January 17, 2020 | Jess Silverberg

People Share What Happens In Movies That Never Happens In Real Life

As much as movies try to be a realistic reflection of life, they often tend to overexaggerate everyday circumstances in order to make their stories a lot more interesting. The truth is, real-life just isn't like how it is in the movies, as much as we wish it was. The people below share the things they see in movies that would never happen in real life. Do you agree with them?

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#1 Skim Accuracy

Whenever people play something back, be it a tape recorder, video recording, or whatever, they can always fast-forward or rewind to EXACTLY the point they want, with perfect accuracy. Or if they turn on the TV, they get to the exact beginning of a news report that is not only super relevant to the plot, but it's also way, way more specific than necessary.

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#2  The Window Experiment

I had a professor that taught classes on comics, sci-fi, and pop culture (as English classes). We came into class one day to a broken window and his hand wrapped in paper towels. Turns out, in his previous class, which was held in the same classroom, while discussing how unrealistic and difficult it is to punch out a window, he attempted to demonstrate by punching one of the classroom windows.

Evidently, when the building was getting worked on, some guy replaced that window with picture frame glass, which is not nearly as strong as regular window glass, and the professor proceeded to stick his hand through the window. He took it really well and insisted on teaching our class as well, despite us trying to get him to go to a doctor. Super fun guy, wish more educators were like him.


#3 Unexpected Twists

In movies with any kind of trial scene, there's always a dramatic moment where one of the attorneys presents a witness or piece of evidence that completely changes the course of the trial. Something that neither the judge or opposing attorney knew about. Like sorry buddy, but the discovery deadline was a month ago.


#4 Money, Money, Money

Young professionals or college students living in HUGE, fully furnished apartments in the city. Money, in general, is completely ignored in movies. Transactions of any kind are avoided because they're slow and unnecessary to the plot. No one that rents a car is shown renting the car unless it's a setup.

No one is showing getting groceries unless there is some exposition being done with a narrative voice or the character needs a place to bump into someone. No one needs gas until they're in too much of a hurry to stop. I can't even count how many times actors walk out on their tabs.



#5 Dull And Depressing

Fun fact: I read when they were gearing up to shoot The Big Bang Theory, they wanted the set to look like how actual grad students lived. So they visited the apartments of a bunch of engineering and sciences graduate students to get a feel for what their apartments looked like. Their real-life living conditions were deemed too depressing for a network sitcom, hence why the set for the show is the typical big roomy apartment you see in every other sitcom.

I think Broad City is one of the few shows where the characters live as they would actually live in real life. You'll see one of the girls' apartments and the couch is old, ugly, and takes up most of the room of her NYC apartment.


#6 Too Sharp, Too Clear

Skype streams with 1080p and 120 fps. Also, pristine sound. I think voice calls sound horrible on Skype. We’re doing a bunch of conference calls at work on this really expensive speaker setup, most of the participants use really good quality headphones but the sound quality from Skype is just absolutely horrible.


#7 Overnight Popularity

Becoming popular after taking down your ponytail and removing your nerdy glasses. Yep. Especially not in high school, especially not in a small town where everybody knows your whole life. They'll register, "Huh, the nerdy girl looks nice tonight," and then remember every dorky thing you ever did and go right back to remembering you're not hot stuff. This only works if you do the makeover during the summer between high school and college, and present yourself as a more stylish person to a whole new group of people at college.


#8 Mindless Vandalism

I've never seen anyone apprehend criminals while causing millions and millions in damage to the city. I watched Pacific Rim (the more recent one) and the one giant goodie robot just casually slices a building in half while charging the baddie... like why was that necessary? You could have at least spared that one building. Now that’s just more work for other people to fix. I’m clearly getting old because mindless vandalism in a film upsets me.


#9 Perfect Hearing

Characters can hear every word of dialogue perfectly in a noisy environment. The captain frantically whispering to the private: "I need you to charge that machine." Private: "Um, actually, I can't hear you... I'm completely deaf from three hours of constant explosions."



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#10 No Days Off

I had a professor who showed up 20 minutes late to the day of our final. The dude had been in a wreck and  STILL HAD LIKE HALF-DRIED BLOOD DOWN THE SIDE OF HIS HEAD. He insisted that he administer the final to us. He wasn't even teaching that day! He literally just handed out the test, gave like 20 seconds of instructions, and then observed us. I mean, send in a secretary and go take care of yourself! He was a really good teacher, though. He almost made me want to major in economics, but only took the basic Micro and Macro classes from him.

