The Honest Trailers series uses many recurring tropes. Many of these tropes come from real movie trailers, for example the use of discontinuous montage, fast editing, voice over narration, and epic music. In particular, the Honest Trailers series uses many tropes found in the "In a world..." style of movie trailers, which was popular in the 80's and 90's. This includes the deep voiced male voice artist, narration that speaks directly to the viewer, and commands to prepare for a sensational or emotional experience.
In addition, the Honest Trailers series uses many other recurring tropes. Some of these are parodies of typical trailer conventions (eg, the starring section), while others are running jokes (eg, the Alan raptor). This page gives an overview of some of the most notable tropes. Also included on this page are special episode formats and special runs of the series. If you're looking for a list of common tropes that Honest Trailers frequently highlights and mocks when they appear in other movies, try the TV Tropes page about the series.
The Alan raptor is a running joke in Screen Junkies' web comedy series Honest Trailers. The Alan raptor appears in two formats: a short reaction clip or as an easter egg. The short clip is of a velociraptor shouting "Alan!" originates in the film Jurassic Park 3. This moment is universally reviled and generally considered the low point of the entire Jurassic franchise. Several Honest Trailers cut to this clip for humorous purposes, usually to punctuate the point that however bad things seem, at least things aren't as bad as Jurassic Park 3. A hidden Alan is form of easter egg, depicting a velociraptor incorporated into the background action of a scene of a completely unrelated Honest Trailer. It usually appears in a comedic way, for example being decapitated by a guillotine during The Purge.
See the main Alan raptor page for more information.
Bewbs was a running joke in the Honest Trailers, Honest Game Trailers and Honest Trailers Anime comedy series. The joke involved narrator Epic Voice Guy commenting on the presence (or absence) of breasts in films. Sometimes the purpose of the comment was to call out gratuitous shots of breasts in movies, but sometimes the purpose of the comment was voyeuristic. Voice artist Jon Bailey, who has a distinctive, humorous way of pronouncing "boobs" with an elongated vowel. His delivery of the word was so funny, the writers began including the word and other rhyming words in their scripts, such as 'tubes' and 'cubes.' Some Honest Trailers point out objectifying shots of the male body in films using the same exaggerated pronunciation, most notably "abs" and "balls." The bewbs joke was also used frequently in Honest Game Trailers and Honest Trailers Anime. The joke was gradually phased out as the writers moved away from that style of Sophomoric humor.
See the main bewbs page for more information.
Breaking the fourth wall Edit
The Honest Trailers series frequently breaks the fourth wall. While it is common for the narrators in all trailers to speak directly to the viewer, the Honest Trailers narrator goes further by openly acknowledging that he is a voice artist working for a comedy series. For example, the film Daredevil was so boring that the narrator fell asleep in the recording booth, while After Earth was so actively atrocious that he walked out of the booth in disgust. In addition, the narrator frequently makes mention of the struggles that the writers had when creating this Honest Trailer. For example, the Moana Honest Trailer mentions how difficult it was to find a Tokelauan translator, the Captain America: The Winter Soldier Honest Trailer mentions that the writers liked the movie but had to nitpick because they are supposed to be writing a comedy series. The narrator also frequently refers to YouTube viewers, and anticipates their reactions to episodes of the series, for example, when he expected commenters would dox him for making a Ghostbusters Honest Trailer.
Buffy speak Edit
The narrator often speaks in a non-grammatical way, commonly known as Buffy speak, in reference to the dialogue in the 1990's TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This includes creating new verbs, nouns and adjectives from other words. For example, the Honest Trailer for Ant-Man and The Wasp includes the line, "Enjoy all the visual Ant-Man-ery you've come to expect where little things are en-biggened and big things are constantly belittled." Other novel words coined by Honest Trailers include "Batman-ing", "Wall-e-ing", "Shia La Beouf-ing" and "Monacle-ing".
