troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
The Load: Live-Action Films
aka: Films Live Action


  • Jennifer Parker in the Back to the Future Film series. Bob Zemeckis and Bob Gale never had a character development in mind for her, stating that had they planned to make a sequel to the original film, they would not have put "the girl" in the car at the end. Sure enough, less than five minutes into Part II, she's sedated and pretty much spends the rest of the series that way. Her actresses (Claudia Wells in the first movie and Elizabeth Shue in the others) aren't even given top billing in the film credits, even though those who play even smaller roles are.
  • Casino: Ginger, being the crazy drug addicted ex-hustler who runs out on Sam twice to give his money to her ex-pimp boyfriend Lester Diamond. She doesn't actually become the Millstone by giving Ace up to the FBI but she does put his stress through the roof throughout the latter half of the film with her histrionics.
  • In the movie Conan the Destroyer, the heroes have to spend most of their time babysitting a spoiled virgin princess who's the one key to finding a powerful artifact. She's pretty much useless in battle, gets kidnapped a lot, and the whole job winds up being a lot more trouble than it's worth. (At the end, once she was queen, she did take all those annoying sidekicks off of Conan's hands, so at least she was good for something...)
  • The Cube film series:
    • Kazan in Cube starts out this way. He's an autistic who is somehow able to survive in the Cube long enough to meet the other characters, especially given his knack for springing traps. Near the end it's discovered that he has a very useful skill, as he can perform the arithmatic required for navigating the cube extremely fast.
    • Played straight with Mrs. Paley from Cube 2: Hypercube, a senile old woman. She does provide one clue when it turns out that she used to work for the mysterious organization behind the hypercube, but otherwise she's just a burden who is completely oblivious and can't help anyone.
  • Stephen from the original 1978 Dawn of the Dead. He appears all the more useless in contrast to Peter and Roger, the two Bad Ass SWAT operatives who constantly pull his ass out of the fire. Stephen does get a little better by the end of the film.
  • In Fargo, the killers are a team of two guys working together. One guy is a cold-blooded psychopath who really knows his stuff, and the other guy is a talkative, sex-obsessed person with a really nasty temper. Pretty much every single lead the cops get comes from the second guy, and he really doesn't contribute anything useful to their plan. Then again, the first guy tends to do stupid, plan-wrecking things like killing a police officer right out in the open (though the second guy kind of made it necessary) and shooting their hostage and meal ticket because she was making too much noise. In an abandoned cabin miles from anyone who could possibly hear her. note  In Fargo, everyone (except for the savvy pregnant police chief) is either The Load or The Millstone.
  • Chris Tucker's character in The Fifth Element, Ruby Rhod, is basically designed from the ground up to be The Load. He's not universally incompetent (he's a galaxy-wide media star and can seduce women with pure muttered nonsense), he's completely useless to a movie plot full of alien terrorists. It's all played for laughs to counterpoint the highly capable Korben Dallas (Bruce Willis), whom he spends most of the movie calling out for and freaking out.
  • In the movie of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Zaphod spends the latter half of the movie somewhere between this, The Millstone, and vaguely useful, because he's missing one of his heads. Ford actually has to drag him around in one or two scenes. Also, when they're getting shot at, he apparently thinks it's a dance party. Fortunately, Vogon soldiers make even the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy look good by comparison.
  • This was what Thorin initially thought of Bilbo in The Hobbit, even saying it to Bilbo's face. By the end of the movie, after Bilbo saves him from Azog's mook, Thorin then declares "I've never been so wrong in all my life!"
  • This is parodied in Hot Shots! Part Deux, where Rowan Atkinson plays a hostage who can't walk — because his shoelaces are tied together. He insists that he be carried by Charlie Sheen (the hero), and berates him for jiggling too much — while being shot at! Atkinson's character goes firmly in The Scrappy territory, though, as he taunts the attackers (including shouting "You missed!" when they hit Topper, not him, in the arm), and insisting on getting a drink from a nearby drinking fountain.
