The Scene You Hate

A friend, having read my last post, asked if The Queen really objects to botanical inaccuracies in movies. Oh yes, yes indeed. And not just in motion pictures, either. If I’d known, in advance, that the TV show LOST would feature a bunch of people on a tropical island populated with temperate foliage, I never would have put it in my Netflix queue.

Of course, I’m just as bad when something I’m passionate about is misrepresented on film. Like games, for instance. I still break into hives whenever I think of the scene in Freaks and Geeks where the parents play the card game Pit, just the two of them.

But my all-time least favorite scene–one that appears in about every third film, seemingly–has to be this one:

The hero and the antagonist are playing chess, a game in which both are virtual grandmasters. It's a close fought match, and they banter while they play. Slowly, their moves--and their conversation--become more aggressive. Eventually they are openly hostile to one another, both on the board and off.

Then, victory. Smirking, the villain says something irrefutable to the hero, moves a bishop, and announces check.

For a long moment the two men lock eyes. Suddenly, the hero utters a devastating riposte, breaks eye contact just long enough to capture the bishop with his queen, and, with the slightest hint of a smile, declares checkmate. He rises from his chair and walks briskly away, leaving the loser to gawps at the board in amazement.

Yes, I understand that one grandmaster saying “I’m going to checkmate you in seven moves” followed by 23 straight minutes of the opponent staring at the board before replying, “ah, you are right–good game” lacks some of the “pizzazz” of the Hollywood version. But I still would rather sit through both episodes of Viva Laughlin, back-to-back, than endure this scene again.

What’s the scene you hate?

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243 comments.

  1. And I’ll make the joke before anyone else does: “The hipster scene!!!!!!!” There, done.

  2. Pretty much any scene involving a computer, a “hacker” and an unbreakable system that has a flashy GUI.

    Or when someone is using a computer and the screen is projected up on their face.

  3. I don’t recall any movie portray “hacking” in a remotely realistic fashion.

  4. I remember having this chat with a bunch of uni friends of mine; the medical students were complaining that they now couldn’t watch ER et al, because they had, you know, such a detailed understanding of the underlying material. A friend of mine then piped up from the corner “That’s exactly why I can’t watch porn”. Still one of my favourite comebacks of all time.

  5. Over the Hedge: The turtle makes a point of correcting one ignorant human who calls him an amphibian, but in the same scene appears out of his shell. Pick either cartoony and ridiculous or factual; you’re not allowed to do both.

  6. Akbar already beat me to it, but I can be more precise – the computer scenes in CSI Miami. WTF crazy ass operating system are they running there? And in ANY show/movie, when they are looking at CCTV footage (or something else that is equally horrendous, quality wise), and one person asks the techie “Hey, can you clean that up for me a bit?” and it goes from pixellated, completely unable to make out ANY detail to crisp, clear, as-if-it-was-taken-on-a-30-megapixel-camera quality. WTF? What kind of crazy ass algorithms are they using?? Particularly bad was an episode of CSI Vegas I watched recently, where not only did it magically clera up, you could see the text in the application’s tool window and it was like “Increase contrast” or something equally ridiculous.

  7. Breaking the vase over the head. Victim conks out, comes to, and is fine. Simplistic head injury depictions: Grrrrr.

    Glowsticks among the audience in “Almost Famous”. Grrrr.

    Old style tube televisions that are turned on, and the image and sound come on immediately. Grrrr!

  8. Ditto Waddell on CSI [everywhere]. (Since when is phenolphthalein the forensic equivalent of duct tape?) As a molecular biologist, I freak out when movies resolve a “genetic match!” in seconds, essentially distilling work which takes me several days to a single key stroke. Bastijes!

  9. I work in a lab, so CSI is cringe-inducing.
    I’ve blogged about it long ago: http://science.easternblot.net/?p=66
    The most annoying to me is how seemingly simple everything is. They inject something in a machine and the printer will spit out a piece of paper with exactly the information they need on it. IF ONLY IT WAS SO EASY!

    House is better with their lab stuff in general (they have to actually interpret their data, it takes a while to get tests done, etc.) but doesn’t have any full-time lab staff. The doctors do labwork!

  10. Any scene involving non-ticking man-portable nuclear devices where the characters handle said devices as if the slightest jar is going to result in a multimegaton fireball.

    My, albeit unprofessional, understanding is that the problem with creating a nuclear explosion is actually getting it to go off.

    And yes, I understand there are conventional explosives involved, but there’s no way the not-so-well-known conventional explosive risk is the one with which the director is trying to create tension.

    No way.

  11. The scenes in movies or tv where people are playing video games without watching the tv and hitting buttons at random. Sometimes they put the controllers down and the game keeps going on behind them!

    Also there was one time where someone was playing a game and everything even looked right, but it had the wrong sound effects. My wife called me a dork when I pointed that out to her.

  12. When a character needs to do research at a library, and they manage to find the right information within 2 minutes of arriving without even checking the index of the book. They open the book to a random page, and by the third or fourth page turn they find exactly what they need.

    Perhaps it’s not as ridiculous as increasing the quality by zooming in on a blurry picture, but still. As a recent college grad, this pisses me off to no end.

  13. Come on, a Viva Laughlin marathon is what, 2 hours max (only one hour in Australia!)

    I hate inaccuracies such as this…

  14. People crawling through HVAC ductwork to get from one part of a building to another. As an HVAC engineer and mechanical contractor I can assure you that this can never, never, never, never, NEVER happen. I’ll spare you the exact details why.

  15. I hate needless destruction and killings. Sure, James Bond, you drive your tank through the alleyway in pursuit of the bad guy. But how many houses did you wreck on either side when it turned out the tank was wider than the alley?

    Batman killed/injured a bunch of policemen in the latest Batman movie, too. I did not like that.

  16. For all that The Wind Waker is my favorite of all the Zelda games, I am supremely disappointed at how unrealistic the actual mechanics of sailing are.

  17. Stallone’s rock climbing movie where he’s free climbing 500 feet off the ground (something no responsible ranger would ever do), with a full rack of protection (when no more than ten or fifteen pieces would do), and NO FUCKING ROPE (which renders the protection pointless and turns the free climbing from reckless and irresponsible to borderline suicidal).

    Also, any scene in any movie ever where the hero cavalierly knocks someone unconscious by hitting them on the head, ignoring:

    1. That’s actually fairly hard to do,

    2. Anytime you knock someone unconscious, you’re doing at least minor brain damage, and

    3. Knocking someone out by hitting them is actually one of the most dangerous ways of rendering them unconscious.

    And, yes, this makes it impossible for me to enjoy pretty much any movie ever, and most TV shows.

  18. A chess-related movie I recently watched ended more or less just as you wish – “I have mate in one move” – a few seconds of pondering – “Yes, you’re right.”

  19. srah, while I do agree with you on the mindless destruction and property damage that happens, Batman did not actually kill anyone. I too was bothered by that and had to watch it again. The one scene where the Batmobile crushes the cop car, a quick shot shortly after shows the cops alive in the car just really squished underneath the damage. Want an interesting body count, watch how many “red shirts” die in The Incredibles. It is an extremely violent film if you look at it from that point.

    here is another one: this one only slightly peeves me. non-reloading of guns. If we cut to elsewhere in a scene, I can accept that the main actor has just reloaded his gun. But when you keep seeing the actor and he fires more than he should, that bugs me. Case in point, in Tombstone (during the OK Corral shoot out) Val Kilmer fires a double barrel shot-gun three times all in one scene.

  20. Any scene establishing that a couple is happy or that friends are great friends. At least the former is usually limited to the beginning of the movie and comes with the assurance that this happy couple is about to be tormented (cf., Hand that Rocks the Cradle). The great-happy-frienship scenes often take up the body of terrible movies (cf The Big Chill). Either way, it’s agony — lots of forced laughter and people sweeping each other off each others’ feet with big hugs. Happy people are very dull.

    Along the same lines, scenes in which audiences really enjoy a (fictional) performance are usually terrible. Worst are reaction shots to stand-up comedy performed by one of the characters. Punch Line was the worst that could ever be in this regard.

  21. Ooh, I’m with srah, here. So many action movies love those market-chase-scenes, and I always find myself thinking ‘Well, great, now who’s gonna pay for this third-world merchant’s fruit stall you’ve ruined?’…
    Also, scenes where the hero cop goes to a house to talk to a suspect, realises it might be bigger than that – and goes in alone. Umm, you don’t wanna call some backup, or something? It’s even worse when it’s one of the anti-hero heroes, like the CSI type (and I actually enjoy the occasional CSI episode, maybe because I can’t realise just how ridiculous it is). You are NOT trained in that sort of thing. What the hell are you thinking?!

    Also, I’m a translation student, so tend to get ticked off by some language things, but can’t think of any examples right now (other than cringing at really obvious mistakes on the subtitles, but that doesn’t really count).

    Also, Intelligence work, as in M.I.-type stuff, is often misrepresented. Either by making it look much cooler than it actually is (most intelligence workers are as far from being James Bond as your average accountant is far from being Donald Trump, it’s mostly a rather grey collecting and analysing job, but you can’t make a movie about that I guess), or with the instant-and-impossibly-accurate-results thing some people brought up, or by using the eccentric-geek effect. You computer folk know what I’m talking about. ‘Ooh, that person knows many facts in relatively esoteric and/or specific fields of knowledge! They must be an awkward shut-in that only concentrate on that one field of knowledge, and cannot really relate to us normal people, or can just be labeled Weird in some other way!’… Grrr.

  22. Carl Parsons: My husband is also an HVAC installer. He also points out his frustration with the impossibleness of this action. All the time. In every scene like this.

    That is a scene I hate now – just because I know I’m going to hear about it.

  23. any movie where they use a search engine – how come they always find the information they need on the first page with some super general search criterion

    usually any movie that has some engineering guy that has to repair some facy gizmo that’s smashed to pieces…really, you rebuilt a cryptographic black box you’ve never seen before with just a soldering gun?

    or pretty much any fight scene – guy gets pummmeled and thrown around and can still get up and save the day. heck, even Lenox Lewis feels hurt after getting hit in the gut and you’re saying some out of shape scientist turned hero can take 20 shots to the face and still function?

  24. Speaking as a skydiving instructor, I can say with confidence that skydiving is never, ever, done right on screen. Usually they blow it with crappy green-screen effects (see Point Break), but even when they film actual skydives, they cut the footage into something impossible (again, see Point Break). The sad thing is that Cutaway (starring a lesser Baldwin and Dennis Rodman!) is a friggin’ documentary compared to everything else, and it still sucks.

  25. Any medical drama where a character is “having chemo” or “taking fertility drugs” and no further clarification is made. There are only about a bajillion different kinds of chemotherapy/fertility regimens, and come on, if it’s a show where somebody’s chemo or fertility status is relevant, you might as well get it right.

    Gah.

    Any scene where the hero or heroine runs out of bullets and throws away the gun in frustration. Um, theoretically guns have monetary value and there ARE ways to acquire more bullets, yes?

    Any scene on COPS where the suspect is struggling and thrashing and yelling “I’M NOT RESISTING ARREST!” Okay, fine, that’s a reality show and should be exempt from this list, but it’s still super lame. Can it get in on a technicality?

  26. This is a little off the subject, but I always think it is funny to realize that in any music/club scenes where people are dancing or talking, there is really no music playing. People look a lot sillier after that.

    I really get annoyed with just general mistakes. Like in Heroes when Peter “blows up” basically and his brother is very badly burned; Peter lands with most of his clothes still intact. no. way. that. would. happen.

  27. Often in the same movies as the escapes through ductwork or grainy image made crystal clear type movies is the, “Can we see the 3D version of this building/ city?” and up pops a cool 3D wire frame fly through telling them how to get to the safe or blow up the building. I’m an architect and I do computer renderings freelance as well. I can tell you, never, ever are there building models with this much detail in them. There’s no city mainframe that would have this information in a cool 3d computer format either.

    Also, in one of the Ocean’s 11 movies they break into an architect’s office after dark to get the plans for the safe they are about to crack. Architects offices are never empty! There’s always someone pulling an all nighter in the office!

  28. See if you can guess my profession based on what scenes I hate: Pretty much any courtroom drama or law firm depiction. I have never in my life seen a movie or TV show that comes anywhere near showing either courtroom procedure or law firm life accurately. I know the argument that some license must be taken for purposes of making an entertaining story, but given that courtrooms are incredibly dull places in the real world, why bother setting a work of entertainment in one?

  29. Any film set in London apparently needs to have a scene set on that bloody bench at the top of Primrose Hill, even if that makes no sense with the established geography of the rest of the film. I understand that it’s got a great view, but Primrose Hill has a specific geographic location–it doesn’t float around London of it’s own free will.

  30. 1. I hate it when scenes begin in a college lecture hall, just as a class is about to end. The professor (always a middle-aged, bearded white man in a corduroy blazer with elbow patches) is conveniently just winding down his lecture on “Shakespeare” or “Evolution” or “Math,” and all that’s left is some “pithy” statement that anyone who knows anything about the subject could tell you is essentially meaningless. As he reminds the students that they have X assignment due next week, they quietly file out of the classroom.

    2. “We thought that we would teach/help/inspire so-and-so, but it turns out that so-and-so taught/helped/inspired us!”

  31. I hate when a hungry person gets something to eat and they instantly turn into an animal. ok, i KIND of get it when it is a street urchin who some nice lady is giving some scarps to. or maybe someone picked up from a desert island. MAYBE. but even still I think if I were just hauled on board a coast gaurd cutter and they said “you are safe now, here is a bowl of warm soup.” I think I could retain enough of my dignity to say “oh, a spoon would be nice, thank you. I’ll wait for a spoon thank you, but it looks GREAT! mmm can’t wait!”

