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-   -   SHOCKER! Things work differently in the movies. (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=792023)

Victor Charlie 05-03-2016 10:42 AM

SHOCKER! Things work differently in the movies.
 
If you were to take your cues from the movies on how machines and devices work, you'd believe that stealing a car involved little more than yanking some wires from the steering column, that all elevators feature human-sized access panels at the top and that ventilation ducts in all commercial buildings are large and sturdy enough to support multiple adults. Any other examples of man-made things that are consistently misrepresented in the tv and movies? Not talking about suspension-of-disbelief stuff where a car can jump a canyon and continue on with no damage. I'm talking about the basic functionality of everyday devices.

CalMeacham 05-03-2016 10:54 AM

I'm sure we've gone over this ground many, many times in the past.

My contribution (which I've brought up here before): Cutting an elevator's cables won't make the car fall and plunge the occupants to their death.

The reason that "Otis" has his name on all those elevators isn't because he invented a box that goes up and down -- we've had those, believe it or not, for a great many hundred -- possibly thousands -- of years. What he invented and patented was an elevator car with an emergency brake mechanism to prevent such plunges to your death. And he did it well over a hundred years ago.

so, the Matrix and all notwithstanding, your car ain't gonna fall.

buddha_david 05-03-2016 11:08 AM

You can't conveniently knock someone out by bopping 'em on the head. Any blow to the head which causes unconsciousness will typically result in a severe brain injury.

Gordon Urquhart 05-03-2016 11:15 AM

Part of my job responsibilities involve working with digital images of varying quality supplied by customers. Every once in a while, in an attempt to increase the size of the image while simultaneously increasing the DPI resolution of the images, I lean into my monitor and dramatically say, "Enhance."

It doesn't work very well.

Bryan Ekers 05-03-2016 11:19 AM

A blast from a shotgun, even at close range, is surprisingly unlikely to send a 200lb man into backflips.

For that matter, a woman who is skilled in hand-to-hand combat is unlikely to consistently overpower similarly-trained men who are 50-100% heavier than she.

Lemur866 05-03-2016 11:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by buddha_david (Post 19302390)
You can't conveniently knock someone out by bopping 'em on the head. Any blow to the head which causes unconsciousness will typically result in a severe brain injury.

This is the most consistent departure from reality across all entertainment media. People get knocked on the head, keel over, and wake up an hour later with a slight headache. And this is something that pretty much cannot happen. You can hit someone hard enough to knock them unconscious. They're likely to have a fractured skull, concussion, and possible lifechanging brain damage. Or they lie there unconscious for a while, and then die. Or like what happens in boxing, the guy gets knocked down and can't get up for a while, but he's not completely unconscious, just dazed and possibly concussed.

Human beings don't come with an off switch, and knocking someone unconscious or drugging them into unconsciousness is pretty difficult without risking serious injury or death.

Chronos 05-03-2016 11:35 AM

Are we allowed to include misconceptions about how space travel works? Because we could pretty much fill up the whole thread with those.

FairyChatMom 05-03-2016 11:36 AM

Let's not forget real-time satellite tracking that can follow you around town and monitor your every move... especially because the sky is always clear and unobscured by clouds or haze or anything else. Yeah.

Victor Charlie 05-03-2016 11:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chronos (Post 19302489)
Are we allowed to include misconceptions about how space travel works? Because we could pretty much fill up the whole thread with those.

Let's stick with common devices and machines rather than scientific concepts and theories. Otherwise, we'll devolve pretty quickly into an endless spectrum of things the movies get wrong.

Victor Charlie 05-03-2016 11:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FairyChatMom (Post 19302491)
Let's not forget real-time satellite tracking that can follow you around town and monitor your every move... especially because the sky is always clear and unobscured by clouds or haze or anything else. Yeah.

This plus Gordon's example reminds me of "Enemy of the State", one of the more egregious offenders in recent memory. Remember the 3D model they made from two security camera angles?

MrAtoz 05-03-2016 11:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by buddha_david (Post 19302390)
You can't conveniently knock someone out by bopping 'em on the head. Any blow to the head which causes unconsciousness will typically result in a severe brain injury.

You also can't hold a chloroform-soaked rag over their face for a few seconds to knock them out, either. In reality, it would take five minutes or more to render someone unconscious that way, and you'd run the risk of things like liver damage, suffocation, and overdose resulting in death.

Much the same goes for "sleeping gas," as the Moscow theater hostage crisis ought to prove.

There's a reason that anesthesiology is a medical specialty requiring years of training and knowledge.

Lemur866 05-03-2016 11:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chronos (Post 19302489)
Are we allowed to include misconceptions about how space travel works? Because we could pretty much fill up the whole thread with those.