  • Indiana Jones
    Willie: INDEEEEEEE!!
    • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade has Indy's dad and Marcus. The former, who despite his knowledge of the Holy Grail and the way he manages to get one enemy plane to crash, almost always winds up getting into some life-threatening trouble that requires his son to devote all his energies into saving him, and if he and his son are in a dangerous situation, he somehow always finds a way to make it worse. The latter goes from competent professor to bumbling goofball whose sole purpose in the film is to get captured and later rescued and really doesn't do anything else in the entire movie (possibly justifiable in that Marcus is "an academic, a bookworm... not a field man" much like Indy's dad struggling as a fish out of water).
  • James Bond
    • Honey Rider in Dr. No. Oddly enough, she isn't widely hated among James Bond fans, partly because she was the first main Bond Girl, but she really is the single most superfluous Bond girl in the entire film series—yet is consistently ranked as the best, a position clearly earned solely because she's the first. The film makers were usually pretty good in making the Bond girls in the series of at least some nominal importance to the plot of each film (even if, in the case of Mary Goodnight, their only importance is as The Millstone), but Honey is of no importance whatsoever. She shows up late in the film, tags along, and does nothing of any consequence. The film takes the time to give her the same backstory from the novel (Dr. No killed her father, she received all her education by reading the whole encyclopedia, she murdered her rapist, etc.) but again, none of that has any impact on the rest of the film. Of course, the fact she's The Load is also an accurate adaptation of the novel, another reason she isn't widely hated. She exists solely to be the Distressed Damsel (and even that comes across as an afterthought) and for Fanservice. The latter, Ursula Andress does very, very well, which is the third reason she isn't widely hated.
    • Bibi Dahl from For Your Eyes Only also qualifies. She's the only Bond Girl who offers herself to Bond, and he refuses it (since sometimes even 007 thinks "that's just wrong").
    • So does Christmas Jones from The World Is Not Enough. Aside from the fact that in her first scenes, she nearly gets Bond killed and ends up inadvertently helping the villain (to be fair, she had no idea Bond was the good guy and was following protocol by reporting him), it's painfully obvious she's there just for Bond to have another Bond girl. Though she does tries to help in the later action scenes, and as a nuclear scientist, gives 007 some info.
      • Bond Girl's, especially in the earlier films, were prone to falling into this trap, but some are worse than others.
  • Fergie's influence on the story of Judge Dredd reads like some kind of liability bingo card. He constantly gets in Dredd's way, holds him up in almost every chase sequence, trips in the middle of an access shaft of doom about to burst into flame, blows Dredd's cover when in disguise, and generally can't shut up to save his life. His one useful act in the entire movie was to disable a giant robot, which may not have even been necessary if Dredd's shotgun had anything to say about it.
  • Both children, Lex and Tim, in the film adaptation of Jurassic Park fit into this trope. Throughout the movie The Hero Alan Grant continuously has to save them from danger. Lex agitates a T-Rex by flashing a flashlight in its eye, and then proceeds to choke Grant when he tries to save her from the dinosaur. Tim has to be guided out of a tree he fell in and later gets electrocuted on an electric fence after failing to climb it in time. Each of them have a shining moment though, with Tim locking a velociraptor in a freezer and Lex using her 'hacking skills' to bring power back to the park. The most noticeable moment is when Alan Grant and Ellie Sattler are trying to keep a velociraptor out of the control room by pushing against the door and the gun is out of reach of them. Ellie tries to reach it with her leg while Lex attempts to get the door locks back on using the computer. And Tim? He's jumping up and down behind Lex, punching the back of the chair and telling her "hurry, hurry hurry!"
  • How would you translate "The Load" in French? French movie Le Boulet (pictured on the main page) gives you a hint. (It more specifically translates to "the ball-and-chain", that is the one inmates were dragging on their feet; you get the idea.)
  • Although Merry Brandybuck and Peregrin "Pippin" Took redeem themselves in the second and third The Lord of the Rings movies, they spend almost all of the first movie acting as a double load. Bill the Pony was of much more use.