  32. I hate hate hate when non-musician actors are hired to mime playing music. Come on Hollywood!!! Ninety-nine out of a hundred guys in California play guitar. If he can strum, he can bow a violin in time. Why do you cast the one guy that can’t!!! As soon as I see this, I’m unable to hear any dialog until the music stops.

    And Carl, please explain the HVAC thing.

  33. Almost anything having to do with aircraft. The guy who doesn’t know how to fly but can land an airliner with no injuries on his first try. The computer system that can move a ground-based navigation station with just a few keystrokes. The rotating localizer antenna. The quote “He’s firewalled his transponder” (and I only wish I were making that up).

  34. Anytime someone picks a lock with a single pick and no tension wrench.

  35. Dan Someone CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!

  36. empty suitcases.
    you know the scene, the hero and/or his family goes on a (unexpected, totally packed) trip into the unknown, and their suitcases are empty, they swing lightly on their hands, carried without a trace of effort, swung onto buses and cars without much thought, they are indeed empty.
    extra minus points: films that show the suitcases being packed, the next scene showing them carried like they were teddybears, arms raising when encountering a long lost friend, the suitcases held up high in a gesture of embrace, those scenes make me leave the theatre at once, or stop my dvd player from purring immediately.

  37. I actually thought that Freaks and Geeks scene was cute: Like the parents are so clueless that they’d play Pit together.

    I’m in with those of you who hate the computer errors. A couple of my favorites:

    T2: At one point, Joe Morton’s character (having realized his complicity in creating the mechanical overlords) says something like, “We’ll have to go back to the lab and destroy all the disk drives!” Yes! Get rid of the disk drives! Because then they won’t be able to read any of their disks and they’ll be stuck!

    Majority Report: Though the interface that Cruise uses is teh cool, he then transfers data from one side of the room to another using some kind of futuristic floppy disk. What? We lost network technology somehow in the future?

  38. Along with the infinite-resolution-videotape problem comes the somehow-three-dimensional-photograph problem. The first time I saw it, it was in Blade Runner — by doing some fancy zooming, he could see what was behind other objects in the photo. Ok, well, it’s the future, maybe there’s something to that, but I’ve now seen it a dozen times since then, set in modern times. Puh-leeze.

    I think those of us who work in graphic design and have to deal with a ton of crappy low-res photos provided by clients are especially annoyed at these techniques. Trust me, folks, Unsharp Mask will not be able to pull up information that isn’t there.

  39. Oh my god, the “hacking” scenes on Sneakers. So painful, so, so painful.

  40. Yael – a translation annoyance that occurs to me is the whole Black Rock thing from Lost where Shannon, after her one year spent drinking in Paris (argh, there’s more to studying abroad than that!), is suddenly some kind of expert and even manages to translate lines before they are said.

  41. Another language nitpick: Everyone speaks English everywhere in the world, at every point in history. There are a lot of times in movies where I’ll have to step back and think “Okay, I’m seeing this in English, for the movie’s sake. But what language would these two actually be conversing in? Do these two people even have a common language?”

  42. srah — did you end up watching the rest of LOST? I remember Shannon’s poor translation turning out to be something of a plot device. Didn’t we later find out that most of her French came from babysitting a French kid that watched a whole lot of Finding Nemo?

  43. mine is the extreme difference in how gunshot victims or trauma cases are treated, depending on genre and script needs. on a medical show, they spend hours trying to save them. on crime shows, they die almost immediately. the x-files was a special case of pure annoyance, where I can’t ever remember seeing Scully even attempted to resuscitate a victim.

  44. A common one that bugs me is the scene in an action movie where the hero falls off a building or ledge or something, falls twenty or thirty feet, and catches himself by his fingertips – most of us couldn’t even hold our own weight with just our fingers, much less stop the inertia of our full weight falling.

  45. Good point, Josh.

    The movie was so lame, I’ve completely blocked it out, but after the girlfriend was shot, the boyfriend immediately drops to his knees and yells “NoooOOooo!”

    I poked my husband in the ribs and said “If I’m ever shot, don’t sit around and emote like a dumbass. Call 911 and apply pressure.”

  46. Matthew F: Though very unclear in the film, I believe Deckard is supposed to be enhancing an image in a mirror of another reflective surface in order to “see behind other objects.”

    Any scene in any movie where a character uses a computer has a 95% chance of being stupid and irritating for one of many reasons (some mentioned above, others I’ll add here):

    Text being sent character by character in DOS/UNIX screens (the Matrix).

    Characters interpreting meaningless binary or ASCII static as if it was comprehensible (too many to name).

    Computers of one model being shown with an incongrous OS on-screen (usually a Mac OS interface displayed on a Wintel-type box). (Office Space).

    Files being “deleted” from a system while a character has already loaded them into memory (Clear and Present Danger, Disclosure).

    Young children being portrayed as professional-level computer experts/hackers/whatnot (Jurassic Park).

    Also, I will be very happy if I never see a scene that reveals that a tough woman (usually military) is actually a lesbian, as if being a tough woman automatically makes you a lesbian or, conversely, that all lesbians are tough and mean. (Battlestar Galactica: Razor)

  47. Many folks have pointed out the hacking scene. But I might also note that actual hacking is largely non-Hollywood as well. First, it rarely uses fancy graphical interfaces (especially when the protagonist has been working frantically to design the hacking application/virus for this special system, e.g. Independence Day – don’t even get me started on this one).
    Second, password-cracking is much like your chess game. If you’re lucky (and the target application is poorly written and the account you’re trying to crack has a really weak password), it takes a few minutes to run, during which the hacker surfs the web, or something. If you’re not, it might take a few days (or a few months, depending on the target system and your cracking system). It pretty much never involves someone focusing on the screen, tapping on their keyboard for a few seconds, and suddenly shouting, “We’re in!”
    And seriously folks, when was the last time you logged into your computer and/or network application at work and saw the words, “ACCESS GRANTED” flash in the center of the screen?

  48. I’ll defer to your wife on LotR, but Lost is filmed almost exclusively here in Hawaii. Maybe indoor set dressing or some b-roll was shot elsewhere, but the large majority of vegetation in Lost is growing in the ground here. Much of it may not be endemic, but it’s what we have…

  49. Anything involving bird life: birds seen in the wrong habitat, birds seen in the wrong hemisphere. Ventriloquized birds particularly frost my pumpkin. One all-too common example: Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) has a very dramatic vocalization, a loud, falling “keeeeer.” Film and TV will pair that voice with just about any other bird of prey, especially Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) or Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos). These two birds, in life, have squeaky little calls.

  50. A Kevin Costner spy film. I think Gene Hackman had a blurry polaroid of a Russian suspect. After a couple hours of running it through a computer the polaroid reveals… Kevin Costner was a double agent!!! ZOMG!!!!!!!

  51. Over the years it began to bother me that “Stargate” characters, despite their instant transport from a mile-high location (which may be 36 stories below Colorado Springs, but is nonetheless quite high) to their ground-level destination never complained of the massive ear, nose and sinus pain that probably would cause.

    This is to say nothing of the constant recycling of various bits of Vancouver to represent hundreds of alien planets, because the incredible Ancient Race could only plant their stargates in one of several sorts of climates: desert and evergreen forest, with the occasional matte painting or urban fringe thrown in for good measure.

    Also, in 10 years, it occurred to just two of their enemies to come up with a way to counter Earth’s small-unit tactics, and the first attempt was abandoned while the second attempt was really just a plot to entrap some main characters. As the MMO computer game set in the SG universe gets closer, I just wonder how they’ll manage to balance the two forces, when the enemy army could be outwitted with civil-war tactics, to say nothing of modern warfare tactics.

  52. I’ve loved Hugh Laurie since the mid-80s, but! House! Considering how many bureaucratic migraines have been visited upon American hospitals by various HMOs [and even up here in Canada the bureaucracy can be a nightmare], I have trouble watching a show where all the residents can go anywhere in the hospital and use any equipment, at any time. I’d like to see a satire show, “House HMO” to see how soon House would blow a blood vessel with all the regulations.
    Let’s not even mention how House can go into an OR without a mask.

    Jane

  53. Scene: the bridge on any spaceship

       Engineer: Captain — we’ve lost all power. We can’t even maintain life support.

       Captain: But gravity? We’ve still got that under control, right?

    Oh, wait — that never happens.

    Also, the interconnectivity of alien technology. Do Klingons use ASCII?

  54. Realistic(ish) hacking scenes: Wargames “Wardialing” (perhaps the most broad sort of hacking, analogous to trying thousands of doors to find one that’s unlocked, or perhaps one that opens to someone who speaks your language)

    Real Genius: Lazlo manually(!!) attacks a password using an alphabetic brute-force method. Would a computer back then be programmed to alert anyone that one user is trying many different passwords? Probably, but maybe not.

    And, I can only repeat what I’ve read on this, but The Matrix: Reloaded, in which Trinity is attacking the power-station’s computer. Sez IMDB: “[Trinity] uses Nmap version 2.54BETA25 (an actual port scanning tool) to find a vulnerable SSH server, and then proceeds to exploit it using the SSH1 CRC32 exploit from 2001.”

    And of course the many thousands of examples of “social engineering” in which some sucker is induced to give up personal info, a password, or access to finances because they were manipulated by a conman.

  55. Young children being portrayed as professional-level computer experts/hackers/whatnot (Jurassic Park).

    “I know this system!” is maybe one of my favorite stupidly funny movie lines of all time.

    House … breaking rules

    Isn’t that the point?

  56. Young children being portrayed as professional-level computer experts/hackers/whatnot (Jurassic Park).

    “I know this system!” is maybe one of my favorite stupidly funny movie lines of all time.

    House … breaking rules

    Isn’t that the point?

  57. the movie, “Outbreak”…

    It starts off in Africa where cute little monkeys with ebola are shown hanging from trees and using their prehensile tails…

    WFT???
    MONKEYS FROM AFRICA DONT HAVE PREHENSILE TAILS!
    Only new-world monkeys do.

    As someone with an anthropolgy background this really chaps my hide.
    If the producers had enough cash to get Dustin Hoffman in this piece of drek – you think they would have spend a quarter to call an anthropologist or a zoologist…

    That Sir, is my big movie pet peeve…

  58. The giant-explosion-throws-our-hero-out-of-range-of-itself scene. You know the one. Picture a tunnel or corridor, a big ass fireball, and a little silhouetted figure. The little figure can’t outrun the explosion, but luckily the shockwave picks him (occasionally her) up and throws him to safety.

    The “I know! If we reverse the polarity we can avert catastrophe!” scene. As the son of an elelectrical engineer, I learned early on that this just means A)putting the battery in backwards or B)swapping the leads. This will either make your circuit not work, or go backwards. It was a staple in Star Trek TNG, which added the annoyance of watching some idiot in a jumpsuit “invent” the same solution to every problem every other week (One week technical problems, next week Ferengi trouble; repeat) to the disappointment of not seeing the Enterprise leap into reverse gear.

    And one last one on behalf of dear ol’ Dad:
    The scene in which some guy gets interrupted whilst shaving, wipes off the shaving cream, and is stubble free. Drives him nuts.

  59. I guess there’s some truth to the saying that ignorance is bliss… I had to stop reading everyone’s entries for fear of never being able to enjoy watching another movie again.

  60. An “elelectrical engineer” is just like an electrical engineer, only more resourceful. You can tell, because they found more letters to stick in their title.

  61. Any show where someone is walking around with a cup of coffee and they hoist that sucker around so you can tell there isn’t any liquid inside, yet they drink from it.

    Agony!

  62. I hate any scene where they’re giving CPR and it just takes a couple seconds and the person sputters back to life. If you actually have to give a person CPR because their heart has stopped, they won’t come back to life until an ambulance comes and shocks their heart, which can take awhile and is extremely hard work for the person giving CPR!

  63. I really hate how big the Incredible Hulk’s shorts get in the Incredible Hulk movie. The whole movie, my husband got punched in the arm every time that guy hulked out with me yelling “SERIOUSLY. How do the SHORTS get SO BIG!?” Although I am loathe to ponder the alternative.

    Thank you for allowing me to share this concern.

  64. The spy/counterspy shows where Government employees track people’s whereabouts using satellite imagery, quickly zooming and enhancing the images to show tiny details like documents, license plates, etc.

    Ugh!

  65. http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2005/06/06
    Regarding the Star Trek trope.

    Just about any boxing movie grates on me, but the Rocky ones are particularly bad. They never block anything! They just take turns hitting each other in the head and body.

  66. Oh wow, I do love this thread. I’m with Dan Someone– in both pet peeve and profession. Last night I was watching the episode of Veronica Mars (not recommended for you sticklers reading this, though if you can suspend disbelief it’s a lot of fun) where she is on a jury. Everyone has reasonable doubt about the defendants and vote to acquit, 11-1. Veronica then spends the rest of the episode throwing around suggestions about how the defendants probably really did the crime, and of course in the end they convict them (just like 12 angry men, but the reverse!).

    In one especially egregious moment I actually started convulsively rolling around in bed, moaning “no, no, no, MISTRIAL! MISTRIAL!! REASONABLE DOUBT!!!”

  67. Any movie where the hero/villain/damsel in distress/breakfast pastry is falling from a great height and:

    A: is caught (for example, by Spiderman) mere moments before impact and suffers no deceleration injuries
    B: grabs onto a flagpole/ledge/whatever and doesn’t dislocate both shoulders or break all of their fingers
    C: grabs a passing rope and slows/stops their fall without immediately ripping all the skin off their palms

  68. I really hate it when people speak the wrong language. When the setting is (for example) France and everyone speaks English that’s actually ok, I don’t mind, I get that I’m watching an American production with American actors. But when they go through the trouble of getting people to speak a different language, then it’s the wrong one I HATE THAT!

