We all know that movies aren't realistic, because no one wants to see a film where Vin Diesel spends four months in rehab after a car crash breaks half the bones in his body. But there are basic elements of these movies that you probably took for truth just because you've seen them over and over, for decades. "Somebody would have checked this at some point, right?"
Not really! Because in real life ...
7Sneakily Knocking Someone Out With Chloroform Isn't Actually A Thing
You've all seen the "sneak up behind the victim with a chloroform-soaked rag" bit. It doesn't matter whether the rag gets shoved into the face of a little girl or a tough mercenary -- one whiff of chloroform is enough to instantly, but harmlessly, knock anyone out. Buffy, The Girl Who Kills Vampires, gets chloroformed and goes down like a sack of wooden stakes. It gets played for laughs on Community. In Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, a film otherwise known for its staunch adherence to realism, Jim Carrey takes down a beefy football player in like five seconds:
Meanwhile, In The Real World ...
Chloroform was one of the earliest anesthetics, discovered way back when a doctor's toolkit was disturbingly similar to that of a lumberjack's. But even then, when anesthesia involved a doctor pressing a sponge to his patient's face, they knew the stuff took its sweet time to work. Rendering someone unconscious with chloroform takes two to three minutes. If that doesn't sound like a lot of time, feel free to re-enact any of those famous scenes with a friend ... only this time, you've got to somehow keep that freaking rag pressed to their mouth for 150 seconds or so without them twisting away from it and snatching a breath of air (or yelling for the cops, or elbowing you in the gut, or ... ).
Warner Bros. Television
Or using their goddamn superpowers.
You could go with a dose strong enough to knock them out quicker, but that comes with the side effect of death. That's why anesthesiologists have to carefully take into account a patient's age, gender, weight, overall health, and many other attributes to prescribe a unique chemical cocktail, instead of haphazardly guessing. Everyone has their own unique fine line between going unconscious and shuffling off this mortal coil.
Now, there were records of supposed chloroform-assisted crimes (which likely inspired the pop culture trope), but they actually prove our point. Way back in 1850, in response to a public panic about the new substance being used for crime, John Snow (the one who convinced England that drinking sewer water was a bad idea, not the one who knows nothing) documented real-life cases of chloroform crimes. He found plenty of botched attempts, such as the case of an elderly clergyman who easily overpowered his rag-bearing attackers, and the case of a young woman who ripped a chloroform-soaked handkerchief away from her face and screamed for the police. But he found precisely zero examples of a chloroform-assisted crime actually succeeding.
W. Matthews / John Snow
The Vader-ing technique didn't work either.
So we've known that chloroform is a useless criminal tool since before the Civil War, but we keep using it in pop culture anyway, because in the universe of movies and TV, the need to quietly knock people unconscious comes up surprisingly often.
6Bullets Can Totally Punch Through A Car Door
Warner Brothers Pictures
Any movie with a big police shootout features the cops rolling up, opening their car doors and taking cover behind them, because why not? It's several layers of metal intended to protect you from getting T-boned by a semi, right? Here's The Departed demonstrating that modern automakers construct the body panels of our cars out of solid vibranium:
Bad guys can enjoy automotive-enabled invulnerability too. In Breaking Bad, when Hank has a shootout with the neo-Nazis, the villains all walk away unscathed thanks to their strategic car door use:
So keep that in mind if you ever drive into a pitched gun battle -- unless they get the bright idea to aim at your feet, that door will thwart any bad guy who isn't carrying a rocket launcher.
Meanwhile, In The Real World ...
Here's a car door stopping bullets about as effectively as wishful thinking:
MythBusters also took a look at this, and their verdict was the same: Bullets go straight through car doors. Those doors are, above all, designed to be lightweight, and thus use as little metal as possible. Depending on where they hit it, you might just have the thin little panel on the outside, and some foam and plastic on the inside. Here's what one looks like with the inner panel removed:
richpin06a / YouTube
Yeah, that shit is designed to withstand rogue soccer balls and playground-zone speed collisions, not military-grade firepower. If everyday cars were capable of stopping bullets, bulletproofing a vehicle wouldn't be so expensive and laborious. The Pope doesn't exactly roll around in the Popemobile for style, you know?