Where does your ‘willing suspension of disbelief’ stop?

Must have written the books with welding gloves. And a stainless steel pen.

While I can sort of suspend for the gold ink (like I can suspend the Impossible Mission Force melting gold bars like ice cream bars), I can’t always. Monk had another one that hinged on the fact that many someones are paid to listen to every phone call on hold, for reason that made no sense, AND that more than one criminal more than one time actually planned their crime WHILE ON HOLD and were overheard. What drugged out idiot writer came up with that one? It makes NO sense!


Do they still?

I remember when the city was constant alarms going off. Couldn’t go to a mall or an indoor parking lot without the incessant whooping of multiple alarms. But I haven’t noticed it in decades. Did alarms improve, or have I just trained myself to not hear them?

eta I see this was the 1998 Godzilla. Carry on!

The thing that bothers me the most in movies and TV is what I call “bad plots/ bad writing”. Basically the writers decide they want to include something “cool” in the story in spite it not making any sense. The Flash episode featuring Captain Cold helping them move Argus’ prisoners is a perfect example. There’s no reason for Captain Cold to even be in that episode.

The problem is in the book the army of the dead’s only real weapon is fear. How do you visualize that on film? BTW the idea of undead creatures not being able to cross water was taken from actual mythology.

Has anyone in the history of mankind ever had someone who looks any more than vaguely like him? AFAIK even the identicalest of identical twins have trouble passing as each other.

I notice that problem in the James Bond movies, when villains have huge armies of expendable henchmen. At the end of The Spy Who Loved Me, why are there so many people helping Stromberg? He wants to start a nuclear war, and yet there are soldiers fighting and dying on his supertanker. Why; what’s in it for them? The worst was Moonraker. Bond infiltrates a lab that’s making fatal nerve-gas satellites, a vial breaks, and two guys in lab coats are killed. They knew what they were building. If that vial hadn’t broken, they were dead anyway when Drax’s scheme came to fruition. Ditto for all the thousands of people who helped him put his space station in orbit.

There’s a certain type of special effect that always looks wrong to me. It’s when an object unfolds or gets bigger, but there’s no way the pieces could have fit or unfolded in the way they did. The one I remember best was in the first Batman movie with Michael Keaton. He leaves the Batmobile parked and presses a button his remote control, and these panels slide out of nowhere to cover the windows and wheels. They try to make it look like they’re sliding out of some concealed space, but it just never looks right. I think I’ve seen it with Tony’s suit in the Iron Man movies, too.

It also bothers me when characters within a movie are watching something on a screen, and the POV is from someplace where there couldn’t be a camera. In the original Rollerball, there are scenes (during the rollerball matches) where we see closeups of the characters, or see them interacting and hear their dialog. I don’t have a problem with that. The camera that’s shooting the movie can be anywhere it needs to be. But then there are times in the movie where the characters are watching rollerball on television, and they get the same sorts of camera angles. That doesn’t make sense; there’s no way for the camera to be there without interrupting the game. There was a similar problem in the first Star Trek movie. The crew of the Enterprise watch a distant space station getting destroyed by V’ger, but they see it from outside the station. How is there a camera there to capture that video?

For me, a lot of attempts at actually identifying a MacGuffin tend to fall flat. The ending of Stephen King’s Under the Dome, and Jeff VanderMeer’s Acceptance both fit this category. In both cases, it turns out it was aliens, with some help from rogue humans in Acceptance.. In both cases the resolution was underwhelming.

For science fiction, fantasy, or speculative fiction, I can generally suspend my disbelief long enough to buy into whatever the premise is. What I’m looking for in such fiction is verisimilitude, the appearance of looking real. Sometimes it’s the small things that make me go, “Come on!”

I love zombie movies. I can accept the premise that our dead neighbors are both ambulatory and possess the ability to attack me for my sweet supple flesh that they so desire. I can even suspend my disbelief long enough not worry about how an enemy who is incapable of learning from their mistakes, using tools, or coordinating their actions could collapse civilization. There’s a scene in The Walking Dead where Abraham “kills” a zombie by bludgeoning it over and over in the head with the butt of his rifle. It was a modern rifle with a collapsible stock and all I could think was, “Dude, you’re going to break that rifle.”

I’m sometimes less able to suspend my disbelief in shows that are supposed to be grounded in reality. Criminal Minds followed the exploits of some FBI criminal psychology experts who profiled unknown suspects of high profile violent crimes. Criminal profiling in the real world is about as effective as voodoo. They’d make these predictions about their unknown subject having been abused or traumatized as a child, find out that someone tangently related to the case had such a childhood, and would get warrants from a judge based on their theories. I just couldn’t buy it.

They give a partial explanation of that in the first movie. Stark uses the repulsers on his hands to help control his flight. I think he even explains that to Pepper when she mistakes them for weapons.