    Like in Alias, when Sydney went to Taiwan and EVERYONE SPOKE CANTONESE! Not Taiwanese, not Mandarin Chinese (both of which are spoken in Taiwan), but Cantonese (which isn’t)! Since they had Cantonese actors they could’ve just changed the script to set everything in Hong Kong, what’s the difference anyways?

    Oh and Serenity, when the written Chinese was like upside down and backwards. I know they said that they figure the language would evolve, explaining away the accents, ok I’ll buy that I even like that they’re trying, but c’mon, the written word wouldn’t have evolved to be upside down and mirrored. Makes no sense.

  69. AS for the aforementioned Batman gripe….even if he did hurt some of the policemen, don’t forget that they were probably corrupt cops anyway, right? It is Gotham, after all. So it’s fine. I was unhappy at first (I’m in law enforcement) until I remembered that…

    What bugs me more than people no reloading guns is when they do too much fancy stuff with it, and when the gun makes clicking-metal-noises any time you touch it. Unless the gun has some loose parts, it won’t make a noise unless you deliberately move the action or something. I remember watching…Bad Boys? And watched Will Smith put a magazine into his semi auto, worked the slide (ch-chick!) to put a bullet in the chamber, went outside and did some stuff….and then when they were like, “Lete’s do this!” they all worked the slides again (ch-chick!) which in reality would have ejected an unused bullet. I think Will probably ch-chicked his gun another time too before shooting. Gar.

  70. Most anything computer reference related. In particular, in the Jodie Foster flick “Flightplan” when they show the enormous and cavernously unoccupied ‘supercomputer’ room in the nose of the plane. Riiiight. Like any airline would buy a plane that wasted that much space and was a huge waste of fuel. That and all the blinkenlights and superfluous patch panels make me squirm.

  71. The scenes that drive me crazy are the ones where multiple millions of dollars are put in a regulation size briefcase. One brick of 100’s, worth $1.6 million fresh from the Bureau of Engraving and Printing is approximately 19″ x 28″. No way is $10 million going to fit in that briefcase!

  72. Okay, I hate the scene where commenters like SHANNON give away IMPORTANT THINGS ABOUT TV SHOWS that I haven’t WATCHED YET on DVD.

    Ahem.

  73. As others have said, anything computer-related is going to be unbearable. Though it can be entertaining to play “spot the OS or chip code.”

    CSI episodes (possibly all of them) in which the lab folks interrogate suspects and make spot decisions about innocence (or lack of a case to take to trial) and tell the suspects, personally, that they’re off the hook.

    Most of my personal worsts involve language: sf shows/movies where everyone speaks the same language, or better yet, there’s some kinda “universal translator thingie” that makes everyone *hear* the same language… but with racially stereotypical accents and funky word order, like always the verb at the end of their sentence, putting are. Except when the magic translator suddenly “doesn’t work,” because the people only speak in metaphors related to their folk history (and this has never come up before) or the written language predates the founding of Galifrey or something stupid like that.

    I’ve tried very hard to be tolerant of the “Chinese” in Firefly. Usually I just pretend it’s some minority language, not putonghua (Mandarin).

    But my all-time favorite is when there’s a radiation leak or some other life-support failure and the count-down to the point of no return, everyone dies failure is in its final seconds, the problem is miraculously fixed… and everyone on board is perfectly healthy.

    That one’s even ahead of interplanetary halfbreeds. (Ew.)

  74. In at least 2 Ridley Scott movies (Blade Runner and Black Rain), the hero is drinking heavily, and then does something that requires clear thinking and fast reflexes (chasing down a suspect on foot, for instance). This bothers me.

    The comments about using English no matter the time or place reminds me of this: “We are so poor we can’t even afford a language, just these cheap accents.” (History of the World Part I.)

  75. As an ex Marine I find most military movies and tv shows almost unbearable. There’s all the regular stuff like automatic weapons that that don’t need to be re-loaded and never overheat; when was the last time you saw a movie where the A-gunner changed the barrel on a machine gun? Hell when was the last time you saw a movie that showed the A-gunner? They’re not called “crew served weapons” for nothing.

    Then there’s the whole uniform thing. Wearing the wrong uniform or wearing the uniform incorrectly, or having a non-regulation haircut.

    But the biggest thing about military movies is the actors. They never act like anyone I ever knew in the military. And that’s what kills it for me. I’m always sitting there thinking “who would do that? or who would say that?” “who are these idiots? Did they even have a military advisor for this film?”

  76. While there are many scenarios I find unsettling – the elite computer people for any of the CSI’s for example – there is truly only one scene I would go so far as to loathe. Any scene with a nude Bea Arthur.

    Well, except for that one video, but she made is special for my birthday.

  77. Oh, another one that drives me nuts and makes me forget the plot is when a supposedly newborn baby is crying but any parent worth their sleepless nights knows it is really a child at least 6 months old or, worse yet, an adult doing a truly awful fake newborn cry. Please, please just get the generic newborn audio tape and quit being so cheap with the sound track!

  78. For those complaining about Firefly’s Chinese, did you ever hear the Chinese girl who appeared in the last few episodes of Buffy? I think she was a mandarin speaker who was cast as a Cantonese speaker, or she may not have actually spoken Chinese. Her way of speaking is amazingly toneless and flat most of the time. My wife (who’s a native cantonese speaker) said I speak poorly, but at least I sound alive.

    I hate the entire genre of idealistic teacher movies. I work in a school for people with severe emotional problems in Chicago’s inner city. We have the drugs and gangs. The idea that our students would do better if someone came in and challenged them to read poetry and believe in themselves instead of giving up on them like all the other teachers have is more than a little insulting to those of us who do this sort of thing day in and day out.

  79. With the exception of a few movies (and at the moment I can think of only one), movie industries portray giving birth as a quick, relatively painless procedure. Sure, you might hear screams coming from another room, but they don’t last long. I would appreciate some sort of time-lapse signals, or someone informing us, “She’s been in labor for the past 24 hours.”
    Claire had it really easy in LOST when she gave birth to Aaron: he was all clean, the umbilical cord was snipped, and as far as I could tell, Claire didn’t have to deliver a placenta afterward–not that I would have wanted to see any of it, course. I want my visual media to be escapist fantasy!

  80. Whenever movies and TV show scenes with books or libraries, they often use law books. These look great — all uniform and official. In real life, these texts come in sets of hundreds. On screen, they show only a few here and there. So you might see one shelf of F2ds, a couple of ALRs, and a few Federal Digests scattered about. Or, worse still, a stack that includes just one book from a variety of sets, which is even weirder. I keep wondering how they got those books out of the library (you usually can’t check them out) and when they plan to return them (especially those in How I Met Your Mother).

    Also: Cavalier HIPPA violations. Really annoying. See: most episodes of Grey’s Anatomy.

  81. Volleyball scene in Top Gun. I guess you can include all sports scenes using the actual actors. Those short, aborted scenes that show the actor beginning a play/stroke/swing/whatever but never actually completing it – that really bothers me.

  82. What about when someone is trying to hide/escape so they pop open a manhole lid and jump in the sewer?

    Have you ever tried to lift a manhole cover?? You will need a crowbar or special tool and at least one other person helping you.

  83. Explosions! Explosions! Explosions! I’ve always wanted to film a bicycle chase scene, and have a bicycle go off a cliff, the rider is thrown but uninjured (!!!) and then the bicycle explodes into a fireball! COOOOL!!!

  84. THE SCENE IN THE PROFESSOR’S OFFICE

    (Yet another installment in the series of ‘guess my profession’ posts.)

    Somebody mentioned how every class ends with some pithy remark, an announcement of an assignment and everyone shuffling out quietly. What I always find infuriating is the scene where we go back to some low-to-mid-level humanities professor’s office (as opposed to a science prof’s beaker-laden lab) and it’s some gigantic hardwood floored Edwardian drawing room with leather-bound volumes on inset wood shelves that go to the ceiling and a gigantic window that has an unobstructed view of the city/Elysian fields of the college.

    Even top of the heap professors at top of the heap schools don’t have those sorts of accommodations. Even most of them have what I have – narrow linoleum-tiled rooms with walls of painted cinder blocks and particle board furniture.

    I remember seeing Stranger Than Fiction, where Will Ferrell visits Dustin Hoffman in his office, which is the size of a boardroom, has a separate seating area with leather couches and a clear view of downtown Chicago. I leaned over to my wife in the theater and said, “Why are they in the University Chancellor’s office?”

  85. I have problems with the medical scenes in movies/medical shows like ER, Grey’s Anatomy, House, etc. These shows always show doctors sitting by a patient’s bedside constantly while taking vital signs and drawing blood. Doctors never do any of that, it’s always the nurses! It is frustrating for me as a nurse because it gives a skewed image of what really occurs in the hospital. Most of the work is done by nurses, but they aren’t ever acknowledged at all.

  86. That bit in The Core, just after the starting credits. I think it lasted 2 hours.

  87. Any movie where an American does an “English accent”.

    Curse you Dick Van-dyke ! Curse you !!!

  88. Pirates of the Carribean: Johnny Depp sails into harbour in a sinking ship with tattered sails and still manages a good rate of knots.
    Back to the Future: Kitchen appliances of the future rated at 1.21 GW. The people of the future must like their steaks well-done.

    Granted these are minor nit-picks in movies that are otherwise paragons of realism.

  89. My favorite movie cliche is any scene where a woman in the middle of some personal crisis goes into the bathroom and buzzes off her own hair. She emerges with a totally cute pixie cut that could have been done by Frederick Fekkai himself. I guarantee if I did that (and I have), I’d look like a three-year-old went after me with a pair of pinking shears.

  90. My favorite movie cliche is any scene where a woman in the middle of some personal crisis goes into the bathroom and buzzes off her own hair. She emerges with a totally cute pixie cut that could have been done by Frederick Fekkai himself. I guarantee if I did that (and I have), I’d look like a three-year-old went after me with a pair of pinking shears.

  91. I can’t believe no one has mentioned this yet : *sound* in outer space ! Hello ? Near-vacuum ?

  92. In criminal/drama shows where a crime/abduction is being investigated, and EVERY time their phone rings it relates to the task at hand. There’s never an “Oh, that was my waife, I need to pick up drycleaning,” or “Damnit! I have to go pick my son up from school – he threw up all over the classroom.”

    Grrr.

  93. The TV show Bones irritates the hell out of me. Sure, it was based on a real person who was a Forensic Anthropologist. Not a real person who had a PhD in Forensic Anthropology, Physical Anthropology, Cultural Anthropology, Linguistic Anthropology, AND Social Anthropology. Not! Possible! You cannot be describing someone’s precranial ridge one moment and then site an obscure cultural study by Mary Leakey in the next! As a Cultural Anthropologist this reallllly bugs me. And! The stupid 3-D computer image machine they have that shows you exactly what someone looks like. Again: Not! Possible!

  94. The entire Live Free or Die Hard movie (I can’t vouch for the 20 minutes near the end when I fell asleep – that part may have been completely realistic).

  95. The TV show Bones irritates the hell out of me. Sure, it was based on a real person who was a Forensic Anthropologist. Not a real person who had a PhD in Forensic Anthropology, Physical Anthropology, Cultural Anthropology, Linguistic Anthropology, AND Social Anthropology. Not! Possible! You cannot be describing someone’s precranial ridge one moment and then site an obscure cultural study by Mary Leakey in the next! As a Cultural Anthropologist this reallllly bugs me. And! The stupid 3-D computer image machine they have that shows you exactly what someone looks like. Again: Not! Possible!

  96. To add to Daniel’s comment, my husband hates any military movie where the person cannot give a proper salute. Also, apparently when groups of soldiers go into a room, look around and say “Clear” isn’t actually how you would clear a room if you are in the armed forces.

  97. I am so sick of movies with sensationalized images of bloggers- dressed to the nines, effortlessly tapping out some post full of subtle wit and insight. Just as they push “POST”, their gorgeous girlfriend glides into the room, bearing with cocktails.

    Pleeeeze. When is hollywood going to stop glamorizing the blogosphere? It isn’t all sexy glory and top-shelf liquor!

  98. On the show Friends, an average coffee/barista waitress and a chef can live in a larger than average apartment in New York City.

  99. Since I was asked I’ll explain why you cannot crawl through ductwork in a building.

    1. The ductwork is usually too small. The size varies throughout the building starting out large and reducing down as the air is distributed to each room. At the room level duct is commonly no larger than six or eight inches in the smallest dimension. Where the duct is actually big enough to fit a person it usually leads directly to a fast moving fan and not to some convenient plot progressing location.

    2. People weigh too much. Duct is mostly air and the hangers used to hold it up are not designed for the 150+ pound weight of a person. It would simply fall down if someone tried to enter a duct.

    3. There are any number of nails and sharp edges inside of a duct. That’s what holds it together. If a person were to try to crawl through this metal minefield they would be cut to shreds.

    So if you are ever locked in a room by terrorists you might want to rethink the escape via duct plan.

  100. Pretty much any scene that involves Nuclear: bombs, waste, fuel, anything. Having worked on a waste retrieval and cleanup project ruined me forever.

  101. Videogame scenes, where someone is playing a videogame. That is inevitably 2 GENERATIONS OLD AND THEY’RE HOLDING THE CONTROLLER IN A WAY ONLY 5% OF THE GAMES USE.

    Sorry for caps, particular vehemance for this one (N64 is the main culprit).

  102. Kathy’s woman-in-crisis hair cutting comments reminded me of the hair cut scene in “An Officer and a Gentlemen”. The guys come out looking like prison camp inmates, but the girl has this totally cute bob. Riiiiight.

  103. What I hate is having a countdown of an exact length when it is not something that can be so accurately measured.

    “They’ve been infected with a deadly virus and have only an hour to live!”
    Then, after lots of action with lots of dramatic close-ups of a clock, they are saved with only a few seconds to spare.

    Yeah, right.