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#11 Breakfast Disrespect

When the mother of the house has spent four hours making breakfast for the whole family with like a billion ingredients that cover the entire kitchen table and the dad or son or whatever walks by, grabs an apple and says they don't have time to eat because they're late for work. I'm pretty sure that kid could be legally ended in real life.

#12 Overly Easy-Going

A bunch of friends having breakfast, lounging around, watching TV, making jokes, etc., and then one of them goes, "Well, I better get to the office!" Like what the heck? You got up, got dressed for work, drove to your friend's house, all your other friends came over, you ate breakfast, and then moseyed over to your 9-to-5 gig? What time does your alarm go off, 4 am?

#13 Age Fluidity

A bunch of students in their late twenties in high school. This makes more sense when you're older. I've discovered that as I age, it gets hard to tell how old young people are. We had some college graduates come into work for us and when I first saw them, my thought was, "Where did these high schoolers come from?"


#14 Dramatic Circles

The way actors dramatically circle each other while they're having conversations. It's something stage actors are taught to do to make the scene more dynamic, but it's not something people ever actually do in real life. Imagine chatting with your buddy somewhere and he just starts circling you mid-conversation: "So anyway, I think we should... uh, where are you going? What is happening right now?"


#15 Court Realities

One criminal attorney said in a 40-year career he had exactly one trial where someone other than the defendant confessed from the witness stand. Like, that stuff happened weekly in Perry Mason. Usually, some new evidence can get presented, but the attorney doesn't do a "watch me pull a rabbit out a hat" in open court.


#16 Just A Scratch

People shrugging off a flesh wound like it's nothing. They even say "It's just a flesh wound." The movie Last Action Hero does a good job of mocking this by having Jack Slater incur a flesh wound in "the real world," and it's a big deal. But then he goes into the movie world and it's barely a scratch. There aren't many movies that show that realism.



#17 Endless Battles

Unlimited ammunition during battles... (minus John Wick where they do it correctly). James Cameron did it first. If there's anything that's a good fault about him, it's that he's obsessive about reloading. T2 and aliens are both really good with bullet counts. If there is one missed, it's always in the deleted scenes and just got edited for time.


#18 The Power Of Willpower

Willpower seems to be greater than any injury in every movie. Four broken ribs, countless lacerations, and eyes swelled shut probably won't be remedied by the time you are fighting the next wave of baddies. I saw one movie where a girl fell 100 feet off a cliff and was impaled on a tree. She got off the tree and went back to kill the bad guys. Worst one I've ever seen.


#19 A Trafficless NYC

Car chases never encounter traffic jams. The filming of Die Hard 3 was so ingrained in NYC. That summer, it was filmed so that the traffic reports on the radio had to announce where it was being shot that day so you could avoid the traffic it created. That's some pretty intense planning that needs to be done for a car chase scene.


#20 No Dramatics

When soldiers lose their lives on the battlefield in movies, it's usually a whole ordeal with last words, grunting, and the injured soldier slowly becoming lifeless as a buddy holds him in his arms. All the while the battle seemingly lulls off as this one random guy is dying. This just doesn't happen. Usually, battlefield deaths are quick and very sudden.


#21 Coughs And Calls

People cough and it's always indicative of an incoming terminal illness. A phone rings and it's terrible or pertinent news. In real life, people cough because there's something tickling their throat or because they swallowed something funny. You answer a phone call and Liz is trying to sell you a cheap stay in Las Vegas even though you've told that jerk to screw off more than three times in the last month.


#22 A Coder's Reality

I'd like to see a scene where it's a guy digging through lines of code, writing scripts, trying SQL injections, or whatever else while just sitting there casually. Meanwhile, some guy stands there yelling at him expecting it to be done instantly, while the hacker just stares lifelessly and indifferent. I think that would be more realistic.



#23 For The Sales

People that are experts in their highly scientific fields are not usually young and hot. It takes a long time to become so highly qualified for nuclear physics and that sort of thing. But no, in movies, it is always someone that looks to be in their mid-20s at the latest. I guess that's the only way a film about experts in highly scientific fields can be made marketable.


#24 Real Panic

In movies: “What the heck was that?” Don’t bother turning lights on. Go look...

In real life: My wife hears something... “What the heck was that? Wake up! Go check!!!!!” I turn every single light on, lock the bedroom door behind me, and have 911 ready to dial. She constantly yells for me to give an update, then allows me back in the door after triple confirming my identity and using the secret password.

