PEDAUNT

9th Oct 2018

Quiz Show (1994)

Trivia: In this film it is stated that Herb Stemple lost all of the money he won on 21 when he invested in Florida land development that turned out to be a con. The truth is far more sinister; he was never paid in the first place. The fanfare about the huge prizes to be won on 21 was as phoney as the show itself, and Dan Enright and Albert Freeman made it clear to him that the whole thing was a sham and he was going to be paid a fraction of what they promised him. They forced him to sign a contract to that effect, something he bitterly regretted doing. The resentment over the shabby way he had been treated contributed to his decision to blow the whistle on the whole scam.

PEDAUNT

Plot hole: This film is set in 2004. The thought that no search and rescue operations would be put in place after an aircraft disappeared from radar during a routine flight is absurd. The Chinese are paranoid about intrusion on their territory and the downed aircraft would have been located by a simple satellite search within hours of it crashing. Chinese military satellites crisscross the Gobi and they are equipped with optical cameras, microwave and infrared detectors and radar, so spotting a metal aircraft on the ground would be simple even if it was hundreds of kilometres off course. The crew would have been visited by Chinese military helicopters (and probably arrested!) as soon as the storm had died down.

PEDAUNT

Plot hole: The idea that Marlow would simply take a taxi to his wife's address after being missing in action for thirty odd years is stupid beyond belief. He was on a ship sailing from the central Pacific for days and those ships have radios! The US military would have known he was coming. Someone, somewhere would have notified the authorities that a US serviceman long thought dead was actually alive and on his way home and his wife and son would have been there on the docks to greet him, not standing slack-jawed in the kitchen dropping trays of drinks on the floor when he turned up! What would have happened if she had remarried? Or moved house? Or she was dead? Don't tell me the US military didn't know he was coming - he is wearing a brand new uniform, clean and pressed.

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

Suggested correction: The implication is that Marlow went through an extensive debrief and nobody had contacted his family until the debrief had concluded, based on the top secret nature of the mission. As you say, the fact he has a brand new uniform suggests that he has contacted the US Military prior to ever contacting his family. The fact that his wife would have moved and re-married is irrelevant, he still would have made an attempt to contact her so he could see his son.

BaconIsMyBFF

It is an inviolable, carved in stone, fur lined, ocean going, top of the list rule that the next of kin are immediately advised of the change of status of military personnel. MIA, now confirmed dead? They'd be the first to know. MIA, now confirmed to be alive, same outcome. His wife would know he was on that ship coming home.

This is true in real life but in the fictional world of the movie Monarch is a secret, government agency that has some degree of control over the military. You can't apply the same rules as in real life in this situation.

BaconIsMyBFF

And they wouldn't have contacted her after the debrief had been completed? What utter nonsense. Allowing him to just turn up on the doorstep without notifying his wife first is an utterly irresponsible and even dangerous act. She could have fainted with shock or even had a heart attack. She would absolutely, definitely, 100% carved in stone, been advised of her husband's survival and return.

Since we know very little about the completely fictional organization Monarch, we obviously cannot say they would "carved in stone" do anything. In order to be a mistake in the movie, it would have to be something that is impossible. A secret government organization that doesn't even exist in real life not behaving the way the real military would is not impossible. At least not by the rules set forth in the film. It's perhaps improbable but it is most certainly not impossible.

BaconIsMyBFF

3rd Nov 2017

Red Dwarf (1988)

Can of Worms - S11-E6

Plot hole: At the end, Kryten, Rimmer and Lister are in a lift facing off six gelf shapeshifters - two copies of each real person, in a Mexican standoff. Nobody knows who to shoot, as they might shoot the real person instead of the shapeshifter. But the real people know they're real - all Lister has to do is shoot the two fake Listers, Rimmer shoots the fake Rimmers and Kryten shoots the two fake Krytens, problem solved. Not to mention Lister is now a soulless, unfeeling killing machine. Earlier he shot and killed a shapeshifter who could well have been Cat - he didn't know it was a shapeshifter and by his own admission he didn't care. We have already seen how fast on the draw he is - why didn't he just open fire on the six shapeshifters, Kryten and Rimmer in order to ensure his own survival?

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

Suggested correction: The point of a Mexican standoff is no one is in a position to shoot first for fear of being shot themselves. We're told the shapeshifters have no problem killing each other, so as soon as the real person starts to shoot, everyone may start firing, which could result in a real person being killed. Additionally, the only time all 9 are pointing guns at each other is in the lift. Before that, it's 3 groups of Listers, Krytens, and Rimmers, so no one is facing off with their shapeshifters. The only safe way to shoot the 6 shapeshifters would be to do it at the same time, and there's no way Lister, Kryten, and Rimmer could coordinate that. And, like all Mexican standoffs, it can only be resolved from outside help.

