Overused Movie Trope #267: No-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o!!!

Watching The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey yesterday, I noticed a movie trope that is even more overused (and is much more annoying) than “over and out” the tell-tale cough of death and bullets that throw people across rooms upon impact.

The scene: Thorin sees his father slain in combat and the camera zooms in on his face and then we go to slo-mo as he yells “No-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o!!!!!!”.

How many zillion times have I seen that in a movie? I thought, and has it ever really worked?

And how long before I have to watch this stale bit of film making again?

Answer, in the closing scenes of The Hobbit, a scant 8 hours later (I’m estimating by how it felt), Thorin is about to be killed by a big orc and so the camera zooms in on Bilbo’s face, and we go to slo-mo as he yells “No-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o!!!!!!”.

I wish every time a screenwriter and director agreed they were going to re-use this trope, someone sitting in on the script meeting would do what all the people in this youtube clip do.

Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.

10 thoughts on “Overused Movie Trope #267: No-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o!!!”

  1. Thanks. The slow-motion “no” is my most-hated movie cliche (surprising that you went through 266 others before getting to it).

    What? That 266 is a rhetorical device? Nooooooooooo!

    1. I hate it too. Another thing I hate are conversations early in action/crime movies that telegraph how the bad guy will die.

      Hi Bill, shall we ride down to the police station together and start our shift? Say what are you doing there in your basement?

      I’m using this new sandblaster. It fires sand at tremendous speed and rips the paint right off.

      Boy, I’d hate to put my face in there.

      Yeah, that would really hurt. So, tell me about the new mystery the chief wants us to solve.

  2. “Captains Courageous” is on TCM tonight. I am usually not that into Spencer Tracy films but I did like this movie.

  3. People hanging off edges (cliffs, walkways, cranes) by their fingertips for 20 minutes whilst simultaneously dodging bad guys who apparently never played stomp-the-balloon as children, giving a heartrending speech about some emotional topic (usually an absent father), and preparing to execute an upward-somersault-from-rest that even Gabby Douglas couldn’t pull off much less a male with 3x the weight-to-strength ratio of a female gymnast.


  4. I thought that surely this trope would have ended with Darth Vader, but apparently noooooooooooo.

  5. How about:

    “I really wish you hadn’t shown me the picture of your girlfriend and talked about how you’re going to get married as soon as the (war/heist/siege/shootout at the gulch/zombie attack) is over. Now you’re guaranteed to die in the (war/heist/siege/shootout at the gulch/zombie attack).”

    That one actually goes back at least as far as Njal’s Saga.

    1. Related: The protagonist criminal thinks its time to retire from his life of robbery, but his friend persuades him to do just one..more..job.

  6. What I hate in crime dramas is how plain clothes cops approach an unsuspecting suspect. Instead of strolling up and slapping the cuffs on him, they yell “freeze” or some such nonsense from across the street, down the block, wherever. Then the next five to ten minutes of the program is taken up by a ten block foot chase, ten mile car chase, racing across roof tops, whatever.

  7. I hate how some innocent person is being pursued, and is frantically trying to get away … but they never even bother to put on a hat, or change their shirt, or do *anything* that might actually help.

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