    • Although they already know of the dangers of the Ringwraiths, they think nothing of building a visible-for-miles-n-miles-cooking fire on an elevated watchtower on Weathertop. It ends badly. Oddly enough this is opposite in the book, where Aragorn tells them to build a fire because the wraiths fear it.
    • Pippin later knocks a skeleton of armor down a well in Moria, alerting every enemy to their presence. Even the normally unflappable Gandalf laments his being in the Fellowship at this. This of course is the same Gandalf who said that even Gollum might have some purpose to serve. Perhaps to redeem the character somewhat, in the movie it's an accident, while in the book he purposely drops a rock down a well because he wants to hear how long it will be before there's a splash.
    Gandalf: Fool of a Took! Throw yourself in next time and rid us of your stupidity!
    • Pippin is by far the worst offender, and even Merry comments on this. The final straw is what shocks Pippin enough to stop being The Load. Unfortunately it takes the great flaming eye of Sauron himself, piercing right into Pippin's soul to terrify him out of his willful idiocy and into a burning need to become useful in some way at all. Although it does not excuse him from being The Load, it is realistic in Pippin's case. In the book series he is still the Hobbit equivilant of a teenager when he volunteers for the quest. While Elrond didn't really want Merry OR Pippin going on the journey, he especially named Pippin as being a bad idea.
    • Frodo himself is basically a load, moreso later in the series as the ring starts to take hold in his mind. Though it is proof that this trope can be used well on occasion and is obviously justified by his decision to bear the Cursed Artifact. Peter Jackson even has him solve the riddle of Dwarrowdelf instead of Gandalf just to give him something to contribute in the film.
    • Though Merry and Pippin actually get more to do in The Two Towers film than in the book, where they actually comment that they feel like luggage being carried around by the important people.
  • Limitless: The movie begins with Eddie is a divorced writer who suffers chronic writer’s block and is dumped by his girlfriend Lindy. Then Eddie takes NZT-48 pills, a revolutionary new pharmaceutical that allows him to tap his full potential... as The Millstone.
  • In The Mole People, a group of archaeologists accidentally discover an underground civilization; one of the team is an elderly Frenchman who spends most of his screen time being scared, nervous, or out of breath and often has to be dragged to safety by his two teammates. Then he gets killed, and even in death he gets the others in trouble as his corpse destroys their God Guise ruse. The film was screened on Mystery Science Theater 3000, and the guys constantly refer to him as The Load in a variety of creative ways.
  • Mortadelo y Filemón: Filemón is treated as such in the first movie. He gets called this way twice, one by the Súper and another one by Mortadelo.
  • In the Coen Brothers' O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Everett is a Know-Nothing Know-It-All who nevertheless is able to scheme his way out of sticky situations, while Pete is much less educated and eloquent but possesses a lot of common sense. Delmar, however, while optimistic and good-natured, is a complete idiot.
  • In the satirical The Princess Bride, Buttercup ends up being a load. This is perhaps most exemplified by Wesley's battle with the ROUS, during which she does absolutely nothing to help up to and including helping our hero get his sword. It could, in fact, be argued that Princess Buttercup is the most prominent reason the heroes get into so much trouble in the story.
  • In Pulp Fiction, two of the acts' conflicts are started due to Vincent's idiocy and carelessness and just about everything he accomplishes is either superfluous (it's pretty clear Jules didn't need his help) or him trying to solve a problem he's at least partially responsible for (cleaning up Marvin's face and stopping Mia from dying from snorting the heroin in his jacket). A good chunk of the film's conflicts could have probably been avoided had Vincent just stayed in Amsterdam.
  • Tony Fields, the titular Puma Man, is this. He spends most of the movie whining and complaining, leaving his Hypercompetent Sidekick Vadinho to do all of the heavy lifting. Granted, Tony DID do some good stuff in the end, but, as Crow pointed out when the episode was featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000, the sidekick was the hero here.