Epic Voice Guy is the fictional character who narrates Screen Junkies Honest Trailers comedy series. Several voice actors have voiced Epic Voice Guy since the series’ inception in 2012. Jon Bailey is the longest running voice and has narrated Honest Trailers since The Lord of the Rings. Bailey typically appears in voice form only, however he has appeared on camera as Epic Voice Guy four times: Divergent, Boyhood, Mad Max: Fury Road and Insurgent. Unlike real trailer narrators, Epic Voice Guy discloses personal information about his fictional life while narrating honest trailers. He has discussed his childhood, his family, his marriage, his sexual preferences and much more over the course of the series. In addition, the character is extremely emotionally volatile and reacts intensely to movies. Epic Voice Guy frequently breaks the fourth wall and mentions that he is a voice artist in a recording booth.
See the main Epic Voice Guy page for more information.
From Disney Edit
From Disney... is a running joke that started in 2019. It involves the Honest Trailers narrator introducing movies with the line "from Disney' while displaying an entirely different corporate logo. The joke pokes fun at The Walt Disney Company acquiring and merging with multiple other movie companies during the 2000's and 2010's. Examples of "From Disney" include Dark Phoenix [20th Century Fox], Con Air [Touchstone Pictures] and Speed [20th Century Fox].
An Honest title is a trope used in the Honest Trailers series. It involves giving a movie or TV show a humorous title that reveals its true nature. Honest titles are often puns and pop culture references. Honest titles are illustrated using motion graphics which mimic the style and typography of the original movie's title design. Honest titles appear at the end of an Honest Trailer, after the starring section. The motion graphics are created by artist Robert Holtby.
See the main honest title page for more information, including a full list of all honest titles used in the series.
Lindsay Lohan Edit
Lindsay Lohan was a running joke in the Honest Trailers series. It involves claiming a disfigured, old or haggard-looking movie character's "real" name was Lindsay Lohan. For example, a walker in the Walking Dead game, a feral ghoul reaver in Fallout 3, Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, Bathilida Baghsot in Harry Potter, Emil Antonowsky after being deformed by toxic waste in Robocop, and many more. The Lindsay Lohan joke had some variations/subversions. For example in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, beautiful Emma Stone was described as "Lindsay Lohan, if she had better parents." The Lindsay Lohan joke was used about a dozen times during the early years of the series, from 2012 to 2015 when the series had a harsher, sometimes cruel tone. The joke hasn't been used for several years.
The Honest Trailers formula is often given meta humor twists that mimic the style of the films it parodies. For example, the Honest Trailer for Memento was structured backwards, like the film. The Honest Trailer for Happy Death Day repeated the same run multiple times, a format used by the film itself. The final third of the Honest Trailer for Transformers: Age of Extinction was narrated in Chinese, a meta reference to the film pandering to the Chinese market in its final act. The Honest Trailer for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse featured multiple incarnations of the Epic Voice Guy character from alternate dimensions interacting with one another, just as the film featured multiple incarnations of Spider-Man. Sometimes, these meta twists are more subtle, for example in Honest Trailer for The Wolf of Wall Street the narrator tries to use as many f-bombs as possible, to capture the spirit of the film.
See Category:Meta for more examples.
Honest Trailers often use humorous poetic devices, especially similes and metaphors. These metaphors are often deliberately ludicrous. For example, the Honest Trailer for Transformers: The Last Knight describes the action as "like two radio shacks doing Karma Sutra in a hurricane," while the Honest Trailer for Aliens describes the film's aesthetic style as "like a sex toy factory made out of scorpions." Typically, these sorts of comments are well received in reviews, for example ScreenRant wrote that the opening line for The Room Honest Trailer ("the sheer amount of suck will collapse in on itself like a dying star, and explode in a supernova of unintentional genius") was "strangely poetic - and arguably accurate."
A recurring joke in the series is that the narrator struggles with pronunciation. Epic Voice Guy has extreme difficulty pronouncing long names such as Wasikowska, Palahniuk, Postlethwaite, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Saorise Ronan, Denis Villeneuve and Yorgos Lanthimos. Additionally, Epic Voice Guy reads out misspelled comments verbatim. Epic Voice Guy has difficulty understanding people with foreign accents, especially if they are delivering plot-dense exposition. Also, he doesn’t understand roman numerals. The writers often admit that they use mispronunciation as a joke when they can't think of anything else to say.
