Two Movie & TV Tropes That Bug Me

Easy solutions to complex problems.

John Lewis
3 min readJan 14, 2022


Doesn’t this irritate YOU? | Photo by Sammy Williams on Unsplash

Like me, you watch films for the escape from everyday life.

Also like me, when something happens for which there’s an easy and obvious solution, it lifts you right out of that story and the suspension of disbelief.

The runaway automobile

You’ve seen this countless times over the years; a car or truck has been rigged to a remote control to cause a crash after accelerating to ludicrous speed while the protagonist tries to stop that from happening. This is also a trope used by villains to murder someone in the most complex way possible, perhaps while blasting max volume Justin Bieber tunes on the radio for added terror effect.

Usually with self-detonating gas tank option installed. | Photo by Jeremy Bezanger on Unsplash

As the speed increases minute by minute, WHY does no one just turn the ignition off and coast to a stop? It’s right there on the instrument panel!

Driver’s Ed in movies must be an elective rarely taken in school. Think about it — if you cut off the source of motive power, your death buggy soon goes nowhere fast. No one thinks of this simple solution, though.

The time bomb

It never fails. Nothing gets the hearts of an audience racing quite like watching a timer counting down on a bomb that MUST be disarmed by a stalwart hero.

Photo by Girl with red hat on Unsplash

Whenever explosives are involved (or perhaps a bioweapon) that has a timed release mechanism, somebody will have a moment of real indecision about what to do.

Do they cut the red wire, the blue wire, the pretty rainbow one to stop this?

I’m not an old EOD man. Never wore one of those bomb squad suits that look like an umpire on steroids, yet even I have some idea what to do, since most bomb-makers aren’t that sophisticated.

Remove the wires attached to the explosive itself. Then the timer can countdown to zero, dance a jig, do an aria from Aida, whatever. The impulse that goes to the charge to detonate it never gets there. It’s a dud now.

BTW, if you’re like me, when you see a timer counting down on screen and start counting with it, you’ll be amazed how many times they disarm the device long after it would have gone off.

Photo by Artur Kornakov on Unsplash

More of the wild mind of John.



John Lewis

John Lewis was born in Europe, and came by both wanderlust and curiosity from that beginning. He considers this his Third Act in Life.