10 Film Tropes That Audiences Are Tired Of

Millions of people have loved watching movies for decades. Whether they’re heading to the local theater or having a movie night at home, people can’t get enough of the bright lights of Hollywood. However, there are specific film tropes that have more than run their course. Many viewers roll their eyes when they encounter these old wags in the latest movies. Today, we’re looking at annoying tropes that pop up most often.

1. Groups Splitting Up in Horror Films

The Cabin in the Woods Chris Hemsworth, Kristen Connolly
Image Credit: Lionsgate.

While horror movies seem to repeat the same formulaic beats of their countless processors, no trope is more infuriating than when a group of characters decide to split up in the face of impending doom. I understand that logic dictates that the killer can’t slice and dice everyone at once if the group splits up, but haven’t these characters heard of the power in numbers? I don’t care how many knives an intruder has on them; a large group of able-bodied adults should be able to grab a weapon and overpower them.

2. Filmmaker Casts Himself as Lead With Beautiful Woman

Garden State (2004) Natalie Portman, Zach Braff
Image Credit: Miramax Films.

There’s arguably nothing more cringe-worthy than a Hollywood star writing, directing, and starring in a passion project and then casting a drop-dead gorgeous woman as his co-star. It reeks of desperation and makes the audience uneasy. Looking back, Zack Braff pulling strings so he could make out with Natalie Portman and Rachel Bilson in Garden State and The Last Kiss, respectively (and consecutively), is eye-rolling behavior at best.

3. The World Doesn’t End After All

The Day After Tomorrow (2004) Dennis Quaid, Dash Mihok
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Just once, I’d like to see a blockbuster disaster movie that ends logically: with the world ending. ArmageddonThe Day After TomorrowIndependence Day, and countless other apocalyptic-themed films all require a massive suspension of disbelief by the audiences. It doesn’t make sense. Eventually, the viewer doesn’t feel the plot the movie is supposed to show because, deep down, they know catastrophe will be avoided in the end (as it always is).

4. Adults Playing Kids

Little Women (2019) Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing.

Countless child actors set the standard for acting at a young age. But that hasn’t stopped Hollywood from casting adults as kids. While there are some exceptions to this trope (24-year-old Jonah Hill did an excellent job as a teenager in Superbad, in my opinion), watching adults play kids in movies requires Herculean suspension of belief.

5. Hanging Up Without Saying Goodbye

Mean Girls Lindsay Lohan
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

I laugh whenever I watch poorly written movie characters hang up their phones without saying goodbye. This scenario simply doesn’t exist in real life. If I hung up without saying goodbye to someone on the phone, they’d angrily call me back and wonder what my problem was. However, movie characters always hang up on each other, with not so much as a snide comment resulting from it. It makes no sense, and it isn’t realistic. It takes me right out of a film.

6. The Plot Exists Only to Make Us Cry

The Fault in Our Stars (2014) Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

In recent years, Hollywood filmmakers have been laser-focused on extracting as many tears from audiences as possible, resulting in many movies that seemingly exist only to make people cry. I think I speak for many viewers when I say I’m tired of the “young couple falls in love but one of them secretly has only a few months to live” trope that has replaced traditional coming-of-age dramas. What happened to an old-fashioned love story?

7. One Last Job

Gone in 60 Seconds (2000) Nicolas Cage
Image Credit: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution.

Why don’t characters know when to stay retired? I remember shaking my head in disbelief when Nic Cage’s character in Gone in 60 Seconds came back for “one last job,” and I feel like that plot line is prevalent in nearly every heist film released today. Does every heist movie need to feature a character who hesitantly accepts to steal something yet again, after being promised they can enjoy retirement as soon as the job is complete? It seems like it.

8. Invincible Heroes

John Wick (2014) Keanu Reeves
Image Credit: Summit Entertainment.

Call it John Wick syndrome if you must, but one of the most frustrating movie tropes is lead characters in action movies somehow being impervious to bullets. By my count, the typical action star successfully dodges, oh, I don’t know, a billion bullets fired by tons of villains throughout the film. It’s not realistic. I’m not saying every hero must be gunned down immediately during each gunfight, but the insistence on making heroes invincible is a tired old war horse.

9. Character Arcs Devolving Into a Haircut

The Princess Diaries (2001) Anne Hathaway, Larry Miller
Image Credit: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution.

Part of the moviegoing experience is witnessing characters completing their respective arcs and ultimately emerging a different person by the film’s end. However, it’s hard not to laugh at countless characters going through a profound change and deciding to memorialize their evolution with a haircut. It’s almost as if filmmakers regard going to the salon as the most eye-opening and thoughtful experience a person can have.

10. Characters Never Eating

Matilda (1996) Mara Wilson
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing.

Unless you’re in a Brad Pitt film, it’s entirely possible you don’t eat a single thing throughout a film’s two-hour runtime. I understand why filmmakers choose not to include scenes of characters enjoying meals together due to the inherent mundaneness of it all. Still, it’s not like essential conversations can’t be had during meals. It takes the viewer out of the movie and makes them wonder if the people on screen are portraying realistic men and women or weird, fuel-less robots.

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