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Wrong Genre Savvy / Film

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  • Last Action Hero: Child hero Danny rides his bicycle head-on to play chicken with the main villain's car, reasoning that it has to work because he's the hero in a non-R rated movie where the kid would never die. Then it dawns on him that he's the Plucky Comic Relief instead, and is vulnerable.
  • In Galaxy Quest, the actors of a Star Trek-like Show Within a Show meet a group of aliens who have based their society on the broadcasts of that show, believing them to be historical records. Guy, who played a Red Shirt, goes through the events of the film in a depressed and terrified state, convinced that he's doomed to die to prove the seriousness of the situation. In a pep talk, he's told that maybe in this situation he's actually the Plucky Comic Relief. It works, he lives, and winds up getting a starring role in a revival series.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Elizabeth Swann somehow does it twice:
    • She spends a good deal of the movie expecting and hoping one of the pirates she runs into would be like the romantic, dashing rogues she reads about in her books, or for them to at least adhere to some honor-among-thieves morality. Over the course of the film she's increasingly disillusioned (Barbossa shirks the code whenever it inconveniences him; the Black Pearl crew want to rape her; Jack Sparrow's a horny, opportunistic drunk; Jack's own crew don't bother to rescue their captain once they get their ship, etc.) until the very end. When Will risks his life to do what's right, she sees he's the kind of heroic ne'er-do-well she'd been hoping to see.
    • When she first meets Barbossa she believes they are just normal, mundane pirates that would hold her for ransom if they knew she was the Governor's daughter, so she gives her name as "Elizabeth Turner" and claims to be a maid of the Governor. Unfortunately, these pirates couldn't care less about the Governor or ransom and need a Turner to break the curse, effectively guaranteeing she remains a captive aboard their ship.
    Barbossa: You best start believing in ghost stories, Miss Turner... you're in one!
  • An exchange from Detroit Rock City, about whether or not some road-tripping stoners should pick up a hitchhiker:
    Jam: It's a teenage girl walking along the side of the highway. They make scary movies that start out like that!
    Trip: But they make porno movies that start out like that too, man!
  • Stranger Than Fiction is a unique case, where the main character realizes he's in a story after he starts hearing his own narration. He seeks out help to try to become Genre Savvy, and correctly deduces that in the context of his narrator's story, he's in a tragedy, which is ironically Wrong Genre Savvy as the meta-story (the movie about the story about a man who hears his own narrator, i.e., the movie you're watching) is actually a comedy.
  • The hostages in From Dusk Till Dawn, particularly Scott Fuller, have all the Genre Savvy needed to survive in a heist film or hostage-taking film. Scott even lampshades this by telling his father, "I've seen this on TV, Dad!" Pity for them the bar the Gecko Brothers choose to stop at is full of Fricking Vampire Strippers!
  • The Return of the Living Dead: When confronted with a reanimated cadaver, a group of characters put a pick axe through its brain based on what they know about zombies from seeing Night of the Living Dead. It has no effect.
    Burt: I thought you said if we destroyed the brain, it'd die!
    Frank: It worked in the movie!
    Burt: Well, it ain't workin' now, Frank!
    Fred: You mean the movie lied?
  • In the little-known Alien ripoff Creature, someone says they remember seeing an old movie (specifically, The Thing from Another World) where they tried to stop the monster from killing everyone with an electrified forcefield. Not too effective against this monster.
  • Tom in (500) Days of Summer grew up on romantic comedies and confused them with reality (and missed the point of The Graduate, declaring it the perfect love story when it clearly isn't). When he meets Summer, he tries out the Love at First Sight and Fourth Date Marriage tropes, completely oblivious that she doesn't feel the same way and only treats their relationship as a fling. When he tries the genre-appropriate action of standing up to the guy hitting on his girlfriend and knocking him out with one punch, the guy gets up right away and kicks his ass. Turns out he's in a Deconstruction of a love story.
  • Santa's Slay: Lampshaded when Nicholas tries to shine a light in Santa's face, and all it does is annoy him.
    Santa: I'm Santa Claus, not fucking Dracula!
