We don’t like to admit that movies influence the way we see the world, but they most certainly do. How else would we get information on things that we will never actually do or see in real life, read a book? Psshh, yeah right. Almost everything we know about space, war, dinosaurs and crime is from TV and the movies. Sometimes we will learn things from the news, but they’re even worse at showing the truth. Things are sensationalized, exaggerated, fictionalized, whatever it takes to make it more interesting. Sometimes the movies don’t really have a choice about how accurate they can be. Things are made a little more interesting for the sake of a story. Some truths are stretched to make them look better on camera, while others are helpful to move a story along more smoothly, but all of these influence the way we understand things. Over time, if we see something over and over in film, we start to believe that it must be the way it’s done in real life, but we were foolish. They’ve been lying.
So let’s clear a few things up. We’ll look at some of the biggest lies in the world of film and we will right these wrongs. We will make you all into better and brighter people by highlighting these common misconceptions. Soon you’ll be able to watch films and see through their shenanigans. No longer will you be forced to live in the shadows of your own ignorance. Rise up! They won’t be able to fool you like they once did. You’ll see the world clearer and you’ll earn the respect of your peers. Don’t be a sheep. Stop letting Hollywood tell you lies. You don’t deserve it. Here are 15 movie world myths that everyone still believes.
15. Reading Miranda Rights
If you were to ask someone who has ever been arrested what the proper procedure was, they would probably think that, once you were handcuffed, the police officers would have to instantly recite the Miranda rights to you. You know the spiel, “you have the right to remain silent…” blah blah. This is dead wrong. Police officers are required to inform you of your rights when you’re in custody, yeah, but this can happen anytime during the custody period. It usually takes place when the arrested person is in the interrogation room so that there is a record of the event, otherwise every criminal would be able to say they were never informed of their rights (something that usually does happen in every crime procedural show). So next time you’re arrested, erase those thoughts that you’re going to beat the justice system because they just threw you in the car, naked and afraid. Nothing can save you.
14. Fast Hacking & Slow Tracing
If you were to picture a computer hacker right now, it would probably include the image of a person typing furiously, hitting every key on the keyboard in quick succession. This is a bit silly. A slow typist can be a hacker, too. This is Hollywood discrimination at its finest. Hacking is pretty boring to look at in real life, so the movies make it seem more interesting by having a character type insanely fast and say, “got it” or “I’m in”. We can forgive them for this as no one wants to watch an overweight dude in a Guy Fawkes mask typing some code in between handfuls of cheesy poofs, this just isn’t captivating content. There’s another related myth that we should clear up here too, and it has to do with tracing a phone call. The movies would have you believe that you need to keep someone on the line for a convenient period of time in order to trace the caller’s location. This is dramatic, yes, but baloney. Calls can be traced almost instantly nowadays and that’s been the case for quite a while now.
13. Visible And Audible Space Lasers
What would a space TV show or movie be like without visible and audible laser beams? How the hell would we know who’s being shot if we can’t see or hear anything coming out of their guns? But, if we’re talking reality here, this is all bullroar. Sure, when a plasma gun reacts with the air it could make a crack or a buzz, definitely not a pew pew sound. When these guns are fired in space, there would be no sound due to the lack of atmosphere. In terms of visibility, these highly visible laser beams would actually be much weaker. Wide streams that are visible from the side look to be malfunctioning lasers that are scattering all their light. Realistically, if tiny particles were in the way of your laser beam, such as smoke, then the beams would be visible, but that’s rarely the case. This misconception goes for space explosions too. These always appear to be loud and explosive in film, but that’s wrong too. Sound waves vibrate the air and create sound. Without air, there is no sound. The explosion itself would look more like a bright flash.
