Clichémageddon 2: The Clichémagging

Clichémageddon 2: The Clichémagging

Nothing can prepare you.

Last year, Overthinking It celebrated the start of summer movie season by inviting people to fill in the blanks and create their own Hollywood clichés. I can think of no better way to celebrate the 2010 blockbusters than with a sequel. Naturally, this sequel has to be bigger than the original, it has to be needlessly complex, and it has to have a cast of thousands. That’s where all of you come in.

Cue the animated GIF!


Last year, the clichés were all inspired by action movie dialogue. This year, we’re doing taglines – the pithy copy at the top of the poster. To enter the contest, all you have to do is pick one of the ten items below, fill in the blanks, and then provide the title of the movie your line would be advertising. For instance:

In a world where chewing is a luxury, only one man has the stomach to win. “Kobayashi”

Those of you who didn’t get that joke obvious don’t watch as much ESPN 2 as I do. Here’s another one:

Part Labrador. Part Poodle. All dog. “Labradoodle”

You can do just one, or tackle the entire list.

And for those of you with a little artistic skill and a lot of time, there is a separate division for Photoshops! Instead of merely telling us your tagline and movie title, you show us the poster. For example, here’s something that Lee did:

Unfortunately, we aren’t able to embed images in the comments. So upload your entry to a photo sharing site like Flickr or to our Facebook page and post a link below.

We’re going to judge all the entries and post our favorites in exactly two weeks – the day before Iron Man 2 comes out. We’ll single out the best for each of the ten taglines, in both the text-only and image categories.

And this year, there’s a one-of-a-kind prize! I’m going to pick my very favorite text-only entry and my very favorite image, and those two people will get to commission a future Overthinking It post. Yes, you read correctly: tell me what you want me to overthink, and I will go to town. (With certain exceptions: if I haven’t seen a single episode of King of Queens, I may ask you for another topic.) We have never done this before, and depending on how this goes, we may never do it again.

So get excited, get creative, and may the ghost of Don LaFontaine be with you.

Clichémageddon 2: The Clichémagging

(Real world examples of the cliché are listed beneath each one.)

1. In a world where ______, only one _____ .

You know what’s interesting? Even though this is the mother of all movie trailer clichés, I couldn’t find a single actual trailer that used it. Anyone know of one?

2. Two ____. One ______.  ______.

Weekend at Bernies: Two morons. One corpse. And the plot thickens…

Pathfinder: Two Worlds, One War. The Ultimate Battle Begins.

3. _______ brought them together. _______ [some conjugation of the verb “tear”] them apart.

Legends of the Fall: A woman’s grace brought them together. Then her passion tore them apart.

Up Close & Personal: Passion Brought Them Together… Only Success Could Tear Them Apart!

4. To _____ a ______, s/he must _______ a _______.

Silence of the Lambs: To enter the mind of a killer she must challenge the mind of a madman.

5. _______  _______ . _______  _______.  _______  _______.

A                 B                   A                   C                    A                  D

ET: He is afraid. He is alone. He is three million light years from home.

Wayne’s World: You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll hurl.

Scream: Don’t Answer The Phone. Don’t Open The Door. Don’t Try To Escape.

Transformers (1984): Beyond good. Beyond evil. Beyond your wildest imagination.

6. _______ means never having to say ________.

Love Story: Love means never having to say you’re sorry.

7. He’s _______.  She’s _______.  _________.

High Spirits: He’s an American. She’s a ghost. Vacation romances are always a hassle.

Murphy’s Law: He’s a cop. She’s a thief. Together they’re running for their lives.

Pretty In Pink: He’s crazy about her. She’s crazy about him. He’s just crazy.

8. Part ______. Part _____. All ______.

Robocop: Part man. Part machine. All cop. The future of law enforcement.

9. ______ was just an average _______. Until one day ________.

Couldn’t find any real world examples. But I think South Park‘s take on this cliché is the one to beat: “Rob Schneider is a Wall Street executive with everything going for him. Only problem is, he’s about to become a carrot!”

10. Just when you thought it was ______ to ______.

Jaws II: Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water.

