troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Mundane Made Awesome: Film
  • In Terry Gilliam's Brazil, Robert De Niro manages to make life as an air-conditioning repairman look like the most Badass career imaginable. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • The Social Network has one of the most exciting sequences involving computer programming in a movie. There are scenes of a sexy college party spliced in.
  • American Psycho and business cards. Extreme close-ups, slow motion reveals, tense narration - the main character even breaks down mentally and starts sweating and shaking when someone has a better business card than him. This is quite intentional, as the main character, as the title implies, is nuts.
  • Secondhand Lions features a sleepwalking, nightshirt-clad Robert Duvall swordfighting with a toilet plunger, accompanied by clanging sound effects and an epic orchestral score. Its silliness is outweighed by just how awesome it is.
  • Angel Heart: Robert De Niro, as Louis Cypher, eats a hard-boiled egg. Then again, he's just compared that egg to the human soul.
  • The Batman films, including The Dark Knight Saga, are notorious for this. Apparently Batman putting on his clothes is worthy of dramatic camera angles and epic Danny Elfman/Elliot Goldenthal/Hans Zimmer & James Newton Howard music. To wit:
  • Bowfinger does it with the arrival of FedEx. The reason is that it represents success for struggling bottom-feeding movie producer Bowfinger: every day the FedEx truck goes by, delivering scripts to working producers. Seeing the courier walking to his door is a validating moment of huge importance.
  • Parodied in the beginning of Bruce Almighty, using slo-mo as well as "cheesy inspirational music" to celebrate the creation of the world's biggest cookie. Later on, Bruce turns looking at a bowl of soup into an awesome moment. He splits it like the Red Sea. (Note: tomato soup.)
  • A scene near the climax of Bullitt (a film which notably featured one of the most legitimately awesome car chases in the history of cinema, shot in a fashion that would seem almost minimalist by today's action movie standards) revolves around extreme document printing.
  • In Elektra, Elektra unpacks her toiletries to the accompaniment of the kind of disjointed editing and tense, thumping background music that usually accompanies things like billion-dollar heists and the assembly of homemade death-traps.
  • The commercial for "Brawndo" energy drink from the film Idiocracy has an over-enthusiastic announcer who shouts every other set of words. It's got electrolytes!
  • The opening of The Ipcress File has the main character getting up, getting dressed, making and eating breakfast, all to the accompaniment of one of the most haunting movie themes ever composed. However, this is deliberate and emphasizes the unglamorous take on spies found throughout the movie. It also establishes Harry Palmer as a forward-looking man of his time, as Britain comes out of post-war austerity. A man who grinds his own beans to make real coffee is something unusual. Later, he seduces a woman by cooking an omelette.
  • In one scene just before the climax of Iron Man 1, Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane turns the act of taking a sip of whiskey into a long, intense, incredibly menacing event. As one reviewer put it, "he drinks the shit out of a glass of Scotch."
  • In Inglourious Basterds does this with Shoshanna putting on her makeup, preparing herself to get glorious revenge on the Nazi party.
  • The 2005 King Kong has Jack Driscoll typing the letters to spell out "Skull Island" onto his typewriter with odd camera effects.
  • Lighthouse: the main character types the main villain's name on her typewriter in dramatic fashion.
  • The Wizard loves to play mundane things as godlike artifacts. For example, the Power Glove is made to look like some high tech cybernetic enhancement, which is about the opposite of what it really was. Ironically, that scene shows just how "bad" it is, with the footage of Rad Racer being a mediocre at best performance (so much for his Informed Ability). And SUPER! MARIO! BROTHERS! THREEEEEEEE! (Then again, that game is pretty awesome.)
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie calls out This Island Earth for doing this.
    • Having shown the characters close up images of his devastated homeworld on the viewscreen, the alien character orders "Normal view" and we are treated to a static ten-second shot of our characters looking at a viewscreen now simply showing a planet, while the orchestra gives it the full dramatic PAH PAH PAAAAAAH!! PAH PAH PAAAAAAAA!! treatment.
    Mike, Tom and Crow: "Nor-mal view! NOR-mal view! NOR-MAL view! NOOOR-MAAAL VIIIEEEW!!!"
    • It should be noted that MST3K:TM does this as well, with an awesome, inspiring musical cue underscoring the first transition into the theater — although it's most likely done tongue-in-cheek.
    • A recurring joke in Mystery Science Theater 3000 was to punctuate scenes like this with comments along these line:
      (A teenager starts drink a coke as if he were in some kind of soft drink commercial)
      Tom Servo: (As the teenager) I'm gonna drink the hell out of this coke!
