Common movie and TV mistakes - page 2

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.

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

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

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

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

Phaneron Premium member
Upvote valid corrections to help move entries into the corrections section.

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

New this month Audio problem: Characters holding conversations on board aircraft where they wouldn't normally be audible such as military helicopters or cargo planes. In real life those are loud places where people wear hearing protection and communicate with radios or built in comms. (Not a mistake for luxury helicopters or airliner size cargo planes with sound proofing).

Factual error: Characters gain access to secure facilities using a single thing: a stolen ID card, fingerprint on sticky tape etc, but with no second factor to verify identity like a PIN code. This might be appropriate for something low key like the back room of a store but in thrilling shows the characters are usually trying to get into places like the CIA or high tech laboratories. In real life, higher level security access controls include at least two factors to reduce the risk of unauthorized entry. This is often a deliberate mistake by movie makers as it would slow the story down to describe multiple security measures and show how the characters gain everything needed for access. Exceptions are movies like Mission Impossible or Sneakers where this sort of complexity is part of the plot.

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

Factual error: Often when bombs are shown falling, they're depicted with a distinct whistling sound. Two problems there. Bombs don't inherently whistle - some bombs in WW2 were specifically fitted with whistles for the psychological warfare element, but the vast majority are silent. Secondly, the standard noise heard from the ground, a high pitched whistle slowly getting lower, is wrong. The doppler effect, whereby a sound changes as it moves closer to someone hearing it, means the pitch heard would increase, not decrease, as a bomb falls towards you. The sound most often used in movies/TV shows of a whistling bomb is what the pilots dropping the bomb would hear, not the people it was falling towards.

Jon Sandys Premium member

Deliberate mistake: Common in shows from the 60s to the 90s, the rear view mirror is missing from most cars. A deliberate mistake because this made it easier to see the actors in the front seats. Development of smaller cameras made this unnecessary.

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

Deliberate mistake: Particularly in space-fantasy and science-fiction movies and television series, electronic control panels and components erupt in a shower of sparks when overloaded (as during space battles, collisions and technological failure scenes). Such furious sparking has been used in numerous futuristic films and TV shows dating from the mid-20th Century right up to the present. Of course, this sparking effect is intended to add "gee whiz" action and spectacle to otherwise mundane shots. But the implication is that advanced, futuristic technology idiotically neglects to incorporate electrical fuses or circuit breakers, which are designed to prevent equipment sparking and meltdown during power overloads. In reality, all of these control panels and electronic components should instantly and safely go dark and stop functioning as soon as the breakers are quietly tripped or the fuses are quietly blown.

Charles Austin Miller

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.

Quantom X Premium member

Factual error: Whenever someone flatlines and a doctor (or nurse) grabs the defibrillator and is able to shock the person back to life. Defibrillators only work when the person still has a heartbeat, but the heart is in fibrillation. And even when doctors do use a defibrillator, they still perform regular CPR afterwards, which is rarely (if ever) shown being done. Usually in the film or show, the person comes back to life, sits up, and takes a huge gulp of air as if they had been holding their breath underwater.

Bishop73
Upvote valid corrections to help move entries into the corrections section.

Suggested correction: The spirit of this entry is correct - defibrillation is WAY overused to add drama - but the facts are wrong. First, defibrillators are rarely used unless there is electrical activity but no heartbeat, as is the case when fibrillation is occurring. In fibrillation, the heart is not beating, only twitching without rhythm. CPR is never done after restoring the heartbeat, no doctor would perform compressions on traumatized heart. Finally, most patients suffer serious complications after defibrillation. A patient who jumps up after defib only happens... in the movies.

I did oversimplify when I said heartbeat. But a twitching heart is different than a completely stopped heart. And the point of the entry is the fact that defibrillation machines are over used and patients don't jump up afterwards, which you only confirmed, so the correction is unnecessary. And, where do you get your information about not performing CPR? The general consensus is to do CPR. Here's a short article. Again, this correction is unneeded. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/25597505/.

Bishop73

Factual error: In movies, TV shows, cartoons, and videogames people are often depicted as standing right next to molten lava or magma. Frequently walking or fighting next to it, getting inches away or only a few feet above it. In reality the heat coming off it alone would cause people's clothes and skin to catch fire and burn their lungs just from being within like 20 feet of lava.

Quantom X 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.

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

Factual error: When the police are on the phone with a suspect and they try to keep them on the line long enough to trace the number and location. If the film takes place after the advent of Caller ID, then this information would be available instantly.

Phaneron Premium member

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