Pop culture references Edit
Honest Trailers incorporate numerous pop culture references to other movies, TV shows, songs, musicians, politics, current events, and internet memes. Most notably, the series frequently includes references to The Simpsons, Saturday Night Live, and South Park. Head writer/producer Spencer Gilbert has joked that he doesn't know where his sense of humor ends and Simpsons referenced begin. Writer/producer Dan Murrell says much the same about SNL.
Sometimes the pop references are obvious, but other times they are obscure. The writers deliberately include obscure references ("one-percenters") knowing that only a tiny fraction of their audience will get them. For example, the Venom Honest Trailer referred to, of all things, the obscure 1990's music player Winamp. As Spencer Gilbert explains in the Ready Player One Honest Trailer Commentary (at 30:12), "Obscure references are what we traffic in."
Honest Trailers often use the euphemism "porking" to humorously refer to sex. The term serves two purposes: it is funny, and avoids graphic sexual references, which keeps the series monetized. Examples include: Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Transformers, The Lion King, The Jungle Book (1967), Blade Runner, Face/Off, Pirates of the Caribbean, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Divergent, Beauty and the Beast (1991), Spectre, Godzilla (2014), Star Trek: The Next Generation and more. The euphemism is also used in the spinoff series Honest Game Trailers.
Honest Trailers use copious puns in narration, honest titles and starring section.
Scoops McGee Edit
Scoops McGee is a running joke in Honest Game Trailers usually found in the 'starring section.' It involves giving a character a funny name based on some variation of 'Scoops McGee.' For example, Swords McGee, MC Blocks McGee, Tits McGee, and Smirks McGee. The joke is an inside reference to the sketch character of Scoops McGee, who was developed by Dan Murrell for the variety show Flick Bait.
Stares is a running joke in the Honest Trailers comedy series. The joke involves adding overly dramatic music to a montage of mundane, repeated shots from a movie. The joke originated in the 2012 Honest Trailer for the first Twilight film, in which overly dramatic music was played over a supercut of the characters staring at each other. The "stares" joke has been used in several other Honest Trailers including The X-Men Trilogy and Godzilla (2014). A variation on "stares" is "flares," in which the same overly dramatic music is played over a montage of lens flares in the Star Trek reboot films.
See the main stares page for more information.
Starring section Edit
Each trailer ends with a starring section where the actors are given silly names - often a combination of puns and pop culture references, especially references to other fictional characters, song lyrics, old TV shows and the actors' family members. The starring sections may also list common phrases, tropes and cinematic techniques used in the film or TV show. The starring section is one of the most consistently well-liked parts of the series.
Suit up, Strap in Edit
The Honest Trailers narrator speaks directly to the viewer and gives simple commands. The most commonly used commands in the Honest Trailers series are "Suit up..." "Ride along..." and "Strap in..." In particular, "Suit up" and "strap in" have been used so many times to becomes running gags in and of themselves. For example, "Suit up literally..." is a twist on the formula used to refer to movie characters wearing formal suits, for example in Every Christopher Nolan Movie. Likewise, the Honest Trailer Written By A Robot humorously subverted the trope by saying "suit on and strap up..."
Special episodes Edit
Career retrospectives are special episodes of Honest Trailers that parody a director's entire filmography. These episodes are titled "Every [Director] Movie." Career retrospectives differ from conventional Honest Trailers in that they focus heavily on highlighting recurring tropes. In addition, the writers often refer to biographical details from the director's life to humorously explain those tropes.
Screen Junkies first conceived of the career retrospective idea in 2018. The Honest Trailers team wanted to satirize a Wes Anderson film to coincide with the theatrical release of Anderson's film Isle of Dogs, but felt no single film was preeminent enough to sustain an Honest Trailer on its own. The concept has since been applied to other directors who have received individual Honest Trailers for some of their films, however, the career retrospective format enables the writers to parody lesser known entries in their filmography.