    • Watching a lame spy flick:
      Servo: HE CHECKS AN APPLIANCE!!!! (loudly hums the James Bond theme DAH-DUH-DAH-DAH!!!)
    • Mike: Does this tepid little scene really warrant DUHNN!!! DUHNN-DUH-DUHNN!!!?
  • Mocked in Shaun of the Dead. It takes the "tooling up" segments of horror movies (specifically the Evil Dead films), and makes them things like getting ready for work. Extreme toilet flush!
  • Hot Fuzz includes dramatic paperwork (with Dual Wielding pens akimbo), dramatic murder-via-baked-beans, dramatic hitting-somebody-over-the-head-with-a-peace-lily, dramatic travelling-across-England, dramatic putting-change-on-a-counter, etc. It's somewhat tongue-in-cheek.
  • Rifftrax, the spiritual sequel to MST3K, has used the joke in a similar manner:
    Woman: I am so taking the stairs.
    Bridget Nelson: So taking the stairs, I'm gonna take the hell out of those stairs!
  • Rocky turned running up the stairs into a cultural phenomenon!
  • The Best Years of Our Lives turns the act of writing a check into heroism. Given that the check writer is a double-amputee (played by real life veteran Harold Russell) using his hooks, even though it's filmed without much flourish, it's enough to shame his banker friend into giving another veteran a loan with questionable assets.
  • Wanted has some of this — though it's hard to see mundane acts in that movie (Wesley and Fox's kiss probably counts).
  • Casino Royale had some very dramatic music playing during James Bond's drive from the airport to his hotel. The clincher was that he was driving in a Ford Mondeo, which is a far cry from 007's usual Cool Car.
  • Dr. No and From Russia with Love, being the first two Bond movies (not counting the original, unofficial Casino Royale (1967), use the Bond theme at every situation possible, even simple ones such as Bond's airplane arriving and 007 driving to the beach.
  • Tommy - Pinball: the new religion! Pete Townshend wanted to keep the Rock Opera from getting too "pretentious". He also wanted the concept to appeal to the president of his label, who he knew liked pinball. Townshend also wanted an element that was "slightly sleazy" and teenage. Keith Moon also suggested to place Tommy's "miracle cure" following in a British holiday camp. The goofy, sing-along quality of the theme for "Tommy's Holiday Camp".
  • The documentary The Nation State introduces all of the guest professors in the film by doing a black-and-white, slow-motion close-up as the professor turns his head toward the camera, with (in some cases) dramatic music playing in the background. An anthropology class bursts into laughter.
  • Stephen Chow plays with this in many films such as God of Cookery, Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle, dramatizing in slow motion and special effect hyperbole cooking, eating, and playing soccer, among other more mundane activities, which even manage to inspire sudden musical numbers to break out.
  • Dhoom 2 invokes this trope all the time. One of the most egregious examples also involves Product Placement. As Jai Dixit theorizes about the antagonist, we see Mr. A in his Supervillain Lair. One of his inventions is a bracelet that can pull anything magnetic towards him. So naturally... he pulls a can of Coca-Cola towards him, and drinks it as the movie's theme song plays. never mind that Coca-Cola cans are made of aluminum.
  • Kevin Costner, aka The Postman, awesomely delivers mail. Behold!
  • Part of the humor of Blades of Glory is how seriously the protagonists take such a "sissy" sport.
  • The Stinger of Monsters vs. Aliens features the most epic coffee request ever.
  • Documentaries about apocalypse in 2012 get into this. In one, the narrator is talking about the possibility of Earth's magnetic field shifting, causing technological breakdowns, spontaneous earthquakes, and other horrendous effects. Said narrator says all of this in suitably dramatic fashion...which is somewhat undermined by his giving exactly the same emphasis when he points out that "Your compass will not point in the same direction any more."
  • If WarGames is anything to go by, library research is incredibly cool and exciting.
  • The climactic rugby match in Invictus ends with — the Springboks already being in the lead — the referee running out the clock, complete with slow-motion extreme close-ups of his watch as the seconds tick by with dramatic slamming sounds.
  • Up in the Air features epic "packing your bags," showing how quickly Ryan can do it.
  • Scotland, PA has a scene where Mac breaks up a food fight by kicking the two guys out of the restaurant. It happens in dramatic slo-mo, with an epic, orchestral score playing over it. Afterward, the entire restaurant applauds him.
  • The climactic scene of Amadeus features the highly dramatic activity of ... taking down music dictation. ("G sharp?" "Of course.")