  104. Pretty much any time people use computers or the Internet in a movie. Extra negative points for “hacking.”
    Ten billion points from Gryffindor: Anyone else sit through the NBC adaptation of “A Wrinkle in Time”? I nearly died when they had the mom Google “Tesseract.” Dude, she has 2 PhDs. She’s not going to be googling it.

    Languages: I speak German. Americans, at any rate, pretty much always speak with what I call a “TV Nazi” accent. It sounds like what Americans think German sounds like, not like actual German or English spoken with a remotely authentic German accent. Say it, don’t spray it, please.

    Particularly bad: There’s one Stargate episode where Daniel Jackson pretends to be German. Not only is it a particularly awful accent, the writers threw in random German words that it would make no sense for him to use, apparently so it would be more convincing. The bad accent I can forgive (the character might well have mainly a scholar’s reading knowledge of the language), but as a linguist he should know that he couldn’t pass himself off as German with that wretched accent. He’d definitely know that if you were going to throw in German words with your English, it’d be words you might not know, rather than common every day words, e.g. articles.

    Also speaking of Stargate: Pretty much any anthropology, archeology, or linguistics in anything.

  105. I saw it mentioned above about the computer scenes in movies being the worst, but I have to disagree: these are the best! Specifically, the “hacking” in Jurassic Park and most notably, Hackers. They’re movies, people! Showing people hacking is not interesting. Showing “hackers” virtually flying around graphic representations of databases is hilarious! Get with it.

  106. I see the typography geeks don’t read DY. They go bonkers over this kind of stuff.

    One example:
    http://www.ms-studio.com/typecasting.html

  107. I first noticed this as a child watching Aristocats, but it’s not uncommon. If characters are in a country, say France, and speaking English for our benefit but presumably speaking the language of the country, say French, why why why do *some* characters have cute French accents and sprinkle their speech with cute French phrases? Aren’t they already speaking French?!?!

  108. 98% of poker games.

    “Mr. Hero, the pot is mine” (four of a kind)
    “Not so fast, evildoer!” (throws down full house)

    I don’t even play poker, but fucking come on.

  109. OK, Carl Parsons, I give up: Why a duck?

  110. Yeti Mom: $10 Million? Not even $1 million will fit, which we know thanks to Rob Cockerham.

    http://www.cockeyed.com/inside/million/million.html

    You’re right– once you know about how big a million bucks is, it’s annoying to see someone carry $10 million in anything less than a pair of large duffel bags, full. It’s even worse in British shows, since the bills are larger.

  111. Pretty much any scene involving a psychiatrist or counselor doing or saying something completely moronic, neatly solving a lifelong psychological problem in less time than that chessgame took. Drives me BATTY! I try to turn off the part of me that spent years getting an advanced degree in the field, but it’s impossible and routinely ruins movies and TV shows for me because I get sidetracked into a rant, complete with foaming at the mouth. Sigh. Oh, and the writer-as-tortured/insane is also getting old.

  112. This will really date me, but in the TV series “Hotel”, apparently the GM – James Brolin – and his executive assistant – Connie Selleca – did EVERYTHING: there was apparently no staff.
    And that was a big *** hotel!
    Trust me, the GM’s executive assistant doesn’t plan catered events…

  113. This will really date me, but in the TV series “Hotel”, apparently the GM – James Brolin – and his executive assistant – Connie Selleca – did EVERYTHING: there was apparently no staff.
    And that was a big *** hotel!
    Trust me, the GM’s executive assistant doesn’t plan catered events…

  114. Still so many ridiculous portrayals of females. How will I save my daughter from disney warping her young mind?

    -Woman just had hours of harrowing labor yet when they finally place the baby in her arms, makeup is flawless.

    -Woman is getting ready for bed – flawless makeup still on, hair perfectly coifed.

    -And the hooker with a heart of gold archetype has to go.

  115. I recall one episode of a local soap opera, featuring Settlers of Catan – with two people, one of the leaving, and the other saying “Ok, I continue alone”.

    My brother learned morse code in the German navy and he always smiles about this Steven Seagull movie (I dont remember the title), were the hero taps in morse codes, communicating with his partner.
    He said “The way he does it, its impossible to understand anything. You cant make a long knock…”

  116. University scenes involving referencing the calculus equations written up on the blackboard as “advanced math.” Sure, I get that calc is a powerful tool, but we’ve got programs that do that now. Honestly, are they tapping some film intern who hasn’t taken a math course since junior year of h.s. on the shoulder saying “hey, throw something up on the board so we’re not pointing at empty space”

    Also, Monica and Rachel’s apartment in Friends was originally rented to Monica’s grandmother, and rent controlled. When Monica moved in she kept the grandmother’s name on the books, and is paying the original rent. It comes up once or twice
    http://www.tv.com/friends/the-one-with-the-ballroom-dancing/episode/421/summary.html

  117. Poker scenes! Especially poker scenes where someone has a very good but beatable hand, bets it all despite the shows of strength from the hero, and then the hero flips up the nuts. Especially when the hero does this to three other players. In one hand.

    Casino Royale, I’m looking at you.

  118. Also, I feel like I should mention, that watching “The Wire” has ruined every other cop show for me. I mean, RUINED. They’re so… stupid.

    OK, that’s the wire plug for this thread.

  119. Such a funny thread! I think this one deserves its own page (ala Tricks of the Trade).

    I need to add some of my movie / tv pet peeves:

    – Similar to the ventilation ducts scenes, I don’t know how many times I’ve seen someone go into an elevator and the doors open and… where did they go?? Why, through some hatch in the roof of the elevator of course! Perfect for evading or infiltrating (leads straight to the HVAC ducts). It got to the point that whenever I get on an elevator I look up to see if there is any service hatches or trap doors in the ceiling. Trust me – they aren’t there…. unless they are under a lot of paneling and light fixtures – stuff you wouldn’t be able to remove in the time it takes for the elevator doors to open.

    – Almost anytime the main character(s) enter a stripclub / bar, you are almost guaranteed that there is going to be a fight, some gunplay, or some slapping a person around. If bouncers are involved, they get taken out almost immediately. This scenerio also applies to any high school boys locker room (minus the bouncers).

    – Every time you see someone carrying a bag of groceries, there is a loaf of french bread and/or a bunch of celery sticking out. Not sure why this bugs me, but it really does.

  120. I hate all movies involving journalists who apparently have all the money and time in the world to go chasing around after The Big Story that Will TOTALLY Bring Down the Man.

    At an actual newspaper or TV station, the editor would be telling these clowns, “That’s nice, but I need you to do a quick feature on this person in our circulation area who found a muffin shaped like the Great Pyramid. And when you’re done there, you can call up meteorologists to ask them about the rain we are/aren’t getting this winter.”

  121. I hate the scenes where the mouthy brat is supposed to be endearing. No, they’re a brat, and you just want to slap…errr…put them in time-out.

  122. Folks enjoying this thread would probably get a kick out of “Ebert’s little movie glossary” by Roger Ebert. Not necessarily irksome things, but chock full of rules of thumb like “If someone coughs in the first 15 minutes, they have a terminal illness”; or, as 18Charisma pointed out, “a bag of groceries must have bread and/or celery stalks sticking out.”

    My peeve: all libraries are sumptuous places with mezzanines, wooden shelving, and those lamps with the green shades. The public libraries I’ve worked at sure don’t look like that.

  123. I’m with Eric – my husband is a violinist and most of the time any string player appearing on screen results in groans and jeers. “He’s not even holding the bow right! And his left hand! A monkey would do better! Aaargh!” Though occasionally we’re pleasantly surprised by someone who, though perhaps (probably) not playing the music you are hearing, is actually playing the instrument in some way that is not completely retarded.

  124. You have way too many of these already, but my contribution is not even technical: I hate it when the hero bursts through a door/window/wall and responds to a comment that the bad guy just made, when it’s obvious that they wouldn’t have been able to hear the comment from outside the room.

    The only one I can think of offhand is from the Fantastic Four movie: Dr. Doom is about to kill the Invisible Girl, and says “It’s time to end this”. Immediately afterward, The Thing bursts through a concrete wall, and responds “No, Vic. It’s clobbering time.” So, what, The Thing was standing outside with his ear to wall waiting for the right moment to interrupt their conversation?

  125. Wow, I’ve just read the whole long throng of posts since my own, and they were GREAT. We should all hang out someday and get annoyed at movies together.
    Srah, I don’t watch LOST (and not even sure if we still get it here in Israel or what), but that does sound kinda annoying.
    In geenral, I think translation – when it is portrayed – is about as simplified as all the computer-stuff others have mentioned. There is never a ‘Hmm, wait, this word can mean two different things, we need more context to know what the hell this sentence says’, and none of the nitpicking-ness that translators are so often prone to (‘Wait, I’m not sure this is the correct translation, it’s more like—umm, let me look at another dictionary or four and make sure, okay?’), they always look at a text and know just what it says, or open a dictionary and it’s the first meaning listed.

    But this is a bit too specific I guess; one of those things, like the chess-games, that won’t make an interesting scene if realistic. Here are some more basic things nobody seems to have said yet:
    * Somebody gets shot. Our action hero – a cop, a spy, a paper-pusher-turned-hero, whatever – runs over, lays a finger on his neck/wrist, then looks up gravely and says ‘He’s dead’. WTF?! Are you a doctor? I did a very simple and basic First-Aid course years ago, and even I know that you can NOT determine death without a doctor, unless the body is already decomposing, a skeleton, or lying separately from the head. But noooo, they just touch the neck and know right away.
    * A computer needs to be destroyed. The heroes pick up the MONITOR and smash it. Umm, that made a nice crashing effect, but it was just a monitor. The computer is still fully usable.
    * Women who get a bit depressed immediately wear pajamas and eat a tub of ice cream. They never read a book, or go out, or just lie there not feeling like doing anything. They go straight for the ice cream. Jee, thanks for the stereotype, folks!
    * Any of those old shows where a villain threats to turn time backwards… by making the clocks run the other way! Or changing the direction in which the earth spins. That’s equally stupid. Just because sunset is going to be in the east from now on doesn’t mean time is going backwards. Stop being stupid, people.

    Also, my fiance used to work on a nuclear submarine, and I remember him being annoyed with:
    * Radioactive stuff glowing green. Apparently, that doesn’t happen.
    * Submarines always being dark, instead of having normal lighting.

  126. While I don’t mind WATCHING crime shows (I especially like to watch CSI and play “spot when the cops SHOULD have read the Miranda rights and see all the info that is now inadmissable because they screwed up”), I HATE the effect that they’ve had on the general population, in terms of expecting mountains of detailed physical evidence when they sit on juries, regardless of the type of crime.

  127. I hate it when they have people fake knitting. Either learn it, or do crocher. Sheesh.

    AND, there was a Quilted Northern add that had the “quilters” using knitting needles. It’s your BRAND NAME. Get it right.

  128. I just thought of another one… in The X-Files movie, they pan back to show a landscape that is supposed to be just outside of Dallas, Texas. And there are mountains. Riiight.

  129. Several scenes that are related come to mind. The hero is fighting with a bad guy, and the girl (yeah, always a girl) he just rescued is pushed down and/or knocked aside. She just kind of either lays there whimpering or stands around while the hero struggles with the bad guy, often with a gun sliding around on the floor. Jeez, lady, little help here?
    Second, the big bad guy/monster is knocked down, and the hero is standing over him/it, and decides to just reach down and check for a pulse. You know what happens next. The Wife and I are always screaming at the screen, “For Christ sake, shoot him/it in the head a few times, or kick the hell out of him.”
    Finally, hero and wife/kids or sidekick are running away from the monster. The hero/dad says something like, “you take the kids/yourself and escape to safety while I make a last stand here and buy you enough time.” Then, the wife just basically stands around being vulnerable while the dad/hero get killed. Another case of, “Hey honey, if I’m going to die for you, don’t be an idiot – please run the hell as far away as possible, ok?”

  130. What a great thread! A lot of my pet peeves have already been identified: srah commented on the unacknowledged collateral destruction caused by good guys and superheroes, HS identified the lighter-than-air suitcase contents (or tiny suitcases: in old movies, the heroine always indignantly piles a corset and maybe a slip into something the size of a vanity case), and many have complained about search engines.

    The search engine thing really does get me. I work in an academic library, and I do a lot of reference work, and it’s a source of endless frustration when I see, say, obscure one-horse-town newspapers fully digitized and searchable on the web, with no copyright or licensing restrictions whatsoever. I feel like it must give our patrons an unrealistic expectation of their own research results. What really fries my ass is when the search completely ignores the syntax of a well-crafted query: no quotes-enclosed phrases, no Boolean operators, just something like “NASA history” and then suddenly the exact info they need is right up at the top. Google would pay millions for that algorithm, baby.

    On the topic of things that bug, rather than actual scenes: auto drivers who converse with (or make out with) the people in the passenger seat, not looking at the road for insanely long periods of time. Oh man, does that make me crazy.

    And, drawing on my earlier life, when I worked as a bartender in a large hotel: hotel staff misbehavior. “Hotel Babylon” is the most egregious offender here, mostly because it’s supposed to be such a ritzy, 5-star establishment. But the staff sit down in their uniforms in the public spaces, drinking and eating and laughing, use the front door instead of an employee entrance, work both as housekeepers and as banquet staff….oh dear lord, the list goes on and on. I find myself screaming at the screen–but I CAN’T TURN AWAY….

  131. “…auto drivers […] not looking at the road for insanely long periods of time.”

    Or drivers supposedly driving on a fairly straight pieces of road but who yank the steering wheel back and forth as if they are on an obstacle course…

  132. I hate it when bad guys have fully automated weapons but constantly miss their target, while the good guy has one single shot pistol and kills every bad guy – hitting every target aimed at. (i.e. True Lies)

  133. I’m an entomologist and my husband is a fisheries biologist, we’re nasty movie company, too. :)

  134. Oh, yeah. Fake drinking. Just put water in the coffee cup so you actually drink something.

  135. Ahhh, and then there is “Armageddon”. The movie where evidently it’s more feasible to train guys from an oil rig to be astronauts than it is to train astronauts to be able to run the drills. I can’t stand melodramatic movies like that but alas, I’m not the one with the remote.