The most common set of interlocking misconceptions is that space travel "should work" pretty much the same as travel by ocean in the golden age of sail. It should take about as long to travel to another planet as it does to sail from Bristol to Jamaica, ships should be about the same size and have the same sort of crew, the space navy is just like the wet navy except in space, ships should be out of contact with home base while traveling, there should be space weather and space storms, space pirates, colonies set up the same way countries set up colonies during the Age of Exploration, aliens who are either colorful natives, or spacefaring great power rivals, even forms of government should be the same, so you have space kings and space queens and space princesses and space aristocrats. And planets are exactly like small islands with one and only one city or base and some surrounding countryside.

Thudlow Boink 05-03-2016 11:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by buddha_david (Post 19302390)
You can't conveniently knock someone out by bopping 'em on the head.

Of course not. (For that, you need a Vulcan nerve pinch.) When you bop someone on the head, they get amnesia and forget who they are, until you re-bop them so they get their memory back.

The Other Waldo Pepper 05-03-2016 11:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Victor Charlie (Post 19302505)
Let's stick with common devices and machines rather than scientific concepts and theories. Otherwise, we'll devolve pretty quickly into an endless spectrum of things the movies get wrong.

Well, I'll now say something irrelevant that you forbid me to mention to the jury, but I'll then take two steps back while holding up my palms and saying "withdrawn."

msmith537 05-03-2016 12:17 PM

If you are holding someone at gunpoint, you don't need to cock the weapon again to demonstrate how serious you are. Presumably you have already cocked it and have a round chambered.

You don't need to chase an aircraft through a dangerous winding canyon. It is safer and just as easy to follow the aircraft from a slightly higher altitude. (I think this was lampshaded in Firefly)

SAMs and air to air missiles do not pull up behind your aircraft, chase you through every turn, matching your speed and then get distracted by any convenient heat source that crosses it's pass. They plot an intercept course travelling like Mach 3 and either explode if they get close, peppering your aircraft with shrapnel or miss and most likely lose track of their target and run out of fuel.

AFAIK, night vision goggles don't glow green or red.

System admins do not get alert messages indicating "someone is hacking the network" and then get into hacker battles where each side is feverishly typing code.

Password cracking software does dramatically find each digit of your password in sequence like a contestant on Wheel of Fortune.

If someone shoots a small hole in the side of an aircraft or space ship, you will not get sucked (blown?) through it.

The generally accepted way to perform CPR is not to take a break for a few minutes before screaming "LIVE DAMN YOU!" and then slapping the shit out of the patient.

Cars generally do not explode. In fact, most things don't outside of a Michael Bay film.

I don't think I've ever seen an ER that was a constant madhouse flurry of activity and beeping lights like you see on TV.

When my company's office was robbed a few years ago, they did not solve the crime in 24 hours. Although, I did get to sit with them and go through security camera footage, saying "enhance..." every time I clicked a button. The cops thought that was pretty funny. In fact, the cops were actually more Brooklyn Nine-Nine than Law & Order. Then again, no one was murdered. But I digress.

Soylent Juicy 05-03-2016 12:19 PM

You can't have a gun fired near you at close range and not experience some kind of hearing damage.

(Watching "Magic City" last night and one character shoots a gun across the other character. Second character later rubs his ear - my husband said that was first time he's ever seen someone on TV acknowledge that a close-range gunshot hurt their ears.)

madsircool 05-03-2016 12:19 PM

No, that prostitute does not have a heart of gold.

Gatopescado 05-03-2016 12:21 PM

Movie guns never seem to need reloading. And the ones the bad guys have are terribly inaccurate.

Bad guy's cars, however, are exceptional! Old Soviet-era Skodas are able to keep pace with Aston Martins on twisty mountain roads. Right up till they explode for no apparent reason.

beowulff 05-03-2016 12:23 PM

Security doors can't be opened by shorting their keypads.
No OS that I know of has "ACCESS DENIED" in 96pt type displayed on the screen when you type the wrong password.
Large datacenters are not cooled by submersion in seawater...

RickJay 05-03-2016 12:26 PM

If you engage in a sword fight with someone where you keep hitting each other's swords, what's actually going to happen is you're both going to wreck your swords.

I've noticed recently in movies that people get thrown right across rooms, often smashing into furniture and such, and they go "oooh" or "ugggh" and slowly get back up. Quite often these people are not, in fact, superheroes. In actual fact, if you were flung twenty feet across a room crashing into furniture and walls, what's going to happen is you're going to be really badly injured, with broken bones and stuff.

Jophiel 05-03-2016 12:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RickJay (Post 19302641)
In actual fact, if you were flung twenty feet across a room crashing into furniture and walls, what's going to happen is you're going to be really badly injured, with broken bones and stuff.

Likewise, going through plate glass usually just makes you dead.

