Movies are meant to entertain us, all while staying realistic enough (hopefully) that we don’t lose interest. While a lot of our favorite movies speak to us on different levels, there are a lot of pictures out there that get some basic things wrong.
#1 Blown Back
I’ve seen this happen a lot in movies and television. When people are blown back by an extremely close explosion and just walk away afterward. Yeah, no; the changes in pressure are going to cause organ hemorrhage and rupture. On top of all that, your lungs are going to pop and something is bound to spill open.
#2 Cheesy and Stupid
I hate seeing CPR in movies. CPR doesn’t work and everyone looks all sad and some cry for like 20-30 seconds, then the character lunges their body up and lets the water out. Bonus points if the person doing CPR is in love with them and says something like, “No, I can’t live without you!” Then they wake up when the person cries and they say something like, “You don’t have to.” It’s so cheesy and stupid.
#3 Going to Bury You
Avalanches, particularly when someone gets buried and then just bursts out of the snow unharmed. Avalanche debris sets like concrete, you're not getting out without help. And most injuries occur from being bashed up during the slide, so you're not likely to emerge unscathed if it's actually big enough to bury you.
#4 Clear as Day
There was this one scene in Taken . He takes a 2008-era phone (with, at best, a 1MP camera, probably VGA), and manages to zoom in to see the photographer's reflection in a trash can. It was good enough to identify him. It’s probably barely possible with a modern professional camera. You can't alter focus after the photo is taken.
#5 Obscure Dad Facts
My dad was a pipe engineer for 35 years. Every time he watches The Titanic when Jack is handcuffed to the pipe, he has to point out to everyone in the room how the curved elbow pipe in the shot didn’t exist at the time. The correct setup should have been two straight pieces soldered together to make a corner pipe. I love him and his obscure dad facts!
#6 Sci-Fi Noises
It's always a pet peeve of mine when in movies, they're working on a computer and the thing is constantly chirping and beeping with some kind of dumb sci-fi-looking interface to it. Like, we all have computers now. We all know software doesn't do that and if it did it, would be annoying as heck. I've even seen scenes where they're clearly using Photoshop or something similar and it's constantly making little sci-fi noises.
#7 Ignoring the Signs
I watched a movie once where geologists ignored signs of a massive natural disaster, blaming it on sensors. Tell me if I’m wrong, but I feel like real scientists don’t hesitate to double-check. It seems like scientists ignore sensors in a lot of movies! Dante’s Peak , The Day After Tomorrow , Spider-Man , and 2012 . I’m specifically talking about The Wave !
#8 Going Through the Ducts
Crawling through air ducts. Most aren't that big or they aren't that strong to not bend or break at all. They are also incredibly filthy. I have taken out enough ductwork to know that you could almost create another person with how many skin cells end up in your air ducts. I also am not doubting the strength of the large threaded supports some ductwork has. I'm doubting the strength of the 20 gauge metal won’t bend in the slightest under the weight of a full-grown man.
#9 Demanding Results
Basically any time they show lab work being done. They either don't wear PPE or they do wear it but don't wear it properly, or for the right things. Food, beverages, and chewing gum in a lab is a big, big no. If some character in a drama TV show walked into my lab demanding results, the first thing I'd do is give them safety glasses.
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#10 Don’t Worry, I’m Fine
Our hero is beaten and shot. Next scene, he wakes up bandaged in the hospital. Within seconds, he yanks out all the tubes and wires, jumps out of bed, finds his — suddenly clean — clothes and rushes out to continue his quest. In the next scene, he's full of energy as he pursues his foe. While his face may have a single scratch — usually above one eye — there's no sign of what would ordinarily be a yellow-purple swollen pulpy mess.
#11 Science Babble
All the movies with science or tech babble in them. All of them. At least it's pretty funny. Just stick "dark energy" or "quantum physics" somewhere. "The quantum dark energy is spreading to his butt!" Hacking is babbling about, "I'm in" and you always have to "trace the source" I'm pretty sure. "I'm in his movie collection, tracing the sources now."
#12 The Perfect Time
It always takes me out of the movie when someone says, “You’ll never believe what’s on the news. Put it on.” Their TV is off, they turn the TV on, and it’s on the exact station of said news crew, at the exact moment they’re talking about said topic. That’s not how it works. And it could be anything. Not just news. They turn on the TV and it just so happens to be what they're looking for. It’s just a small aspect of television and movies that takes me out of it. I’m always like, “that’s not how this works.”
