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 living in an expensive city (such as New York or San Francisco) and somehow being able to afford a spacious apartment that their job couldn't realistically pay for.

Phaneron Premium member

New this week Other mistake: Characters that are on the run from the law or otherwise go into hiding, and they cut their hair themselves and it looks like it was done by a professional stylist. Examples include "The Fugitive," "Gone Girl," and even "The Outsiders" showed two youngsters cutting each others' hair with a knife but having a decent end result.

Phaneron Premium member

New this month Factual error: People taking cover behind very small / flimsy things, like car doors or wardrobes, dozens of bullets being fired at them, but they emerge unscathed.

Jon Sandys Premium member

New this month Other mistake: People getting into their car and adjusting their rear view mirror, despite it being their car that they were the last one to drive, so what needs changing? Of course it's normally just to give a reason for them to see something or someone behind them they otherwise would have missed.

Jon Sandys Premium member
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New this month Suggested correction: Also, you don't always sit in the exact same position when getting in the vehicle. I adjust my mirrors sometimes simply cause I slouch when I drive, then later I'll sit up straight, then later I'd lean back while driving. Each time changing my point of view through the mirrors.

Quantom X Premium member

New this month Factual error: Any modern movie that is a period piece depicting the 1920s or 1930s shows old dilapidated houses with paint peeling off. Other things are obviously aged and weathered. Things like screen doors are rusty, or a gas station pump is weathered and obviously old. In reality, these things were relatively new back then. The paint on the house should look normal, and nothing should be rusty or weathered since they had not yet had the chance to age.

Kgprophet72
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New this month Suggested correction: Just because a house or building from the 20's or 30's would be old now doesn't mean they didn't also have old house back then too. Plus, the rusted, paint peeling, etc is indicating poverty and the hardship times of that era. People didn't worry about small repairs and cosmetics when they didn't have food.

Bishop73

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. Also including SWAT teams, supposedly the best of the best, who are bumbling incompetents and get wiped out near-instantly.

Jon Sandys Premium member

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

Phaneron Premium member
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Suggested correction: Depending on the age of the window, that's the whole point. Safety glass is designed to break in a way to stop people getting hurt.

Ssiscool Premium member

Not every window is made from safety glass. When was the last time you saw a movie where a main character crashed through a store window, office building window, house window, plate glass window, etc. and ended up getting shredded to ribbons?

Phaneron Premium member

You don't often see blood but items of clothing do get ripped. One example I can think of off the top of my head is The Last Stand where Arnie gets chucked through a glass door. His jacket gets rips on it.

Ssiscool 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

Audio problem: Non-metal items making audible metallic sounds. The audible metallic sound effect of a blade, such as a sword, when it's being drawn from a wood or leather scabbard that doesn't have a metal throat, and also when it's drawn from a fabric or leather belt.

Super Grover Premium member

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

Factual error: In many action movies someone will instantly kill a man by approaching them from behind, grabbing their cheek, and twisting their head to the side, breaking their neck. The move is even frequently used one-handed. The torque required to actually break a neck this way is enormous and would require much more leverage than simply standing behind someone and twisting their head. Neck cranks are certainly real but they are done in a more traditional "head-lock" style on a grounded opponent. Also, a broken neck is not always fatal, let alone instantly fatal. A broken neck is not even an assured knock-out, so it is absurd to use this move as an effective "stealth kill" in spy movies.

BaconIsMyBFF

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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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

The mistake is that the hero of the movie very rarely checks to see if a disabled opponent got back up. They are supremely confident that they are out, even if the hero literally just rolled them on to the floor. Makes for good movie magic, but is totally unrealistic.

oldbaldyone

Factual error: People using computers and having what's shown on the monitor's screen projecting clear sharp mirrored images onto their faces. That's not how monitors work.

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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

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
Video

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

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

Quantom X Premium member

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: When someone dies with their eyes open and another character can close the dead person's eyes by gently running their hand over their face. The eyes of a dead body won't stay shut that way.

Bishop73
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Suggested correction: This is partially true. If the person is recently deceased then you can close the eyes with relative ease. If however they have been deceased long enough for rigor mortis to set in then the mistake is valid. It's a tough one to be honest.

Ssiscool Premium member

Stupidity: When someone has duct tape put over their mouth and they're unable to scream for help, or warn someone coming in about a trap. Duct tape over the mouth easily comes off if you open up your mouth because it can't hold your jaw shut. And if you need a little help getting it off your lips because you can't open your mouth wide enough, just stick out your very wet tongue.

Bishop73

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