2nd Nov 2017

The Martian (2015)

Other mistake: Rich Purnell explains his plan to redirect the Hermes to Mars in order to rescue Watney, positioning people to represent planets and using a stapler to show the trajectory of the vessel. He is talking to experienced, qualified engineers and technologists working at a very high level on the space programme. They don't need drama school play acting to be understand things like this. He could have explained his plan in the most complex and abstruse terms and they would have been way ahead of him.

PEDAUNT

25th Oct 2017

Capricorn One (1977)

Plot hole: The "death" of the three astronauts and the requirement to then fake the whole scenario of the failed mission was obviously unplanned - it came about because of an unexpected computer glitch which reported that they had burned up on reentry, causing a mad scramble to cover up the fake mission and kill the astronauts. Obviously it was planned to have the astronauts "return" to Earth as heroes after their supposed trip to Mars, maintaining their deception (under threat if necessary) for the rest of their lives. One problem. Every scientist on earth would be champing at the bit to get their hands on a sample of Martian rock. Samples would be worth billions, worth far more than Moon rocks are worth today. How was NASA going to explain they didn't have any? They could not possibly fake the rocks - Martian soil and rocks would have a number of identifiable characteristics that a smart first year college student could identify. Using Martian meteorites collected from the Earth's surface won't work, either - prolonged exposure to the Earth's atmosphere would leave tell tale weathering and chemical changes that would be instantly detectable. NASA have painted themselves into a corner and that is not something they would have failed to realise well in advance.

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

Suggested correction: They could use meteors that had landed on Earth. This is one of the theories for the "faked" moon landing, that they either created the moon rocks from scratch, or collected meteors. As for the death of the astronauts, that's not a plot hole, it's the plot of the movie; the powers that be wanted the men to fake everything and return as heroes. When they wouldn't play along, it was decided they needed to be eliminated.

Jason Hoffman

It is clear from the narrative of the film that it was planned that the astronauts would "land" safely. Using meteorites would not work - exposure to the Earth's atmosphere would mean (and has meant) that the rocks would show weathering and chemical changes that anyone would be able to detect.

11th Oct 2017

Jonathan Creek (1997)

The Sinner and the Sandman - S5-E2

Factual error: Members of The Salvation Army do not gamble and do not buy lottery tickets.

PEDAUNT

Plot hole: An important plot point (in the book and the film) is that Charles Calthrop - thought to be the Jackal, at that stage - played some mysterious part in the 1961 assassination of Rafael Trujillo, the dictator of The Dominican Republic, and rumours of his involvement came to the attention of MI6 and Special Branch, leading to the accidental exposure of the Jackal's false passport. In fact there is no mystery at all about the assassination of Trujillo and there were no shadowy foreigners involved. It was organised by Trujillo's own senior aides, amongst them General Juan Tomás Díaz, Antonio de la Maza, Amado Garcia Guerroro and General Antonio Imbert Barrera. The gunmen was later identified as Luis Aniama Tio. All the conspirators except Tio were arrested, tortured and shot. There was no panicked evacuation of foreigners who were involved with Trujillo's regime and no reason for them to be concerned - the government did not fall and Trujillo's brother Hector took over as President, ruling in a brutal and totalitarian manner for a further eight years. Any rumours of a mysterious Englishman would have been dismissed out of hand and would not have made it onto even the lowest level filing system anywhere in Whitehall.

PEDAUNT

7th Sep 2017

The Day of the Jackal

Plot hole: The arms dealer tells Special Branch detectives that Charles Calthrop - wrongly suspected to be The Jackal - barely escaped with his life when Rafael Trujillo, the dictator of the Dominican Republic, was assassinated in 1961. "The whole regime collapsed within hours." He tells them, relating how Calthrop was with the Police Minister at the time and had to flee, bribing a fisherman to take him off the island in order to escape the angry mobs of partisans who were rioting in the streets, indiscriminately killing anyone they thought had collaborated with Trujillo's regime. What cobblers. There were no partisans and no riots. Trujillo's regime continued uninterrupted. His brother Hector immediately took power and ruled absolutely and ruthlessly for another eight years. Calthrop would have nothing to worry about unless Trujillo himself had signed his pay cheque. Calthrop's alleged involvement in the assassination is a hugely important plot point as it inadvertently leads to the discovery of the false passport obtained by the Jackal and the uncovering of his false identity, and his name was only placed on file because of his rumoured involvement in events which simply did not take place.

PEDAUNT

Factual error: The idea that anyone survived living in Pripyat Hospital is absurd. The uniforms of the doomed firefighters were stored in the basement and are so radioactive that anyone straying downstairs for more than 45 seconds has about a week to live. The ground and upper floors are far less radioactive but prolonged exposure - in other words, living there - would be fatal. Nobody could survive on the grounds for more than two or three months without receiving a lethal dose of radioactivity. Incidentally, prolonged exposure to radioactivity doesn't turn you into a deranged zombie - it turns you into a corpse.

