Common movie and TV mistakes - page 5

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.

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: Wild animals are depicted to be much more violent and vicious than in reality. Truth be told, most wild animals will avoid and run from humans. Even wolf packs, snakes, and jungle cats will avoid humans out of fear.

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Suggested correction: This is only a common mistake if this always happens in a situation where there is absolutely no way the animal can be aggressive. It can happen, especially with a wolf or snake, so in that movie it just happened. Not a common mistake then.

lionhead

I can see your point. I guess it's not common enough to be considered a common mistake. It is almost always depicted this way in movies with wolves... Maybe the mistake is more about them then.

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Deliberate mistake: Characters who are being pursued on foot frequently hide in plain sight of their pursuers. You see characters (typically the "good guys") duck around the corner of a building, or a tree, or some other obstacle, where they freeze and glance over their shoulders to watch their oblivious pursuers (typically the "bad guys") wander past just a few feet in the background. Nevermind the fact that the good guy's body is only partially concealed by said obstacle, or not concealed at all. This is an old film-making trick intended to heighten audience tension, even though it is totally illogical.

Charles Austin Miller

Character mistake: People almost never say goodbye when hanging up phones, even at times any normal person would 'sign off' in some way.

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Revealing mistake: Actors supposedly playing instruments in a scene but their hand movements don't match the music.

Character mistake: Mainly in Old West films, actors who are portraying barbers very frequently sharpen their straight-razors the wrong way, flipping the blade with its sharp edge against the strop. This would instantly dull and damage the razor's edge. No real barber would make such a clumsy mistake, but it's a common movie error.

Charles Austin Miller

Factual error: After waking up from a coma or being knocked out for several days, people in films often get up and proceed to wander around or have a conversation before moving on. But the body continues to function during this comatose state. When someone gets up after sleeping for 3 days straight, they would immediately need to head to the bathroom to relieve themselves. That, or they would smell very horribly to others around them and need to be cleaned up if they were not already taken care of when asleep by the other people.

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Factual error: Regular, unmodified weapons firing blank rounds. Real weapons use large and obvious attachments to block most of the propellant gases from going out of the barrel, which cycles the weapon. Hollywood weapons have blockages or mechanisms hidden in the barrel to do the same thing (or they have other effects like CGI or a gas flame), but those would make them unable to fire actual bullets. Also, real blanks are dangerous when fired close to people because they can still fire out debris. Die Hard 2 is a good example, with the bad guys swapping back and forth between blank and live ammunition in the same weapons.

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Suggested correction: Technically incorrect. You can get very high powered blanks called 4 in 1's that can cycle a weapon without the weapon being modified or having a blank firing adaptor. The reason they are not used commonly is because of how loud they are.

stiiggy

Factual error: Trains that do not stop, but crash through objects on railroad tracks. Train engineers will hit the brakes of the train when they see anything or anyone on the tracks, and if they come in contact with said objects, will stop to investigate what they hit, and cooperate with local and Federal authorities. Two examples are "Back To the Future, Part III" and "Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry."

Scott215

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.

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Factual error: Any time characters are underwater with no eye protection, they still always seem to have clear and perfect vision to see the world around them, other people and even small objects submerged with them. But to anybody who has ever tried opening their eyes under water, you know this isn't true. It's all a massively blurry mess where you can only make out fuzzy shapes and colors at best.

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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.

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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

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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

I think the original points that CPR is over depicted in films and TV, and that patients are debilitated after defibrillation is valid. You can make a better case by avoiding terms like always and never, because there is always an exception, and never and end to the comments. By the way, the article you cite is a database review of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, not the hospital settings you describe, so now a correction IS needed.

Factual error: When the police are on the phone with a suspect who is using a landline 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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Suggested correction: If they are tracing a cell phone this information isn't available instantly.

That's a valid caveat, so I've amended this for suspects using landlines.

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Deliberate mistake: Often in rainy scenes in movies, the crew has the rain machines set to have the rain drops far far larger than natural. Huge water drops so that they will actually be visible in the final print.

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Character mistake: Chess boards being set up wrongly, or pieces being in places that make no sense and they would never have got there in the course of a normal game.

Factual error: Using a car door as a shield for bullets. They're really thin and you'd be shot right through them really easily.

Plot hole: Despite there being hundreds of witnesses, a villain who assaults someone or commits some other crime are not arrested or sued and are free to just walk away and live their daily lives as if nothing ever happened.

Movielover1996

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