is in Tombstone, which is already a pretty romanticized film, but it results in one of my all-time favorite scenes where Wyatt Earp just cracks.

Wyatt Earp: No. No.

Doc Holiday: Wyatt, what are you doing?

Wyatt Earp: (approaches Curly Bill in a shallow river) No.

Curly Bill: Son-of-a-bitch!

Wyatt Earp: NO! (He raises his shotgun and shoots him)

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) (laughs) How could you not die laughing at that? It’s one of the most over-the-top scenes ever.

Wyatt Earp: NO!

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) And he doesn’t even stop there! He just keeps saying it over and over and over!

Wyatt Earp: (randomly fires) No! No!

Nostalgia Critic: (imitating Wyatt Earp) I have a negative impulse to this scenario! (He pretends to shoot a gun with his finger) I HAVE A NEGATIVE IMPULSE TO THIS SCENARIO!

Wyatt Earp: (footage slowed down) NO!

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) And, of course, the ultimate puss-out moment in any Star Wars movie, and that’s saying a lot.

Darth Vader: (from "Revenge of the Sith") NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) This especially pissed people off because now, Darth Vader has his suit on. He's badass. He's the character we all recognize. He wasn't whiny Anakin anymore. And what's the first thing he says? (speaks in a high-pitched whiny voice over Darth Vader's actual dialogue) "Where’s my girlfriend? I want to see my girlfriend! What? She’s dead? (even higher-pitched) Noooooooo!"

Nostalgia Critic: Hell, Mr. Bill sounded more butch than you!

Mr. Bill: OOOOOOH!!! Oh, why? Ohhhh!

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) So, if the art of drama could be reduced down to simply one word, I think we all know what it would be.

Doctor Octopus (A.K.A., Doc Ock): (played by Alfred Molina in “Spider-Man 2”) NOOOO!

Nostalgia Critic: (mocks Doc Ock by raising and shaking his fists in the air) NOOOOO!

(Clips of a cop shouting "NOOO!" from Austin Powers and Peter Parker shouting "NAAA-AAAAUGH!" intercuts with NC’s shouting "NOOOO!")

Number 3[]

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) Number 3: The Evil Laugh. Again, half of the time, it almost seems like there's no reason for it. Something goes right for the bad guy, and they always let out a gush of evil laughter.

(A clip of Captain Hook, played by Dustin Hoffman, from "Hook" laughing evilly is shown)

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) I mean, it's not like if something goes good for someone else, they let out insanely loud laughter.

Nostalgia Critic: (pulls out a state ID) Oh, hey, I found my lost state ID. (He laughs evilly with an organ playing the "Dracula" music sting)

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) For whatever the reason, it's always great, and there have been some real fantastic evil laughs, like remember Gary Oldman in the remake of Dracula?

(A clip of Dracula from "Bram Stoker's Dracula" (1992) laughing evilly is shown)

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) How about Jabba the Hutt's evil chuckle in Return of the Jedi?

(A clip of Jabba the Hutt chuckling evilly is shown)

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) The Joker, good God! Every laugh from every variation of the character was just awesome.

(Clips of various Jokers laughing evilly are shown)

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) Even Michael Jackson knew that if you wanted a music video about zombies to end right, you need a Vincent Price cackle.

(A clip of Vincent Price's evil haunting laugh in the background at the end of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video is shown)

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) This, too, has been satirized to death, particularly in the Austin Powers movies, as they ask the question "What does a villain do after they stop laughing?"

(Dr. Evil and his comrades laugh evilly until it all dies down to silence)

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) Yeah, it’s goofy, but when it’s done right, its sweet laughter to our ears, and could pretty much put a smile on anybody’s face.

(Emperor Palpatine from “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith” laughs evilly while fighting against Yoda)

Number 2[]

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) Number 2: Walking in a Straight Line. This shows that the group is together and are ready to kick some ass. Something about the strength in numbers and organizations just makes this scene look so awesome. I think just about any group can do this and they can look great. Hell, we even did it in Kickassia, and we looked pretty cool.

(A clip is shown of NC and his team of other reviewers in "Kickassia" approaching Molossia before its leader whips out his gun and the entire group runs away, screaming in horror)

Nostalgia Critic: Well, for the most part. Even a whiner like Anakin suddenly grows some balls when he has a line of soldiers behind him. Look at him here. A little pipsqueak who switches sides in a nanosecond and starts crying over it. “Wah, wah, wah.” But once you put a straight line of people behind him, holy shit! He's suddenly badass!

Nostalgia Critic: I’m actually looking forward to children being slaughtered!

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) The movie that probably exploits this the most, again, was Tombstone. They like the straight line so much, that they actually closed out the movie with it. And can you blame 'em? It’s freaking cool! Even in movies like X-Men 3, just standing in a straight line looks pretty hardcore. I gotta admit, I don’t see this all the time, but when I do, it always upgrades the movie’s awesome levels. It looks tough, intimidating, and organized. You know a group means business when they all stand together, and it always makes for one of the coolest, if not the coolest moment of the movie.

Number 1[]

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) And the Number 1 Coolest Cliché is...Slow Motion. Well, yeah! Pretty basic, isn't it? Fight scenes, close-ups, whatever, everything seems to look better in slow motion. There have been online videos, comedic sketches, even entire shows just dedicated to how things look in slow-mo. It's just so much more grand and powerful when you can see the movement of every little part on screen. There's almost a rhythm to it, like a dance or a ballet. Almost anything can look cool in slow-mo.

(A clip of a man flying off the toilet while going #2 is shown, with laughter)

Nostalgia Critic: Well, again, almost anything.

Nostalgia Critic: Now, recently, there's been sort of a weird twist where some directors slow the movie down, and then speed it up, as if to make up for lost time, or something. I never saw the point of it. The slow-mo itself is so freaking sweet that after watching it, regular motion's already gonna seem like fast motion, so why speed it up? Either way, as long as the slow-mo is there, it's always gonna look fan-friggin'-tastic. It makes everything look more massive, more sweeping, and, of course, more awesome. There's no telling how long this cliché has been around, but judging how long we’ve been using it, it’s showing no sign of slowing down.

(A clip of Wakko from "Animaniacs" doing a rimshot on a drum set is shown)

(Nostalgia Critic seems confused by the rimshot before continuing to speak)

Nostalgia Critic: (voiceover) Slow motion: the coolest cliché of all time.

Nostalgia Critic: And those are my Top 11 Coolest Clichés. I hope you enjoy them, and...well, I was gonna close off showing one of the clichés again, but my guess is I should probably tire of them by now.

Wyatt Earp: (from “Tombstone”) NO! (He raises his shotgun and fires)

Nostalgia Critic: (dodges away from the gunshot) Hey, calm down!

(Wyatt Earp continues firing randomly with shotguns while shouting “No!” repeatedly and Nostalgia Critic reacts in surprise to this)

Nostalgia Critic: I’m the Nostalgia Critic! I remember it so you don’t have to! (He quickly gets up to leave) Fucking crazy, Wyatt Earp!

(The sound of Wyatt Earp's repeated shooting, and repeatedly shouting "No!" plays on before the “The End” title card is shown)


Channel Awesome Tagline—Wyatt Earp: NO!