If you’re a film lover, chances are you’ve rolled your eyes at least once while watching one because it has those movie tropes you’ve seen countless times. Whether it’s a character who always gets the girl or the inevitable chase scene, there are certain clichés that show up time and time again in Hollywood films.
And while we all know they’re coming, and perhaps we’re tired of seeing them. Yet we can’t help but watch—and even enjoy—them anyway.
Here are just a few of the most overused clichés and movie tropes out there.
1. The Big Showdown/Chase Scene
A cliché that’s been done to death is the big showdown or chase scene. Whether it’s the hero chasing down the villain or the villain chasing down the hero, these scenes are usually high-octane and full of adrenaline.
And while they may not always make sense within the context of the film (looking at you, “Fast & Furious” franchise), we can’t help but be entertained by them.
2. The Typical Love Story
We all know the story: boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy and girl face some sort of obstacle, boy and girl overcome said obstacle and live happily ever after. It’s a tale as old as time, and yet we can’t help but be drawn in every time we see it on the big screen.
Whether it’s “The Notebook,” “Titanic” or even “Twilight,” there’s just something about a good love story that keeps us coming back for more.
3. “Clock’s Ticking”
In movies, time is often of the essence. There’s a bomb to defuse, a hostage to rescue, or a villain to stop. This high-stakes approach can make for some great cinema, but it also relies on a device that has become all too familiar: the ticking clock.
Whether it’s an actual bomb timer or just a character’s sense of urgency, the ticking clock is a way to add tension and propel the plot forward. However, it can also be overdone, coming across as contrived and clichéd. In fact, the very predictability of the ticking clock has become a source of comedy in itself.
Even when it’s used effectively, the ticking clock is among the most common movie tropes that end up becoming stale. Nevertheless, there’s something about this simple device that keeps audiences engaged, even as they roll their eyes at its ubiquity.
4. It Was Just A Dream
We’ve all been there. We’re watching a TV show or movie, and it’s getting good. The plot is thickening, the characters are struggling, and suddenly…it was all just a dream. It’s a frustrating plot twist that often feels like a cheap way to wrap up a story.
And yet, for some reason, we can’t help but love it. Maybe it’s because it allows us to suspend our disbelief for a little longer. Or maybe we just enjoy being tricked by a clever writer. Whatever the reason, the “it was just a dream” trope is definitely one of the most popular (and controversial) plot twists out there. So next time you see it coming, try to enjoy the ride – even if it doesn’t always make sense.
5. “Don’t Die On Me”
We’ve all seen it a million times: the valiant hero, fighting for their life against insurmountable odds, is about to succumb to their injuries when their friend/lover/partner shows up and screams, “Don’t die on me!”
It is among the classic movie tropes, but why do we love it so much? Maybe it’s because we can all relate to the fear of losing someone we love. Or maybe it’s because it’s a reminder that even in our darkest hour, we are never truly alone.
6. Romanticized Red Flags
We all know the one of the overused movie tropes: the guy or girl who’s just a little bit bad for you, the one with the rough edges and the dark past. They’re the ones we’re supposed to root for because they’re just misunderstood, right?
Wrong. Recently, there’s been a trend in romantic dramas of romanticising so-called “red flag behaviours”. Whether it’s infidelity, violence, or substance abuse, these movies make it seem like these things are just minor bumps in the road to true love. But in real life, these are major deal-breakers that can lead to heartache, pain, and even danger.
7. Beautiful All Along
The “Beautiful All Along” trope is one of the most overused and frustrating movie tropes. It’s the idea that a character, usually a woman, is hidden away or plain-looking for most of the story, only to be revealed as stunningly beautiful at the end.
There are a few problems with this trope. First, it sends the message that physical appearance is more important than personality or inner beauty. Second, it’s often used as a cheap way to give a character a makeover without having to do any real development work. Finally, it’s just lazy writing. Thankfully, there are signs some movie tropes are on their way out (this one included), and we can all breathe a sigh of relief.
8. The Love Triangle
There’s something about a love triangle that just gets under our skin. Maybe it’s the fact that someone always gets left out, or maybe it’s the sense of competition that comes with having two people vying for one person’s affection. Whatever the reason, love triangles are one of the most commonly used movie tropes — and one of the most despised.
9. Unlimited Ammo
Throughout history, there have been many weapons of mass destruction. From the club to the sword to the gun, each one has been used to great effect in battle. But there is one weapon that always seems to give its wielder an unfair advantage: the unlimited ammo trope. This device allows its user to fire an endless stream of bullets, never having to reload or worry about running out of ammo.
As a result, it has become one of the staple movie topes in films and even video games. However, there are some who believe that this trope is nothing more than a cop-out, a cheap way to amp up the excitement without having to think too much about the consequences.
10. The Chosen One
There’s something about the “Chosen One” trope that we can’t help but love to hate. Maybe it’s the inherent sense of entitlement that comes with being anointed as the one person who can save the world. Or maybe it’s the fact that this chosen individual is often woefully unprepared for the task at hand. But there’s no denying that this is a staple among movie tropes — and it shows no signs of going away anytime soon.
Despite Having These Movie Tropes, We End Up Loving The Films Anyway
Movie tropes are so overdone that they’re almost parodies of themselves at this point. And yet, we can’t help but love them anyway. Whether it’s a MacGuffin or a Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope, these worn-out plot devices just keep us coming back for more.
What can we say? We’re suckers for a good (or even a bad) movie tropes.