Common movie and TV mistakes - page 7

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: Someone kills an opponent with a sword, then immediately sheathes it without even a cursory wipe. That'll ruin their scabbard and probably rust up the blade too.

Deliberate mistake: Rather than gradually exploring character backgrounds as the story unfolds, characters in cheesier movies awkwardly rush to reveal whole biographies in just a couple of lines, right at the beginning of the film. Such an unlikely conversation might go like this: "I'm the luckiest girl in the world, married to the lead developer and system analyst of NASA's most ambitious interplanetary program ever"; and the husband replies, "Well, it helped that your father created the program and took a chance on me after that Wall Street computer-hacking scandal six years ago." There's no subtlety at all, it's just fast-food character development.

Charles Austin Miller

Factual error: Almost always in movies or TV, if a person dies and falls down on their back or side and have their hands visible, their fingers will be curled in the relaxed position of someone resting. A person's fingers go to this position in a living person due to natural tension in the muscles from circulation and blood flow. However, when a person dies, all their muscles in the body will fully relax with no tension. Thus when lying down dead, their fingers should actually be flat against the ground and not curled up at all.

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Other mistake: Whenever you see TV characters riding in a car, the radio is almost never on unless it's plot-relevant. This is for two reasons: 1) Having it on would distract the audience from the characters' dialogue, and 2) The producers would have to pay to license any music that would be played.

Factual error: Rainfall in movies and television is almost always depicted as a sudden and heavy downpour (sometimes cued by a crack of thunder and/or lightning strike) as opposed to gradually building up to it. This is pretty rare in real life.

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

Suggested correction: Cloudbursts and showers are that way, and they are pretty common in some areas, specially near mountains. I don't know about New York but in several Latin American countries they are not eyebrow rising worth.

I'd add that along with the rain suddenly pouring, it falls in straight lines - with the exact same distance between streams - that are perpendicular to the ground. (All rainfall is vertical, never at an angle).

KeyZOid

Revealing mistake: Vehicles that are about to be involved in a crash have their windows cracked, shattered or blown out immediately before (a fraction of a second to 1-2 seconds). Conversely, some vehicles suffer no glass shattering when they roll over. The Good Son can serve as an example of both "mistakes." in chapter #9: "Mr. Highway", the first bus that turns on its side has no window breakage; the car that smashes into the bus has a crack in the driver's side windshield; at least two other cars get their windows blown out before ramming into the wrecked cars ahead of them.

KeyZOid

Factual error: Women didn't start routinely shaving their legs until the 1920s, but in films and TVs shows set before then, women's legs are always hair free.

Mike Lynch

Factual error: Movies with trials in which the protagonist is on the verge of losing until a last minute whammy piece of evidence is brought up that ends up winning the trial in their favor (such as "Liar Liar"). In real life, lawyers have to add the evidence in before they are allowed to talk about it, and if the judge doesn't know where they are going with it, they will ask the lawyer to make a proffer.

Phaneron Premium member

Deliberate mistake: If a main character is injured, say in a car accident, any visible signs of injury always include bruises or scars on the character's face. It doesn't matter how the character got injured, the moviemakers deliberately will give him wounds on the face so the audience is given a visual reminder.

Deliberate mistake: Though characters have full-time jobs, they seem to have incredibly understanding bosses since their day and night hours are spent with people outside the workplace.

Mike Lynch

Other mistake: In video games that have a night and day cycle, often times quests and especially side quests seem to be unaffected by the passing of time what so ever. Like a pressing matter of a guy running off with a valuable item, and your quest is to track him down and stop him before he leaves the city. But you can take your sweet time and have several days and longer pass in game time before you finally go to the place where you're supposed to carry out of the mission.

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Plot hole: Minuscule towns where you'd expect even a robbery at the local diner would be big news and horrify the local community for months, somehow end up having a crime rate worse than a Mad Max dystopia. Examples; Cabot Cove, Maine (where Jessica Fletcher lives), or the "This is the police" videogame series, where a small town in the mountains ends up having in just a couple months hostage situations, bomb threats, several murders, armed robberies and about half a dozen of violent crimes every day.

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Deliberate mistake: Where as its not as common in modern movies, the 80's and 90's movies were really bad about vehicles exploding into huge balls of fire over the littlest things. Cars would hit each other and explode. One would flip over and explode. They would hit walls and boom! Or hilarious ones like Escape from LA, a motorcycle runs into a metal barrel and explodes instantly. As if the cars were filled with nitroglycerin or something.

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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

Revealing mistake: Cars flipping after a crash which have had their petrol tank taken out for safety or for effects equipment.

Deliberate mistake: To avoid the risk of implicating real, unsuspecting people in all sorts of unsolicited calls, movies can use specific phone numbers owned by the studios, but generally they use specific area codes and/or number ranges that are unassigned. Therefore, many movies feature phone numbers that are 'impossible' by design. It's a fact so well known that it is part of pop-culture, in particular for 555-numbers, which to modern audiences nowadays look as credible as ACME items.

Sammo Premium member

Factual error: Shooting a gas tank with a handgun and causing an explosion. The only way to ignite a gas tank by shooting it is with tracer ammunition, as demonstrated by the Mythbusters.

Phaneron Premium member

Other mistake: Whenever a character travel to a town or village in another country, no matter how remote, they always find someone who speaks English.

Mike Lynch

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