Thee noise? Dog farted.


#25 Family Information

People establishing family (outside of mothers, fathers and grandparents) relationships in their greetings so anyone that happens to overhear knows how they're related.

"Hey brother, it's been a long time!"
"What's going on, sis?"
"How are you, cousin?"


#26 Rude Interruptions

People waiting their turn to talk. Imagine a realistic drama where one character confronts the person who wronged them, and about two sentences into their big, inspiring, mic-drop moment, the other person cuts them off with: "Go screw yourself, jerk." I mean, I've had my share of arguments. Not many people sit patiently through several paragraphs of well thought out reasons why they're wrong.


#27 Broken Conversation

High schoolers very openly and obviously throwing house parties or going to clubs and getting wasted. Being drenched the second they walk outside while raining One person running in and saying something along the lines of: "Oh my God, I have to tell you something..." then getting interrupted by the person they want to talk to, saying: "I don't have time for this." Of course you're going to want to know why someone needs to obviously and urgently tell you something.

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#28 Give Us The Room

Someone asking like 20 people to leave a room so they can have a conversation with one other person. "Can we have the room?" or "Give us the room." This happens all the time in movies. It has been driving me crazy since I started noticing it. I feel like this doesn't happen as often. If anything, the two people who need to talk privately would go to a different room instead of asking everyone out.

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#29 Sharp Learning Curve

Brand new technology is always incredibly intuitive for first-time users in movies. Seriously, regular characters just walk up to enemy bases for example and just start manipulating the system. Yeah, because Billy here can even find Task Manager let alone log into and use some new software at an enemy’s base.


#30 Not Sly At All

A character thinking, out loud, something that they're desperate to conceal from others and ending up getting heard by someone in the vicinity. You'd think a person who bears the burden on their shoulders to hide a family secret, a questionable motive, a clandestine location of some object which must be kept from falling into the wrong hands, or anything along those lines, would know better than to verbalize their inner monologues about these things loud enough to be heard by others. But nope. They have to shout it from the rooftops and then act like they don't know what went amiss when they're caught and questioned about it or when it's subsequently used against them.


#31 Low Maintenance

The medical examiner comes back with a tox report and DNA match in a matter of minutes. In real life, this stuff takes days or weeks. Also, it's always as if people never have to go to the bathroom and are rarely hungry or thirsty. They must be superhuman because they can seemingly go for weeks with virtually no sleep, either.


#32 Let's Be Real, Here

A young married couple buying a massive two- or three-story Victorian that is completely updated and has full attic and basement as their first home like that's a normal thing. Even with a discount for the demons that hang out there, a newly married couple that just spent upwards of 40 grand on a wedding is not going be able to afford this huge remodeled house.


#33 Must Love Dogs

Two people walking their respective dogs meet after moving to the same neighborhood the day before and fall in love at first sight. In reality: two people walking their dogs stare at their smartphones while the dogs sniff each other's bums and go #1 on the same tree. Maybe the movie version does happen sometimes, but it's probably a rare occurrence.


#34 The Same Old Game

Two people having an argument or misunderstanding and the whole thing would be cleared up by one person just saying the critical bit of information the other person doesn't know... But instead, they let them leave the room, and everything gets exponentially worse. I personally don't think that makes for interesting storytelling.


#35 Unnatural Dialogue

This is a little thing, but the dialogue is never natural. It's more like this idyllic version of natural. Nobody mishears anything. Every sentence is relevant to something. Great enunciation. Some movies get pretty close, but you still never get the talking-over-each-other effect. But watch something like Man of Steel and listen to how formal the dialogue is. It's bizarre once you notice it. Everyone's acting like they're in a play.


#36 "Ums" And "Uhs"

I watched a Lessons from the Screenplay video about The Social Network, and he mentioned how Aaron Sorkin put in "ums" and "uhs" and pauses in the dialogue to make it more natural. Of course, his dialogue is a little too fast and witty to be that natural, but it was still an interesting video to watch. The movie also did seem more realistic because of those additions.

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#37 One Last Punch

When CPR just won't work. The character performing CPR gives up and starts crying. Then, he summons the strength to give one last punch to the person's chest and the lifeless person gasps for air, is completely coherent, and they usually start kissing. I can't tell you how many times I've tried that and it NEVER works.


