Screenwriting : Annoying movie tropes to AVOID!!! by Owen Mowatt

Owen Mowatt

Annoying movie tropes to AVOID!!!

Come on, we all have them, and in some cases they are worse than the dreaded cliched dialogue. Does a girl always trip when being chased? For a bit of fun, these are my two, what are yours? 1. A character can fall from ANY height and survive as long as they hit water. Skyfall 2. Two "intelligent people" playing chess, one checkmates the other in ONE move?? Blade Runner

Kenneth David Swenson

Inexperienced characters in sci-fi films who are able to pilot sophisticated aircraft WITHOUT being shown how to operate it. At least in mine; the character lurches around till she finds her rhythm.

Keith A Jessop

My, my, there are plenty: Car chases where the car flips over - they usually don't. Protagonist who is shot and carries on regardless. Someone (usually female) enters a dark, creepy room without turning on the lights - who would do that?

Owen Mowatt

Evil Antagonist kills without mercy, but only knocks our hero to one side. Guardians of the Galaxy Try looking cool by casually strolling away from an explosion, see what happens to you!

Craig D Griffiths

Genre blindness. When a character operates completely un aware of the world and what is happening.

Anton West

Villain has the hero at gunpoint and announces intent to kill him. But instead of doing the sensible thing doing it straight away, he decides to tell the hero where the bodies are buried, where the money is hidden, where he has the heroine imprisoned etc etc. Shortly after this the hero disarms him and escapes to save the day. I've seen this a hundred times in movies. I also hate the 'over-the-shoulder-reveal' face. A couple hug. Then a close-up of the face of one of them as they embrace. A sad 'you don't know it but our whole world is about to fall apart because I have a terminal illness I haven't told you about yet' face or a smirking 'I'm still having that affair' face or maybe a worried 'I really wish you weren't pregnant' face. Again, a hundred movies have this.

Owen Mowatt

A character who shows a picture of a loved one, signalling their doom After a night of passion the woman still insist on covering her tits in the morning...I mean, what`s that about? Takes me right out the film! LOL

Stuart Wright

Gay men kissing is hardly one to avoid

Stuart Wright

Script notes podcast did a 50 dialogue to avoid

Anton West

Yes there are more gay men seen kissing but what makes that a trope? Also I don't understand this part: 'Transgender transitions where the family hate the character, claim it's a joke, and then claim they have been lied to for 20 years.'

Owen Mowatt

Don't even try to understand it, Anton. You could start a thread about a half eaten apple and Alle would still end up giving you her resume and life history.

Mike Romoth

YES! It is the ultimate battle for ORIGINALITY! In this corner...everything you've ever learned, seen, or done. In the other corner...the need to avoid everything you've ever learned, seen, or done that everyone else has also learned, seen, or done. The answer: you must venture off the map of known experience and head off for the WILD UNDISCOVERED TERRITORY! Aye. There's the rub.

Jean-Pierre Chapoteau

People saying "Hello" When they think someone is in the house. No name? Is it common that strangers that need to identify themselves enter your home? People getting punched in the face a million times, and leave with just a bloody lip and a cut eyebrow. Your face would resemble the Hunchback of Notre Dame's. People running out of bullets, or the gun jams when it's time to off the protag.

Owen Mowatt

You can always survive a fiery blast/explosion as long as you are standing/crouching behind something....anything

Michael L. Burris

OMG! I pity what the A-Team did to the media world but I kinda, sorta, secretly really liked the "bang, bang, shootem' up" especially when like a million bullets never seemed to hit anyone. LOL sill happens in so many gunfights across media. Plus the "Dukes of Hazard" car that could fly a million feet and land like the ground was a sponge. Maybe thems writers of dem shows ated too manys spongy mushrooms.

Susan Holtzer

Cellphones running out of battery power so the person-in-jeopardy can't call for help.

Stuart Wright

No cell phone signal

Kenneth David Swenson

Brilliantly shot but horribly overdone scene "The Gauntlet" where the bus is being driven down a line of men firing machine guns across the street from both sides, and no one gets hit. Then to make matters worse, the bus gets all the way to the courthouse steps; before somebody gets the idea to shoot out the tires; which of course is the only thing on the bus that isn't armored.

Anton West

Alle, I don't think you have understood the point of this thread.

