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 Other mistake: Characters in high school that are played by actors that are demonstrably older than teenagers.

Phaneron Premium member

New this week Other mistake: Bullets pass through people, but don't shatter any glass windows behind them.

Movielover1996

New this week Other mistake: A character will be slapped in the face, but their face won't be red afterwards.

Phaneron Premium member

New this month Other mistake: Whenever a character comes home at night to their house or apartment, every single light has been left on.

Mike Lynch
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New this month Suggested correction: I wouldn't really call this a mistake. Especially depending on the area they live. Often times people leave their lights on when they are away to make it appear that people are still home so it's less likely they get broken into and robbed.

Quantom X Premium member

New this month Agreed. My family frequently left lights and/or the TV on when we were away when I was growing up.

Phaneron Premium member

New this month Also agree. It's not uncommon to see especially in more rural areas.

Ssiscool Premium member

New this week Yes, leaving lights on in your home when you're away is normal, but it seems that every single light in every room is a common occurrence in movies and TV shows.

Mike Lynch

New this week Could you give some examples? I don't remember ever seeing this happen. It certainly doesn't happen every time.

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

This mistake has four aspects. (1) The hero knocks someone unconscious for good with just one hit. (2) The hero does this to several enemies in succession, with the same results. (3) The hero shows no signs of fatigue. (4) The hero takes on the tougher villains and takes them down too. Doing all of these requires immense superhuman strength. In films about superhumans, this is not a mistake. But there are films that deliver this and are cheeky enough to give the appearance of there being a modicum of reality in it.

FleetCommand

It's not necessarily a measure of strength, technique has got a lot to do with it. When one goes for the throat for example or the jaw a knockout is almost always certain, if you know what you are doing. You have to if you got no time to hit someone twice because the next opponent is not waiting.

lionhead

You are right. But we don't see proper technique either. I really have issues with people getting unconscious for good from a punch between their eyes, especially when John Reese does it.

FleetCommand

I agree with you that some movies take it too easy. But is it really common? The first knock out of Goldeneye example isn't all that unlikely, he may even have hit that guy twice, but a blow to the head, a surprise blow to the head can definitely knock someone out, happens in boxing all the time. Even between the eyes, as long as the head is knocked around.

lionhead

Other mistake: There is always a parking space available right in front of the building where the hero/cops/protagonist needs to go.

wizard_of_gore Premium member

Other mistake: Helicopters appearing from out of nowhere and surprising characters. Helicopters are loud enough to be heard from a considerable distance and will also vibrate the ground/buildings/homes if they are flying low enough. The only feasible way a person can be surprised by the sudden appearance of a helicopter would be if they are deaf.

Phaneron Premium member

Other mistake: People are often seen knocking on someone's door only for it to be answered with 2 or 3 seconds regardless of the size of the house. The house could be the size of a mansion or a little 1 bed flat and response times are always around the same. 2 - 3 seconds.

Ssiscool Premium member

Other mistake: Despite having killed two dozen people, the hero will always be allowed to walk away at the end without any police officer so much as taking a statement.

The_Iceman

Other mistake: Actors in their late 20's or early 30's playing high school students, or characters who are under the age of 18.

Bishop73

Other mistake: People who've been stranded on a desert island/in space/in prison for ages and yet still have fashionable stubble and decently-manicured nails.

Other mistake: When women go to bed they never take off their make-up. Conversely, when they wake up in the morning, their make-up looks like it was just applied, and there are never any smears on pillow cases.

Mike Lynch

Other mistake: During a car chase, both vehicles are going flat out, but somehow there's always a higher gear they can shift to.

Other mistake: Primitive people or people cut off from civilization that still have brilliantly white and perfectly straight teeth.

Bishop73

Other mistake: When the "good" guys can easily kill someone wearing protective combat gear, bullet-proof vests, etc with just one shot, but the "good" guy can get shot multiple times and be OK.

Bishop73

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

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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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

Other mistake: Someone coming into a room, or situation, and delivering a line in response to what was just said, even though there was no way they were able to hear what was just said (or even knowing what the conversation was about).

Bishop73

Other mistake: A TV will be turned on exactly at the moment an important plot point is being explained or shown. Typically it will be a news story that a news anchor will tell from the beginning. Never is the TV turned on with a commercial playing or some other news being read.

Kgprophet72

Other mistake: Characters in movies and TV shows always type things out on the screen without any typos or their flow of thoughts read like a professional writer, not a regular person.

Mike Lynch
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Suggested correction: Perhaps not everyone is as good a writer as the ones you see in the films, but films are meant to bend reality anyway. Good writing is a virtue and wanting to make one's own film character a good writer is not a mistake.

FleetCommand

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