#38 Verbal Grief

People go visit the gravestone of someone close to them alone and give a long dramatic speech to the deceased. No one does this in real life as far as I've experienced. You might visit the grave but people tend to just sit quietly with their thoughts and then leave. Maybe it would make more sense if the scene involved a voice-over representing the character's thoughts, rather than having the character actually speak out loud.


#39 Under The Rug

So I was watching a show with my friends when someone walked into a bedroom, lifted the rug, moved a plank and found a hidden space. I turned to my friends and asked them, of all the times they lived in a house, did they ever have one of those? No one did, however, in movies, you can rest assured, if it's a hardwood floor with a carpet over it, there is a plank you can move to find people's secrets.


#40 Read My Mind

The lead actor sits down at the bar: "Get me a drink."

The movie bartender: *Silently gets drink*

Real-life bartender: "What? What kind of drink? We've got 20 options on tap and an extensive bottle list. Do you want a menu or something?"

Purely in the interest of science, I went to my local bar this evening and asked the bartender if anyone ever comes in and just orders a drink, with no other information. He said, “Yeah, sometimes.” I asked him what he does when they do that. Him: “I tell them that’s like walking into a deli and ordering a ‘sandwich’.”


#41 Sprinkler Science

Fire sprinklers activating all at once or turning one valve to open them all. They are individually activated by a heat-sensitive fusible link. Unless it’s a deluge system then it’s all at once, but those are very specific and specialized. It's become so frequent in movies and shows that I can't help but blurt out this fact to everyone after the movie is over.


#42 Work-Life Discrepancies

Large groups of grown adults with careers and possibly families can easily, with little or no coordination, get together at a moment's notice just to hang out for hours even in the middle of a weekday.

In real life person A is working, person B can come but only if they can bring their kids, person C totally would but they are doing something... like, person D has a test in the morning and needs to revise, person E can make it but it would be more convenient on another day...


#43 The Truth Of Waking Up

People waking up out of a coma or surgery well rested and fully functional. When my dad came out of his heart surgery, he was so whacked out on the meds that he was hitting on all the nurses, trying to take his bedsheets off in front of everyone, and also broke out a very slurred chorus of "Say My Name" by Destiny’s Child. It takes months to fully recover from an intense period being under anesthetic and it totally scrambles your brain.

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#44 Contractions Come First

So the way pregnancy works in movies is pretty unrealistic. The first sign that someone is going into labor is always the water breaking, but in reality, it starts with contractions. The contractions can go on for a while before the water breaks. In the majority of cases, the pregnant mother is already in the hospital before the water breaks.


#45 The Engineer Knows

In the movies, when a pipe burst and blows out manholes and fire hydrants. Manhole lids are heavy as heck and they don't cover water lines. Also if a water line is going to burst, it'll be at a fitting or connection between two PVC pipes. It won't burst at a heavily reinforced ductile iron hydrant. Source: I'm a civil engineer.


#46 The Universal Language

There is always someone nearby who speaks English in a foreign country. Middle of the slums? A random child speaks English and leads you through back alleys. Middle of freaking nowhere? This tribal leader speaks English pretty well. And if nobody does? He somehow finds somebody whose first line is usually “So you are far from home, huh?”


#47 Open Door Policy

Nobody ever locks their doors when they leave and yet amazingly enough when they come home nobody's broken in and stolen anything. TV shows nowadays are bad for it too. The Big Bang Theory drives me nuts for it. They always show them unlocking the doors but never locking them. I don't understand how people can actually live that carefree, especially with regard to their security.


#48 CPR vs. Paddles

According to my CPR class instructor from last night... if a patient flatlines (as in, his or her heart completely stops), they do NOT use the paddles to shock the patient. They just continue CPR. Shocking is used to stop an abnormal rhythm and hopefully reset it to a better one. You always see them shock a flatlined patient in movies though!


#49 Stalker Love

The would-be lover, ignored by the person of their dreams, persists, and eventually wins their undying love. FIN. In real life, this is called stalking. It doesn't work and it will eventually lead to heartache, restraining orders, and, all too frequently, someone (read: the female) losing their life. Don't be that person.

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#50 Spam Calls

The phone only rings to move the plot along. In real life, my phone only rings due to scammers or bots calling from an Arlington, VA number. It's always a different number but it is always Arlington. I don't know if it is because that is the tower it bounces off of or not. I also live close enough that I have clients from Arlington, so I can't just block all Arlington numbers.

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