  • Prince Tarn from the film adaptation of Red Sonja, who follows the heroes around, getting into trouble and then screaming for help. He could usually hold his own in a fight, though. (This is Ernie Reyes, Jr. we're talking about.) He's more of a Reckless Sidekick and an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy than a load. You could also lump Prince Tarn into the Royal Brat and Live-Action Escort Mission tropes, with poor Falkon as his long-suffering, largely powerless guardian.
  • Resident Evil: Afterlife: Bennett is a movie producer, and is too arrogant to understand that this means jack in a Zombie Apocalypse, so before he joins the Big Bad, he spends all his time bossing the others around instead of helping. Kim tries to help clear the roof so the plane can land, but he is too weak to move anything. Later, during the battle against the zombies on the roof, everyone grabs guns out of Alice's bag and fires, except for Kim, who cowers.
  • Worm, the stupidly smart-mouthed gambling addict in Rounders. His dedication to screwing up every plan, including those meant to keep him from getting killed by The Mafiya, really is impressive.
  • David in Shaun of the Dead, who spends the entire film complaining about the idiocy of Shaun's plan (and while he has a point, he doesn't do anything to make it better), getting on everyone's nerves, bringing the tension between all the group members to a boiling point, and making stupid decisions such as smashing the window to the Winchester even though Shaun had made clear that there was an alternate entrance. Just as it looks like he might make a turnaround, however, he is grabbed and ripped to shreds by the zombies.
  • The kid from Six String Samurai. Oh how we hate the kid. All of Buddy's injuries are either a direct or indirect result of the kid being stupid in some way or another.
  • Star Wars
  • Interestingly, both Sarah and John Connor assume this role in the Terminator and its sequel, the former initially being a relatively airheaded fast food waitress and the latter being a delinquent kid with two seconds of usefulness cracking a safe that the Terminator could have easily ripped open with one hand. Of course they both Took a Level in Badass in time for their next film appearances, mostly because of the ordeals they went through.
  • Attempted aversion with Sam Witwicky in Transformers with the location of the Allspark is imprinted his glasses.
    • Played straight in Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen, where he acts very much as The Load to the rest of the Transformers. His only purpose is to have a head (and later, a sock) full of the Macguffin and to get it where it needs to go, and since that job requires him to run across a battlefield full of giant robots....
  • Tremors
    • Earl describes all of Valentine's previous girlfriends in this fashion. "Dead weight!"
    • Also applies to the obnoxious Melvin, who spends the first half of the movie crying wolf, the other half panicking and not following directions. Gloriously, the other characters half-seriously consider just throwing him to the worms.
  • More Spielberg kid-stupidity is evident in Rachel and Robbie Ferrier in War of the Worlds. The two kids make a grand total of zero good decisions during the course of the film.
    • Rachel wants to run about a quarter mile away from her dad for some privacy for a pee-pee in a hostile alien environment. She then runs out of a relatively sheltered house to escape the alien ship's probe — and runs out into the open — making it even easier for the ship to snatch her. Rachel also has an inexplicable need to be carried around for the rest of the movie. She is ten years old. There is no reason for carrying a ten-year-old across the street, let alone from New York to Boston.
    • Robbie slowly and calmly drives the car into a car-stealing mob... which you shouldn't do a mere one scene after being warned not to do that. Robbie wants to stay with the army and fight the ships, even though he's unarmed, has no combat experience or training, and the alien ships are melting army tanks. Basically, both he and Rachel are Too Dumb to Live.
  • Wild Wild West: Rita Escobar. She forces herself on the search, is pretty much nothing more than a distraction to them on purpose, she activates a sleeping gas billiard ball when West clearly announces himself and still believes its a trap, gets herself, West and Gordon captured by Loveless.
  • Thadeous in Your Highness. Despite being the main character, he never really does anything of any importance (except find the sword needed to kill the villain) and manages to get in more trouble than stopping it.

Anime & MangaThe LoadLiterature

alternative title(s): Films Live Action
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
35844
41