  136. Not sure if one of the 134 prior commenters already said this, but I hate how the young, hipster, grungy WRITER_BIKE MESSENGER_FILL IN THE BLANK LOW WAGE EARNER can afford that really effing huge loft apartment with the great view of the river, the city and the bridge.

  137. ok, older film and probably no one here saw it – it was a foreign flick about the castrati – the eunuched opera singers.

    I went with about 50 singers and orchestra musicians – At the very first scene where he opens his mouth to sing, and all this *sound* pours out, every single person in our group exploded with laughter.

    He didn’t hold his tongue flat behind the teeth, which every opera singer has beaten into them at an early age.

    Ok, I guess you had to be there.

  138. How about when the bad guys car runs into the back of a parked car and flips over? Every time I try that I just smash up both cars.

    And why is it that every computer expert in every show is young, uber-cool, and has super trendy glasses and tussled hair? Where are all the fat hairy guys with three day old pizza stuck in their beards?

  139. I hate it when two people wake up together and start making out passionately. Do you not need to brush your teeth first!? In Hollywood, there is no morning breath.

  140. I hate it when two people wake up together and start making out passionately. Do you not need to brush your teeth first!? In Hollywood, there is no morning breath.

  141. I second above posters on driving.

    Also: Ten years ago or so I heard an interview with a former foreign legion soldier who talked about getting shot – which, apparently, produces an all-consuming pain no matter where the bullet hits you. “It’s not like in the movies, that you can continue shooting with the other hand.”

    My action movie experience has never been the same.

  142. The car chase in The Matrix: Reloaded. I’m a car guy, and having an extended chase scene with a frillion cars in it, 98% of which came from GM, was quite distracting.

  143. Not so much a scene, as a line.

    “You knew my father?”

    It is in so many movies, not just the obvious ones. I’m really sick of hearing it. Can’t they be more original?

  144. oops

    The movie was Farinelli.

    One musical movie that does get it right:
    Immortal Beloved.

  145. Not a “scene” per se, but my most hated thing in movies is the guy sitting near me in the theater (or living room, as the case may be) complaining about how one thing or another is portrayed in the movie.

    I really hate that.

  146. I hate pretty much any period movie where someone plays a forte piano or clavichord and you hear a modern nine foot Steinway grand piano. They spend hundreds of hours getting the socks right and they can’t be bothered to put a historically accurate instrument in the soundtrack.

    Bonus points for “The Piano,” made infinitely worse by the insipid Michael Nyman soundtrack. Hey, kids, let’s leave a crappy box piano that’s been in the hold of a ship on a beach (and out in the weather) for a month, then go back and play it. Not only would it be so out of tune that you could not recognize anything anyone played on it, but you’d be lucky if it worked at all. After that, a naked Harvey Keitel was a blessing.

  147. As a nurse, I can hardly sit thru a scene where a person is in intensive care, hooked up to monitors, and another character walks into the room just as the nurse announces “I’m taking a coffee break” (what?? we can take coffee breaks??), administers a lethal injection and walks out while NO ALARMS SOUND! Yes, I’m talking about Million Dollar Baby. Million Dollar Load O’ Crap, I call it.

  148. In American Pie when the college student tells his brother that he can find the sex manual hidden behind a chemistry section in the library and they go to the 900s, which of course is history. Yes, I am a librarian, but it’s such an easy thing to check! I hate it when they don’t check.

  149. That porno when I recognize my ex-girlfriend (when we were still dating)!

  150. I’m a historian, and it drives me nuts when someone in a show just gets on the internet and finds exactly the historic information they’re looking for using Google. I remember an episode of Buffy where there’s something going on at the school (naturally) and Willow jumps on her handy computer and in 10 seconds says “Look guys, I’ve found the answer to our problem in the Sunnydale High 1956 yearbook!” Folks, teh interwebs hasn’t been around that long. While many important historical documents have been scanned/transcribed and put up on web pages, doing research on anything prior to 1990 that was not a major historic event is going to yield you bupkes. Scanning old yearbooks or transferring microfiched newspapers to digital formats is something that is not on any library’s priority list; they don’t have staff, money or time to spend on it, and if you want to do research on an obscure topic, you’re going to have to get off your rear and look in an actual library. Gah.

  151. The entire movie Swordfish. Except for the part with Halle Berry topless.

  152. Oh, also Swimfan. Particularly the scene where they handcuff the girl in front of her body and then put her into the back of a cop car that has no dividing partition and bucket seats which provide easy access to the officer’s holstered gun.

  153. I don’t know if it’s been mentioned yet but I hate when a movie is shot in a geographic location I know well and there is a car chase and a left turn magically deposits them several miles away in another part of town.
    Or? Even worse is when a movie is supposed to happen in a certain locale and you can clearly tell it’s not taking place there. Case in point: Mr. Brooks.
    It drove me nuts that it’s so obviously NOT Portland.

  154. I don’t know if it’s been mentioned yet but I hate when a movie is shot in a geographic location I know well and there is a car chase and a left turn magically deposits them several miles away in another part of town.
    Or? Even worse is when a movie is supposed to happen in a certain locale and you can clearly tell it’s not taking place there. Case in point: Mr. Brooks.
    It drove me nuts that it’s so obviously NOT Portland.

  155. I weep over the treatment of women, particularly when Hollywood refuses to let pretty women be ugly, when really a little ugly would be justified (i.e. labor, terminal illness, etc.), and particularly when Hollywood somehow decides that such moments are the time to make pretty women be even hotter! (i.e. the strategic tearing/removal of clothing, strategically placed dirt/mud on their faces)

    The worst case of this is in MI2 – at the beginning of the movie they show a victim suffering from whatever virus that was and he looked postively vile after only a few hours of the illness, but at the end of the movie, when Tom Cruise’s girl should only have minutes to live, she looks like she only has a mild stomach ache. At least be consistent!

    To that end, I really hate that the survival rates of women in movies are directly related to how attractive they are. Case in point: In “Independence Day” the PRESIDENT’S WIFE with her detail of Secret Service never has a chance, but the stripper with a heart of gold? She’s going to live forever!

    My mom is one of those emergency preparedness people and whenever I want to make her really angry I tell her that my 48-hour kit includes a bikini, shiny lip gloss, and a bottle of self-tanner.

  156. And while I am thinking about it, I really hate the recent climate-phobic movies where people are actually outrunning the cold (“The Day After Tomorrow”) or the heat (“The Chronicles of Riddick”). I mean, seriously? In the shade or next to the fire it is a pleasant 65 degrees, but two steps away?! CERTAIN DEATH!!!

  157. For those of you who are bothered by CSI, I would like to point you to an internet sketch comedy group based in Vancouver, BC called LoadingReadyRun and one of their videos, CSI: CSI

  158. You people are all great. Come watch movies at my place anytime.

    What really bugs me is the nasty cop bosses. You know, who never believe the hero, and usually end up suspending him from duty forcing him to go maverick and track down the big baddy by himself?

    Bad Boys is a parTICularly annoying example of this, because they end up killing all teh bad guys and blowing up all of the evidence. How are they going to prove it to their sceptic boss now?

    *sigh*

    Lame plot device alert….

  159. You people are all great. Come watch movies at my place anytime.

    What really bugs me is the nasty cop bosses. You know, who never believe the hero, and usually end up suspending him from duty forcing him to go maverick and track down the big baddy by himself?

    Bad Boys is a parTICularly annoying example of this, because they end up killing all teh bad guys and blowing up all of the evidence. How are they going to prove it to their sceptic boss now?

    *sigh*

    Lame plot device alert….

  160. “I just need to put this single test tube in my otherwise empty centrifuge and we’ll have the answer”.

    Hello? You need to have another test tube of exactly the same weight sitting in the opposite position in the centrifuge to balance it. Otherwise you’re going to break it… and those things are expensive!

  161. I hate it when the scene involves a video conference call over the computer and they are supposedly interacting but you can see the time indicator moving on the recording. Even Simpsons did an animated video conference complete with the time bar, play and pause button.

  162. People using balsa wood, or some other ridiculous protection as a barrier during a shoot-out, and during car chases when you have a the equivalent of a Yugo overtaking, or even pacing the equivalent of a Ferrari.

    And don’t get me start on any of the CSI francises – talk about a ‘cop’ show for stupid people…

  163. I love how everyone in the movies always gets a parking spot right in front of where they’re going in major U.S. cities.

  164. People using balsa wood, or some other ridiculous protection as a barrier during a shoot-out, and during car chases when you have a the equivalent of a Yugo overtaking, or even pacing the equivalent of a Ferrari.

    And don’t get me start on any of the CSI francises – talk about a ‘cop’ show for stupid people…

  165. To Ken 2E: whenever my husband and I are lucky enough to find parking right in front of where we are going we always refer to it as “Hollywood parking”

  166. I spent years on the bomb squad, so any movie involving explosives, improvised devices, or explosions pretty much annoys me. An improvised device can be easily disarmed by just separating the detonator from the explosive, there’s no need to agonize over which wire to cut. If that big explosion is going to break all the glass around you, you aren’t going to stroll away from it. If it will pick you up and toss you across the parking lot, you’re definitely not going to be able to hear your lovely co-hort talking to you for a few days. And I was in the Army, as was DH, so the military stuff drives us crazy.

    Also, when they show the characters shopping at the big box store and they have this whole huge, empty aisle to themselves. Anytime I go to Walmart, it’s crammed with boxes in the aisle and half of the state shopping for pork rinds.

  167. Forgot this other CSI nit: addiction to stimulants combined with the ability to teleport. Which shift is Grissom on? (however you spell his name… I’ve watched all of five episodes, I think.) It’s day, it’s night, it’s the next scene and he’s magically 20 miles across traffic… I’d like to complain about the hokey lab stuff, too, but everyone else already got that.

    I almost mentioned the silly “French accent in France” thing in my earlier post, but I couldn’t figure out what would be better. Speaking French with subtitles, I guess. But the American audience would never buy that, even assuming the studio wanted to invest in training actors to speak another language (or casting actors who actually do). And we can all see what happened in Firefly. So I’ll give up on the language thing in TV shows (which I don’t watch anyway), but hell, they ought to be able to do better in movies.

  168. Movies that defeat their own premise. Minority Report is the worst example of this in cinematic history. The colour of the ball indicates whether a crime of premeditation or a crime of passion is about to happen. Crime of passion offers very little time to catch the guy before the dirty deed occurs, but one of premeditation allows for several days to pass, and two hours of chase scenes.

    So, what happens? Cruise’s character is pre-destined to commit a premeditated murder based on the colour of the ball that comes down early in the film. In the end, the crime he commits is one of passion.

    Oopsie.

  169. I hate animated movies where *female* critters are voiced by men. In most of the “bug” cartoons (Ants, Bee Movie, Bug’s Life), all of the colony workers should be female.

    Barnyard is the worst: they have a deep male voice for a frickin’ “milk cow”–with prominent udders for god’s sake. Hello?? Dude, those are tits!

  170. I can’t believe this one hasn’t been mentioned yet:

    The car-racing scene, in which the hero and his rival blast along at high speed and the director cuts back and forth between close-ups of their faces, with gritted teeth. They are neck and neck as they approach the finish line (or improbably narrow alleyway down which only one of the cars will fit) until one of the characters gets the bright idea to PUSH THE ACCELERATOR ALL THE WAY TO THE FLOOR and he zooms ahead into the distance. WTF? It didn’t occur to you to floor it already?

    Particularly obnoxious in this regard were the 2 Fast 2 Furious movies, as they invented completely new nitrous-oxide related ways to use this ridiculous scene.

  171. Oh, and scenes with lava in them. Remember the movie Volcano? There was a guy standing on the hood of some pickup truck who leaps (barely) to safety over the approaching lava – which the movie then tells us is hot enough to melt his entire truck on contact. Which is it? Is the lava so hot it melts pickup trucks on contact, or can a guy stand next to it and not suffer any apparent heat-related effects?

  172. This commenter:

    Primrose Hill has a specific geographic location–it doesn’t float around London of it’s own free will.

    cracked me the hell up. As do you.

  173. You guys are great.

    One thing that hasn’t been mentioned is smoking. Certain actors use smoking as a way to eeeeeeeeee-mote and show that their character is either edgy or stressed out or both. But in the case of some (I’m looking at YOU, Meg Ryan) you can tell they don’t know the first thing about smoking. They fling the cigarette around like a crazy person, hold it awkwardly, and even (in Meg’s case) hoist the glowing cherry into their hair when things are going really, really bad for their character. Christ, people, go to a bar. Watch the regulars. Notice the spare, sometimes elegant routine regular smokers have for getting nicotine into the body, exhaling smoke, and putting the ashes into the ashtray (or on the floor). Above all, Meg, pay attention to your movements and get that damn cigarette out of your hair.

  174. Knowing a little about mass, I hate action scenes when a villian is shot and goes from standing to flying 50 feet backwards, arms flailing, and sprawls into a distant wall. No way.

    Also, people in movies who get a chance to talk before dying. Man, if you got a sucking chest wound, you’re going to squirm around for a little while, bleed, then expire, not tell everyone the meaning of life.

  175. I have a master’s degree in classics, so any attempt to portray ancient Greek/Roman history or literature tends to set off my nerd alarms. I can kinda understand history, but did the writers of Troy even *read* the Iliad?

    Alexander was just as bad, but reminds me of this really funny, arrogant Oliver Stone interview quote about why the movie didn’t do well:

    “Perhaps I just failed in some way to communicate [my love of the story] to an American audience and American critics.

