Common movie and TV mistakes

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.

Stupidity: A character on foot when chased by a boulder, vehicle, etc., will often run in the same direction as the object, rather than off to the side where the object can't reach.

Stupidity: Whenever a gun battle is taking place, and the protagonist is being shot at by a machine gun, multiple shots spit up near his/her feet, which makes no sense. They are aiming their weapons straight at the person, not at the ground.

Mike Lynch

Stupidity: Giving a long drawn out speech before killing someone, allowing the hero to arrive at the last second and save the day. Just pull the trigger and you've won.


Stupidity: Some object (or person, occasionally, like The Mummy or the witch in Hellboy) which "can't be destroyed", but can be broken up into large parts and "hidden", often into ornate boxes with a map or record of the location. Nobody ever thinks to break the parts down into hundreds of pieces, then scatter them randomly into separate oceans, up a mountain, into building foundations, into a mine, or thrown in a volcano.

Jon Sandys Premium member

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.


Stupidity: Highly trained military/police officers/similar in cover during a gunfight who stand up or run out into the middle of the street to shoot at their targets. Also including SWAT teams, supposedly the best of the best, who are bumbling incompetents and get wiped out near-instantly.

Jon Sandys Premium member

Stupidity: Idiot victims in horror movies run upstairs or hide in really obvious places rather than run out the front door.

Stupidity: A group of people entering a haunted house, cave, etc. and splitting up instead of sticking together to protect one another. This happens in many but not all films when a group enters an area.

Stupidity: One character holding another at gunpoint but right next to them, making it easy for the victim to knock the gun away or similarly fight back. You've got a gun - stand 10 feet from them.

Jon Sandys Premium member

Stupidity: Characters shooting at each other with a moving vehicle involved, and no-one thinks to even try and shoot out the tires.

Phaneron Premium member

Stupidity: Ground troops armed with semi-auto handguns, automatic rifles and even heavy artillery just keep wasting ammo, barrage-after-barrage, magazine-after-magazine, against giant robots and monsters 100 feet tall, long after it becomes obvious that the weapons have zero effect. This is an ongoing stupidity dating back to some of the earliest giant monster movies, and is still seen in giant monster and superhero films today.

Charles Austin Miller

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

Suggested correction: Surely in the face of a no-win scenario, doing something that may or may not work is better than doing nothing and awaiting your doom. They would be doing everything they could to stop the enemy in the hopes of saving lives. Even if it takes every last round of ammunition, it may eventually be enough to wear down the monster / robot etc.

I hate to disagree. I think one of the best examples is the latest Godzilla movie where they keep firing their hand guns on it knowing it would be better to just get out, there was absolutely no point to do that. Same goes for Man Of Steel.


Agreed. Even in a no win situation, why waste ammunition and time firing on a target that impregnable when you could be doing more to evacuate and save lives.

Ssiscool Premium member

In everything from old Godzilla movies to modern superhero and kaiju flicks, we see military forces line up and throw every bit of small arms and heavier artillery they have at the giant monsters or giant robots, with zero effect. The military always retreats, regroups, then lines up and wastes all their ammunition again, as if they learned absolutely nothing from the first experience.

Charles Austin Miller

In a no-win scenario, you beat a hasty retreat and live to fight another day, hopefully better armed and better prepared next time. You don't hold your ground, futilely trying to bring down a giant monster the size of a Hilton Hotel with small arms fire.

Charles Austin Miller

It's strange because I can understand why filmmakers still do this, even though it makes little sense. They are trying to show that the monster, robot, whatever is unstoppable by conventional means and honestly I don't know how you would do that without these kinds of scenes. Even though they are dumb. It's extra dumb to me when you hear the General yell "Stand your ground, men!" or something like that. Or when the cop runs out of bullets and throws his gun.


I've seen too many scenes where they keep shooting, apparently to no avail, BUT there is always the chance that hitting the "monster" in a certain spot could get it to retreat. Instead of just continuing to rapidly fire with the general intent of hitting the monster, it would make much more sense to focus on a possible soft spot, such as an eye. The "just keep firing" mentality does fall under "stupidity." The military should be using a strategy that is rational, and emptying machine guns isn't.


Stupidity: Mostly a staple of horror movies, characters will incapacitate - and possibly even think they killed the monster/villain - and walk away without even going for a sure kill-shot with whatever weapon they used to bring the villain down in the first place. "Scream" is a notable exception to this.

Phaneron Premium member

Stupidity: Having long conversations in cars where the driver spends 95% of their time looking at the passenger rather than the road ahead.

Stupidity: Characters entering dark rooms, hallways, etc., without flipping on the light switch, even when there's no reason to expect a lack of power, like a storm, sabotage, etc.


Stupidity: A huge amount of movies and TV shows would be over in 5 minutes if only the person who just uncovered a horrible secret (such as who committed a murder) and is calling the good guys about it would quickly spill out of the gist of it instead of just setting up an appointment for a later meeting when they are supposed to discuss at length their findings, and which will only turn out to be the investigation of their own murder.

Sammo Premium member

Stupidity: When a known killer (someone in the show or movie that we've seen kill someone on purpose with no regards, or someone we're told already has) finds or catches the main character (s), he or she decides to tie them up or kidnap them instead of just killing them. Leaving the main character (s) alive only serves the plot to allow them to escape or otherwise result in their being rescued and results in the killer being arrested or even killed.


Stupidity: In several martial arts-themed movies or TV episodes, the fight advertised on the poster is not just the main event. It's the ONLY event. So people drive en masse and pay good money to get a seat for an event with no preliminaries, undercard...just watch with no warm-up something that potentially lasts 5 seconds.

Sammo Premium member

Stupidity: Any time a character is using a shoulder lanched rocket system like an RPG, LAW, Stinger etc, they never check for the lethal back blast area behind them, frying your mates is seemingly acceptable. Same as firing from inside a room, car etc which would lethal to the firer and anyone else behind them.


Stupidity: Police officers or detectives pound on the door of a suspect, asking them to open the door. When they go into the house, they realise the suspect has escaped out the back door or window and have to give chase. Cops aren't this stupid. They surround the house first so the suspect can't get away.

Mike Lynch

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