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20 Things That Don't Make Sense in the Movies

Updated on August 6, 2020
Dominic Schunker profile image

I've written 5 published novels, ghostwritten 2 further novels and continue to write fiction and observational articles.

We love the movies. Movies are awesome. It doesn’t matter if we head down to the local multiplex or curl up on the couch. They show us things that never happen to us. They tell us things we didn’t know.

I’ve been watching movies since the late 60s. I’ve seen some of the best movies ever made come out, become successful, become very successful. I remember when I was 10 in 1975, Jaws came out, jumping like someone had stabbed me when the head came out the bottom of the boat. Then, there was Star Wars in 1977 and a whole world of space travel and aliens opened up for me.

Movies definitely imitate life but life imitates movies as well. Just look at the Star Trek Communicator. If we look at it now, it’s a 1995 Nokia!

But there are plenty of things from the movies that do not imitate life. Things that we just wouldn’t do in the real world. Things that only movies do. The list below has grown over the years but the same constants are always there.

Like never saying goodbye when they have a phone call. Rude, right?

20 Things that don’t make sense in the Movies

(This list is in no order of Priority)

1 - Satellite Level Orientation Skills

He’s been shot. He’s lying on the ground on the eighteenth floor of an office block. It’s chaos and yet still his orientation is like he has a satnav chip in his head. He shouts instructions to target the north side of the building while he uses the west staircase and will come out on the south side of whatever street. Really?

2 - Give me your number. Don’t worry I know the first 3 digits

One of the first things I noticed when I was growing up was that every time a phone number was spoken in a movie, it was always 555-something. I’ve since then learned that 555 was an exchange number commonly thought to be reserved by the phone companies for use in TV and movies in order to prevent prank phone calls to real people. These days, only the numbers 555-0100 to 555-0199 are reserved for TV and the movies.

3 - Lizard Skin Showers

Whatever time of day it is. Movie shower rituals always make me feel a little uncomfortable. Anyone who has ever had a shower knows that when you turn the shower on, it’s going to come out either freezing cold or boiling hot until it settles down. So you wait for that or it’s a very unpleasant shock to the day. But in Hollywood, there’s no such fear. Stand under it and turn it on. They’ve either got a supreme heating system or a fabulous shock and pain threshold or they’ve got the skin of a big bad lizard.

4 - Cars

One of the early memories I had about cars and the movies made me very wary of these ticking time bombs that took us to school. How fragile they were. All anyone in the movies had to do to make a car explode was shoot it or make it crash. Either automatically lit the fuse and there was a big explosion. There was a wonderful episode of Family Guy when there was a horse chase. One of the horses went over the edge of the road and exploded instantly.

5 - Morning Glory

They’re beautiful when they go to bed and then they make passionate love. The next scene cuts to them waking up together. First of all, why are they still wearing underwear, sometimes even full pyjamas? Did they have sex like that? Kinky. Or did they get up in the middle of the night with an urgent need to protect their modesty when they woke up?

And as far as looking equally beautiful when they wake up, hair and makeup perfect, just as it was yesterday, forget it. Take it a step further and enjoy a long passionate morning kiss. They would be smelling pretty much the same as the trash. They would be looking homeless and the only thing worth doing would be getting in the shower. So watch the water temperature.

6 - I wonder why she never called

How people in the movies ever meet again is anyone’s guess. No-one ever clearly states a time or location, let alone a dress code or proposed destination. “Under the bridge, tomorrow,” or just “6 pm.” How can you expect a girl to get ready? Maybe that’s why there are so many romantic comedies where one doesn’t call the other and all sorts of angst extends from that.

7 - Impervious to Glass

Sure, we get it. Hollywood glass props are made safe for the actors and that’s a good thing. But it’s not realistic. You can’t crash through a sheet glass window, or fall through a glass skylight or any such horrors and come away with barely a nic.

8 - One-at-a-Time Fighting

Jack Reacher movies are awesome and Reacher can certainly look after himself. But why, when there’s one of you and ten of them, do they wait till you’ve destroyed the previous attacker and only then have a go. In real life, it doesn’t matter who you are, you get attacked at the time by all of them and you probably get a solid kicking.

9 - Here’s what I’m gonna do. Now try and stop me.

I first noticed this when I was watching James Bond’s Goldfinger and it became a staple of driving a plot. When the villain has the hero in what seems to be an insurmountable predicament, the villain can’t help it. He has to confirm all the horrible things he’s up to, the fact that the hero can do nothing about it and that the hero is about to meet a grisly death. Of course, then the hero breaks free and uses that information to prevail.