David Levy

When a teenager takes a shower in an abandoned house in a horror movie.

Laurie Ashbourne

Welcome back, CJ! I've missed your thoughts that often mirror mine but do so with a bit of pizzazz.

David Levy

Do not be too sure, CJ. Those are two reason's I do not post as much either

Anton West

Yeah, no such thing as concussion in the world of movies!

Jean-Pierre Chapoteau

"Hanging up the phone without saying goodbye" - Every television show does that, but DEXTER was the MASTER of that. It came to the point where I used to laugh at him merely for picking up the phone because I knew how it was going to end.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Not to worry, David. Please don't shy away. :)

Kristopher Rickards

Funerals - It's always raining, often shot with a blue tinged filter.

Kristopher Rickards

Every photo required for display is a professionally shot agency photo.

Jean-Pierre Chapoteau

A visible timer on a bomb. What moron trying to blow a structure up would let people know when it's going to go off?

Owen Mowatt

Oh Christ, that one really annoys me.

David Levy

the movie "Executive Decision" uses a bomb in great detail. OK, this is the last thing and it really dates back. On the Steve Reeves "Adventures of Superman" from the 50's is a great example. When guns are fired at him, he just stands there letting the bullets reflect off him. He doesn't move. But once the villian runs out of bullet's, what does he do? He throws the gun at Superman and what does Superman do....he ducks! Whoa!! Guess we know his TRUE weakness!

Kristopher Rickards

CJ, your ballistics expertise is starting to concern me.

Ronnie ShantzRobinson

The obligatory two lovers riding off into the sunset happily ever after. 50% divorce rate's on the way, perhaps.

Mike Leins

A film starts with an ordinary guy going through bis morning routine for minutes on end just to prove that our hero is an average guy.

Kenneth David Swenson

@Pb duly noted.

Debbie Croysdale

I agree with Jean Pierre. I hate it when people are seen continuously, saying "Hello" (often several times) when they think an intruder has entered their home. Followed by their vacant look of surprise when they don't get an answer. As though a robber, murderer, rapist, blob with ten legs from another planet etc, is actually going to exchange pleasant introduction.

Debbie Croysdale

Also Mike brought a good point. Drawn out routines , at the beginning of films, that are unnecessary. This happens in documentary aswell, we often see this in detective reconstruction stories. A report preceded by interaction with household items eg pouring of cornflakes, or cuddling up to a family pet, that has nothing to do with the actual story. Don't get me wrong though, some routines DO act to serve the purpose of adding layers, to show inner feelings of a protagonist. One film where a morning routine worked for me, was the opening of The Game with Michael Douglas. Within moments grasping the fact, he was a bored man, leading an emotionless and robotic lifestyle.

Michael L. Burris

Pb, exactly and good example. I had to weave in the need for another phone by my main character realizing he needed one with international phone charging abilities when at an airport. Also he was smart enough to know signal wouldn't work where he was but the phone still had a use, just gives more realism when we think ahead about these things. By the same token sensationalism can override realism. Kill Bill Volume 1&2 are perfect examples of this. Almost all these tropes examples in this thread whether annoying, cheesy or just blatantly silly all had their function with sensationalism. I guess it depends on audience and genre too with all the realism I put in mine it also had moments of sensationalism but I like writing adventure with global theme undertones if I do features. I actually prefer television though.

Cherie Grant

oh I can't stand people gingerly walking through their house looking for an intruder to welcome with 'hello?'. Reality is you're more likely to scream and swear or be really dead quiet or pick up a knife and run screaming through the house stabbing at thin air. all of which would be more entertaining than 'hello?' DOH!

David Levy

Why do some people/camera angle show a person looking at their phone before hanging it up.

Cherie Grant

Argh, Pb, make-up in hospital bed after surgery. WTF?

Eric Pagan

When someone points a gun and say "don't move", they move. The gun gets cocked and they say "I said don't move".

David Levy

Don't forget dirty and filthy cowboys, mine workers, and oil rig workers who have perfect teeth that are white as a whistle!

Kenneth David Swenson

Favorite book to read if you are doing period pieces. "Time and Again" by Jack Finney. The General in the story remarks that a lot of peoples perceptions of what people wore and used from the past is based upon what people see in museums. A paraphrase ,"No self respecting woman would ever be caught dead wearing stuff like that!".

