TV and movie tropes

Discussion in 'Art & Culture' started by James R, Aug 9, 2019.

  1. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    36,070
    We all love these. Feel free to add your own!

    Here are some to get you started:
    • The character searching a scary location, knowing that something bad might jump out at him/her at any moment is scared when something jumps out. But it's only a cat. Then, a minute or two later, once s/he has relaxed, the monster s/he was worried about in the first place jumps out at him/her.
    • Evil villain is captured and put into a glass-walled prison by the good guys. He is guaranteed to escape, unless it's right at the end of the movie.
    • "I promise that I'll explain everything later. But right now, you just have to trust me, no matter how irrational my behavior seems!"
    • "Hand in your gun and your badge, detective. You're off the case!" This always means that the detective will investigate the case even more tenaciously, and catch the bad guy that nobody else has been able to catch. The detective's insubordination will be overlooked in the end because he caught the bad guy.
    • All time bombs have handy, lit-up digital countdown displays, even when they are inside a container of some kind.
    • All bombs have multi-coloured wires so that the right one that the hero needs to cut can be easily identified. No bomb that needs defusing ever has a whole bunch of indistinguishable wires.
    • All grainy images - especially CCTV footage from recorders that have been used for years - can be enhanced endlessly, so people can read the writing on the tiny object in the mirror at the back of the room the camera is pointing at.
    • A hero who is being held down on the floor and choked always finds at least one object within arm's reach that can be used to shoot hit his attacker or to hit him over the head.
    • CPR only works if you get angry and shout at the person whose heart has stopped. When giving CPR, one of the following phrases must be used:
      • "Wake up! Wake up!"
      • "Live, god-damn it!"
      • "Don't you leave me!"
      • "You've never quit anything in your life. Don't quit on me now!"
    • Fatally-wounded allies always get to have last words before they die, often as their head is cradled by the hero.
    • At the end of every slasher film, just when you think the hero has finally managed to kill the evil dude, it turns out he wasn't dead after all. He has just enough energy left to make one more vicious attack on the hero, before he dies for real.
    • If you didn't see the ally die, then they aren't really dead. They'll be back just when they are needed.
    • Nameless underlings can sometimes be fought in groups, but named evil minions must always be fought one at a time in individual combat.
    • If you're nerdy, you can be beautiful. All you need to do is to ditch the glasses and let down your hair.
    • People who mean business walk casually away while explosions they caused go off directly behind them. They do not look back, and they aren't worried about shrapnel, shockwaves, hearing loss or burns.
    • "Finally I, the Evil Mastermind, have you, the hero, helpless with my gun pointed at you. I now have time to talk to you at my leisure, and I'm fairly sure your buddy who I shot just before won't interrupt us just as I'm about to pull the trigger. Even though I haven't checked, I'm pretty sure I killed him."
    • Good people are beautiful. Evil people are ugly.
    • Divorcees really love each other, but just can't get along until a disaster or criminal activity forces them to work together. Once that happens, all their marital problems are quickly forgotten, and afterwards are no longer an issue.
    • "Trust no one!" Later.... "Didn't I tell you to trust no-one?"
    • All cardboard grocery bags must contain a baguette and at least one leafy vegetable - celery is good.
    • A good character can always hang on to the edge of a cliff, rope or other hold, with all their weight supported only by their hands, just long enough for the hero to be able to reach down and take their hand and/or catch the hand just as its grip fails. Upon being pulled to safety by the hero, both hero and saved person must lie flat on the ground panting for a few seconds before somebody jumps up and says "Let's get out of here!"
    • If you're pointing a gun at somebody, nothing says you mean business like slowly and deliberately pulling the hammer back, or pumping a shell needlessly from your shotgun.
    • Whenever a person enters a haunted house or any kind of bad place that seems deserted, they must announce their presence loudly. The following words should be used:
      • "Hello?"
      • "Is anybody in here?"
      • "[boyfriend's name]?"
    • Never end a phone call by saying goodbye. Just hang up.
    • Every devious serial killer must keep a metal tray with torture implements on it.
    • When coming home to a darkened house, remember that bad people who want to talk to you prefer to sit in the dark in high-backed chairs to wait for as long as it takes for you to turn up.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2019
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  3. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    The highest form of security is a wall of lasers set just far enough apart for you to slip through.

    You can always persuade a security guard to let you into a locked room by telling him he'll get in trouble if he doesn't.

    "You have 24 hours" to solve the case.
     
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  5. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    Often in dramas, someone has poisoned someone, or that person is on his/her death bed...and the antagonist starts yelling at the person, but he/she can't hear, because they’re unconscious. lol

    I happen to like plots where the antagonist sometimes wins.

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    V for Vendetta comes to mind.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2019
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  7. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    When good guys are shot, they are forced to clutch the wounded area as they stagger to safety. When bad guys are shot, death is instant, and they fall to the ground without moving.

    Good guys are great shots; bad guys, not so much. (Even though you'd think those heavily armed minions must practice a lot - probably more than that alcoholic ex-cop.)

    If an action woman is wearing a dress in the first scene, it is destined to be artfully ripped by the time the action is over.
     
  8. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Americans tend to not like those sorts of movies.
     
  9. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    This American did. I felt for V's plight.

    It was a great movie, did you see it?
     
  10. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah, I liked it a lot.

    The movie "Extreme Measures" sort of summed up everything that's wrong with American cinema storytelling. Plot:

    A doctor sees patients coming in with strange illnesses. One dies. They autopsy him and see a strange heart disease, but also see that he has a severe spinal cord injury. But he walked in under his own power. Odd.