Orwell 05-03-2016 12:50 PM

Since nobody mentioned it, I'm assuming it's true that hospital supply rooms and sleeping quarters are hotbeds of daily sexual activity between doctors and nurses.

Car tires don't make a squealing sound on dirt and gravel.

Quote:

If you are holding someone at gunpoint, you don't need to cock the weapon again to demonstrate how serious you are. Presumably you have already cocked it and have a round chambered.
This one bugs me to no end, especially when the gun is a Glock or similar striker-fired pistol that has no hammer to cock. Somehow, they still make a cocking noise when the holder gets really serious and wants to intimidate someone.

And how often do you see a cop or bad guy racking the slide of a pistol to load the chamber. You mean, you carry it around without it being ready to fire?

Intergalactic Gladiator 05-03-2016 12:52 PM

Making shushing noises while you have an opponent in a chokehold doesn't take them out faster.

Sailboat 05-03-2016 12:54 PM

Everything's dirtier.

Annie-Xmas 05-03-2016 12:56 PM

If you jump out of a fast moving car seconds before it explodes, you probably will still die.

crowmanyclouds 05-03-2016 01:03 PM

Lock picking requires two tools (a pick and a tension wrench, the tension wrench being the thing that actually turns the lock core and opens the lock) and therefor requires two hands.

CMC fnord!

Just Asking Questions 05-03-2016 01:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by buddha_david (Post 19302390)
You can't conveniently knock someone out by bopping 'em on the head. Any blow to the head which causes unconsciousness will typically result in a severe brain injury.

I did appreciate one time when, in Hogan's Heroes, Hogan got knocked unconscious by a blow to the head. When he came to, Newkirk told him, "It's just a slight concussion. You'll be right as rain in a year or two."

Of course, they undercut that line by showing Hogan with no lasting effects whatsoever, but hey they at least mentioned it.

Just Asking Questions 05-03-2016 01:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by crowmanyclouds (Post 19302746)
Lock picking requires two tools (a pick and a tension wrench, the tension wrench being the thing that actually turns the lock core and opens the lock) and therefor requires two hands.

CMC fnord!

I believe that comes under the "don't teach viewers how to do illegal and/or dangerous things" rule. That's why on TV the formulas characters use to make bombs from "ordinary household products" would just give you a clean bowl rather than a bomb.

FWIW, TV lockpicking is now shown generally to require two pics.

El_Kabong 05-03-2016 01:18 PM

There seems to be a thing in movies these days where a vehicle impacting another vehicle or object flips forward on their nose. Although pretty 0% likely for just about any kind of car or truck, it's especially hilarious when the vehicle in question is an 18-wheeler.

Annie-Xmas 05-03-2016 01:20 PM

If you drink a lot of alcohol, you will not be fine and dandy the next morning. You will not even be okay.

You will look and feel like total crap.

El_Kabong 05-03-2016 01:29 PM

Movie helicopters go from cold start to liftoff in about five seconds. Also (cf the ending of Goldeneye) they are invisible and silent until they actually appear on camera.

JcWoman 05-03-2016 01:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Soylent Juicy (Post 19302615)
You can't have a gun fired near you at close range and not experience some kind of hearing damage.

(Watching "Magic City" last night and one character shoots a gun across the other character. Second character later rubs his ear - my husband said that was first time he's ever seen someone on TV acknowledge that a close-range gunshot hurt their ears.)

Archer actually does this one right in many episodes, and turned it into a source of humor. After narrowly avoiding being blown up, Archer and Lana rub their ears. Also for some reason Archer says "mop mop" as he rubs his ears. I guess it's just one of his oddities. On rare occasion they even mask the show soundtrack for a few seconds so that it sounds like you (the audience) have also experienced having your ears blown out.

My favorite one: whenever I need to inject myself with my arthritis medication, of course I have to jam the needle into the side of my neck! (not)

MoonMoon 05-03-2016 01:38 PM

No one rolls face to face with their bed partner and kisses intimately in the morning. <shudder>

Gedd 05-03-2016 01:40 PM

No matter the distance or wind conditions, a sniper aims directly at their target.

Annie-Xmas 05-03-2016 01:41 PM

And there's the famous L-shaped sheet (covers the guy to this waist, the girl to her shoulders). And when she sits up, she holds the sheet over her breasts. And when he stands up, he either puts on his underpants under the sheet, or takes the sheet with him and immediately goes into the next room, so the woman isn't seen on camera until she comes out in her bathrobe.

In short, lovers never ever see each other totally naked.

fachverwirrt 05-03-2016 01:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Annie-Xmas (Post 19302809)
If you drink a lot of alcohol, you will not be fine and dandy the next morning. You will not even be okay.

You will look and feel like total crap.

Honestly, this depends on the person. My wife is a like a superhero-mutant person when it comes to avoiding hangovers. Even if she's stumbling, pukingly drunk the night before, she always seems to be fine in the morning.

