50 Cliched Dialogues to Ban From Your Script
Great lines can outlive a movie and transcend its story, no matter how good or bad it was. Great lines make their ways to playgrounds and office spaces, become private jokes that can cement friendships for decades and become cultural symbols for generations. Cliched Dialogues? Not likely, and if so, for all the wrong reasons.
Writing cliched dialogues can be as tempting as writing memorable lines is hard. But, if it seems ok to use them while you are going with the flow and trying to move forward on a draft, they are a no-no when the times come to show your script around.
Below is the selection of 50 Cliched Dialogues I still read in scripts, and hear in movies and TV Shows, and I really wished I wouldn’t. A huge chunk of it comes from Go Into The Story & Kevin Lehane‘s collaborative effort to make the 121 Definitive List of Cliched Dialogues, the first three are my personal addition.
50 Cliched Dialogues to Keep Out Of Your Script
1. Try me
2. This is your destiny.
3. Donde esta [insert english word] por favor?
4. I was born ready.
5. Are you sitting down?
6. – Is that all you got? – I’m just getting started.
7. Cover me. I’m going in.
8. No, no, no, no, NO! I’m not going. [Cut to them going.]
9. No. Come in. ____ was just leaving.
10. We’ve got to stop meeting like this.
11. (Greeting) Well, if it isn’t ____.
12. I’m just doing my job.
13. – You’ll never get away with this! – Watch me.
14. Now . . . where were we?
15. How hard can it be?
16. You go girl!
17. What part of _____ don’t you understand?
18. Don’t even go there.
19. Is this some kind of sick joke?
20. Oh haha, very funny.
21. Did I just say that out loud?
22. It’s just a scratch.
23. – How is he? – He’ll live.
24. . . . and there’s nothing you or anyone else can do to stop me!
25. You say that like it’s a bad thing.
26. Note to self . . .
27. What seems to be the problem, Officer?
28. What’s the worst that could happen?/ What have we got to lose?
29. I have a bad feeling about this.
30. Don’t you think I know that!
31. Whatever you do, don’t look down.
32. We’ve got company.
33. Oh that’s not good.
35. What just happened?
36. We’ll never make it in time!
37. – Stay here. – No way, I’m coming with you.
38. Okay, here’s what we do . . . [and cut to a different scene]
39. Try to get some sleep.
40. Hi, sis.
41. Wait! I can explain! This isn’t what it looks like.
42. That’s it! You’re off the case!
43. In English, please.
44. – What are you doing here? – I was about to ask you the same thing.
45. This just getts better and better.
46. Shut up and kiss me.
47. Not on my watch!
48. You just don’t get it, do you?
49. It’s called ____, you should try it sometime.
50. That went well!
What clichéd dialogues do you see and wish people would stop using? Share your trauma in the comments section below!