    I have to start with American apathy to ancient history….It really is there. I screened the movie for the Moroccan film festival. And I felt it in these places. Poland, I screened it in Poland. There’s a fascination with that time, Greece, the details. And they know about Alexander. They know more than Americans. Americans don’t really know…

    I wanted to get the language simple and strong like Greek dramas, so it was more like Euripides and also Aeschylus. Why didn’t they write a play about Alexander? Could have easily been a trilogy. Why didn’t anybody do that?”

    Here are some dates:
    Aeschylus: b. 525 BC, d. 455 BC
    Euripides: b. 480 BC, d. 405 BC
    Alexander the Great: b. 356 BC, d. 323 BC

    Gee, Oliver Stone, I am also stumped why they didn’t write about Alexander the Great, because I’m an American and don’t know anything about history. Thank god you came along to make a TERRIBLE MOVIE about him to shed a ray of light into my ignorance!

    PS: If you want to see the whole interview, it’s the URL I gave for this post.

  176. I’m not 100% sure Oliver Stone was referring to Euripides and Aeschylus when he said that. The question is at the start of a new paragraph after all (in the interview but not in your post), not directly after their mention. I think his ‘they’ refers to playwrights in general.

    “Why didn’t they write a play about Alexander? Could have easily been a trilogy. Why didn’t anybody do that? I mean why didn’t Shakespeare touch the guy, or Marlowe or Goethe? He was famous. Nobody touched him. Why? Because there’s too much success. He’s too much – too much for people.”

    Another thing I really hate in movies is jump-scares. You know that kind – a sound is heard or a movement is seen behind a curtain or something, the protagonist creeps up, pulls away the curtain and out jumps a screeching frigging cat, or bird.

    I absolutely loathe those moments because they make me hate myself for not being able to keep from jumping at them every time.

  177. I also thought of another. Pregnant women who are more or less unaffected by being pregnant. One example, in the new Battlestar Boomer is pregnant and imprisoned aboard the ship.

    Instead of showing her throwing up in a toilet or rubbing her stomach (two extremely common things pregnant women do) they show her in a tight shirt doing sit ups. Riiiiight. If Cylons are super human in that way too perhaps we are truly doomed.

  178. Anything with an f’ing horse. That’s why they have riding specialists and experts on hand!

    Instead they have an English saddle on with a Western bridle and the the rider is doing who-knows-what with his or her hands. The scene calls for the horse to gallop and jump something while the person on board is flopping all over the place – it drives me crazy! As my riding instructor used to say, “The only person who could make their horse go faster by flapping their arms was John Wayne.”

    Very few movies get it right – the Man From Snowy River gets a pass, as does the Lord of the Ring Triology. But anything lower budget sucks ass.

  179. First, legal stuff. I used to practice criminal law and almost anything in a fictional criminal court makes me want to scream. The first time I watched “The Practice” on TV one of the lawyers tried to convince a jury that their client was innocent by saying “I believe he’s innocent.” Well hell, sorry, but you are very *specifically* not allowed to use that argument — you learn that in first year criminal law.

    I also agree with whoever posted saying that CSI-type shows raise people’s expectations about physical evidence in criminal investigations to unrealistic levels. In most criminal cases there is no DNA to test, and super-duper-high-powered fibre analysis is just not relevant. The vast majority of cases come down to “I saw him do it” vs. “no man, that wasn’t me, it was some other dude.”

    Finally, since I’ve mentioned DNA, in the movie “Mission to Mars” one of the characters mentions in passing the four nucleotides that make up DNA (C, G, T, AND A) and *gets one of them wrong*. I mean wtf? A little fact-checking wouldn’t kill you.

  180. The one thing that really grinds my gears is in shows like Smallville or really anything that has to do with a superhero, the supporting character that is being attacked by the villain/freak of the week is unceremoniously tossed aside and knocked unconscious. This happens to such an extent that I am amazed that the characters aren’t deemed clinically retarded. Don’t get me wrong I understand that this technique is used so that these characters don’t find out about the heroes true identity.But Come ON!

    The amount of times I have seen Lana Lang or Jonathan Kent thrown through a wall makes me wonder just how stupid that the show’s creators think we are.

    Thats another thing that I don’t like about superhero movies. Everybody that surrounds and loves the main protagonist is blissfully unaware of the heroes alter ego. The one defining difference between Clark Kent and Superman is the lack of glasses and a strategically placed lock of hair.

    Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, and Perry White are all intrepid men and women representing the worlds most read newspaper. They can’t even see through their coworkers thin facade. Batman Begins did a great job considering that the love interest finally figured out Bruce’s Identity. So I have high hopes for The Dark Knight.

    And Say what you will about character actors, Heath Ledger looks re-gosh-darn amazing as the Clown Prince of Crime.

  181. P.S.

    For the folks who are bothered by grocery bags having the inevitable french bread or celery sticking out of them, I pass on this link. This artist, Art Frahm, painted pictures in the 50s with an obsessive theme: women carrying bags of groceries that ALWAYS had celery sticking out the top. (The women also always have their underwear falling down, but it is more comical in its dated way than pornographic — artistically related to the scene where Marilyn Monroe’s dress is blown upward.)

  182. Numbers. Charlie gets some mathematically complex idea, which leads to his girlfriend figuring out how to model the idea on a computer. In the span of a couple hours. Nice gui, the works. wth?

  183. Oh hey, yeah, Numb3rs. I actually enjoy this show, when I see it (so I enjoy bad shows. So what?), but I suspect that anyone with even a little experience in math will find it extremely frustrating. The guy can use mathematical models to reach incredibly accurate results really really fast. Genius or not, that does not seem plausible.

  184. Jacen – best moment in all of Lois and Clark was when the guy from the future raves about meeting the famous Lois Lane and just wants to ask, “How stupid are you?”

  185. I started writing a reply but deleted it when I got past 300 words of ranting. So, briefly:

    Any scene that takes place in a lab or involves any kind of scientist. I’m a lab based scientist and dispair at the pathetic lack of fact-checking and stereotyping. I’m not asking for total realism, but is internal logic too much to hope for?

    More annoyingly, the scene toward the end where either or both the Hero or Evil Villain-Type sudenly decide to break out the super-weapon. Seriously guys, if you have a huge weapon, secret move or superpower (I’m looking at you, Magneto) use it at the START of the battle. Heck, do it early when your opponent is still at home in the shower.

    I’m also bothered by the huge body counts the good guys tend to rack up. I don’t care how [cute your relative is] / [expensive the stolen device is] / [etc], was it really worth the lives of a dozen bystanders and forty redshirts?

    Finally… where do all the henchmen come from anyway? I mean seriously, has anyone ever seen the ad for “Hench Persons Required: slavish loyalty a necessity, oddly styled uniforms provided”?

  186. I started writing a reply but deleted it when I got past 300 words of ranting. So, briefly:

    Any scene that takes place in a lab or involves any kind of scientist. I’m a lab based scientist and dispair at the pathetic lack of fact-checking and stereotyping. I’m not asking for total realism, but is internal logic too much to hope for?

    More annoyingly, the scene toward the end where either or both the Hero or Evil Villain-Type sudenly decide to break out the super-weapon. Seriously guys, if you have a huge weapon, secret move or superpower (I’m looking at you, Magneto) use it at the START of the battle. Heck, do it early when your opponent is still at home in the shower.

    I’m also bothered by the huge body counts the good guys tend to rack up. I don’t care how [cute your relative is] / [expensive the stolen device is] / [etc], was it really worth the lives of a dozen bystanders and forty redshirts?

    Finally… where do all the henchmen come from anyway? I mean seriously, has anyone ever seen the ad for “Hench Persons Required: slavish loyalty a necessity, oddly styled uniforms provided”?

  187. Ooooh, and I just remembered another one. In that show JAG, one of the protagonists, Mac, spoke Farsi.
    Incredibly, this enabled her to communicate with any kind of Muslims, including Arab terrorists (who would be speaking Arabic, which is not even in the same family of languages as Farsi, even if they do have some vocabulary in common the whole structure of the language is different!), bedouines (can’t remember where that desert they met those was, but hard to believe they’d speak Farsi, instead of some dialect of Arabic, Urdu, or something like that), and whatnot. GRRR.

    My aforementioned fiance had a bunch of other problems with the show, but I’m not gonna start with those.

  188. #1 – any beer commercial showing fewer than 3 hot chicks per dork.

    #2 – anything that references man walking on the moon, or shows those terrible hollywood hoax pictures. Everybody knows we never went!

  189. Another thing that grinds my gears is when the villain’s outlines that his complete plan for world domination to an incapacitated protagonist.

    You might as well hand out fliers detailing which wire to cut or the best way to bring down a dirigible. A really well conceived bad guy would shot the hero straight up rather than dismiss all of their henchmen and leave the super spy alone to his own devices.

    And please when you apprehend said super spy take off all their articles of clothing especially any watches or pieces of jewelry that could possible house a laser, saw , or some form of small explosive. I know this is sacrilegious, but If you look back Bond really isn’t that crafty, his enemies are just that stupid.

  190. Ugh, JAG. Where to begin?

    And for any military movie that shows ZULU time. You only care for ZULU time when you’re in that timezone. When you’re in Iraq, or Hawaii, or wherever a hot shot team of lawyers goes (that happens right, JAG? right?) you go by the local time.

    Makes no sense to operate on the fact that it’s midnight when the sun is up, and everyone is eating lunch.

    And military movies, especially submarines. As mentioned earlier, they aren’t the dark moody places hollywood thinks they are. You can’t be expected to clean if you can’t see the dirt. They’re mostly brightly lit at all times. And being cleaned.

    Also, flooding is generally a one way trip to the bottom. Much as your submariner son tries to lie to you about how safe it is, if there is a hole, water will come in. When that happens, the air inside gets pressurized. When that happens, (Boyle’s law) the air heats up.

    So everything squishes and catches fire.

    Just so you know. Tell your submariner you’re proud, and he can stop lying. You know he’s doomed.

    Oh, and yeah, radioactive things don’t glow green. Underwater, the water glows blue. It’s called Cherenkov radiation.

  191. Excellent thread. My top three:

    Since seeing the “you got me monologueing!” bit in The Incredibles, I’ve noticed how almost universal this scene is. Just feaking shoot the guy, don’t spend five minutes yammering on.

    Any cop/CSI/law show where the suspect just starts answering questions, and never _ever_ says “I ain’t talking without a lawyer!”

    The nine out of ten cop/csi/law

    Any scene at a club or concert where a band is playing, and the characters in the audience can carry on a normal conversation.

  192. Excellent thread. My top three:

    Since seeing the “you got me monologueing!” bit in The Incredibles, I’ve noticed how almost universal this scene is. Just feaking shoot the guy, don’t spend five minutes yammering on.

    Any cop/CSI/law show where the suspect just starts answering questions, and never _ever_ says “I ain’t talking without a lawyer!”

    Any scene at a club or concert where a band is playing, and the characters in the audience can carry on a normal conversation.

  193. @akeeyu: “Any movie where the hero/villain/damsel in distress/breakfast pastry is falling from a great height and:
    A: is caught (for example, by Spiderman) mere moments before impact and suffers no deceleration injuries”

    Though the movies don’t ever get into it, this does come up at least once — Spider-man catches Gwen Stacy with a line of webbing after one of the Green Goblin’s many incarnations tosses her off a building. He pulls her up and she’s dead! And he never knows if she was killed when Gobby threw her, of if he snapped her neck accidentally while trying to be a hero. Ouch.

    @trickykid: “I don’t know if it’s been mentioned yet but I hate when a movie is shot in a geographic location I know well and there is a car chase and a left turn magically deposits them several miles away in another part of town.”

    Ah yes — The Hunted, am I right? Just guessing from the Portland ref you made; that movie was the worst with Portland’s geography. Best part: Benicio del Toro jumps into the Willamette River in Portland, then somehow flows over Willamette Falls — miles and miles UPriver. To say nothing of the footchase which hopscotches back and forth past Portland landmarks blocks apart, or on opposite sides of the river itself.

  194. Nathan Harrison–Gobby actually tosses Gwen off a bridge: the artist draws the Brooklyn Bridge, but Spidey refers to it as the George Washington Bridge in the dialogue balloon. (One of the great gaffes in Marvel history.)

    I would add, reminded by the Classics MA above, that any Roman epic that decides to include Latin tends to get it wrong. I can’t remember the exact phrasing, but “Gladiator” had a scene that showed a gateway near the Colosseum with a Latin inscription indicating that the this is where one entered for the Games, and it was a mess: noun/verb disagreement, nouns declined incorrectly, you name it. I always respected “Buffy” because they were careful with their Latin, but the sword&sandal folks just butcher it mercilessly. Which is what makes the “Romans, Go Home!” Latin lesson in “The Life of Brian” a source of such delight for us Latinists.

    And on geographical errata: I’m a Manhattanite, and it makes me crazy when people walk around a corner and find themselves in a neighborhood across town. At the beginning of the original “Men in Black,” Will Smith’s cop chases an alien from the Daily News building (42nd & 2nd Ave) to the Guggenheim Museum (89th & 5th Ave), which is over 4 miles. Will Smith is a very fit man, but that’s not really feasible.

  195. “A Beautiful Mind” – Nash explains something that is … not the Nash equilibrium. He explains something that is, in fact, no sort of equilibrium. It’s bad enough that people conflate economics with accounting.

  196. The Spiderman movie where Doc Oc makes a fusion power source with enough energy to provide electricity for the entire planet, as much power as the sun. And yet they were able to just drown it in the river. It didn’t boil away the water or cause any other issues, just dropped into the water and now everything is fine. What a load of hoo-ha

  197. All of you who mentioned babies and pregnancy reminded me of my peeves:

    After a gruelly labor, ejust delivered newborn is: completely clean, has a perfectly round head (this was not a c-section!), and is obviously at least 3 months of age. I mean come on, look at that head control! Even those of us who had large babies don’t have freakin’ 3 month old babies pop out.