    Doctor investigates. He's then framed for a drug bust and fired. A rogue FBI agent befriends him and they investigate. They discover another doctor - Dr. Myrick - is doing experiments on paralyzed homeless people. Most of them have died, but his last few patients got all their function back - and survived.

    There's a chase scene and the evil Dr. Myrick is cornered. "OK, you got me," he tells the other doctor. "Just give me four weeks to finish writing up the treatment notes and doing the remaining analysis, and I'll turn myself in. I have a cure for spinal cord injury, and if you can wait four weeks before you go to the cops, I can give it to the world." The doctor hems and haws. As he is hemming and hawing, other people who work for him wheel themselves in in wheelchairs. They are all paralyzed awaiting a cure.

    And I thought - wow, an actual moral dilemma in an American movie! There's no right answer.

    And then, since such dilemmas are really not OK in American movies, the rouge FBI agent shows up, Myrick grabs a gun, and the FBI agent kills Myrick.
     
  11. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    7,901
    I might watch this, even though I now know the ending.

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    Thanks billvon! lol

    I've actually been preferring foreign films, lately. Or films or series that have a foreign flare to them...like Dr Foster, or Killing Eve.
     
  12. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    My favorite movie of all time is _almost_ foreign. It's called Brazil. Come to think of it, it doesn't have a happy ending either.
     
    DaveC426913 likes this.
  13. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    7,901
    I’m not familiar with it; I’ll have to look it up. Have you watched the highly acclaimed film, Roma?
     
  14. Sarkus Hippomonstrosesquippedalo phobe Valued Senior Member

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    Brilliant film. Definitely a classic. Combines a sense of 1984 with bureaucratic absurdity in a fantastical alternate reality. Gilliam's best, I think. And ironically it's very British even though he's an American. But that's what comes of being part of Monty Python.

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    V wasn't the antagonist of the film but the antihero, protesting against the totalitarian regime that his Britain found itself in. Antagonist from the government's pov, I suppose, but really he's the antihero.
    And it's a great film, but even better graphic novel. Alan Moore is a rare talent. Him and Neil Gaiman are masters of their art.
    But there is something to be said about British stories tending to be somewhat bleaker than our cousins from across the pond. We don't shy away from difficult endings. And we even refer to things S having a Hollywood ending - if it is a happy case of the hero winning through, and American values to the fore. We in Britain quite like the "all in vain" stuff. But it tends not to be universally popular.

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  15. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    • There are no types, brands or flavors of beer, there is only "beer". Which is why the bartender never has to be told what kind of beer you wanted.
     
  16. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    re that ^^^ - there is scotch or Chivas; there is champagne or Dom Perignon; water or Perrier. No other brands.

    My favourite "boo" moment in a movie is when the guy falls off a cliff, hitting several outcrops on the way down, and when they finally land, somebody's standing by to ask "Are you all right?"
    My favourite "don't!" moment in a movie is when a man [who hasn't clue #1 what's about to happen] earnestly tells a child or woman: "It'll be all right. I promise!" or "We won't let anything happen to you."
    I have a problem, also, with the teeth. Every actor in Hollywood has ostentatiously beautiful dentition. They can get into a fight with a heavyweight champion, seven dock-side thugs, a professional torturer, an express train... and afterward, flash that prefect ultra-white smile.
    (I used to enjoy British shows partly for the appearance of the people. They looked real - imperfect, individual, sometimes homely. Nowadays, they're looking awfully American.)
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019
  17. origin Heading towards oblivion Valued Senior Member

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    11,257
    If you turn on a light and walk into a room there won't be anyone there.
    If you walk into a room first and then turn on a light the bad guy will be there.

    It is sort of a quantum effect thing....
     
  18. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    7,901
    An annoying and recurring theme in horror movies...when the main character is running away from a demon/monster/evil ghost/bad guy and invariably trips, halfway into the woods. It's always in the woods.

    A close second would be when the main character hears someone in the house, and begins walking towards the unexplained noise, instead of calling the police or trying to find an alternative route to escape the house. Get the eff outta there!

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  19. kevin78 Registered Member

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    When in a long abandoned hospital the ghosts of former patients always at first walk about randomly behind the main character.
     
  20. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    19,921
    . . . and because he/she is trying to run while looking backwards. So they can't see the tree root, or the rope trap someone put there, or the henchman standing there waiting to catch them,
     
  21. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    15,801
    Writers are starting to turn this trope on its head, with hilarious results.

    Sassy black woman alone in house. Hears noises from upstairs. Goes to check it out. Sees door opening and closing on its own.
    Moves toward it as audience gasps - and then Sassy Black Woman wisdom kicks in, and she says "Nope. Momma didn't raise no dummy. Feets, do your duty!" And makes tracks for the hills.
     
  22. wegs Matter and Pixie Dust Valued Senior Member

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    7,901
    “Help!! Somebody help meee!!” she screams. The antagonist finds her in the woods and now she is trying to crawl away, after tripping - hitting a pile of wet leaves. She sees a knife just an arm’s length away.

    How did that get there?

    The villain grabs her by the ankles and she struggles to get free, while reaching for the knife. The camera zooms in on her finger tips, just barely touching the knife.

    Another overplayed scene.
    Lol!
     
  23. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    4,966
    Doesn't she just!! What does a female character do when:
    - an alien* stands still in a shaft of light
    - a sinister shadow crosses her path in the slimy alley (where, what was she doing in the first place?)
    - a dead body** is lying in the clearing
    - a window breaks
    Scream, of course!

    * Why don't they have space suits? Or at least pants?
    ** How come it's always a hand that emerges from the earth, wet leaves or sinister bundle?
     

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