(I should emphasize that this isn't, like, a regular occurrence. I'd be shocked if it happens more than once a year, if that. But when it does happen it's seriously like a super power.)

Annie-Xmas 05-03-2016 01:53 PM

People do not fall in love wit their stalkers and/or rapists.

Orwell 05-03-2016 01:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Annie-Xmas (Post 19302940)
People do not fall in love wit their stalkers and/or rapists.

I'm curious what movies you are watching. :confused: I haven't noticed that it is a common theme for anyone to fall in love with stalkers or rapists.

divemaster 05-03-2016 02:03 PM

When having a medical emergency, dumping a bottle of pills towards your mouth, or forcing pills into an unconscious person's mouth, will not abate the (heart attack/stroke/spontaneous decapitation) in 3 seconds, enabling the stricken person to immediately be A-OK.

Czarcasm 05-03-2016 02:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Orwell (Post 19302954)
I'm curious what movies you are watching. :confused: I haven't noticed that it is a common theme for anyone to fall in love with stalkers or rapists.

General Hospital. Admittedly it's television.

Dante G 05-03-2016 02:10 PM

I saw a police shoot out on one of those Caught on Camera shows and was disappointed at the sounds of the firearms. All the pistols sounded like little cap guns! Come on, man ... in the movies they always sound sooo deadly and awesome. It's upsetting.

beowulff 05-03-2016 02:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by crowmanyclouds (Post 19302746)
Lock picking requires two tools (a pick and a tension wrench, the tension wrench being the thing that actually turns the lock core and opens the lock) and therefor requires two hands.

CMC fnord!

This isn't 100% true.
I can pick padlocks with just an x-acto knife.
But, bigger and better locks would require the pick and tension wrench.

RickJay 05-03-2016 02:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Intergalactic Gladiator (Post 19302715)
Making shushing noises while you have an opponent in a chokehold doesn't take them out faster.

For that matter, in the movies, you can strangle a person to death in fifteen seconds. You grab them, they choke, flail for about ten seconds, and they're dead.

It takes a lot longer than that for a person to die of asphyxia or brain hypoxia. They can become unconscious very quickly - no more than 15 seconds if you can cut off the blood supply almost entirely - but you need to keep strangling them to kill them. If you just walk away after they fall unconscious, they'll wake up quite rapidly.

Dante G 05-03-2016 02:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RickJay (Post 19303007)
For that matter, in the movies, you can strangle a person to death in fifteen seconds. You grab them they choke, flail for about ten seconds, and they're dead.

It takes a lot longer than that for a person to die of asphyxia or brain hypoxia.

Note to self ... don't ever meet RickJay in person.

Annie-Xmas 05-03-2016 02:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Czarcasm (Post 19302996)
General Hospital. Admittedly it's television.

And every other soap opera on the planet.

Jennshark 05-03-2016 02:19 PM

Most (I would hope) civilians/victims don't run around their office/store/home doing tasks while being questioned by a police officer. Normal folk sit down and pay intense attention to cops' questions and their own responses (I'm looking at you, SVU, CSI, and most every crime drama ever invented).

In response to up-thread observation about how difficult it is to start a modern-day car by hotwiring: some apparently Olde Timey thieves tried to steal my BMW by randomly pullling wires and jamming a screwdriver into the ignition. :dubious:

Jennshark 05-03-2016 02:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RickJay (Post 19303007)
For that matter, in the movies, you can strangle a person to death in fifteen seconds. You grab them, they choke, flail for about ten seconds, and they're dead.

It takes a lot longer than that for a person to die of asphyxia or brain hypoxia. They can become unconscious very quickly - no more than 15 seconds if you can cut off the blood supply almost entirely - but you need to keep strangling them to kill them. If you just walk away after they fall unconscious, they'll wake up quite rapidly.

Is this also the general rule for suffocation by pillow? I'm not planning anything (at the moment).

Annie-Xmas 05-03-2016 02:22 PM

I'm thinking about One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. In the book, it took about 10 minutes for The Chief to suffocate McMurphy with a pillow. In the movie, about two.

And incredibly crazy people are not let out of hospitals once they do good deeds and appear sane.

Dewey Finn 05-03-2016 02:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by msmith537 (Post 19302606)
Cars generally do not explode. In fact, most things don't outside of a Michael Bay film.

Inside of a Michael Bay film, everything explodes.

Typo Negative 05-03-2016 02:33 PM

A solid blow to the testicles ends the fight. It ends the fight. If you have ever received a blow to the testicles, you know that it takes all the fight out of you, you fall to the ground, it takes a while to get back up and you move really slowly and cautiously for the rest of the day.

The only realistic depiction of a blow to the testicles I have seen is from 'An Officer and a Gentleman' where Luis Gossett Jr falls to the map and blows snot bubbles.


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