52 Comments on “Clichémageddon 2: The Clichémagging”

  1. stokes #

    How in the hell are the Transformers beyond good and evil? The autobots are good, the decepticons are evil, end of story. And at the risk of tooting my own horn, I like to think that I can imagine something more wild than “a car that turns into a robot.” For starters, I can imagine a car that turns into two robots.

  2. dock #

    Their love of bacon brought them together. His axe will tear them apart.

    Christopher Walken is- Pork Chop

    (in limited release)

  3. Will #

    Senate confirmation brought them together. A controversial case about gerrymandering will tear them apart.

    Supreme Love (A tale of forbidden love between two Supreme Court Justices)

  4. perich OTI Staff #

    I still don’t get #5.

  5. fenzel #


    It’s a specific variation on the ancient figure of speech hendiatris, or, as it tends to be called in English, tripartite motto. The qualification: each of the three elements expressing the same idea starts with the same word or phrase.

    Adding the same word or phrase to the beginning of all three parts of a hendiatris makes it sound very “Hollywood.”

    So, traditional hendiatris:

    Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness

    Hollywood hendiatris:

    A mother’s life. A mother’s liberty. A mother’s pursuit of happiness.

    Traditional hendiatris:

    “Harry, England and St. George”

    Hollywood hendiatris:

    “Crying for Harry. Crying for England. Crying for St. George.”

    For clichemaggeddon, you don’t have to use an existing hendiatris. The “hollywood style” with the same beginning for all three is what Blinks means here.

  6. naylee #

    there is a “search tagline” function on, so that you can fill in those missing examples if you wanted to. it may or may not have been actually said in the movie trailer, but it will have at least appeared on a poster.

    for example:
    “in a world of power and privilege, one woman dared to obey her heart.” (Anna Karenina, 1997)
    “in a world where nothing is what it seems, you’ve got to look beyond…” (The Usual Suspects, 1995)

  7. Chris #

    1. Charades means never having to say anything

    The movie is called Sounds Like. I don’t know what it’s about. It’s probably a love story, and it probably involves somebody temporarily losing their hearing.

    2. He’s a cactus. She’s a balloon. Sometimes love is a prickly thing.

    Love is All You Needles

    3. Part shirt. Part blanket. All pointless.

    Snuggie: The Movie. An erotic thriller.

  8. inmate #

    Just when you thought it was safe to listen to the podcast again:

    Cemetery Ridge

    In a world where teenage girls think they Overthink things, only one Facebook page can inform the masses:

    OverthinkingIt on Facebook

    He’s alone. He’s bored. He’s got a Webcam.

    This Fall: Chatroulette

    And a more disturbing version of Chris’

    Part Shirt, Part Blanket, All Pantsless.

    Snuggie: The Movie – An erotic thriller. ()

  9. Matthew Wrather #


    I hadn’t considered that when you actually make a poster, you get to cast your movie. The combination of Martin Sheen, Glenn Close, Harry Dean Stanton, and Chris Cooper is inspired.

  10. Rob #

    Two girls. One cup. For the Williams sisters, Deuce is wild. “The 2001 US Open Championship.”

    DNA ligase brought them together. Restriction enzymes tore them apart.
    “Sticky Ends”

    In a world where there can be only one, only one can be there. “Yogi”. Or maybe “Yoda.”

    Never gonna give you up. Never gonna let you down. Never gonna run around and desert you. “The Trailer for Grand Theft Auto 4.”

  11. lee OTI Staff #

    Can this be the theme to “Clichemageddon”?

    It’s a fantastic piece of music from the movie “Dragonheart” by Randy Edelman. Love it, but it’s pretty, well, cliche:

    You’ve probably heard it in commercials and sports broadcasts.

  12. neil #

    @ Lee & Sylvia…

    All due respect, but the king of cliche trailer music has to be the overture from “Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves”… Disney uses it all over the place, and I believe Morgan Creek swiped it for their main title. (Esp at the 2:00 mark)

    I have to admit though, I quite dig it.

  13. fenzel #

    @ neil

    Oh, we’re familiar with the overture from Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves. It featured heavily in a feud some of the writers for this site had with another college back when we went to school together in the early aughts.

    It’s because of this experience that I can say with no small amount of nostalgic giddiness that I have had security guards pre-emptively remove people from the place where they were going to play that song.