    That, and then WOW, the next day, you can’t even tell the woman was ever pregnant. That baby weight? Gone in 60 seconds! I guess that’s what happens when you give birth to a 3 month old baby!

  198. All of you who mentioned babies and pregnancy reminded me of my peeves:

    After a gruelly labor, the just delivered newborn is: completely clean, has a perfectly round head (this was not a c-section!), and is obviously at least 3 months of age. I mean come on, look at that head control! Even those of us who had large babies don’t have freakin’ 3 month old babies pop out.

    That, and then WOW, the next day, you can’t even tell the woman was ever pregnant. That baby weight? Gone in 60 seconds! I guess that’s what happens when you give birth to a 3 month old baby!

  199. Any space opera (think one of the myriad versions of Star Trek) where the brilliant but troubled captain comes up with something to do with the warp drive or the beaming device or the energy field thingy that is a “one in a million chance, but just might work,” managing not only to save the ship but to close the hole in the space time continuum yet again. Hey, didn’t they just do that in the last episode? How many one in a million chances do they get? Sheesh!

    Oh, and any scene in which William Shatner gets his shirt torn off. Natch.

  200. Shameless plugs for trendy bands on TV shows, wow, all these great bands show up in the middle of nowhere, just in time for unimportant character to randomly blurt “I love so-and-so”

    Also, skeleton halloween costumes with the incorrect number of ribs.

  201. There’s a gun to somebody’s head, but he refuses to cooperate. “Click click,” says the gun, as its wielder pulls back the hammer. “Okay, I’ll do it!” yells the terrified man.

  202. Uh real chess games very, very rarely end with someone announcing mate in seven. Except for rare forced lines, nobody looks that far ahead. More likely ending is one person sac’ing a pawn and then not properly exploiting the tempo, or someone winding up with marginally more pressure on the g-file than the other. People who know chess can see how a slight edge can be turned into an inevitable win (and know if their opponent is capable of doing it), and quit when they see the slight edge.

  203. Oh, man these are all great.
    Being a geek, I can relate to so many of the tech/computer/geek related peeves.

    One thing that I used to see on CSI:Whatever it seems to have gotten better (geeks complained? a geek in a writer’s family?):

    when the techs are doing their fabulous video enhancements, zooming & pixelmashing on that Exclusive To The Crime Lab software, they do it all with the keyboard.
    No mouse.
    Not even a tablet.
    110% Keyboard Precision, baby.

    I found this list somewhere on the internets and though it covers some of what has already been mentioned, it has other good ones, too:

    1. Any PERMISSION DENIED has an OVERRIDE function.

    2. Complex calculations and loading of huge amounts of data will be accomplished in under three seconds. In the movies, modems transmit
    data at two gigabytes per second.

    3. When the power plant/missile site/whatever overheats, all the control panels will explode, as will the entire building.

    4. If you display a file on the screen and someone deletes the file, it also disappears from the screen. There are no ways to copy a backup file — and there are no undelete utilities.

    5. If a disk has got encrypted files, you are automatically asked for a password when you try to access it.

    6. No matter what kind of computer disk it is, it’ll be readable by any system you put it into. All application software is usable by all computer platforms.

    7. The more high-tech the equipment, the more buttons it has. However, everyone must have been highly trained, because the buttons aren’t labeled.

    8. Most computers, no matter how small, have reality-defying three-dimensional, real-time, photo-realistic animated graphics capability.

    9. Laptops, for some strange reason, always seem to have amazing real-time video phone capabilities and the performance of a CRAY.

    10. Whenever a character looks at a terminal, the image is so bright that it projects itself onto his/her face.

    11. Computers never crash during key, high-intensity activities. Humans
    operating computers never make mistakes under stress.

    12. (From Independence Day) No matter what kind of virus it is, any computer can be infected with it — even an alien spaceship’s computer — simply by
    running a virus upload program on a laptop.

    13. (From Jurassic Park) A custom system with millions of lines of code controlling a multimillion dollar theme park can be operated by a 13 year old who has seen a Unix system before. Seeing an operating system means you know how to run any application on that system, even custom apps.
    Note: What OS was it really running?
    (1) “These are super computers”. A CrayOS?
    (2) “Quicktime movie, Apple logo, trash can.” MacOS?
    (3) “Reboot. System ready. C:\” DOS?
    (4) “Hey, this is Unix. I know this” Unix?

    The computers in Jurassic Park were Cray supercomputers running the MacOS as a graphical shell of DOS all layered on top of a Unix base.

    14. You cannot stop a destructive program or virus by unplugging the computer. Presumably the virus has it’s own built-in power supply.

    15. You cannot stop a destructive program downloading onto your system by unplugging the phone line. You must figure out the mandatory “back door” all evil virus programmers put in.

    16. Computers only crash if a virus or a hacker is involved.

    17. All text must be at least 72 point.

    18. Word processors do not have an insert point.

    19. The only way to reboot is to shut off the main power to the building.

    20. Passwords can be guessed in three and exactly three tries. If you cannot guess the password in three tries, you must give up immediately.

    21. Any task or program can be executed by simply pressing Enter, no matter which program or window is in the foreground.

    22. All scanners, video cameras and digital cameras have a resolution of approximately 500 megapixels. Any image can be infinitely magnified with no pixelization.

    23. Security will not improve over time. Nonaffialiated personnel can take over a space ship without needing an account or access control.
    Corollary: Anyone can override access control lists in the future.

    24. All hackers wear black T-shirts or Hawaiian shirts.

    25. Incoming messages are displayed letter by letter. Email over the Internet works like telegraphs.

    26. Microsoft Windows doesn’t exist. Macintosh has a 75% market share.

    27. GUI operations, such as image selection and manipulation, can be handled easily and quickly via the keyboard.

  204. Certain actors use smoking as a way to eeeeeeeeee-mote and show that their character is either edgy or stressed out or both. But […] you can tell they don’t know the first thing about smoking. They fling the cigarette around like a crazy person

    Maybe they were coached by my philosophy professor. (Detailed description of the crazy old coot at my blog.)

  205. just thought of another one

    annoying overdone kissing scene:

    hero grabs heroine and forces a kiss on her. She *thinks* she doesn’t want to kiss him and vainly struggles, balling up her fists and getting in a couple of feeble pounds against his shoulder. but of course once she experiences a few moments of his magical kiss she can no longer resist and returns his passion.

    blech

  206. These are great!

    What kills me is how easy it is to infiltrate some place of work/evildoing. Sure, put on an appropriately colored jumpsuit and no one will know that you don’t belong there. Our hero and his supermodel sidekick grab a couple a spare coveralls and just waltz in. How many evil henchmen can there be? A couple dozen? And they’ve worked together in close quarters for several months. They would all recognize each other by sight. Especially if they’re all male and the stranger is a supermodel. I know if a supermodel suddenly showed up at my place of work, I would probably remember if I had seen her before in the weekly staff meeting or not.

    Also, our hero (I’m talking to you, Fugitive) goes into his former place of work and has free access as long as he hides his face from the three or four people who would recognize him. Hello! You’re a leading doctor in a hospital and you were convicted of murdering your wife. Everyone – nurses, lab assistants, orderlies – everyone is going to know your face. Wearing a janitor’s smock is not going to hide you!

  207. Ha! Totally agree with Hal’s observation. Knock out a soldier and put on his uniform – then no one looks twice at you. That one always bugged me.

  208. Hee hee! I love this thread!

    I hate the fake paper bags everyone always has their arms wrapped around, they don’t crinkle, or crease, or tear. I think they’re felt and I can’t pay attention to what is going on as I obsess about how the bag bulges because it’s material – some sort of stretchy brown felt, maybe. Just use the regular plastic grocery bags – it’s way more realistic anyway.

    I HATE fake smoking in movies – the worst is/was Killing Zoe where the main character is a chain smoker for two hours, who sucks furiously on his cigarettes but nary a wisp of smoke ever exits his mouth or nose. I’m not a smoker but I wanted to go up to the projectionist room and turn the whole thing off. Why bother portraying a smoker if you’re not going to smoke?

    I lived in Seattle when Singles was released and one of the characters is shown riding a bike to some restaurant from her neighborhood – the girl was teleporting all OVER Seattle in a completely random fashion to boot- the entire audience laughed out loud at how jumbled up all those locations were. That was fun.

  209. All the geography talk reminds me of the extremely distracting Chicago geography. It seems that the neighborhoods that people like to shoot in here are never next to each other. It’s best when walking. There are a lot of lakefront strolls that go for miles and miles.

    Even the extremely Chicago-knowledgable Jeff Garlin movie (“I Want Someone To Eat Cheese With”) had a scene where he meets Sarah Silverman in Lakeview, and they go for a five mile walk to Millenium Park, and then they go to buy underwear in Wicker Park, another five miles or so. He’s a fat man, and he’s not even breathing heavy.

    I spent most of the time watching ER trying to figure out where the hospital was.

    I know, it’s sort of a sickness. But it’s so distracting!

  210. I can’t stand the way that, as soon as someone drops unconscious, they’re given up for dead. It’s especially bad when they’re not dying from gaping wounds (e.g. Vesper Lynd in Casino Royale, who’d been pulled out of the water and was in a city with a hospital).

    Does no-one know mouth-to-mouth?

  211. It absolutely drives me crazy when an actor is riding a horse and his character is supposed to be a phenomenal rider but it is SO CLEAR that he has never been on a horse before, or that he just had a crash course an hour before. Horrible posture, the legs and feet are always turned way too far out, toes are pointed down at the ground — and the way they hold the reins! It’s horrible!

    And then, in some high-suspense “we have to stop that runaway train before everyone one it dies!” moment, they dramatically jerk the horse’s head around and I just wince at the damage that must be doing to the horse’s mouth. It drives me batshit insane. Hire an actor who knows how to ride!!!!

  212. Historical inaccuracies drive me nuts.

    Everafter: DaVinci supposedly having the Mona Lisa stolen when he was carrying it around all rolled up – It was painted on a BOARD, not so rolly. And DaVinci died in 1519, Utopia was written in 1515 in Latin and was not published in England in an English translation until 1551.
    I know it is a fantasy, but really – time travel wasn’t part of the fantasy as far as I noticed.

    And the person who mentioned birds. Moulin Rouge drove me nuts because when Kidman was singing to her caged bird – which was a Love Bird, the bird sang back with a lovely recording of a Canary.

  213. This irritates me to no end.

    WHY IS HOUSE DOING SURGERY? MORE IMPORTANTLY, IT’S EXTREMELY DANGEROUS PRE-NATAL SURGERY! House doesn’t even specialize in anything to do with babies!

  214. ————————————————-
    Movies that defeat their own premise. Minority Report is the worst example of this in cinematic history. The colour of the ball indicates whether a crime of premeditation or a crime of passion is about to happen. Crime of passion offers very little time to catch the guy before the dirty deed occurs, but one of premeditation allows for several days to pass, and two hours of chase scenes.

    So, what happens? Cruise’s character is pre-destined to commit a premeditated murder based on the colour of the ball that comes down early in the film. In the end, the crime he commits is one of passion.

    Oopsie.
    Posted by: Keith on December 20, 2007 8:07 AM
    ————————————————-

    While I agree that movies where the plot manages to break its own fictional rules are a pet peeve of mine, I can’t agree that ‘Minority Report’ is one of them. While Cruise’s character, had he gone through with the murder, would have been committing a crime of passion, there was plenty of premeditation in the setup that got him there.

    Sorry, but there aren’t too many book/story adaptations I like, so I’ll defend the ones I do. :)

  215. The Boy and his Companion Animal face each other on The Border between wilderness and civilization. Although they are dedicated friends, it is time to part. The Companion Animal stares at The Boy in confusion. Tears stream down The Boy’s cheeks as he shouts “go on! get out of here! run away! I hate you!” driving The Companion Animal out into the wild. As they part, each crosses their own respective bridge into adulthood.

  216. Entire movies about cheerleading, and the main character lacks any semblance of athletic skill. Problems include:

    -they’re always surrounded by a national champ squad that’s been practicing together eight hours a day for two years, so the contrast is even worse;
    -said national champ squad is forced into odd, unattractive, repetitive dance moves because it’s all the star can manage;
    -the star is in the middle of every routine when someone that bad would be pushed to the farthest back corner;
    -they’re the climber in the mounts, even though they’re so uncoordinated they’d likely snap their necks and injure everyone below them as they crashed to the earth.

    Kirsten Dunst in Bring it On, Kristy Swanson in Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the movie), as well as Sarah Michelle Gellar in Buffy the TV show. Not, not, not athletic gals. Watching “Heros” is blissful because Hayden Panettiere could clearly do a backflip if called upon.

  217. The Ben Affleck scenes. (Ba-dump!)

    Also, any- ANY scene where a kid (possibly working for the government, possibly working for the bad guys, possibly a rogue hacker) can literally do anything with his little laptop. He can reroute flights, shut down the power grid, hack into any communications system, crash satellites into sportscars- anything. Usually this takes only a minute or two of wisecracking to complete, with the actor fluttering their fingers over the keyboard like they just had their nails painted and are trying to speed the drying. This sets my teeth on edge.

    Similarly, any of the crime “science” on any of those CSI shows; they’re just so idiotic. I can’t be in the same room with a television showing that crap.

    Art thieves in heist movies who cut valuable masterworks out of frames with switchblades and roll them up into portable tubes. Ugh. Stupid.

    There are probably hundreds of other examples.

  218. I’ll second vox8 and the hatred of historical inaccuracies, but especially in, say, historical films. Mel Gibson’s Braveheart implies that William Wallace was involved with Princess Isabelle, wife of the future Edward II, and even that Wallace may have been the true father of Isabelle’s son.