  • Snatch: Cousin Avi's airplane flights to and from England use a Darren Aronofsky-style "hip-hop montage" for comedic effect. In two seconds of screen time, he's moved halfway across the world.
  • Some mundane scenes in Dario Argento's Phenomena are coupled with sudden blasts of heavy metal music or the film's theme song.
  • The destruction of the Piscatory Ring shakes the Pillars of Heaven as the movie version of Angels and Demons shows it. Then again, what isn't epic in Vatican City?
  • The typing of Schindler's List. Justified as this is Schindler's last hurrah, and every name that goes on the list is one more Jew that doesn't have to die.
  • The opening sequence of Toy Story 3.
  • Office Space: the sequence in which the three protagonists infect the company's computer with a virus: slow motion, hip-hop music, and a sound effect of a gunshot as one of them clicks a mouse to activate the virus. (Lampshaded at the end with the words "That was easy.") The same devices are used when the photocopier/fax machine meets its ultimate fate, although in that case it starts to cross over into mildly disturbing territory.
  • In Free Willy, after noticing a leak in the tank, a guard menacingly eats a piece of popcorn while a Dramatic Sting plays.
  • Saturday Night Fever: Only Tony Manero (and the actor playing him, John Travolta) could make walking down the streets of Brooklyn with a paint can in one hand (and two slices of pizza in the other during a brief period), swaggering to and fro as he checks out women and the scenery, seem like an epic moment of pure, distilled awesome. The soundtrack helps.
  • Battlefield Earth: Invoked and inverted; John Travolta's character goes into a multi-minute monologue about how he's the best shot in the galaxy and will perform surgery using an energy pistol on anyone who tries to escape, playing up his own awesomeness. When the human translates (though we hear it all in English) he boils it down to "If you run he'll shoot you." Travolta's visibly annoyed that his epic speech was condensed into (for him) a few grunts. He then seems to realize that blowing the leg off a stationary, placid cow isn't the mind-blowing feat of marksmanship he'd hoped it'd be, so he starts trick shooting. Now, instead of watching a dreadlocked, 9 foot tall John Travolta shoot a cow, we are watching a dreadlocked, 9 foot tall John Travolta shooting a cow while pirouetting like a ballerina.
  • In the German movie Schtonk! (the one about the faked Hitler diaries), the journalist when he reads the first entry. (He's a big fan of Adolf Hitler; the magazine in question in Real Life was rather on the left side, but for some strange reason still employed him.) What the (remember, fake) entry is about? "Hitler" writing how he suffers from too much gas, and Eva Braun saying he has halitosis.
  • At one point in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, while he is preparing for the face-off against Jason Schwartzman's Gideon Graves, the last and most powerful of the Evil Exes, Michael Cera's Scott Pilgrim ties his sneakers. No, make that TIES! HIS! SNEAKERS!
  • Lampshaded in High Anxiety. At the beginning of the film, Mr. Brooks' character walks through an airport accompanied by strident orchestral music. When he finally reaches the exit, he proclaims, "What a dramatic airport!"
  • The 2001: A Space Odyssey opening will make you want to give planet Earth a standing ovation. This applies to nearly every other long sequence in the movie, especially being that with the monkeys in the first act.
  • In Pulp Fiction, Jules manages to turn the act of taking a bite out of someone's burger and then drinking the rest of his Sprite into one of the most intimidating things ever.
  • In Kung Fu Panda, Po's training is completed by Po and Shifu having an epic kung fu fight...over a dumpling.
  • Climbing up to Pride Rock in The Lion King
  • As if sealing the deal on his Crazy Awesome credentials, Kato makes opening bottles epic.
  • The 90s Chow Yun-fat movie God of Gamblers is widely regarded as the Trope Codifier for a good reason. Look on, ye lesser mortals, as Chow Yun Fat WALKS INTO A ROOM!
  • The Room has a particularly noticeable example. When Mark shaves his beard, they zoom in directly on his face and play dramatic music...for no good reason. Since the entire movie consists of loosely strung together BLAM moments, what do we expect?
  • Slasher Movie Sledgehammer features an obscene amount of slow-motion and freeze frame for such mundane things as a couple walking across a field and a girl plugging something into a wall socket.
  • Back to the Future: "Lou, give me a milk!" (slams a nickel onto the counter) "Chocolate!" He grabs the glass without looking, takes one epic swig of it, and slams the glass back down on the counter.
  • The Tree of Life spends the whole movie in this mode. Especially prominent when immense music and frantic camera angles accompany scene after scene of kids running in a yard, kids sleeping in bed, kids snuggling with their mother, over and over and over again.
