15 Things Movies & TV Shows Think They Know (But Don't)
Movies and TV have an implied authority. We see an actor do or say something about a situation we're unfamiliar with, and we assume they're at least in the neighborhood of Being Correct. This isn't always the case, though. Debunking movie myths is one of our favorite jams here at Cracked. Here, though, we're attacking movies' stupid assumptions:
Space Has Sound, But Not The Way Movies Think
Star Wars is a franchise loaded with iconic sounds that all make intuitive sense. But do lasers really go pew pew in space? Turns out space is way weirder: planets make noise, and there's something called “The Singing Comet.” We don't have the enough (ahem) space to get into everything cool here, but planets make noise. Oh, and astronauts heard whistling on the moon! Isn't that something we should be talking about more? Okay, what about the Death Star, how sterile and quiet it is? Nope, space stations are louder and less intelligible than your roommates' noise rock band, thanks to fans, life support equipment, and the like.
Every movie, every single ding-danged movie (except Casino Royale) shows us that torture works. Characters love buckling under questioning. Problem is, torture doesn't work. Person of Interest had a 25-year FBI vet writing for the show, and his presence in a writers' room was enough to make producers from 24 change their approach to interrogation scenes.
Related: Why Werewolf Comedy Works
What Writers' Apartments Look Like
Carrie Bradshaw has a massive New York apartment and standing cocktail dates. Colin Firth in Love Actually had an extra house lying around just in case his wife was cheating on him, plus a housekeeper to creep on. That's not writer money, that's syndicated newspaper comic writer money. Just to prove this isn't a sneaky way to ask for a raise, some numbers: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics saying the median income for writers in $69k per year, to which most writers would probably say “nice” while crying tears of joy. Not Manhattan brownstone money.
Dealers Don't Talk That Much In High-Stakes Poker
Having a dealer go “check check check” is annoying to an audience, imagine how the folks with millions on the table feel. If you go to a casino, especially a Las Vegas casino, don't expect the dealer to hold your hand until you fold your hand, y'know?
Calling the Police Is A Thing You Can Do
Forget copaganda, how often to do you hear some regular Joe in a movie say “call the police," fully expecting cops to come assist? Police have no legal obligation to help you, the Supreme Court said so. Maybe that scene in Us summed it up best.
Movies Take For Granted Naked Women Packaging Drugs
Former drug trafficker Pieter Tritton says labs full of naked women are unrealistic. Apparently, chemicals that do fun/damaging things to your brain usually also do not fun/damaging things to your skin. Maybe the male gaze of the camera wants to see some nipple, but in real life, you very much want those chemicals not near nipple.
Barfights Mean Immediate Chaos
Road House is a perfect film, but it's not a documentary. Every movie bar fight makes it seem like people who were quietly conversing mere seconds ago suddenly need to settle centuries-old grudges. All the bar fights we've seen have just been awkward, drunkaggressive dudes shoving each other until it's quickly broken up. Then again, we admit we might be going to the wrong bars.
Cloverfield Is The Only Movie That Understands Parties
In what feels like every teen sex comedy, the big party is advertised via flyer. At this party, a Big Thing will usually happen—the main character attempts to lose their virginity, someone pukes somewhere hilarious, the works. Cloverfield, with its “everyone's just kinda milling around, people barely know each other, you don't know if your ex is coming until they show up with Derek” vibe managed to capture exactly what a college-to-slightly-post-college house party actually is.
Back To The Future and the Blues
Marty says “Blues in B, watch me for the changes.” But he's already told the band what the changes are! There are some variations on the 12-bar blues progression, but the three-chord structure is pretty standardized. Any band worth its salt doesn't need to watch for the changes.
School of Rock Overestimates What A Band Needs
Sure, he's got to assign roles for everyone in the class, but Jack Black is immediately swinging for the fences with the School of Rock band. Backup singers? Lighting??! Any working adult who's ever tried to coordinate schedules to get even a three-piece guitar/bass/drums practice session going will shake their head at that scene every time.
Serial Killers May Not Be As Deliberate As Movies Think
A common trope, like in Se7en or Red Dragon, is the serial killer leaving evidence at a scene because they want to drag along investigators. What's masked and creepy and Paul Dano all over? That sort of thing. But criminologist David Wilson points to a different reason for bizarre evidence—sometimes, serial killers simply live in a different moral universe than the rest of us. A quote from Paradise Lost scrawled on a post-it note left next to a mutilated corpse might be a message, or it might just mean a killer dropped his pocket.
No, Chefs Don't Pile Veggies On Cutting Boards Like That
Makes for a cool visual, but a foot-tall mountain of diced veggies is a kitchen no-no for a lot of reasons. Cleanliness and organization being paramount among them.
Ozark Doesn't Know How Much Cash Fits In A Suitcase
We get it, we get it: counting money is hard. The manager at the Taco Bell who just counted down our register before we clocked out will attest to us not really knowing what money looks like. But $5 million won't fit in a standard briefcase, and that's just half of it. Even $5 million in crisp $100 dollar bills would take a huge suitcase, and how many street-level drug deals do you know transact with crisp new $100 bills?
Movie Nurses and Doctors LOVE Showing Patients Needles
As any tear-soaked, lollipop-clutching toddler will tell you, getting shots sucks. Doctors and nurses know this, and usually try to avoid showing patients needles so they'll keep calm. Movies, though? Better believe you're seeing every inch of that sharp needle, every drop of whatever serum's going in, and agonizingly slow plungers.
Apocalypse Movies Assume Humanity's Worst
While COVID-19 definitely showed some people are absolutely okay with being selfish about the suffering of others, we maintain that Hollywood gets apocalypses wrong. Most people look out for each other, comfort and safety are nice things. Sure, the pure escapist fantasy of Denzel Washington wandering the desert as the sole keeper of sacred knowledge and dealer of righteous death is awesome. But look for the helpers. Hollywood could stand to show the kinder, gentler side of the end of the world every now and again. Besides, who wants to be on the side of Tucker Max?
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