Owen Mowatt

Good luck at the "off the topic" awards, Kenneth! :)

Kenneth David Swenson

I play to win @Owen

Owen Mowatt

LOL! Good for you mate. :)

JD Dorfman

How about the whole "We're on different pages, but we think we're on the same page" scenario. That one just drives me up a wall!

JD Dorfman

Incidentally, I hated "Crash" for that kind of thing.

Owen Mowatt

LOL, Poor old, Crash! Still taking a beating worse than Driving Miss Daisy

Thedia Samara

Cherie Grant, or full face make-up in the bed going to sleep or just waking up...is it that serious?

Jean-Pierre Chapoteau

@ Thedia, I would think so. They do it all the time. Crash was amazing...

Lhisa Ungelis Mrklon

Alot of the prior stuff mentioned happens in the world of cartoons as well.

Lisa Clemens

Usually in a horror film, someone is searching for the source of a sound and opens a closet. Is it the ghost/killer/psychopath? Nope just the family cat (or the neighbor's cat!) that releases a scream as it scampers away.

Eric Pagan

When a bullet is fired from a gun and it is seen traveling through the air, it's still in the shell casing.

Phil Parker

Why, oh why, do people run UP stairs when they're being chased? You might as well run down a dead end alley! lol

Cherie Grant

To those who said there's no concussion in the tv/film world you're wrong. There is when the need a character to be unconscious for a certain amount of time like when 'a superhero is unmasked who is unconscious man's best friend and he just wakes up as villains are defeated and mask put back on so the secret is still safe from his friend' kinda thing.

Cherie Grant

Good guys have two guns, bad guys have twenty. all the bad guys die and good guys don't get a scratch. i mean come on. why make it twenty guys then? just make it two on two.

Cynthia Garbutt

The MUA "just woke up" look (Loved that morning after scene in Bridesmaids, Wiig did a DIY, LOL) and the I've been awake the entire time "voice". Mascara rarely runs after a good cry. The most amazing fabrics and garments that very rarely tear during action and fight scenes. Gunshots and stabs: miraculously healed wounds, with the simple momentary reaction of a jab. Let's not get into all the medical/surgical TV and film stuff v. blood n' guts horror - in that case fiction is stranger than truth.

Debbie Croysdale

Oh just remembered another bug bare. Someone that NEVER dies, despite being shot the whole duration of the film. The antagonist in Halloween Michael Myers, he receives bullets, then gets back up, then gets more bullets and gets back up again, and again and again and again.......

Owen Mowatt

Yes, Cynthia. I watched, Jupiter Ascending and I was wondering why a toilet cleaner who gets up at 5am every morning, must put on full facial make up to do it?? Do women really do that? Really?

Cynthia Garbutt

When I go to clean houses, I don't bother, (I get off the rent, whenever I help the property manager out, cleaning). Unless, there's some guy I want to chat up, but I only do the eyes anyway. LOL. I'll have to take a look at Jupiter, now that you mentioned it Owen.

Owen Mowatt

I wasn't judging her, simply asked if that's what women really do. But as you say, some just do

Cynthia Garbutt

Hey Owen. Just saw Jupiter Rising. I just loved how the two mains (Kunis and Tatum) where so busy saving the planet Earth from that evil nemesis (Eddie Redmayne's character) that they had time for a quick smooch. Guess they mighta s well get that one in before the entire thing went to hell. LOL

Owen Mowatt

You mean her world got rocked before her world got rocked?

Cynthia Garbutt

It was only a quick smooch - I'd hardly call it "rocking"

Debbie Croysdale

My curiosity is kindled, going to get Jupiter Rising, next week.

Cherie Grant

I've been waiting for that film to come out on DVD.

Debbie Croysdale

Oh thanks for the tip. I'd better check its been released DVD, before pounding West End.

Owen Mowatt

Err...best make sure you ask for the right film then, Debbie. Jupiter Ascending :)

Cynthia Garbutt

Sorry, I started that Jupiter Rising, bit. Got it wrong. But, at the end of the day, she goes nowhere, really.

Winter Maza

and within this thread, you have the next "airplane" or "scary movie"

Rick Reynolds

Just reading and giggling. Great post. Carry on.

