Sunday, May 28, 2006

Movie Clichés

Amanda Marcotte, substitute teacher at Michael Bérubé Online, has started something with a post on the most egregious movie clichés. The Little Professor followed up with some clichés specific to academics portrayed on film. So what are the worst ways in which musicians are shown on screen? My ideas include:
  • the shy person becomes a big hit singer, with nothing needed but confidence
  • the stuffy classical musican finds his/her true love for music with a good pop tune
  • drugs, drugs, drugs
  • a group of students pull together a complex show perfectly, while all of their time seems to be spent on vairous hijinx


Terminal Degree said...

The underpriviledged students with no musical training whatsover get a fantastic music teacher, so they manage to wow the audience and win the big trophy. In about 2 months of practice.

The musician is a talented genius but a Tortured Soul who can't control his/her budget, maintain a healthy personal life, or show up on time.

The "willpower matters more than talent, training, or practice" theme.

The audience is always full. Standing room only. And there's always an MC to announce the performer.

Conductors don't have to rehearse their groups, and everything will sound great anyhow.

Clarinetists play just fine while wearing lipstick.

Women who play cello are always sexy.

Drummers are always on drugs.

Student instrumentalists are always nerds who aren't cool enough to be cheerleaders or football players.

Scott said...

A classmate of mine always wore lipstick while playing clarinet. She claimed that it helped form a good seal on the read. And everyone knew which reeds belonged to her.

Your examples are excellent.

Anonymous said...

Classical musicians are always intelligent.

When we play it's as if we are transported to some other world.

Music is always sheer joy and there isn't any drudgery. Ever.

A musician can't be stable or have a decent family life.

Terminal Degree said...

Oh, here's one more: Remember that old episode of "Fame" where the kid is entering a contest and also having problems with his family? So he decides to play "Moonlight Sonata," even though that is not one of the contest pieces, because it holds some sort of family-related significance. The judges are at first confused but become so moved by his performance that he wins even though he breaks the rules.

Here's another one: male classical musicians are either gay or very flighty and sensitive. Unless they are jazz musicians, in which case they are very cool and smoke cigarettes.

And then there's the "classical musicians [except for Anne-Sophie Mutter lookalike violinists or James Bond movie cellists] are always nerds" theme.

And just why can't the oboe player get the girl/guy for once? :)

Scott said...

Hey, isn't that last one Patty's line?

Anonymous said...

YES. Why CAN'T we get the guy? Huh? Huh?

Sadly, there is something about stereotypes, though; flutists always seem more feminine than oboists. Most women who play brass are "brassier" than other women.

I dunno. Maybe I'm wrong. But it does seem that way to me.

Of course I think the reason the reason we oboists are "plainer" than others is because we are spending so much or our primping time on oboe reeds! ;-)

Anonymous said...

a group of students pull together a complex show perfectly, while all of their time seems to be spent on vairous hijinx

School of Rock actually ran surprisingly against cliché on this point. While the demands of a narrative will always make it tempting to show only the hijinx, the whole point of the movie was that a lot of people have to work really, really hard to put on a kick-ass rock show -- and [spoiler warning, I guess] the kids don't even win the Battle of the Bands at the end.