#13 Sack of Potatoes
As a cop, I've dealt with many victims. People don't just drop like sacks of potatoes when they’re stuck with something. I once had to respond to an incident where two guys got into a fight. I ended up having to help keep pressure on wounds as we waited for paramedics and he pulled through. His neck was wide open and he had 23 punctures in his abdomen and arms. But, he was still energetic and down to fight. It makes me laugh a little when bad guys drop after they’re cut in any way.
#14 Not So Fast
90% of the depictions of women going into labor. It's rare that the mom feels fine all day and suddenly has one sharp contraction. Then her water immediately breaks and makes a puddle on the floor. Everyone I know who's given birth has had at least a few hours contracting before the water breaking, if it breaks at all. Then, it can be even longer before you're in active labor.
#15 Structural Integrity
If someone is falling, and say Superman catches them, they're actually in trouble because the forces involved are still going to tear them apart. Superman would have to catch them and decelerate them over time, but this almost never happens. He just catches them. You also can't just lift an enormously heavy object. The object has to have the structural integrity to remain in one piece - all that pressure at one point (Superman's hand) would make the object break apart.
#16 That’s Realistic
Something really interesting I saw was in Teen Titans: The Judas Contract when Nightwing falls a few stories in a fight and grabs a ledge. Then his shoulder pops out of the socket. He ends up having to fight with a limp arm and resets it very painfully later. You usually don’t see that type of stuff when people fall in movies, let alone in an animated film. But, that’s realistic.
#17 Stopping the Heart
It doesn't seem to matter what causes someone to flatline, it's straight to the defibrillator. Like, guys, it's designed to stop the heart with the hopes it will restart with a normal rhythm. It doesn't start a stopped heart, they will use medications like adrenaline (I assume, not a doctor), and use CPR, for any other reason.
#18 Wizards in All Fields
People in movies being "scientists,” meaning they’re good at all forms of science — biology, electrical engineering, physics, programming, communication protocols, advanced mathematics, hacking, robotics, etc. Sure, you could have some knowledge in all of those fields, but specializing in just one of them takes decades. These characters are usually wizards in all fields.
#19 Sore and Sickly
CPR in movies is hilarious. I was taught to do it first in drowning victims as part of my lifeguarding training, and 99.9% of the time CPR is just to keep them viable until an ambulance shows up. The teacher was a mica paramedic and he said there was only once where the person woke up like the movies. Even then, they were very sore, sickly and would have passed away without hospital intervention.
#20 Mood Lighting
My father has a career working in a laboratory. Something I’ve noticed in labs on television or in movies is the lighting. In crime procedurals, the lab has moody and dark lighting, which is never actually the case. If anything, the lighting is constantly unflattering because it’s just bright, fluorescent bulbs.
#21 Superhero Landing
The first "superhero landing" in an armor suit would simply make Tony Stark (who plays Iron Man in the Marvel movies in case you didn’t know) soup inside. Just imagine that scene realistically. It would basically be him landing at the expo, then the armor stays quiet for a second and red liquid starts pouring out the joints.
#22 In Space
Just about every movie where anything does anything in space. I can count the exceptions on one hand. Ships burning prograde into reentry, maneuvering hilariously close, and 99% of the time burning in the wrong direction. Imagine an action movie where everyone runs into the big fight hitting themselves in the head as if that would hurt their enemy. It's painful.
#23 All Our Brain
I refused to see the movie Lucy because it was based around the infamous myth that "we only ever use 10% of our brain." Like, no we don't? What on earth are you talking about? We use the whole thing. We cannot just unlock our brains with fancy technology or medications and suddenly have telekinesis or something.
#24 Walking Away Unscathed
Most explosions. They're still fantastic movies and I love them all, but when a building explodes you're not going to walk out casually (and barely) beating the flames. Additionally, those thousands of pieces of wood aren't all going to magically not impale you as they're hurdled all around you with incredible force.
#25 Perfect Face
That thing where a lab procedure suddenly takes half the time because someone offers to pay more. Uh no, if it needs to be centrifuged for 24 hours, it's still going to take 24 hours even with $100K on the table. Also, not as jarring, but everyone always wakes up with perfect makeup and no one ever seems to clean their face.
