Now, I will preface this entire list by saying that without tropes of some sort or another, we wouldn’t have many movies, but this is a list specifically about 5 movie tropes that need to die, not so much the rest that isn’t done to death. Whilst it’s in no particular order, I’m sure as you read you’ll have your most hated, and you’ll definitely picture movies and television shows with these tropes in, proving me right. So here are 5 movie tropes that need to die…
5. One Second Left
Countless films and television shows seem to employ the whole disarming the bomb with a single second left on the timer trope far too often. Throw in a tense defusing whilst someone is fighting bad guys to give them time, or a ‘get out of here and save yourselves’ line from the defuser, and you know they’ll have it done with a second on the clock. It’s not tense, it’s not scary, in fact, it’s annoying. Speed, Chuck, and even Face/Off did it, but at least the former used the trope in a different manner.
4. Speak English
We’ve all seen it where someone is trying to explain an idea or plan of action to someone else, and what they say usually isn’t the most convoluted of descriptions, only to be immediately followed by someone deriding them and asking for them to dumb it down, ‘in English’ or some other combination of ‘I’m not understanding and we’re not sure the audience will, so please explain’, which is nothing short of insulting.
3. The Off-Screen Gunshot
Picture this, the villain and the hero are standing opposite one another, the villain with a gun pointed at our hero whilst they give the standard monologue (another trope) explaining their plan, or trying to explain their actions from earlier in the film. BANG. An off-screen gunshot goes off, and the camera focuses on the two faces, neither giving anything away, until the villain drops to the floor dead, after a secondary hero appeared out of nowhere to save the day. If not that, you’ve always got the trusty ‘roll on the floor and fight for the gun’ path to go down with this trope. Just stop it.
2. One Day From Retirement
A movie trope as old as time, at least in action movies and easily getting on the list of 5 movie tropes that need to die. If you’re unsure who’s going to perish, or who’s about to be potentially wounded, just wait for the character that mentions their retirement, how close they were, the plans they have, and how they’re glad to be done with their job. It’s them. They’re the ones who are going to die. Just let our characters retire in peace, and if not, maybe have them more capable so they don’t die so predictably.
1. Coughing In A Napkin
How do you show someone being gravely ill? Well, have them cough in a napkin or their hands, show a little blood, and then have them quickly hide the evidence as someone else walks in to check they’re okay. Whether it’s a hidden gunshot wound (another trope), cancer they’re not telling their loved ones about, or some other affliction we the audience need to know about, but the character suffering for some reason needs to hide, it’s a boring, outdated and overly done trope.
There are plenty of other tropes that could have been included in this list of top 5 movie tropes that need to die, and I’m sure you’ve all thought of many more. Let me know the biggest culprits in the comments!