PEDAUNT

11th Oct 2016

Columbo (1971)

It's All in the Game - S12-E1

Factual error: Despite the fact that other officers are doing so, Columbo does not wear gloves while examining the crime scene. He also eats and drinks in the room - both absolutely forbidden - leaving eggshells scattered about the place. The crime scene is now totally compromised and nothing found can be used as evidence.

PEDAUNT

Trivia: At the very end of the film when Gregory Peck and David Niven are standing on the deck of the warship watching the explosions, you can see a very distinctive injury on Niven's upper lip. During the filming of the sequence where the commandos climb the cliffs he was slammed into the rock face by the water dumped on them to simulate the waves breaking over them. The resulting infection put him in hospital. He complains about the indifference of the film's producers in his book "The Moon's A Balloon."

PEDAUNT

10th Aug 2016

Star Wars (1977)

Stupidity: The Death Star comes equipped with a powerful tractor beam capable of capturing a ship the size and agility of the Millennium Falcon. Why don't they use it against the rebel fighters attacking them at the end of the film? Okay, Obi-Wan Kenobi turned it off earlier but I find it hard to believe that someone who has never before visited the largest, most complex space station in the Universe and who was previously unaware of its very existence can disable a fundamental security system but the people who designed, built and run the whole thing can't work out how to switch it back on. They should have no problems with this, considering the fact that Obi-Wan didn't damage it.

PEDAUNT

Factual error: The airliner keeps its undercarriage down far too long. Normally the wheels would be retracted while the aircraft was still over the airport - this one is almost at its cruising altitude before they do that.

PEDAUNT

7th Jun 2016

Columbo (1971)

Old Fashioned Murder - S6-E2

Factual error: In common with many other episodes, Columbo and all the other police officers at the crime scene hopelessly contaminate it - none of them wear gloves or protective clothing. Not one artifact recovered from the scene would be usable as evidence.

PEDAUNT

28th Feb 2016

Jonathan Creek (1997)

The Wrestler's Tomb - S1-E1

Factual error: During the examination of the crime scene at the beginning of the episode, not one of the Crime Scene Officers or any of the police on site wear latex gloves. The supervising police officer picks up a vital piece of evidence - a small bag of jewellery - with bare hands! They have hopelessly contaminated the scene.

PEDAUNT

4th Dec 2015

The Martian (2015)

Factual error: Towards the end of the film Watney is told to discard the heavy nose cone of the Martian Ascent Vehicle and replace it with a flimsy plastic sheet because the atmosphere is so thin that it will not be damaged despite the vehicle being accelerated to Martian escape velocity - nearly 14,000 kmh. But the storm caused massive damage earlier. It cannot work both ways - if the atmosphere is so thin that it won't dislodge a jury rigged plastic canopy from an accelerating spacecraft, it cannot possibly whip up a storm like the one we see.

PEDAUNT

Factual error: Hannah's full name is Hannah Ásgeirsson. Icelandic surnames are (Father's name) sson for boys and (Mother's name) dottir for girls, so Ásgeirsson would be the surname of the male child of a man named Ásgeir. Her name should be Hannah Sigurbjörnsdóttir.

PEDAUNT

28th Sep 2015

Jonathan Creek (1997)

The Sinner and the Sandman - S5-E2

Plot hole: Ian Avery-Cooper loses his lottery ticket which is immediately picked up and appropriated by Leonard Corbyn. However, Avery-Cooper immediately reports the loss to the shopkeeper who sold him the ticket. All lottery sales staff are trained in what to do under these circumstances, because it happens a lot - they cancel the lost ticket and issue a new one. Since Avery-Cooper used the same numbers every week this would not pose a problem, but even if he didn't the ticket would be recorded on the seller's computers and could be precisely reconstructed. This would be even easier since Avery-Cooper reports the loss within a minute of it happening and we see that he has the receipt for the sale in his hand. Corbyn's stolen ticket would be worthless and Avery-Cooper would be able to claim his rightful winnings. If nothing else Ian could have simply bought another ticket with the same numbers.

PEDAUNT

26th Jul 2015

Ant-Man (2015)

Factual error: Twice in the film it is made clear that the Pym particle works by reducing the space between atoms in order to shrink an object, and by increasing it to enlarge them. This means that the object will weigh the same, whether shrunk or enlarged - it cannot be otherwise. A 90kg man the size of an ant would punch a hole through any surface upon which he stood (and couldn't ride ants), Doctor Pym has been walking about with a 60 tonne tank in his pocket, Darren Cross lifts a full grown sheep between finger and thumb, and the supersized Thomas The Tank Engine would be far too light to crush the police car (in fact it would float harmlessly away as it would probably weigh less than the air it displaced).

PEDAUNT

Join the mailing list

Separate from membership, this is to get updates about mistakes in recent releases. Addresses are not passed on to any third party, and are used solely for direct communication from this site. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Check out the mistake & trivia books, on Kindle and in paperback.