Letterboxd is a great resource for film fans that allows them to keep track of which films they have seen and discuss movies with other, like-minded film fans. It’s also home to a very interesting and incredibly fun art form – the ridiculously specific movie list.
Everyone knows that mainstream cinema is packed with obvious tropes and it’s an industry that has always worked on repetition. The aim of the ridiculously specific Letterboxd list, though, is to highlight tropes that aren’t perhaps as obvious.
Here are the best examples…
Movies where the main character clearly has feelings for her best friend but it’s ignored and they date boys
Teen and high school movies with female leads often feature close friendships between female characters and, according to Letterboxd user deathproof, many of these friendships aren’t as platonic as the film’s writers seem to want them to be. From the awkward dynamic at the heart of recent romcom The Edge of Seventeen to the noughties classic She’s the Man, it’s a more popular concept than you’d have thought.
Superhero movies that have a large energy beam shooting to the sky in the climax that can almost destroy the world but are stopped in due time
We all know this one, which has become ubiquitous on our cinema screens during the superhero movie boom. Letterboxd user Jaime Rebanal has rounded up all of the superhero movies lazy enough to resort to this most common of tropes. What’s most shocking is the number of culprits, from Thor to The Avengers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles who not only use the trope once, but then repeat it immediately after in their direct sequel. Disturbing.
2016 films with Andrew Garfield as an explicitly Christian character with an accent whose faith is put to the test by witnessing extreme violence around him that is inherently related to the Japanese
This is one of the more specific entries on the list, reflecting Andrew Garfield‘s double-pronged hunt for Oscar glory in this year’s awards season. I haven’t had chance to see Hacksaw Ridge yet but, on the strength of Silence, this type of film, as compiled by Irimiás and Petrina, is a good fit for the former Spider-Man.
Posters of 2017 releases with a person or creature standing in the middle and a blue or orange light shining on them
This list from roksana captures the return this year of an incredibly common poster trope. It seems that poster designers just can’t resist following the orange and blue formula that is so prevalent in Hollywood.
Christmas movie posters with white heterosexual couples wearing red and green
This particular trope might not be one you’re aware of, but Letterboxd user Alex Valdes has managed to round up more than 60 examples. They are mostly nauseating Hallmark Channel movies that you are most likely to find languishing on Channel 5 in this country and almost no one has seen them, but it’s a truly bizarre trope that is far more common than you might think.
Movies where the director can’t be fucking bothered to show us a character is dying properly so they just have them cough some blood into a hankie or have a nosebleed
This is one we’ve all come across in the past, whether it’s Nicole Kidman spluttering her way through Moulin Rouge or Laurence Fishburne‘s brief appearance in 2016 sci-fi Passengers. A little bit of blood in a handkerchief is often used as a substitute for actually writing in some decent foreshadowing and, as this list from Steve G shows, it has been around since the earliest days of cinema.
Movies where Jessica Chastain gets fed up with the useless men around her so she decides to save the world herself
Jessica Chastain is one of Hollywood’s finest actresses and, judging by this list from cantinaband, she is collecting a fine arsenal of feminist roles in which she teaches the men around her a lesson about how to sort stuff out. Although I’ll have to take their word for it on The Tree of Life because I still haven’t got a clue what that film is all about.
Movies where a character gets in a cab but the driver turns out to be a wrong ’un – like a ghost or a monster or just a bastard
From the obvious likes of Taxi Driver to the more unusual Scrooged, the notion of a character clambering inside a cab, only to be greeted by something sinister is very popular in the movies. This list from Steve G rounds all of those films up, from monsters to people who are just… wrong ‘uns.
Ben Mendelsohn as a villain who thinks too much of himself being reminded by a dictator Big Bad who wears a breathing device due to physical impairment who the real boss is
Ben Mendelsohn has become known for his slippery villains, as an incredibly versatile character actor. Gabe Danvers has noted that there’s something of a theme between two big Mendelsohn blockbuster roles, including his impressive turn in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story at the end of last year.
Movies where a character is involved in an incident which briefly impairs their hearing and leads to us hearing EEEEEEEEEEEEE for a few seconds to symbolise this
This list, again from Steve G, is another example of rather lazy direction as filmmakers all use the same tactic in the aftermath of explosions or gunshots. From horror to war movies and big actioners, every kind of film imaginable figures here in its use of deafening ringing to reflect the tinnitus of characters.
Movies where Mark Wahlberg plays a character most likely to have voted for Donald Trump
And finally, something of a topical one and a list that shows Mark Wahlberg has a clear cinematic wheelhouse. Daniel Rodriguez has rounded up all of the examples in which Wahlberg plays a character white, patriotic and right wing enough to have put a cross in the box next to Donald Trump’s name, triggering the oncoming apocalypse. We can all blame Wahlberg, I think.
What are your favourite ridiculously specific Letterboxd lists? Have you seen any great examples that aren’t on this list? Let me know in the comments section.