  • In Fresh, the titular character has a friend named Chucky who he brings into the business of running drugs. Unlike Fresh who is a smart teen, Chucky is a Leeroy Jenkins who's obsessed with the gangster movies, gangsta rap music, and comic books like The Punisher. When the two go on their first delivery job at night, they get jacked by rival drug dealers. Fresh warned Chucky beforehand that if they get jacked to drop the book bags filled with drugs and run. However, Chucky, thinking he's in a gangster film, takes out his gun and starts shooting at the adult dealers - missing with every shot. They kill him and Fresh gets away.
  • The title character in The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is a flamboyant gunfighter straight out of a Hollywood Western. He realizes that the principles of marksmanship don't apply to him, so he regularly attempts risky trick shots that should be impossible. He also thinks that he's the hero of the story, and thus has Plot Armor. In truth, he's a borderline-sociopathic Villain Protagonist (despite his cheery demeanor), and regularly murders innocent men for cheap thrills. At the end of his segment, he's unceremoniously shot through the head while lining up another trick shot, and realizes that he was always just another thug destined to die violently.
  • Barely Lethal: Megan is a girl raised since childhood to be an assassin until she fakes her death to escape and decides to live as a normal high school girl. To prepare herself, she does "research" by watching several high school films like Mean Girls. But since these movies do not reflect real life, she ends up weirding everybody out by trying to follow their tropes. She also automatically assumes the cheerleaders trying to befriend her are all Alpha Bitch trying to set her up, since that is what happened in Mean Girls, when in reality, their offer was genuine.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Avengers: Infinity War: Spider-Man watched the Alien movies, and automatically assumes Mantis is a creature similar to a Xenomorph, frantically begging her not to lay eggs inside of him.
    • Avengers: Endgame:
      • War Machine and Ant-Man cite Back to the Future, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, and other time travel films to reveal their idea of how time travel works, believing they can simply kill Thanos as a baby to undo his crimes. Smart Hulk lectures them that "time travel" actually sends you to a parallel universe, so nothing you do there affects your own universe. The best they can do is borrow the parallel universes' Infinity Stones and use them to undo "The Snap".
      Ant-Man: What, so Back to the Future is a bunch of bullshit!?
      • When War Machine and Nebula arrive at the temple where the Power Stone was originally kept, War Machine stops her from entering, convinced the place is filled with Raiders of the Lost Ark style booby traps. Nebula, being from this part of the universe and knowing there's no such thing, proceeds to just waltz in and grab the stone, to his confusion.
  • In The Other Guys:
    • Detectives Gamble and Holtz (our heroes) attempt an Unflinching Walk away from an explosion, but the explosion knocks them down and partially injures and deafens them. They proceed to complain that all the action movies they watched lied to them by making them think you can casually walk away from an explosion to look badass.
    • Danson and Highsmith are a Cowboy Cop pair that has lived their lives like Bad Boys starring Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson. They are insanely reckless yet beloved as super-cops and have seen a lot of action films. They are the Decoy Protagonist pair because they jump off a freaking building with nothing to stop their fall in the apparent belief that something will appear as they do (they even say "aim for the bushes" when there's not even that). They get splattered all over the pavement and Gamble and Holtz spend a couple of minutes during the funeral scene wondering just what the hell were they thinking.
  • Smokey and the Bandit: Frog/Carrie is driving the Bandit's car with him in the passenger seat. They decide to swap places, but find it is pretty much impossible to do while driving. Confused, they point out people do it all the time in movies.
  • Most of the college students in Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil are under the belief that they're in a Hillbilly Horrors film and act accordingly ("Deliverance" is mentioned by them at one point). Except the hillbillies are our actual heroes; they just happen to suffer from poor communication skills. As a result, the students die in various ways thanks to their own stupidity, and one of them is so driven by his hatred that he becomes a serial killer himself. A notable example is when one of the students wants to call the cops with her cell phone and get it all over with, but Chad (the aforementioned crazy fanatic) just smashes her phone and says "they never work in times like these!" (not only did he never check to see if they work before saying that, none of them ever do later).
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