Common movie and TV mistakes

This is a list of mistakes, things done wrong, etc. that happen so frequently onscreen we barely notice any more. 'Movie logic', stupid behaviours, and everything related.

New this week Factual error: Characters, typically the hero, can crash through windows without so much as getting a cut on them.

Phaneron Premium member

New this week Other mistake: The hero can usually knock out henchmen with one or two punches, but the main villain (as well as the hero themselves) can take much more punishment. This is practically akin to enemies in video games. In fact, heroes are so confident of their abilities that they can knock an opponent down and know that they are down for the count without even having to verify.

Phaneron Premium member
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New this week Suggested correction: How is this a mistake? Of course the main villain, the boss, is hardest to knock out. If his henchmen were just as strong or stronger, why are they just henchmen? See it like a race, the champion is hardest to beat, that's why he is champion.

lionhead

He doesn't mean that it's in video games, he's meaning that this makes movies and shows like video games using that.

Quantom X Premium member

Just to give an example, at the beginning of the movie "Goldeneye," James Bond knocks out a henchman sitting on a toilet with one punch. But at the end of the movie, Bond and Trevelyan are beating the crap out of each other and neither is knocked unconscious. It's certainly reasonable for someone to be a more formidable fighter than their underlings, but it wouldn't make them magically impervious to blows to the head.

Phaneron Premium member

New this week Factual error: Movies, and TV shows often treat jails and prisons as if they are the same thing. They're not. Jails are typically run by local law enforcement, and local government agencies, and are designed to hold inmates awaiting trial or serving short sentences for misdemeanor crimes. Prisons on the other hand are facilities typically operated by either a state government, the federal bureau of prisons. Prisons are designed to hold inmates serving longer term sentences for more serious crimes.

New this week Factual error: When someone has a limb or other body part sliced off or the person is bisected, and there is a dramatic delay in the body part falling off as if to cast doubt on whether or not they were actually sliced. Notable examples include "Equilibrium," "Skinned Deep," "Resident Evil," "Ghost Ship," and "Final Destination 2."

Phaneron Premium member

New this week Stupidity: Mostly a staple of horror movies, characters will incapacitate - and possibly even think they killed the monster/villain - and walk away without even going for a sure kill-shot with whatever weapon they used to bring the villain down in the first place. "Scream" is a notable exception to this.

Phaneron Premium member

New this month Factual error: People using computers and having what's shown on the screen projected onto their face. That's not how monitors work!

Upvote valid corrections to help move entries into the corrections section.

New this month Suggested correction: A lot of old CRT's definitely projected the image upon the room if the room is dark enough. If you see this effect on LCD's its fake though as LCD's don't project anything.

lionhead

Cathode Ray Tubes never projected sharp, distinct images on people's faces or in dark rooms. CRTs might provide a diffused, flickering effect in a dark room, like a faulty fluorescent light bulb; but they never projected sharp, distinct images under any circumstances.

Charles Austin Miller

Who was talking about sharp, distinct images?

lionhead

The original post says: "People using computers and having what's shown on the screen projected onto their face. That's not how monitors work!" The original post is talking about sharp, distinct screen images (mainly text and numbers) projected from the screen onto a computer user's face, as if through a projector lens. I've seen this same effect used in films over the last couple of decades.

Charles Austin Miller

Hm, I see. I'd like to see an example of that as I can't recall anything of the sorts.

lionhead

Oh, you've seen it plenty of times. The earliest example I can think of is from 1993's "Jurassic Park," when the raptor breaks into the control room and is hopping around the computer workstations. Sharp, distinct "gatc" genetic coding is shown projected from a computer screen across the raptor's face (starting 1:55:50). Another example is seen in the 1995 film "Hackers," when sharp, distinct text and even graphics are shown projected from an early laptop onto the faces of Angelina Jolie and Jonny Lee Miller (starting 0:50:35 and throughout the rest of the movie). The absurd effect has been used in numerous other films over the last couple of decades, as well.