    • Really any Terrence Malick movie. To Malick, the simplest moments of nature and the human experience are profound rather than mundane.
  • In Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Simmons walks across a room, picks up a passport, and puts on a jacket. Pretty mundane stuff, except for the epic music and crazy angle/focus of the scene making it look like a spy movie.
  • UHF does this in a commercial for the fake film Conan the Librarian. A man asks Conan where he can find a book on Astronomy. Conan responds by lifting him up by the collar so that the man is inches from his face, and says in a menacing voice "Don't you know the Dewey Decimal System!?"
  • Indian action movie Singham: the love-child of this trope and Serial Escalation.
  • The Fellowship of the Ring has truly awesome footage of - nine guys walking.
  • The Natural makes baseball seem like Ragnarok. Redford's character knocks the cover off of balls, wedges the ball into the net when he pitches, and at the end his homerun hit destroys the lighting fixtures, causing sparks and explosions to rain down on the field.
  • The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. The battle is won. The newborns are defeated. Now tremble as Jane... walks through a forest.
  • Showgirls lets us watch as Nomi Malone ketchups the fuck out of a plate of fries.
  • Rango. Never before has crossing a road been so dramatic.
  • In The FP, the sleepy mountain village of Frazier Park, California hosts intense gang battles that are settled by "Beat Beat Revelation."
  • In Far And Away, Tom Cruise's character does his laundry with intensity.
  • In Underworld: Awakening, few scenes are as epic as when Selene... puts on a coat.
  • In La Moustache: shaving. The film has a very strong and powerful classical soundtrack that plays when Marc shaves his moustache off at the start of the film. Another is when Angès calls Marc's parents to say they aren't coming to dinner.
  • At the beginning of Innerspace, a glass full of ice looks like something from outer space.
    • A robotic arm inserting the chip in the miniaturizer? Boring! A robotic arm inserting the chip with Jerry Goldsmith's music setting the mood? Awesome!
  • Peter Parker designs his Superhero costume in a montage, complete with his notes ("Needs more color"), newspaper ads for the car of his dreams and the wrestling match, an image of a smiling Mary Jane, and Danny Elfman's themes; this scene segues into Peter's shooting his web in his room, with some more Elfman music.
  • The opening credits sequence of The Big Lebowski turns a bowling alley into god-damned Temple of Americana, all bright lights and shiny chrome like a vision of a future past.
  • The climax of ¡Three Amigos! has the Amigos and the people of Santa Poco defeat El Guapo and his gang with their talent of... sewing, specifically replica Amigos costumes.
  • In Joe Versus The Volcano, the luggage salesman's reveal of "our premier steamer trunk" is bathed in light and accompanied by wordless, ethereal singing.
  • War Horse has an epic field-plowing scene.
  • Invoked by Bill Murray's character in Stripes, who begins humming overly dramatic music as they sign their enlistment papers and join the army.
  • The Shoveler in the film Mystery Men manages to make an epic badass Rousing Speech that galvanizes the heroes into action and gives them the confidence to succeed. It's all centered around... not eating an egg salad sandwich.
    This is egg salad. It's loaded with cholesterol. The wife won't even let me touch it. Hardly seems to matter now, 'cause chances are, we're already dead. Amazing is gone. There's no use waiting for the cavalry, because as of this moment, the cavalry is us. This is our fight, whether we like it or not. Just we few. We're not your classic superheroes. We're not the favorites. We're the other guys. We're the guys nobody ever bets on. But I'll tell you what I think. ... We're all in over our heads, and we know it. But if we take on this fight, those of us who survive it will forever after show our scars with pride, and say, 'That's right! I was there! I fought the good fight!' So whatdaya say? Do we all gather together, and go kick some Casanova butt? Or do I eat this sandwich?
  • Bubble Boy has Jimmy reacting this way to pretty much everything he sees - which stands to reason, as he's spent 18 years in his house.
    Jimmy: Dog poop? This is awesome!
    • A classic example comes near the end, when Jimmy's father gives him a mild Rousing Speech, then unlocks the car doors for his son.
  • The opening narration of Waking Ned Devine makes the lottery sound epic.
    • ...right before mocking the winners: "Lucky sods!"
  • Triumph of the Will: Don't let all those uniforms and marching formations fool you; the vast majority of Nazis you're seeing in this movie are civilians, though some of them would be putting on their soldiers' uniforms and marching off to war soon enough.

Comic BooksMundane Made AwesomeLiterature

random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
49763
33