    Memories, like the cobwebs of my mind …

  14. inmate #

    I was off looking for good inspiration and I found the tagline to Godzilla: Final Wars, and it was too good not to share:

    Earth: Out-numbered, Out-monstered, Out-done.

    And for my next entry:

    Staples brought them together. A three-year-old tore them apart.
    My Term Project (coming this fall)

  15. cat #

    @Chris That was hilarious.
    @Rob The Biology major in me has to appreciate restriction enzyme humor. :)

    In a world where watching any human action on television passes for entertainment, only one man has the courage to cut himself off all technology and return to his feral brethren. (Wolfman)

    Two children. One metal racecar. Blood will be shed before the game even begins… (Monopoly)

    A conference of delegations brought them together. An agreement tore them apart. (The Paperwork of the Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union)

    To understand the madness, he must succumb to the hysteria. (I Heart Edward: A Documentary)

    Love means never having to say you understand.

  16. Tom Houseman #

    “In a world where only one world exists, only one world exists in the world.” Tautology

    “Part Brooding Intellectual. Part emotionally stunted, selfish, narcissistic, underachieving man-child. All Asshole.” Untitled Wes Anderson Film

    “He has a metal pole. He has a videocamera. He has no idea what he’s getting himself into…” Star Wars Kid

  17. stokes #

    I have a good one for #5. You have to imagine this as a horror movie, and the last word being thrown up there in a drippy-blood font.

    “Monkey see.

    Monkey do.

    Monkey… KILL.

    I can’t think of a title, though. Something about monkeys, maybe?

  18. Jem Riffster #

    Here’s what I’ve got so far:

    In a world where everyone dies, only one man is ressurected. – “Yet Another Jesus Movie”

    He wants your heart. He wants your soul. He wants your brains. – “Zombie Jesus”

    Having fifty-one senators means never having to say how you’d vote. – “Filibuster”

    Two paradoxical states. One feline. Someone call the ASPCA. – “Schrödinger’s Cat”

    Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the movies – “[Insert video game title here]: Uwe Boll Strikes Back”

    @stokes: It doesn’t quite hit the horror aspect, but perhaps “Bulletproof Monkey”?

  19. Jem Riffster #

    Crap. Obviously, that should be “Having sixty-one senators means never having to say how you’d vote.”

  20. Jem Riffster #

    (Incoherent streams of profanity)! Forty-one! Forty-one! Gorrammit! I should not have stayed up all night.

  21. Dan #

    Is number 5 cliche rondo form?

  22. cat #

    @Jem Riffster: My brain just went to a fun place. Would “Yet Another Jesus Movie” be in the vein of “Not Another Teen Movies”, meaning a parody of a parody of Jesus movies? Oh the possibilities… And would that include just Jesus or all Biblical films? Oh the meta-meta layers. Like an holy onion.

    In a realm without a regular female or jock podcaster, only one man can represent the interests of the minority. (Token Asian Man)

  23. inmate #

    Two events. One tenuous connection. It only kinda makes sense.
    Plot Hole (A Sci-Fi epic)

    One commenter. Too many comments. He has too much free time.
    Inmate: The Lurker

  24. Jem Riffster #

    @cat: Yes! After I had written the tagline, all I could think of for a title was “Jesus,” which didn’t quite strike me as being novel enough. As I experimented with other titles, “Yet Another Jesus Movie” came up, which reminded me of “Not Another Teen Movie” and firmly moved the hypothetical movie into the parody genre, along with “Zombie Jesus.” (Although I suppose that “Zombie Jesus” would probably be more of a satire, but I digress…) To be honest,I did not consider it, but as a parody, “Yet Another Jesus Movie” should be open to poking fun at other biblical movies, like The Ten Commandments.

  25. Gab #

    Let us not forget the theme music to “Rudy” if we’re going to name- drop overused movie music:

    (And a sidenote, Disney itself has used the “Dragonheart” AND “Robin Hood” music. I know the latter has been done multiple times, but I specifically remember shouting in the theater, “That’s Dragonheart!” when I saw the “Mulan” trailer.)

    Not all of mine are sequels, but obviously that rule hasn’t been adhered to much anyway, so I’ll just go for it. I don’t have photoshop.