Rick Reynolds

...and the government gets involved.

Kenneth David Swenson

or on i think a GEICO commercial "Quick let's hang behind those dangling chain saws!"

Pat McCord

Your original question is pretty funny, especially when you consider that women actually DO trip when being chased because they are always (in films) wearing dumb shoes. Hm, so I wonder, if she is running along at breakneck speed in spike heels, she has to trip, unless it's a Wonder Woman episode!

David Levy

This one irks me, car driver's who you can tell focus more off the road and not concerned about their driving. Even in acting you need to act like a safe driver!

Jean-Pierre Chapoteau

LOL! I always cringe whenever I see those drivers. My wife and I always scream "Will you watch where you're going!" - I think the people in the theater enjoy our commentary too...

Cherie Grant

Oh god inattentive driving makes me yell at the screen hahaha.

Jenny Masterton

Or simply playing chess as a symbol of guile and intelligence. Driving a speeding car off an aircraft and parachuting to land (Furious 7). I seem to remember the makers of DUKES OF HAZZARD saying they went through hundreds of those cars, and that was just jumping across swamp.

Owen Mowatt

Russian's aren't Russian unless they are drinking Vodka.

C. D-Broughton

Finlandia vodka?

Brian Walsh

I hate seeing things explode for no reason, such as in Face Off when the boat hits the water bow first and erupts in a fireball before it's 3 inches into the water. Have to agree with the after-sex clutching of the bedsheets to keep from being naked onscreen (both genders). It just takes you out of the moment.

Lawrence R. Kotkin
  1. Explosions in water. Water won't compress and anything in quite a distance gets mushed. Or at least your eardrums implode. So does your viscera.(see first post about hitting the water at terminal velocity). 2. Guns of all types that have no recoil, so you're back on target in a blink even without HULK forearms. which brings me to 3. Handguns fired sideways without the shooter clocking him/herself in the chest with the hammer...not to mention hitting anything. That's got to hurt.
Vincent Lowe

For me, it's backtracking in action scenes. We see the character jump out of the window and begin to fall, then we see another angle where they emerge from the window -- magically transported backward in time so the the editor (or director) can show us the cool shot they took from that angle.

Jean-Pierre Chapoteau

I LOVE that Vincent! lol. I think if they were shot it in real time, it would look weird.

Owen Mowatt

I know what Vincent is talking about JC, not sure it's the same thing as you. I watched, Carrie last night (2014) and the important scene where the bucket of blood is spilled on her head, is seen from 4 different angles! Yes, we get it already, move on! It's almost as if they cant decide which shot to go with, so they throw them all in.

Clark Blomquist

You people (maybe me too) need to get to work on your script and quit reading all these lame examples

Owen Mowatt

Just a look at the lighter side, Clark. reading posts is not obligatory.

Clark Blomquist

Thanks Owen - Me too serious

Lawrence R. Kotkin

Owen, I know it's important for us to network, but don't we all need downtime to process and think out what we're working on, sometimes sans keys on fingerboards?

Owen Mowatt

Not sure what point you're making, Lawrence.

Owen Mowatt

Thanks Liz As much as I like Idris, that show really jumps the shark in logic when it wants to.

Lawrence R. Kotkin

I'm amazed by the people who can hide behind cars and the heavy caliber, high velocity, jacketed bullets don't make it through the doors...and no bystanders get hit. Or someone gets hit by a round or five and doesn't go into shock. I can understand such from a handgun which are comparatively low velocity, but long guns? The same with shotguns where a 12 gauge has the power of three .357 magnum hits. Then again, it is very hard to hit targets with handguns. I love when someone can hit a moving helicopter with their sidearm. Where is Robert Stack, an automatic weapons expert, when you need him?

Lawrence R. Kotkin

That's hilarious. I remember those. I know what my shoulder is like after a round of skeet and I'm wearing double pads on my shoulder. OW! I know of a funny.. okay, not so funny...true event. A fellow brought a 12 gauge shotgun to put holes in his ex. He fired one round through her apartment front door. Shot went through the door nicely as did a number that went through the outside wall, down the street, and hit a.. are you ready?.. a police car. They were apparently unhappy about it and brought the fellow in. VERY fortunately no one was hurt, but I'm waiting to see someone include that in a screenplay. If they don't, I will.

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