"It's just a movie." What does that mean?

What is the point of saying “It’s just a movie”?

Does it mean “Don’t get all worked up about it”? People get excited about movies all the time. They rave about how exciting the movie is. They watch the movie several times, they tell their friends about it. But, it seems that some people are really bothered by someone else’s negative comments about the plot or the dialog. Is this a variation of “If you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say anything at all”?

Maybe the comment means: “It’s not supposed be exactly like reality”. A variation of that is: “What do you think it is, a documentary?”
Okay, it’s obvious that it isn’t a documentary so pointing it out doesn’t add anything of value. And, just because it’s a movie, does it mean that everyone should overlook anything and everything that they think is unrealistic or illogical? Even a documentary is not “real” – the people and the events aren’t actually in the theater or in a small box in my living room. And, whatever happened in the movie is in the past – the scenes are not happening in real time. But, even though the movie isn’t real, it can be realistic. (Actually, all movies are real, in the sense that they exist, and the actors and the settings exist, but that’s a different point.)

I think that everyone has a limit for what is “unrealistic” or “silly” within a particular movie.

Let’s say the movie takes place in the 1960’s and, throughout the movie, the hero drives a 1971 Chevy. Many people won’t notice and most people won’t care. But what if the car is a 2012 Chevy Volt? Well, it’s possible to imagine a scenario where this type of anachronism would be fine, but let’s say the movie is a serious depiction of the JFK assassination or the Vietnam war, then is there anyone who won’t notice, and be confused or annoyed? Well, maybe you don’t notice cars.:wink:
What if in that movie, the U.S. President is Clinton, or, what the heck, Abraham Lincoln? What if, in a serious depiction of the Vietnam war, a soldier’s head gets blown off and, a couple of minutes later, a medic re-attaches it, the soldier returns to battle, and there is no explanation offered for this medical miracle? Would you say: “Hey, it’s just a movie, and, I barely noticed because the battle scenes were exciting”?

It’s easy to come up with many scenarios that are so unrealistic that they would knock anyone out of the movie, especially a serious movie – not one that is deliberately farcical or nonsensical. In fact, I’ve noticed many times that some people who dismiss errors that they think are minor in one movie will criticize another movie as being “way out there – I just couldn’t get into it. It made no sense.” Hey, it’s just a movie, right?

Anyway, have you ever said to someone “It’s just a movie” and, if you did, what did you mean? If, in some way, you meant that movies are not supposed to be realistic, have you ever watched a movie (or TV show) that you thought was so unrealistic that you didn’t enjoy it?

Sometimes the amount of effort expended on things vastly exceed others perceived value of that thing.

When my wife woke me up one night accusing me of cheating on her because of a dream she had based on a movie we watched (that Sandra Bullock movie with the guy in the hospital), I literally said “really honey, it was just a movie.”

I used it when my children were young. It was the way they learned “movies=pretend”. No, that lady did not really fall down the stairs and get hurt; no that dog did not really die. It’s not the news or a documentary, it’s just a movie.