    1. In a world where disasters are rampant, one group will determine the fate of their species. “The Land Before Time: Journey to Infinity” (the last installment in the never-ending series)

    2. Two unlikely heroes. One chance to save the world. And they only have four minutes. “Tick Tock” (Starring Madonna, Justin Timberlake, and featuring Ke$a)

    2. Two bitter rivals. One common enemy. What happens next? “Rambo: A Team Mission” (Starring Sylvester Stalone, Mr. T, and Chuck Norris)

    3. Nothing all that interesting brought them together. Something trivial will tear them apart (for a while). “Rom-Com”

    4. To save a beloved restaurant a second time, they must ally themselves with the best of the best. “Good Burger: Secret Sauce” (Starring Keenan Thompson, Kel Mitchel, and Stephen Segal) (Segal being a former Secret Service agent)

    5. A corporation in trouble. An exec willing to sacrifice his public image. Maybe he’ll get a record deal. “Bailout (My Business)” (Starring Ludacris)

    6. Being him means never having to say you’re sorry. “Absolut Cheney”

    7. He’s a senator. She’s his wife. Maybe dressing like a male intern will get him to notice her. “Twelfth Year”

    8. Part president. Part serial killer. All crazy. “Jack Frost Nixon” (a sequel to the B-rated horror flick)

    9. Hiccup was just you’re average town hero. Until one day, he met the most ferocious dragon of them all. “How to Train Your Trogdor”

    10. Just when you thought it was a good day to die. “Worf Drive”

  26. Chatworth Osborne Jr. #

    Prenatal fission/fusion brought them together. Not even one’s death could tear them apart. “Chang & Eng”

    Two MILFs. One ticket. “Palin/Bachmann 2012”

    I see London. I see France. I see no underpants. “Paris and Britney’s European Vacation”

  27. whenclamsattack #

    7. He’s a dude. She’s a dude. We’re all dudes. Hey.

    coming this fall: Goodburger 2: Betterburger

  28. Gab #

    Dude, in my 9., I meant “your” there. Ouch.

  29. Nixon #

    He’s Jack. She’s Jill. Together they face one big hill.
    Pail of Water.

    A hill brought them together. Gravity will pull them apart.
    Pail of Water 2: Jack breaks his crown.

    Two friends. One hill. The falling begins.
    Pail of water 3: Jill comes tumbling after.

  30. Nixon #

    This one is a stab at the recent South Park controversy.

    Just when you thought it was funny to show an image of Muhammad.
    Revolution Muslim: No Sense of Humor.

  31. Tom #

    1. In a world where no 3-D glasses are left, only one man will stare cross-eyed for 90 minutes. Magic Eye.

    2. Two, ah, ah, ah. One, ah, ah, ah. See where it all started. Count von Count Begins.

    3. The strong nuclear force brought them together. CERN tore them apart. Atom and Eve.

    4. To take a ride, she must be at least. This. Tall. Coaster.
    (And the sequel, Coaster 2: Las Vegas – “She hasn’t gotten any shorter . . . neither have the odds.”)

    5. Put your right foot in. Put your right foot out. Put your right foot in, and shake it all about. 2 Hokey, 2 Pokey.

    6. Store-bought candy means never having to say you need to go to the theater ATM. But Seriously, Folks, Visit the Concession Stand.

    7. He’s an unemployed stoner. She’s a rogue spy. Together, they’ll commit . . . High Treason.

    8. Part romantic comedy. Part gross-out comedy. All box-office gold. [INSERT JUDD APATOW MOVIE HERE].

    9. Yogi was just an average bear. Until one day, he became . . . smarter. The Skynet Pic-a-nic.

    10. Just when you thought it was time to boil… Watched Pot.

  32. Shawn Pitre #

    Going to try for a M:tG themed set here….

    /geek on!

    1. In a world where Demons Rule,only one Angel can survive…
    – Baneslayer

    2. Three Boosters. One Draft. And 30 people you don’t know….
    – Rise of the Eldrazi…

    3. The Box brought them together. Cracking one Jace tore them apart.
    – The Planeswalker…

    4. To understand the fire, she must first become the flame itself…
    – Chandra

    5. One Pack. One Hope. One Gideon.
    – The Mythic

    6. Emrakul means never having to say “Your Turn”.
    – The Beatdown

    7. He’s a solider. She’s the captain. 2 against the Horde.
    – Phyrexia

    8. Part Robot. Part Planeswalker. All Creator.
    – Karn

    9.9. Necropotence was just an average card. Until one day one man broke it….
    – Buehler

    10. Just when you thought it was time to stop spending money on artifacts…..
    – Scars of Mirrodon -release date Oct ’10

  33. Mark #

    Okay, here are my submissions:

    She’s an illiterate incest-survivor from the inner city. He’s an obsessive/compulsive cave-dweller. The fires of Mount Doom couldn’t tear them apart.