I don’t believe in fate either. But Oedipus Rex is a good story and doesn’t make much sense without the concept of fate. In the play, we learn that Oedipus spent a great deal of his life trying to avoid his fate but by the end he decides how he’s going to meet it. I think we still see similar stories. In Rocky, the titular character knows he can’t beat Apollo Creed and will lose. No, the fates didn’t decide such a thing in overt terms, but Rocky makes a choice in how he’s going to face that loss.

Edit: And sometimes the fun of suspending your disbelief for an out there premise is just to examine “what if?”

I love this book:
The Physics of Superheroes | James Kakalios : James Kakalios

I can pretty much suspend disbelief as long as there is internal logic. After all, I grew up reading comics and watching pro wrestling.

If it’s any comfort, much of it was improvised and not all of it successfully.

Except for the twins down my block. What sucked is that I think one or the other liked me.

From at least the Mark IV armor on, there are control surfaces.

Ok, cool! Like I said, Iron Man does not break my willing suspension of disbelief.

But how about inertial damping- does his suit have that? Almost limitless energy from the arc reactor, ok I can get on board I guess.

This. I’m even willing to go along if you have a rational in-world reason for it working differently at different times - if it’s at least hinted at in advance. But if all the rules change and you expect me not to notice it. I’ve noticed; I’m out.

For magic and technology, specifically, it needs to be explained why characters don’t magic/tech the issue at hand. (one of the many problems with harry potter. In the later books, there were a lot of new spells that would have easily solved problems in earlier books. The main reason for not using those spells seemed to be that Rowling hadn’t thought through the world. at all.) If you can just conjure things, why aren’t you conjuring it - that needs to be explained? later on, if that explanation doesn’t hold up, there need to be consequences.

My other reason is if the movie is otherwise subpar - bad dialog, plotting, directing, acting, etc. If I’m enjoying myself because everything else is great or even good, I’ll work around the outstanding coincidences, magic, and geography that doesn’t match the real world (“SF to LA in two hours? Why not? private plane on a personal airfield…it could happen”). But if there are problems with the rest of the movie (or tv show), I start nitpicking everything - and go straight to “that’s not how this works. that’s not how any of this works.”

FWIW, my dreams bounce back and forth between first person and third person omniscient.

I can accept this one. Compartmentalization. They knew they were making a deadly weapon, but they might not know where or how it would be used.

Speaking of that scene, how the lab was not only cleaned up but turned into a library or whatever, that was OK there. But other shows and movies do that, impossible near-instantaneous cleanups so that there’s no trace at all of what was there before. And sometimes for no reason, because …why? Monk (again) had one like that. Wonder if there is a trope for it.

Simak’s Way Station worked out the details of transporting a few years before Star Trek. :eek:

A different example. Capricorn One. I can accept NASA faked a Mars landing (even with a lunar lander! Well, that one is pushing it, I just imagine it is a budget issue, and not inept filmmaking.). But I draw the line that the bad guys (CIA whatever) killed Robert Walden’s mission control character, who got Too Close To The Truth, by disappearing him. They erased all evidence that he even existed. Had a new person living in his apartment, with new mail showing the person lived there a long time.

You can’t do that! His neighbors, his friends, his mother, his landlord, his mailman, fer cripessake! - they all know where he lived, that he existed. The fake person that is living there - how long is she supposed to keep up the charade? (Will she be killed at the end?) Any one of those things could expose the “disappearance”. And for what end? If they’d have just killed him in a car “accident”, it would have been easier, cheaper, and with no downstream issues. And after all that effort, the disappearance didn’t protect the conspiracy anyway!

Not to menton his fellow controllers. What were they told? “Don’t ever, ever speak of that guy that sat beside you for the last 5 years. he never existed! OK!”?

That’s kind of the problem with using both time travel and teleporters—one you use them to solve one problem you end up having to explain why don’t use to solve the other problems you are facing when it seems like they would be the obvious solution.

This thread remind of what TV Tropes refers to as a “Voodoo Shark” where an attempt to explain a plot hole just raises further questions and creates another plot hole.

The term was created based on the novelization of Jaws: The Revenge where the title shark seeks out and attacks the family of Martin Brody and follows them all the way to the Bahamas. A voodoo curse had been placed on Martin and his family to explain how a shark understands the concept of revenge and how it’s able to keep finding these people. The thing is that the writer doesn’t bother to answer the question of why the voodoo curse was made, or any other questions that come to mind.

There’s one scene that really sticks in my mind for this reason: in The Thomas Crowne Affair, when he folds the painting, complete with wooden edges, into a briefcase. There’s no magic, technobabble, or explanation of how this is possible, just a giant wtf moment.