Quiz: How Clichéd Is Your Underdog Movie?

In honor of “Eddie the Eagle,” and “Race,” which are due out soon and appear from the trailers and early reviews to reliably follow the Hollywood triumph of the underdog formula, here’s a practice quiz. The more b)’s and c’s) you end with, the more clichéd your movie will likely be.

1. Your main character (MC) has _ obstacles to overcome.

a) 3 or less
b) 4-6
c) 6+

2. The other characters in the movie generally respond to the MC’s ambition with_

a) Benign indifference
b) Mild derision
c) Open fire hostility

3. If applicable, the MC’s family is_

a) Indifferent
b) Baffled
c) Actively hostile

4. If applicable, the character _

a) Was raised by people other than his parents
b) Grew up in dire poverty.
c) Grew up in an orphanage/ stayed in JD.

5. How many times is the MC told straight out things like, “You’ll never be able to do this.”

a) 3 or less
b) 4-6
c) 6+

6. How many inspirational speeches does the MC give?
a) None or one
b) Two or three
c) More than three

7. The best description of the MC’s mentor/trainer is _

a) A hardass with a heart
b) Someone with substance abuse/relationship issues who is antagonistic toward the MC at first
c) Someone like b) but with a tragic secret in their past having to do with the sport

8. The mentor’s actual training will consist of:

a) Exercises and advice to sharpen the MC’s skills.
b) Incorporating Eastern philosophy or something similar to bring out the best in the MC.
c) Barking cryptic orders during a montage plus at least one inspirational speech.

9. The strategy for the MC during the Big Event is best described as _

a) Going out and giving it his all.
b) Doing something legal, but that the rival won’t expect at all.
c) Employing a strategy that could get the MC seriously injured or killed if performed incorrectly.

10. Your MC will get _ montages (count all, not just training/competing ones)

a) None or one
b) Two or three
c) More than three

* Bonus point for each montage set to songs like “Walking on Sunshine,” or “All Star.”
* Bonus point if the song does not match the era of the setting.

11. The top competitor/ main rival will respond to the MC with_

a) Indifference: It’s pointless to waste energy worrying about every possible underdog.
b) A few snide remarks.
c) Sabotage

12. If your MC deals with an unexpected snag in his plans, it will be_

a) Something non-man made like the weather
b) A death or a sickness in the family.
c) The Powers That Be attempting to keep him personally from competing by invoking a rule.

13. If c), they do this because _
a) It’s a legitimate safety issue.
b) There’s some ambiguity in the rule’s description.
c) They are elitist, sexist, etc.

14. If applicable, does the MC’s family?

a) Attend the event to cheer him on.
b) Not plan on doing so, but is guilted into it somehow.
c) Is adamantly opposed yet arrives at the last minute.

15. If applicable, is the MC supported by:

a) His community or school.
b) His nation
c) Just about everyone including the judges once they see how brilliant he is.

16. When MC does compete, the following happens _

a) He wins and all is well.
b) He wins and gets a standing ovation. (If the spectators are already standing, they then go crazy.)
c) He wins, gets a standing O and changes history forever.

* Bonus point if there’s an end card saying something like, “X is widely considered the greatest in the world…” prior to the credits.


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