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Oh, Those Improbale Things in Movies!

Updated on October 25, 2018

Things missed and unknown in movies: Impossible items and stunts, misused phrases, impossible situations, etc

Someone I was talking to, who had a knowledge of police and detective work, said that they used to comment on every untruth they saw in any movie that involved detective or police work, until they realized that they were not really allowing themselves to simply enjoy the movie.

Well, while I don't let inconsistencies or untruths in movies bother me (Unless they really detract from the movie or are so overwhelming that the movie loses credibility.), I do sometimes notice them as items of interest. Sometimes it's a phrase that is overused, and often wrong. It can also be a situation or item that would not be in real life. And many times, it is often things that I learn afterward that will bring me back to a movie with the knowledge that something portrayed is incorrect or untrue.

Here's a list of items that have come up in movies that I've seen or heard of.

1. Items set up or made to fail or cause catastrophe:

Sometimes it will be an item or machine made to fail! In the real world, such an item would not be made that way. In the movie, "Cliffhanger ", starring Sylvester Stallone as a mountaineer, a woman falls to her death when an equipment strap comes easily unbuckled. I later learned, in a movie review, that, according to mountaineers who were consulted for the review, that the particular piece of equipment, in the real world, is made with several safety backups so it could never fail the way that it did in the movie! This is an example of something that can get by movie watchers who are not involved in the field of work or play portrayed in the movie.

In another movie, "The Temp", there is a paper shredder. Now, this shredder probably has no real world counterpart, as it's shredding blades look like sharks' teeth and are about as big. And, the blades are right there on top, with no kind of guard whatsoever! So, it is very easy for the evil temp to bump into the new worker while he is shredding paper and so his hand gets caught in the blades as they are rotating! I don't know about anyone else, but I've certainly never seen a paper shredder like this! All the one's I've seen have internal cutting mechanisms, guards which make it so you would really have to consciously work to get your fingers into the mechanism, and only go when paper is inserted! This was one of the more obvious impossibilities, as many, many people have worked or currently work in office situations where paper is shredded.

2. Nearly indestructible people:

Ever notice how, in movies, people will sock each other in fights, throw each other against walls, tables, and other obstacles, and yet, they will keep coming up and continue fighting. Well, in reality, this has some untruths. I took a self defense course in college, and the instructor mentioned how guys in movies will takes hard punches to the face with nothing more than their head being turned for a moment, then they punch back and before you know it, they are brawling, getting hit and slammed like crazy and yet getting up for more. And he went on to say that in real life, a person would not be able to bounce back from a hard punch to the face so quickly time and time again. And that's not even taking into account the bone breaking slams and falls that you see characters in movies take!

3. Over and Out!?:

In the movies, phrases are often overused and often wrong. Perhaps one of the worst and most overused is the phrase, "Over and out". And, unfortunately, most of us think this is the proper phrase to use when ending a conversation when using walkie talkies or radios. Actually, as a kid, my father bought some walkie talkies and was told by the salesperson that you use the word, "over", to let the other person know that you're now waiting for their answer. You say, "out", to end the conversation. You don't say both "Over" and "Out". This is like stepping on both the gas pedal and brake pedal in a car.

4. Airplanes or other historically distracting bloopers:

I don't think I've ever seen this, at least not in an obvious way, but I understand other people have. This is the "historical blooper". Most often, movie makers catch these, but sometimes not. An example would be a plane flying in the sky when the movie is set in ancient Rome, or the 19th century American West. More often, it is more subtle, such as a type of hat or other garment from the early 1930's seen in a movie that is set in the 1920's.

These are just the inconsistencies I've either seen or heard about, but there are probably more, and they can be interesting. When you really think about it, there are many of these things that have to be covered when the movie is made and it becomes easy to see how at least the subtle things can be missed.

So, let's go to the movies!



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