#26 Rushing Through It
There's the trope of people in advertising having to stay late around the holidays, rushing to finish up the holiday campaign for the new client and having to choose between their career and their family. Yeah, that would not happen very often. In reality, the holiday campaign would have been finalized quite some time ago after months of planning, back-and-forth with the client, reviewing proofs, etc. Around the holiday season, we would most likely be working on planning stuff for the spring of the next year.
#27 Knock You Out
I don’t know how anyone else feels about stuff like this, but the one glaring problem I see in movies is chloroform. It takes several minutes to knock you out, and you won't be out for that long. I promise I know this because we use chloroform to clean stuff in the lab I intern at and my advisor told me this... Just in case the FBI is reading this.
#28 Power it Up
I’m going with any movie scene where anyone is using a chainsaw. If you’ve never used one before, chainsaws don't just start from cold with only one pull, they need a little while to warm up. You sure as heck can't cut through flesh and bone without ruining that chain real good (Yes, I’m looking at you, Evil Dead ).
#29 Blind Trust
It's more of a troupe, but the idea that one person designs security systems. Like in Die Hard 4 , one genius supposedly designed the computer network for the FBI or whatever and left backdoors. Then no one checked on him or his software, just blind trust in some random stranger. That's not how computer systems are designed, especially for government agencies. No one person could manage the scope either.
#30 Rushed to the Hospital
I’m a labor doula. Most of the time, the water doesn't break until the pushing phase. Add to that, movies portray mom feeling fine all day, has sudden sharp contraction and then everyone is freaking out to rush her to the hospital. First — you shouldn't do this. Second — most hospitals are just going to send you home.
Labor is generally a long process. There are exceptions, but especially for first time moms, it’s going to be a long while. There’s no reason to rush to the hospital. With early labor, the contractions are bearable and mom can go about her day as she has them. She isn't being stopped in her tracks as she has them and moaning with each one. That comes later. Labor in movies and TV is ridiculous.
#31 Don’t Hold Your Breath
Scenes that involve swimming. I try to hold my breath whenever a movie character (non-superhero) dives underwater and try to hold it as long as they’re swimming or submerged. I end up drowning nine out of 10 times. I mean, there’s probably a lot of things to consider, but the amount of time, some characters can hold their breath for a superhuman amount of time.
#32 Like a Dance
Anytime sword fighting or fencing in a movie is related to dancing (looking at you Pirates of the Caribbean and Game of Thrones .) It’s the exact opposite of dancing. The point is to have a completely unpredictable tempo and, if your opponent indeed does have a specific rhythm, to interrupt it in unpredictable ways.
#33 Like Nothing Happened
EpiPen usage! You have to call the ambulance or rush to the hospital after administering it. EpiPens are not a magical fix, they simply buy you enough time to get to medical care. It bothers me relentlessly when movies show someone being given an EpiPen and they just take a big gasp of air and go back to eating dinner like nothing happened.
#34 Out Like a Light
Hitting animals with tranquilizer darts and they collapse immediately. The reality is that it can take 30-45 minutes for an animal to go down completely, longer if the animal is agitated. This is why when kids fall into gorilla pits, other methods are used. Responders don’t have 30-45 minutes to wait for a large, agitated dangerous animal to stumble around and possibly injure someone. The response has to be immediate, and tranquilizers don’t do that.
#35 Money, Please
Any scene in a bank. No, normal banks do not just have stacks and stacks of money or gold bars in them. Also, you can’t just go into a bank with a huge check and get it all in cash. They need to know ahead of time because they intentionally don’t keep more money on the premises than necessary because duh, bank robberies.
#36 Beautiful Disorders
How "beautiful" depression and disorders are. How it makes you so dainty, pretty and soft. If you threw up your guts every night, you would not be bright-eyed and gentle with luscious hair and strong nails. If you were depressed, you aren't sitting pretty and looking mysterious. And don't get me started on how taking your life isn’t that easy, nor that painless and perfect.
#37 Pour One Out
As a bartender, it annoys me when people walk into a bar and tell the bartender they'll have "a drink.” Then the bartender just pours them one. Like, um, there are billions of drinks out there. Which one? Even if they just said, "Pilsner or IPA.” Or when the bartender leaves the bottle of tequila or whatever for them to pour themselves. Um, no that's not how it works (at least in the US). I have noticed that movies and shows are getting better at it, though.
#38 Boy or Girl?
