Words of Wisdom, From a Guy That Doesn't Know A Whole Lot.
June 30, 2009 9:52 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for cliches and stereotypes from movies and television about weddings, marriage, home ownership, raising children...

As best man at my younger brother's wedding, I have to give a speech at the reception. I've decided on a theme: "things your older brother is responsible for teaching you, except you've gone and done it before him". Brother is getting married, they bought a house, and I fully expect him to have children soon; I have done none of these things.

So, for part of the speech, I plan on imparting some life lessons to him and his bride. Having never done any of the things that I need to be teaching him about, I plan to take all of these "life lessons" from popular movies and television. I'm looking for some cliches and stereotypes that fit the bill. Think of the "Things I Learned From the Movies" list that was very popular back in the early days of the internet, e.g. "Every trip to the grocery store always includes at least two loaves of French bread". I want things like that, applied to marriage, owning a home, and children (and anything else that fits within the theme).

If you have still photos that exemplify the cliche, I'd love to see those. There will be PowerPoint.
posted by backseatpilot to Society & Culture (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Here's the only pic I could find, from Leave it to Beaver, but: full silverware, tablecloth and fresh flowers for every meal (which are naturally all eaten with the entire family present around the dining room table and all dressed nicely).
posted by misha at 10:13 AM on June 30, 2009

No matter how unattractive, oafish and lame you become, your wife will always be impossibly hot and quick with a withering comeback. (Cf. Raymond, King of Queens, Dodge commercials etc.)
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 10:14 AM on June 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

Parenthood is great, for real lessons, if you want to get kinda serious at the end. The roller coaster analogy is perfect.
posted by cooker girl at 10:23 AM on June 30, 2009 [2 favorites]

Man, cooker girl beat me to it. It was the first movie I thought of. I always liked this bit:

Julie: I can't do this! This is too intense!
Helen: This is marriage!
posted by Skot at 10:32 AM on June 30, 2009

Annie Hall (quote at the end about the needing the eggs)
posted by heather-b at 10:38 AM on June 30, 2009

Can't find the comic, but there was a Far Side which poked fun at the "average 1.5 children" by showing a child sitting in front of the TV next to half of a kid (split vertically). It's a sight gag - don't know if you'll be near a projector.
posted by mysterious1der at 10:53 AM on June 30, 2009

Fortunately TVTropes has entire categories (weddings, marriage. family) devoted to this kind of thing.

Warning: TVTropes may cause you to forget passage of time and end up with seventeen browser tabs open while your dinner slowly burns.
posted by Electric Dragon at 10:58 AM on June 30, 2009 [5 favorites]

If you really want people to get the reference, and utilize the still images in power point, then I would suggest you just look for iconic movie images that you figure everyone in the audience will get and THEN build your shtick around those.

It will go over much better than making perfect references to movies that no one in the audience has ever seen. (and unfortunately for you, family/relationship movies do not get as ubiquitously stuck in the American Psyche as Action/Epic movies... maybe some romantic comedies like There is something about Mary etc will resonate... YMMV).

That is, unless you will put video in your power point, then a couple of short lines or sequences from just about any good movie itself will get some laughs/tears.

PS - notwithstanding my thought about action/epic movies, here are some ideas:
-Forest Gump (tons of quotable lines there)
-Its a Wonderful Life
-Annie Hall (as was said)
-Raising Arizona (regarding kids... and probably some good stills from that)
-Mrs Doubtfire (marriage and making it work?? How being a transvestite can save your marriage????)

you know your audience better, go to AFI's website and poke around
posted by DetonatedManiac at 11:12 AM on June 30, 2009

maybe When Harry Met Sally?
posted by heather-b at 11:39 AM on June 30, 2009

I haven't seen it in ages, but for some reason I'm thinking The Money Pit may suit your needs.
posted by geeky at 11:46 AM on June 30, 2009

Parenthood is one of the few movies out there about children and marriage that really nails it. Anyone thinking about either of those endeavors owes it to themselves to rent that video.
posted by any major dude at 11:47 AM on June 30, 2009

Thanks for the input so far. I'm not looking for the movies specifically, but rather the stereotypes that are espoused in them. TV Tropes looks like it might have some good material.
posted by backseatpilot at 11:49 AM on June 30, 2009

Families always live in giant wooden 3-story homes on a leafy lane with huuuuuge front and back yards (Father of the Bride)

Dads always go outside in their robe and slippers to get the newspapers (Desperate Housewives, father of bride, countless others)
posted by ukdanae at 12:13 PM on June 30, 2009

"Somewhere That's Green"
posted by hermitosis at 12:59 PM on June 30, 2009

Matt Groening's Life In Hell comic had a few "Lies my older sister told me" and "Lies I told my younger sister" entries. I'm having trouble finding them online, but I believe they can be found in the School is Hell compilation.
posted by not_on_display at 1:22 PM on June 30, 2009

I think any time Homer Simpson "imparts" anything to Bart, you might have useful material.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:24 PM on June 30, 2009

I think this is the opposite of what you're looking for, but there's the cynical "Relationships are driven by awkward silences" trope:
When a couple runs out of things to talk about, they move in together, so they can talk about the house/apartment.
When a couple living together run out of things to talk about, they get a pet so they can talk about the cat/dog.
When a couple living together, with a pet, run out of things to talk about, they get engaged, so they can talk about the wedding plans.
When a married couple runs out of things to talk about, they have a child, so they can talk about the baby. This lasts a while, because they can move on to the toddler/tyke/teenager.
When a couple whose kids have grown up and moved out...well, if they don't have anything to talk about by now, then they can talk about the divorce.

So never run out of things to talk about!
posted by bartleby at 4:06 PM on June 30, 2009

« Older Space-Age Bachleor Pa-aaaah Oh God No!   |   decimal points in placing limit orders on stocks Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.