Lost in Cinematic Time: 18 Forgotten Details That Have Disappeared from Modern Movies

So much has changed since the inception of Hollywood films. As time has passed, these films have evolved into what we now recognize as modern cinema. Along the way, some things that were once popular in films are no longer popular. A forum for movie fans noticed this recently. Here are 20 little things you don't see in movies anymore.

1. Quicksand

Image Credit: By Andrew Dunn (Website: http://www.andrewdunnphoto.com/) – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wiki Commons.

For some reason, seeing quicksand appear as a dangerous hazard in movies was common.  You can spot quicksand in classic films like The Mummy (1999)Blazing Saddles, and Lawrence of Arabia. The trend has recently appeared in films like Encanto and 65, so it may not be gone for good.

2. Quips and Catchphrases

Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Quips still exist in the form of Marvel movie dialogue, but they don't compare to the quips from the 80s and 90s. These quips were usually zingers delivered after a hero defeated a bad guy. Arnold Schwarzenegger was the king of quips during his career. The “stick around” line he delivers after stabbing someone in Predator is a good example. Lines like this a more lighthearted compared to the dialogue of your average action movie these days.

3. Normal Looking People

Phillip Seymour Hoffman Capote
Image Credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.

Movies don't feature regular-looking people that much anymore. The casts of most films today are filled with people who look like supermodels. There are rare exceptions and people have commented that Jesse Plemons and the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman are great “normal-looking” actors.

4. Shopping Montage

pretty woman - msn
Photo Credit: Touchstone Pictures.

At one point, shopping malls were a significant part of American culture. Now? Malls are closing left and right across America. This is probably why you rarely see shopping montages in films anymore. They used to be common and featured the main characters going from store to store, trying on various outfits. Films like Pretty WomanBack to the Future, and Mean Girls are all iconic films that feature a scene like this. 

5. Loud Audio

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Have you ever noticed how quiet movies and shows are now? Sometimes you have to turn subtitles on to understand what someone is saying. There are possibly a few reasons for this: One is the size of the microphones. With smaller mics, actors can mumble or whisper when doing their lines. Another reason could be streaming services. 

6. Practical Effects

Jurassic Park, Behind the Scenes
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Films today are usually made with CGI as opposed to practical effects. Studios do this as a cost-saving measure, but it does mean that the film's visual effects will age worse than those with practical effects. The reason why is that practical effects feel more realistic. The creature in The Thing and the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park were created using practical effects. Since CGI is much cheaper, most films continue to use it.

7. Bearer Bonds

Die Hard, Bearer Bonds
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Bearer Bonds were once a staple of action movies. They come with coupons, which one can redeem at a bank for money. At one point, every movie villain was trying to steal some. Die Hard and Heat are two examples of this. They're no longer issued by the US Treasury, meaning their use in films has declined.

8. Russian Bad Guys

Image Credit: MGM/UA Distribution Co.

Because America was in a Cold War with Russia, every movie from the 70s to the early 90s featured Russian villains. The Russians in these films were typically military personnel. You still see some Russian villains in modern cinema, but it isn't the same as during the Cold War.

9. Vulnerable Protagonists

Die Hard Bruce Willis
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

A standard movie trope is the unstoppable hero who feels no pain or weakness. A more uncommon trope is a hero with flaws. Actors like Vin Diesel and The Rock are portrayed as invincible in the Fast and Furious films, and it gets tiring. A movie like Die Hard was so memorable because it starred Bruce Willis as an average Joe who struggled to save the day and beat the villain. This type of character makes a film more exciting since it's not guaranteed he'll survive. 

10. Animated Opening Credits

Grease Opening Credits
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

The opening credits are a must for any movie, but there was a time when films had animated opening credits. These were so well done that people often thought a film would be animated. So many of us remember the iconic opening montage from Grease!

11. Fewer Camera Cuts

Image Credit: Marvel Television.

It takes away from a film's enjoyment when there are too many camera cuts. A simple conversation between two people can feel odd when the camera switches every few seconds. Occasionally, there will be a one-take scene, such as the hallway fight in the Daredevil show or just about any drone shots from Michael Bay's Ambulance, but for the most part, movies feature too many camera cuts. 

12. Blood Squibs

John Wick
Image Credit: Summit Entertainment

A blood squib is a special effect that simulates a person being shot or hurt. When activated, the blood squib explodes, creating a hole in the actor's clothing filled with fake blood. Squibs aren't used that much anymore because they can be dangerous and expensive. It's easier for a studio to use CGI blood in a film like John Wick than something that explodes.

13. Kids Being Kids

The Sandlot Brandon Quintin Adams, Victor DiMattia, Grant Gelt, Tom Guiry, Chauncey Leopardi, Shane Obedzinski, Patrick Renna, Mike Vitar, Marty York
Image Credit 20th Century Fox.

In the 80s and 90s, plenty of films were about kids being kids. Films like The Sandlot and Little Giants were simple films that starred child actors doing things kids would normally do. These kinds of films don't typically exist now, likely because kids are so different nowadays. Kids are more likely to stay home and play Fortnite online with their friends rather than play basketball outside. 

14. Payphones

Rosemary's Baby Mia Farrow
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Payphones were once a primary form of communication before the prevalence of cell phones. As a result, you'd see them used as plot devices in films such as Die Hard With a Vengeance and Rosemary's Baby. When payphones disappeared from everyday life, they disappeared from movies entirely. 

15. Live-Action Talking Animals

Milo and Otis
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures.

One trope that has disappeared from modern films is the live-action talking animal. Talking animals are still around but usually in animated movies. These days, a film like Milo and Otis is rare but this summer a film called Strays, which features live-action talking dogs, will be released in theaters. Perhaps this could be the comeback the “live-action talking dog” genre needs.

16. Smoking

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

With the decline of smoking in general, there's a lot less smoking in movies lately. While there are still scenes where actors smoke cigarettes, it's not as frequent as it once was.

17. Obvious Stunt Doubles

Point Break Patrick Swayze Keanu Reeves
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

During big stunt scenes, you used to be able to tell the difference between the actor and the stunt double. Now with new technology and movie magic, the lines are blurred and it's much harder to pick out who is doing what stunt in scenes.

18. Movie Theme Songs

Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

There are many iconic movies that have even more iconic theme song score. Think of Jurassic Park, Grease, Star Wars. Movies recently don't have that one song that is played during the opening credits that people can recognize anywhere and that comes up the moment they think of the film.

Source: Reddit