See main career retrospective page for more information
Musical episodes are special episodes of Honest Trailers that include parody songs. Musical episodes typically usually parody musical films, frequently Disney animations. More than twenty musical episodes of Honest Trailers have been produced. Musical episodes take well-known songs from a movie and add humorous lyrics. These lyrics usually aim to reveal the true nature of the song. Musical episodes typically include subtitles/captions to assist audience comprehension of the lyrics. These subtitles typically change color as they are sung, in the style of karaoke lyrics. Musical episodes don't include full-length parodies of songs, rather, they include short snippets of songs, usually in a medley format.
See the main musical episode page for more information.
Vault episodes are special episodes of the Honest Trailers series. Vault episodes parody movies released in previous decades, usually the 1980s and 1990s, and are designed to look like they were made in that same era. This includes mimicking the "In a world" voiceover style of '80s and '90s movie trailers much more directly, and using a VHS style introduction and visual effect. In addition, the writers only make pop culture or socio-political references that a person from that time would understand. These references are intended to create irony. In total, there have been four vault episodes produced.
See the main vault episode page for more information.
Honest Teasers are a special episodes of Honest Trailers that parody trailer reaction videos. They involve taking the actual trailer for a film and adding satirical commentary that parodied fans and fan culture in general. Two Honest Teasers have been produced: Honest Trailer - Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (Honest Teaser), Honest Trailer - Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Honest Teaser) and Honest Trailer - Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (Honest Teaser)
For more information, see the main page: Honest Teaser
Award nominees Edit
Award nominees episodes of Honest Trailers parody an entire slate of films or TV shows nominated at a prestigious awards ceremony. These episodes feature multiple short parodies for each individual film, plus general comments that poke fun at the awards ceremony itself. Since 2016, award nominee episodes have been released annually to coincide with the Academy Awards ceremony. For more information, see: Honest Trailer - The Oscars, Honest Trailer - The Oscars (2017), Honest Trailer - The Oscars (2018), Honest Trailer - The Oscars (2019), Honest Trailer - The Oscars (2020) and Honest Trailer - The Emmys.
Honest Retro TV Themes Edit
Honest Retro TV Themes is a special episode format of Honest Trailers that features special guests performing parody opening titles for TV series. This format has only been used once in the series history, to parody the slate of TV shows nominated at the 2018 Emmy Awards. The episode comically re-imagined contemporary TV shows with opening credits reminiscent of the 80's and 90's. It included musical parodies of well-known TV theme songs performed by musical artists such as Paula Cole and Natasha Bedingfield, as well as an original song performed by Michael Bolton. For more information see: Honest Trailer - Honest Retro TV Themes!
Special runs Edit
Blockbuster Summer is a special run of comedy web series Honest Trailers that focuses of parodying blockbuster movies both old and new. Blockbuster Summer was conceived of so that the Honest Trailers writing team had could satirize many older, highly requested movies that they otherwise had no reason to do. Blockbuster Summer episodes begin with a special logo that shows popcorn piling up on the screen. The Blockbuster Summer title card was designed to resemble the corporate logo of the Blockbuster video rental store, which was successful in the 1990's and early 2000's. This reference creates nostalgia for the older movies selected during the run of episodes.
See the main blockbuster summer page for more information.
Fan Appreciation Month (FAM) is a special run of comedy web series Honest Trailers which focuses on parodying movies requested by viewers. Viewers vote on which films they want the Honest Trailers writing team to tackle from a drop down menu of options. Films favored by viewers tend to be an eclectic mix of nostalgic favorites, blockbusters and outrageously weird movies. Fan appreciation month serves multiple purposes: it encourages viewer engagement, it enables the production team to make videos ahead of time to be released over their end-of-year break, and it gives the team subject matter during the month of January when there are traditionally few big theatrical releases.
See the main Fan Appreciation Month page for more information.