    Part man. Part shopping cart. All justice.

    Just when you thought it was safe to go back to Homelessville.

    In a world where fish couldn’t play basketball, only one guppy had the guts to go for it all.

    Two advanced degrees. One computer in his mom’s basement. No plans to get dressed today.

    To hide his family from the Nazis, he must first sell some stuff to make room in the attic.

    Joe was just an average Mountie. Until one day he had to show the Queen who’s boss, eh?

    Just when you thought it was safe to come out of your burrow. “GROUNDHOG DAY OF THE DEAD”

    140 characters means never having to say anything of real substance.

    See no evil. Hear no evil. Speak no evil…or ELSE!

    And here are a couple of posters:



    For my vote, I think stokes’ “MONKEY KILL” is the best so far.

  34. Alexandra #

    1. In a world where the skies are not cloudy all day, only one woman will hear a discouraging word

    Antelope Play

    The Antelope (Don Johnson), a mildly deranged and possibly homicidal ex-CIA agent, ends up in a small town in Kansas. He fools the locals into thinking he’s harmless, except for the librarian/volunteer firechief (Annette Benning), who suspects that his charming demeanor is hiding something dangerous. She must get close to him to uncover his secret past, but as they unwittingly fall in love, he becomes obsessed. A cross-the-Great-Plains chase serves as the movie’s daring climax!

    3. Divorce brought them together. Only marriage could tear them apart.

    Shared Assets

    Rom-com about divorce lawyers (Sarah Jessica Parker and Matt Damon) who are having an on-again-off-again affair until Sarah gets married and moves to Hawaii, where Matt must follow her and win her back and also secure the position as her soon-to-be-ex-husband’s divorce attorney.

    4. To get to the truth, he must be willing to take a dare.

    Truth or Dare or Murder

    A high-school sleuth gets mixed up in a dangerous game of lust, lies, deception, and your mom.
    Starring Zac Effron as the sleuth and Demi Moore as your mom.

    5. She bangs. She moves. She STINGS.

    Sexy Latina Bee Women of the Adirondacks!

    A group of sexy Latina coeds are vacationing in the Adirondacks when a small but radioactive meteor falls and turns them all into bee-women. To survive, they must bang, move, sting, and make men their drones!
    Starring sexy Latina coeds. With a cameo by Ricky Martin.

    6. A broken camera means never having to say cheese.


    In the near future, in hopes of reversing the effects of losing so much business to cell phone companies, a large camera corporation produces a new, ultra-modern, ultra-sleek, ultra-sexy camera. But there’s an unforeseen problem: Its flash changes people into vampires. The only hope is to break all the cameras and kill all the vampires. But also, there’s a moral gray area with good vampires and heavy-handed symbolism.
    Starring someone brooding. And a brooding, half-clothed woman, as well.

    7a. He’s a cop. She’s a cop. They’re both robbers.

    Love Thief

    Rom-com buddy-cop battle-of-the-sexes heist flick starring real-life lovebirds/worst actors Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds

    7b. He’s a cowpoke. She’s a cowpoke. They’re both Indians.

    Love Thief 2: Back in the Saddle

    Same as above, but now in the Old West for some reason.

    8. Part beef. Part chicken. All Kosher.

    The Untold Story of Hebrew National
    A documentary.

    9. The mean was just an average. Until one day, it became a mode.


    A serial killer is convinced it’s his job to keep the average life expectancy consistent. As retired Detective Mark “Gruff” Oldman approaches the fatal age, he must go undercover to catch the killer.
    Also starring Diane Lane, as the lady detective who must deal with Gruff Oldman.