    Alas, the historical Isabelle was 9 years old and still living in France when Wallace was executed, which makes that rather tricky.

    As a medievalist, anything that mucks up the Middle Ages, either by buying into long-time preconceptions or by ignoring reality completely, makes me crazy. I was in agony during Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood, and not just because of Costner’s abysmal British accent (can he PLEASE just stick to playing athletes??). Bad enough that Costner dissed Errol Flynn’s vastly superior version by saying his cast wouldn’t be pracing around in tights (despite contemporary manuscript illuminations indicating that that’s exactly what he and his men would have been wearing), but in one scene he confronts long-hostile Will Scarlett and actually says, “Why do you hate me? Did I harm you in some former life?”

    Not exactly what a good Anglo-Saxon Christian home from the Crusades would be likely to say, as Christianity isn’t big on the metempsychosis.

  219. Karen, thanks for bringing up the Kevin Costner Robin Hood. I used to hang out at Renaissance Faires with a bunch of period archery enthusiasts, so that was the group I was with when I saw that movie in the theatre the first – and only! – time. I remember chuckling our way through, but the scene that stuck in my mind as particularly badly edited was one where there was a crucial arrow shot that needed to sever a rope about to hang somebody. A shot of the arrow seen from the side, flying through the air, with the background whizzing by and the arrow spinning, just as it should. Cut to a shot down the shaft of the arrow from the back, looking towards the target, arrow not spinning at all. Cut back and forth a few times to really grind in this continuity error. Leave the archers in the audience weeping with mirth.

    The other bit I remember about the language, was when Costner vaults over a wall of the castle (subtle, that) and the Christian Slater guy goes, “Fuck me, he made it!” Period word, yes. Usage, NO.

  220. I love this one:
    According to film and television, everyone living in the Southeat United States is an ill-bred, racist jackass. Or a semi-retarded good old boy. Or a Salt-of-the-earth farmer. Or a drunken deer-hunting redneck. And so on ad infinitum. The Dukes of Hazzard did little to improve this stereotype.

    We actually do have museums, universities, hospitals, laboratories, law firms, and a variety of the other industries and businesses one might find in any major metropolitain area (which we also have), peopled by appropriately educated professionals from around the country and indeed the world. Yet somehow everytime someone has to visit their uncle “in Alabama”, he will invariably be portrayed as a shotgun-toting, bearded and beer-stained Son of the Soil, living in a screened-in one room shack in the depths of the swamp with his two loyal hound-dogs (named “Slick” and “Do-Right”) and his illegal moonshine distillery.

  221. Years ago I started calling it “location fiction” when the consecutive outdoor sets are miles apart. Sort of like science fiction; some parts right and the rest are just plain made up… (Some famous ones: In “When Harry Met Sally”, they are driving away from university to go to NYC, but the road they are on takes them right back to the school. Also, I believe the bridge the Blues Brothers nearly drove off in their chase around “Chicago” is in Milwaukee.)

    I laugh at all the computer “results” screens like DNA, fingerprints flashing until one matches and city maps of crime targets. They really are animated/powerpoint shows/CGI movies. Also the FBI profiles that show on jumbotrons in the conference rooms – they can pull up slick backgrounds on suspects with one click.

  222. Also: apparently everyone in NYC is either black, Italian, or Jewish. O rly?

  223. Ok, another opera one, that really ticks opera-lovers off:

    … to see the stylus
    placed on a 78 in 1938 and then hear Jussi Bjorling and Victoria de los
    Angeles from 1956 was a little strange …
    the film: Atonement

  224. Actually, it was some “Location Fiction” that finally turned me off “Gray’s Anatomy.” The preposterous location quandary of this “Seattle Grace Hospital:” It’s in someplace where it rains much more heavily than anywhere in Seattle. It has plenty of parking, yet, as seen from a helicopter, is next to the Space Needle. (They filmed the building of their local ABC network affiliate, Fisher Plaza, just as Alias did in its final season.) They encountered a ferry accident and dismounted their ambulance and stared directly out towards the water… about 6 blocks away from the ferry dock. (heck, they call it a “Ferry boat.” It’s a ferry, okay?)

    But the final straw, among all my many beefs wiht that show, was the main character driving to work– it showed her coming out of the Beacon tunnel heading eastbound on the I-90 bridge. In short, she was probably in the wrong end of downtown, and certainly headed away from Seattle.

  225. Frankly, I think a few these nits are excusable in service of the story (trying) to be told.

    But take “The Pretender”. Please.

    Ignoring the fact that I found the lead actor an amazingly unconvincing uber-smart confidence man, I watched an episode and they cut to the Evil Org™’s HQ on the coast of Delaware. Which, okay — pretty shot. I don’t remember a beach like that off of Delaware, but my memory sucks, so that gets a pass.

    But then they cut to the 34th-floor subbasement.

    If you’re going to build that deep, why the hell Delaware? Even maintaining a simple one-floor basement in the middle of the state is a major headache, much less once you’re spitting-distance from the shoreline.

    No wonder these guys were responsible for creating the worlds most inane genius.

  226. Any movie where the actor/actress has to play guitar and couldn’t be bothered to learn the 3 chords or even, maybe, play them on the beat. Or strum on time. Come on! guitar is easy!

    Bad piano playing doesn’t phase me, but I thoroughly appreciate it when an actress LEARNS to play something very difficult for the part. (or learns to play piano for a part. See Helena Bonham Carter in “Room with a View”)

    My mother is a lab technologist and takes blood. Any time we watch the first X-Men movie, she has to look away when Gene Gray is taking Wolverine’s blood, because she isn’t holding the needle steady, and she’s not hitting a vein.

    Also, it’s true: in house, the DOCTORS do the LAB WORK. pffffffft.

  227. Chiming in with “City Slickers” where the beef cow gives birth to a cute little Jersey dairy calf.

  228. I second Daniel’s comments about the military. I love blatant uniform inaccuracies and magic grenades. Magic grenades are the ones that can blow up a house! I never got to throw a grenade like that in the Army. Also, the having time to throw the grenade back scene. Always a favorite.

  229. Dick Deadeye….of course you have lawyers in the South. They ain’t no fancy, big-city lawyers, but galdarnit, it seems to them… (cue unbuttoning of seersucker suit and hooking of thumbs beneath red suspenders.)

    Although, I can’t agree with all of y’all who see red on the location switching. I can’t blame filmakers for not being able to afford/get a permit to shut down, say, 5th and Broadway just because the direction the characters were walking in would in reality lead to the Flatiron Building.

  230. Here’s a few of mine.

    Zippers in period films. (Clash of the Titans, I’m talking about you).

    Birds that are clearly geographically out of place eg. a film set in 18th century Nepal having Sulfur-Crested Cockatoos (an Australian bird) flying around.

    Explosions! That are filmed in slow motion for dramatic effect and take 30 seconds for the blast to go three metres.

    And news broadcasts that pertain to whatever the protagonist is doing at that moment – even if it is not a topic that would typically be covered by TV news. And the anchor gives every tiny little bit of detail we need to piece the plot together later.

  231. The location fiction stuff gets me too!

    The new seasons of Dr Who were shot in Cardiff and London. The broadcasts started just after I moved from Cardiff to London, so seeing people run down a street in Cardiff then turn a corner onto Parliment Square *really* confused me!

  232. I think if they can have a Bad Sex in Fiction Award, someone could see fit to do a Bad Scene in Cinema Award every year.

  233. I grind my teeth at just about any scene where Hollywood throws around technical terms without knowing what they mean. I almost had to get false teeth after the movie Hackers.

  234. The scene I hate:
    It

  235. I don’t care if it IS just me’n Frankie here, I’m getting in on this (us Hudson County rezzes are on a different schedule, apparently).

    Syringes. My God, people, just ask a nurse how they’re used. If you’re drawing blood or giving an intravenous shot, you’ve gotta go in just a few degrees shy of parallel to the vein, you can’t just jab. (I think this point was made in a comment about “X-Men,” but I’m not sure, and even if it was, it bears repeating since nobody EVER gets it right).

    Pets. Look, the whole point of ‘em is, they bond with their owners. Cats, okay, the aloofness goes with the popular image, so just get one that won’t scratch the actors, but dogs? I don’t care how much you think the dog “looks” the part; if it clearly doesn’t give a shit about its “master,” it shouldn’t be in the movie. Full disclosure: this was what I found offensive in a movie about mutant cannibals with a graphic rape scene, so my sensibilities are a little particular.

    Stretching the definition a little, but I hate hate hate the following resolution:

    Hero and villain are fighting to the death. Hero gets upper hand. Hero is about to kill villain, but decides to show mercy, even though villain wouold never offer same. As hero walks away, villain pulls out a gun or something, and now hero has no choice but to kill villain, thus establishing hero’s moral superiority while not denying bloodthirsty audience its catharsis.

    I’ve seen this so many times, and it’s just so cheap and ugly. If “Hook” weren’t the worst movie ever made, the ending would’ve ruined it.

    I would like to invite this entire thread over for a technothriller marathon. And possibly mass marriage.

  236. This, right here, this…the entire best part of “The Scene You Hate” thread:

    “I would like to invite this entire thread over for a technothriller marathon. And possibly mass marriage.”

    Thank you.

  237. This, right here, this…the entire best part of “The Scene You Hate” thread:

    “I would like to invite this entire thread over for a technothriller marathon. And possibly mass marriage.”

    Thank you.

  238. Greg wrote:

    13. (From Jurassic Park) A custom system with millions of lines of code controlling a multimillion dollar theme park can be operated by a 13 year old who has seen a Unix system before. Seeing an operating system means you know how to run any application on that system, even custom apps.
    Note: What OS was it really running?
    (1) “These are super computers”. A CrayOS?
    (2) “Quicktime movie, Apple logo, trash can.” MacOS?
    (3) “Reboot. System ready. C:\” DOS?
    (4) “Hey, this is Unix. I know this” Unix?

    The computers in Jurassic Park were Cray supercomputers running the MacOS as a graphical shell of DOS all layered on top of a Unix base.

    Um … WRONG. This was an example of a movie doing something right for a change. The computers were high-end Silicon Graphics boxes, running Irix, SGI’s flavor of Unix. The rotating cubes in the GUI were a standard option of the OS, glitzy but pretty much useless. The machines were “borderline” supercomputers — not Crays, but more powerful than most machines that cost less than a million bucks at the time … and they were the machines that rendered the SFX for the movie. Product placement for nerds.

  239. I’m cutting and pasting this one from “Jeff’s movie reviews” page from “The Great Radio Tiki Experiment” (www.radiotiki.com)
    This was from a list Jeff made of movie observations:

    The Hangar
    This is an apparent commentary on the weakness of the airline industry. Whenever a group of con men, toughs, race car modifiers, whatever needs a place to hide out, plot, work, whatever, there is always an empty airplane hangar which can be taken over and completely equipped in the span of an afternoon.

    original list at:
    http://www.chrispy.net/%7Etoast/glossary.html

    “YGFR”

  240. I hate it when they show settlement conferences, etc. with both parties in the same room. After working for a divorce law firm for almost three years, I can tell you that both parties are ALWAYS separated into different rooms (at least in family law), to avoid precisely the kind of emotional drama fallout that having everyone in one room causes. Sure, realism doesn’t fly in Hollywood, but this always irks me.

    And my boyfriend can’t handle when any sort of computer or device interaction results in tons of incoherent beeping noises. Minimize a window? Beep boop BEEP. Type in a search query and hit “send”, and it sounds like freakin’ R2D2. He always points it out.

    And thanks to the 11-foot projector screen image we have, we always pause on written materials (like a newspaper, or a screenshot of a character’s email) and point out inconsistencies: the email address being hotmail.com and “hotmail.biz” in the same scene; Craigslist.info (kid you not), and newspapers with totally fake gibberish that some idiot prop intern came up with, that might have news stories from last year, or another state entirely. Or just nonsense text. Or sometimes that Latin excerpt everyone uses to test WordPress. Either way, funny/annoying. ‘Tis the curse of the giant screen, I suppose.

    Oh, and being a linguist, I also hate when characters like Sydney on Alias pass for native speakers when they blurt out a painful bastardization of whatever the target language is, and all the Russian security guards are like “No sweat, she’s totally one of us, right bro?” (Except in Russian, and also, in their heads. But still.) I realize there’s no way they could effectively teach perfect pronunciation to someone in that kind of role, but it still makes my skin crawl to hear the awful linguistic slaughter that occurs.

    ‘Kay, thanks, Matthew. Your blog post turned me into an uptight nit-picking nerd (or revealed me as one, anyway). And I will never be able to watch a chess scene calmly again. Well done!

  241. Non-musical actors who can’t mime. Even when they’re conducting.

    When someone fires a shotgun and the momentum of the slug hitting the target blows the guy off his feet, but the recoil doesn’t knock the shooter off HIS feet.

    The way poison gas always has to be visible. And if the hero gets a lungful but survives, he never ever dies a lingering death the next day or even has his performance impaired.

    And why, when people in films look through binoculars, do they see a view shaped like two overlapping circles? If they used them properly they’d see one circle.

    And films that confuse encryption with password protaction, like Sneakers. A universal decrypter would be cool for reading secret files, but wouldn’t get you access to an air traffic control system or the FBI’s database.

  242. when vast amounts of money are being transferred online between bank accounts, you see one account draining of money and the other filling up- like the accounts are glasses of water.

  243. One thing that makes me crazy doesn’t involve any kind of expert knowledge – but they still always get it insanely wrong. Everyone went to high school, but every movie (except John Hughes) shows a bizarre prom with a bizarrely cool band and all of the kids have choreographed dance numbers. The guys look like they are in Fame – doing pirouettes with their elbows out, often there are groups all doing the same dance. Watch “Never Been Kissed” if you can. That’s the worst one I’ve seen lately. The popular girls also do a choreographed dance at a nightclub and then everyone applauds.