Charles Austin Miller

Well the Jurassic Park one is definitely wrong as I know that scene well and what you see on the Velociraptor's face is reflection through the ceiling grids above him, not from the computer screen (a mistake that has been corrected I think). Or else it would have shown on Lex's face too when she is using the computer. You are right about Hackers though, however brief and definitely not all times they are behind a computer screen (which is a lot). Come on, give me more, you can do it ;).

lionhead

No, you're totally wrong on Jurassic Park. The coding projected on the raptor's head is coming from the side, it's not from a ceiling grid (that's absurd), and there are several monitors in the control room, it's not a the monitor that Lex was using. Just watch the scene before objecting. As for "Hackers," I never said it was "all the time," I gave you a specific counter time for the effect and mentioned that it also appeared elsewhere throughout the film. It's enough, I think, that the original post and my replies are valid observations of a common factual mistake, while you yourself seemed not to be aware of it.

Charles Austin Miller

New this month Factual error: Rainfall in movies and television is almost always depicted as a sudden and heavy downpour (sometimes cued by a crack of thunder and/or lightning strike) as opposed to gradually building up to it. This is pretty rare in real life.

Phaneron Premium member

Stupidity: Giving a long drawn out speech before killing someone, allowing the hero to arrive at the last second and save the day. Just pull the trigger and you've won.

The_Iceman

Deliberate mistake: In fight scenes, it's often one person against a small army. Despite having the person greatly outnumbered, the enemies proceed to attack them one at a time, allowing each to be easily dispatched. The whole point of having so many is to overwhelm your enemy... not take turns getting punched out.

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Stupidity: Highly trained military/police officers/similar in cover during a gunfight who stand up or run out into the middle of the street to shoot at their targets.

Jon Sandys Premium member

Factual error: Unless it's a high powered shotgun, bullets don't throw people back when they get shot.

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Factual error: True gun silencers do not exist in real life. There do exist what are called "suppressors," but they don't quiet the sound of a gunshot anywhere near what you see in movies and television shows.

Phaneron Premium member

Factual error: Protagonists who have been able to clear their name after being framed, but only in the process of committing several other crimes, for which they receive no punishments. The law is still the law and crimes are all separate from each other committed in that time period.

Factual error: Whenever police officers are involved in some kind of shooting while on duty, they are always kept on the case. They're never suspended or investigated by internal affairs. In real life, there's a full on investigation that takes months to make certain the officer in question was justified in the shooting, not to mention the intense media scrutiny surrounding the incident.

mikelynch

Deliberate mistake: Characters who are being pursued on foot frequently hide in plain sight of their pursuers. You see characters (typically the "good guys") duck around the corner of a building, or a tree, or some other obstacle, where they freeze and glance over their shoulders to watch their oblivious pursuers (typically the "bad guys") wander past just a few feet in the background. Nevermind the fact that the good guy's body is only partially concealed by said obstacle, or not concealed at all. This is an old film-making trick intended to heighten audience tension, even though it is totally illogical.

Charles Austin Miller

Factual error: Enhancing an image by zooming in to blurry CCTV footage and somehow reading the reflection of a ticket in someone's pocket off a nearby fridge.

Video

Revealing mistake: "Hacking" something by hammering a keyboard and characters appearing they're nowhere near actually typing.

Factual error: Someone gets punched in the face or otherwise knocked out and comes around hours later. If you've been unconscious for hours you've got a traumatic brain injury and need medical attention, you won't be hunting down your assailant any time soon.

Jon Sandys Premium member

Factual error: People are often watching or staring at the explosion of a nuclear bomb as it goes off, and witness the mushroom cloud form. In reality, the flash from this explosion would be so bright that it would cause instant, and usually permanent blindness. True Lies is a notable exception to this rule where Arnie specifically protects their eyes as the bomb goes off.

Quantom X Premium member

Deliberate mistake: In almost every movie with shootouts, highly trained soldiers, or experienced mercenaries or thugs suddenly get "Storm Trooper Aim" when shooting at the heroes. Even cops do this where they have clear shots of people running away from them, often times multiple of them with fully automatic weapons firing rapidly at a semi close target and somehow just hit all around them and even the ground.

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