10 - TV on Cue

The stars are talking in the kitchen about what’s going on, something about a foreign leader being assassinated. So they turn on the TV and there’s the news bulletin. By some supernatural feat, they’ve tuned into the exact channel at the exact time they are broadcasting it.

11 - Time Travel Tuition

Everyone’s in class and the bell’s gone to start. In comes the teacher. It’s under a minute into the class. The teacher engages with the students and maybe has a chat with one of them. We’re three minutes into class when that chat reaches a conclusion. And there it is, the bell goes and everyone scarpers for the door under instruction to write that essay by Monday. Thirty-six minutes have just vanished from the teaching schedule. If all classes were like that, kids would be very happy.

12 - Where’s the Traffic?

Car chases in cities seem to have no traffic congestion to contend with, just swing it right, swing it left and foot down. On the highway, the cars are laid out perfectly for weaving in and out of them at speed, like chequers on a board.

13 - No Parking Problems

And how do they get parked? Middle of New York, he pulls up right outside a building. First of all, there’s a space? When has there ever been a space? He slams the door and goes inside. If it was anywhere else but Movieville, he’d be circling for three hours and if he did find a spot he’d be towed. He’d get back outside to find no car at all and a few hundred bucks to pay for the privilege.

14 - Wheel in another one

I used to love the Dukes of Hazzard. The General Lee, their orange Dodge Charger was the only car I wanted when I was older. I’m not sure how many Dodge chargers they went through but how many times did they get the thing to jump a little bridge, take off into the air and land again, only to resume their chase or their escape unharmed. You don’t even need to look that carefully. When the General Lee lands, its chassis is buckled and bent like an orange banana. The engine is too heavy and it comes down nose-first. All that vehicle would be able to do from that point is limp into the sidings.

15 - Hello? Hello?

Phone Calls. Information or niceties are exchanged. These people are best buddies or husband and wife. The final piece of information is exchanged and the next thing, one of them hangs up? Where’s the old school etiquette of just saying goodbye. Without a call-sign like over and out or goodbye, how do you know where you are? “Hello?” Fine. Bye then.

16 - Keep the Change

We know actors can do very well financially but don’t rub our noses in it. Whenever a character buys something he just hands over a few notes and leaves. They never expect or wait for any change.

The same goes for restaurants. Nice chat. Nice meal. Now it’s time to go. Once again a few bills hit the table and they’re off. What’s the bill? Do they have photographic memories? They know exactly how much their meal is. Or is that kind of date?

17 - Super Meds

Meds are taken by a variety of characters for a variety of reasons. But Movie Meds are a different breed to the stuff we get over the counter in the real world. After a character has searched around and finally found the bottle of pills that will stop his heart twitching, he pops one and it takes a matter of seconds for him to record the relief.

18 - Battle School

You track down your enemy, shooting your way through bodyguards and security and you finally get him. He’s on his knees and you have your gun to his head. A little chat ensures, probably you telling him what you’ve done and how he’s going to die. The conversation becomes more heated until the point where it’s time to end him. And at that moment, there’s the click as you cock your gun. At which point during the battle you’ve just had did you uncock it?

Another thing about battles is how easy most of your enemy targets are. There you are, crouching, hiding and moving undercover, a proper soldier, wits about you. And through a door come the enemy, like they were coming out of the bathroom. They stand there in full sight, sitting targets, and they are easily picked off.

And if you and your gun are under siege from ten enemies and their ten guns, much like the hand to hand fighting we talked about above, why do you get the time to pick them all off in turn. I mean, they don’t even need proximity. Ten guns would open up on you at the same time and you would be toast.

19 - Sound Bubble Bar

Another wonderful thing and Movieville is that you can go into a busy bar, walk straight up to the bar and get served. And the barman can hear you without shouting. No queuing three-deep at the bar, trying to catch a server’s attention for twenty minutes. And not only did the server hear you, but you and your buddy can hear each other, you can sit there and have a quiet chat without needing to text each other over the noise.

20 - Feed Me

Sometimes when I watch a movie, I’m hungry. Or if I wasn’t hungry yet, I soon would be when some of the characters sit down to a meal. This is particularly annoying with breakfast. Mum has got up and it’s all there, bacon, eggs, fruit, bread, coffee, the whole nine yards. I’m watching it thinking of bacon and nothing else. But the characters swan in and take their seats, the dialogue moves on and before you know it, they’ve taken a corner bite out a piece of toast and they’re off out the door. The feast that I can literally smell in my room is abandoned, and no-one’s had any. If I was mum, I’d consider it the last time I bothered.

It’s the same with restaurants. This wonderful food arrives and all through the scene, they study it, poke at it, move it around their plates but never actually eat anything. Their plates are full from the whole scene. Oh God, I’m so hungry.

© 2020 Dominic Schunker


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