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.

Character mistake: The victim will wait for the antagonist to finish a speech or villain song, rather than attempt to kill them while their guard is down. It's only the hero unexpectantly bursting in that won't wait for them to be done.

Other mistake: A common error for Batman films, despite Gotham City being a large and heavily populated city akin to New York or Chicago, Batman never gets stuck in traffic. In fact, whenever Batman is shown driving through the streets of Gotham, there is little to no traffic at all.

Phaneron Premium member

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

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

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

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

Deliberate mistake: You don't automatically get "one phone call" when you're arrested in the USA. Depends on the state, for a start. You're always entitled to access to a lawyer regardless, but not always making the call yourself. If you make a call with no-one answering, you've not "wasted" your call either. Plenty of states allow multiple calls, within reason. It's a plot device, not based in reality.

Jon Sandys Premium member

Other mistake: Characters swapping clothes with others suddenly (strangers, police officers, females, etc) always get their size and the clothes fit perfectly.

Factual error: It's common in movies and shows, and even games sometimes, to see characters effortlessly lifting manhole covers. Usually when climbing out from them or even just walking up and lifting them with bare hands. In the case of the TMNT, where they have enhanced strength, it's a little more believable. However, in real life these lids are super heavy and usually require a crane or other heavy equipment to lift.

Quantom X Premium member

Revealing mistake: In driving scenes, the driver of the car usually has very over exaggerated movements of his or her hands on the steering wheel. When in reality you're not moving it that noticeably except a few micro corrections every few seconds or taking turns.

Quantom X Premium member

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.

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

Suggested correction: Even a "high powered" shotgun wouldn't do this. Newton's Third Law says that if it knocked the bad guy over, it would knock you over.

stiiggy

There is a difference between bracing yourself for the kick of a shotgun with it already planted into your shoulder and your feet ready for it, then to a person being hit by the shot not ready for it.

Quantom X Premium member

I myself have even had high powered riffles (a 300 Winchester Magnum) kick hard enough when I was a teenager that I was standing when I shot, and sitting in my chair after from the kick.

Quantom X Premium member

There's also a difference between being flung backwards after being shot and simply falling over. I've fired a Barrett Light Fifty rifle an even that round won't fling anyone back. Pure Hollywood.

stiiggy

Factual error: When pistols are empty, the person holding it is often surprised when it clicks empty. In reality, the slide on semi-automatic pistols lock back when the gun runs empty, making it easy to see that you're out of ammo. Sometimes happens in movies, often doesn't.

Friso94

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

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. For example in Jurassic Park, when the raptor breaks into the control room and is hopping around the computer workstations, sharp, distinct "GTAC" genetic coding is shown projected from a computer screen across the raptor's face. 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.

Factual error: In almost every sci-fi feature, things like explosions, laser blasts, ships colliding, asteroids hitting, and planets exploding, can all be heard. However in reality sound can not travel though empty space. So almost all of that would really be completely silent.

Quantom X Premium member

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

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

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

That's not true at all. Muscles can not contract after death. Therefore, if someone tries to close the eyes of someone who is dead, the eyes will open back up to their original positions. They only way they can stay closed is if someone seals them shut, in the case after death, a wet swap may work, which is not what they commonly do in films.

In addition to this, this was also why the old common practice of placing heavy coins over the eyelids was used in many cultures.

Quantom X Premium member

Other mistake: Drivers are able to look directly at front or back seat passengers for relatively long periods of time (i.e, take their eyes off the road) but don't crash or veer off the road.

KeyZOid

Deliberate mistake: Characters who are being confined in an area (typically inside cages, prisons cells, et cetera) that provides enough space for the character to escape, but they still consider themselves stuck (e.g. the iron bars of a cage/prison cell having enough distance between each other to allow the character to squeeze through between them). This is more common in cartoons and animated films.

Rassdyt

Factual error: Actors playing police, soldiers or agents who keep their fingers on the triggers of their firearms. In real life, trigger discipline is an early and repeated part of firearms training. This is often most obvious on movie posters. This mistake has become less common as military veterans started to become advisers to movie makers and actors have sometimes undergone training before filming begins.

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

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.