  35. Alexandra #

    PS I hope I’m not plagiarizing my entry for number three. I don’t think I am, but it just seems like something that Intolerable Cruelty would’ve come up with. Or a Renee Zellwegger movie I think I vaguely remember seeing…

    PPS @ Mark–I vote for Groundhog Day of the Dead. :)

  36. Pat #

    Separation brought them together. Togetherness will tear them apart.

    “Vicious Circle”

    From the creators of “Irony”.

  37. Noah #

    He’s a squid. She’s a whale. Together, their DNA is not compatible for reproduction. — The Squid and The Whale

  38. Noah #

    Part man. Part God. All savior. — Jesus Movie

    Two words. One syllable. An impossible challenge. — The Charades

    In a world where Mila Kunis plays a complete wimp of a girl who suddenly turns into a kick-ass fighter, only one movie goer will stand up to the screen and say “No.” — The Unbearable Problems of The Book of Eli

  39. Alexandra #

    PPPS By the way, Clint Eastwood stars as Gruff Oldman in 78.4.

  40. atskooc #

    one yard. five pea plants. seven hundred zombies. plants vs. zombies, the movie!

  41. atskooc #

    one watch. one belt. one hell of a long movie. –the waist of time

  42. atskooc #

    being an addict means never having to say “no.” –the courtney love story

  43. atskooc #

    in a world where cola gets spilled under rugs mercilessly, only one product can save the floor! –shamwow, the movie

  44. Keith Fraser #

    1. In a world where movie critics rule the roost, only one man dares to fight for his rights.

    2. Two cops. One donut. Let’s get ready to rumble.

    3. A flat tire brought them together. A chainsaw will tear them apart.

    4. To pwn a griefer, he must teamkill a noob.

    5. They fight for love. They fight for justice. They fight for a maximum of 37 hours a week.

    6. Slipping out while she’s still asleep means never having to say “I love you”.

    7. He’s a boy pretending to be a man. She’s a woman pretending to be a girl. Why don’t you have a seat over there.

    8. Part hedgehog. Part Pokemon. All FAIL.

    9. Vlad was just an average vampire. Until one day he fed on the wrong teenage girl.

    10. Just when you thought it was ten to three.

  45. DaveMc #

    #5. He’s an alcoholic. He’s wearing enough firepower to level a small country. He’s going to be fine, no impending disaster, here. “Irony Man”

  46. Nixon #

    Marklar was just an average Marklar. Until one day all Marklar broke loose.
    Marklar: impossible to understand.

  47. Trevor #

    1. In a world where hamburgers are gold, only one man has the balls to chicken out. “Sanders: The Movie”

    2. Two adorable black kids. One unrepentent racist. A Klan-tastrophe of fun. “Forgetting Sandra Bullock”

    3. Beer brought them together. Sobriety tore them apart. “Scott and Zelda in 3D”

    4. To seduce a donkey, she must become a real ass. “Palin 2012”

    5. He’s a rapper. She’s a former secretary of state. They’re one unstoppable crime-fighting duo. “Condi Cubed”

    6. Love means never having to say you’re sorry about the dead hooker. “When Hannibal Met Clarice”

    7. He’s a hair removal waxer. She’s Sasquatch’s daughter. Can you say “hairy situation?” “Harry and the Hendersons 2: Meet the Bigfoots”

    8. Part Man. Part Van Der Beek. All about Joey and Pacey cheating behind his back. “Dawson’s Creek Runs Red”

    Alternate: Part Man. Part Chihuahua. All hyperactive and prone to pissing on your ankle. “Chihuahua Man”

    9. He was just an average Joe Six-Pack. Until one day when the aliens came. Now it’s up to Randy Quaid to save the world one more drunk-off-his-ass time. “ID4 2: Cousin Eddy’s Revenge.”

    10. Just when you thought it was safe to wear a tampon, he strikes again. Jean-Claude Van Damme is “Vagino-Shark 2.0”

  48. Trevor #

    Actually, the fourth one should be “To seduce a nation full of donkeys.”

  49. Steve #

    3. Hydrogen bonds brought them. 100 degrees Celsius will tear them apart. “Aqua Teen Vapor Force: The Movie”

  50. Mark #

    Shameless promotion for my amateur attempt at a YouTube mashup:

    In a world of black and white, only the bastard son of Zeus could lead their football team to the state championship.