TV butchers most ultrasounds. Because of TV and movies, people seem to be under the impression ultrasound techs just scan babies. In actuality, that’s just one-third of the job. At least twice a week I have a 60-something-year-old man ask if it’s a boy or girl as I’m gelling up his gut. Sir, unless you ate a baby, there shouldn’t be one in there and I can only fake laugh so many times without melting a little inside.
#39 Keep the Conversation Going
I always hate in movies when a conversation starts, then characters have to travel somewhere together, then they get to their destination and pick up where they were before traveling. Like why would the conversation not keep going in the car or whatever? Or when phones ring at exactly the right time, or when characters walk in when cued up as if they can hear everything perfectly when they really shouldn’t be able to.
#40 Dr. Evil’s Sharks
This is so dumb, but one of the newer Final Destination movies got LASIK so, so wrong. First of all, the woman is wearing a full face of makeup, including mascara. Second, they give her a teddy bear that they keep on-hand to calm their patients who are children. No, wrong. And then there’s the laser beam itself, which is hot and red and looks like it should be attached to the head of one of Dr. Evil’s sharks. It’s nothing remotely like what you’d find in an office. Also, they left her alone in there the whole time. It’s like those movies took place further and further into an idiocratic future each time.
#41 Regaining Mobility
Any time where the character has been in a coma for an extended period of time, wakes up, and they might be slightly unsteady or wobbly at first. But a few scenes later, they're walking around like normal. Like, no. The muscle atrophy would have turned your entire body to jelly and would take a long time to recover to regain full mobility.
#42 Glitchy Brain
When a movie thinks that people with autism are like some kind of superhuman. They just have random powers like being super smart and instantly recognizing patterns or some other nonsense. Sorry, but that’s not exactly how it works. Autism is like having a glitchy brain, not some sort of supercharged intellect.
#43 Hallmark Movies
Every Hallmark movie to ever exist over the years. Customers and employees don't really act like that. Not everyone in the office, except for this one peculiar lady, is super terrible. And, not every single person who you compete with is going to betray you with kidnapping, sabotage, or something of the sort.
#44 Private Conversations
Whenever a bell rings in a school and then students keep talking and slowly meander to class. Like, no, you're already late. Also, lunch periods and time between classes that are like so long! There are never any lines in bathrooms either. Girls always have super private conversations, then get shocked when there’s someone in a stall, instead of 13 chicks all waiting and every stall full and four girls at the mirror. Also, pretty much all movies where women only talk to each other in the bathroom? Why?
#45 Mimed Music
Badly mimed musical instrument playing. I have so much respect for actors like Jamie Foxx (who plays piano like a god) or Don Cheadle (studied trumpet privately for over a year). It drives me crazy when an actor holds an instrument wrong, or uses some random fingering that's completely impractical for that instrument.
#46 Showing Statistics
Any movie where there’s an unnecessary bad guy just for drama. Like in Moneyball , they made the coach a complete idiot and Billie Beans going around talking to all the players about statistics. That part made no sense. If you think a multi-billion dollar organization doesn't show statistics to their multi-million dollar players, then you are an idiot.
#47 Wet Clay
The pottery scene from Ghost . One minute, they’re elbow deep, throwing wet clay on the pottery wheel, the next their hands are clean and they’re making out. Nope. It takes one heck of a washing to get hands clean after wet sticky clay. Then you have to wash them again because the clay dust dries on your hands as a residue. I laughed when I saw that scene.
#48 Spot the Uniform
I swear, every time I see the military portrayed on the big screen, it makes me cringe. I’m in the navy so it’s essentially impossible not to spot the uniforms or even the military barring. Some movies aren’t so blatant, but then there are some that invoke the reactions, “It doesn’t work like that” or “C’mon, they can’t be serious.”
#49 Taking on Water
My wife has fond memories of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and was shocked to find out it's so poorly rated. So, we had to watch it last week. There’s this moment where the Gentlemen’s submarine is taking on water while being underwater. It’s all very dire until Mr. Hyde saves the day by pulling some valve that drains all the water and lets the air in, forcing the ship to surface. But they were underwater and there was no place for the water to drain or for air to enter. It was very stupid.
#50 Onscreen Musicians
Anytime musicians automatically know all the parts and words to every song, complete with harmonies. Also, when a band is shown on stage and one musician leans in to talk to another one and the music suddenly gets quieter. This has led to about 1,000,000 people trying to talk to me in the middle of playing a song.