12. Insanity Defense
The classic court case defense in film is for one to plead insanity. This makes it so the criminal can’t be tried as a sane person, allowing them to go to a beautiful hospital instead of a prison. The problem with this is that it’s all overused and far too easy than what happens in real life. There first has to be significant and lengthy testing done by actual psychologists to determine the person’s mindset. This judgement call isn’t made by the judge or the lawyer. Then there is the plea. It can’t be switched halfway through the trial like in Primal Fear, and it can’t be used all willy nilly by anyone. It’s not actually completely fictional, just stretched to the absolute extreme in film.
11. Holding Your Breath In Space
Whenever someone needs to travel in space without a spacesuit, all they need to do is hold their breath, right? Wrong. If you were to hold your breath, like Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy or Dave in 2001: A Space Odyssey, the air would have nowhere to go when the pressure drops away. Rather than coming back out of your mouth, the path of least resistance, it would just rip your lungs in half and come out of the hole it made. If you are wondering how that would feel, it probably wouldn’t be too sweet, probably not very sweet at all. Best case, if you’re ever in space without a spacesuit, just don’t open your mouth. No matter what though, if you ever find yourself in that situation, you’re gonna have a bad time, mouth open or not.
10. Firearm Kickback
When you get shot by a shotgun, you fly backwards through the air like a rag doll; everyone knows this. It’s science. But is it accurate? Sadly, no. Actually, maybe that’s not such a sad thing. It’s not science either, that was a lie, too. We’ve been testing you. A gun blast could, hypothetically, shoot you off your feet backwards, sure, but it would also need to send an equal force in the opposite direction. Remember Newton’s Third Law? Nah, neither do I. But I just looked it up. Apparently, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Therefore, when your favorite action hero blasts the baddie away with a shotgun, he too, should be seen flying backwards through the air. What a hilarious movie that would be.
9. Dinosaur DNA
Sorry to break it to you, but you won’t be cloning dinosaurs Jurassic Park-style anytime soon. Because almost everything we know about dinosaurs is from the movies, almost everything we know about dinosaurs is a crock. The idea that we could clone dinos from the DNA found in preserved mosquitos sounds plausible to someone like Jon Snow. But, if you knew something, then you would know that dinosaur DNA would be useless after about 1 million years. That means we were about 64 million years too late to actually clone these beasts. There have been some scientists that have claimed to have found better preserved DNA, but these scientists are silly billies. Cool idea though, very cool.
8. Exploding Gas Tank
Whenever you want to blow up a car in the movies, there’s no need for any explosives. Just shoot the gas tank with one bullet and watch it explode in a fiery blaze. Well, this isn’t really the way it goes down. To accomplish this in reality, you would need to first shoot the gas tank, then place explosives on the gas tank, then ignite them and then the car would blow up. Really the bullet did nothing. Since normal bullets aren’t flying balls of fire, they can’t actually ignite the tank full of gas; they just make it leak. But so can rust, and you don’t see people going around shooting rust do you? What were we saying?
7. The Vision Of A T-Rex
Another dinosaur myth here. Basically, you should just forget everything you learned from Jurassic Park if you want to survive a real life dinosaur attack. In that beautiful film, when the Tyrannosaurus Rex is attacking, the ridiculous advice that everyone is given is to stay totally still because the T-Rex can’t pick up movement. Well this is just patently false. The T-Rex had phenomenal vision and staying still would just make it easier for it to eat you up. In the novel, Jurassic Park, however, this vision anomaly is explained as one of the traits that were picked up in the gene splicing, but they left out this important piece of information in the movie, endangering the lives of fans around the world.
Whenever a gun is shot in the movies or real life, it makes a loud bang. Whenever a gun is shot with a silencer in the movies, it makes almost no sound. This is not actually what happens though. The silencer does reduce the sound, yes, but it does not erase it or muffle it nearly like what it does in the movies. Really, the silencer’s job is to reduce the amount of sound the shooter hears. It also helps to make the location of a shot harder to identify, reduces recoil and even improves accuracy a bit, but that’s too much information. By slowing down the escaping gasses, silencers do technically help to silence the sound. It’s just not as powerful as the movies have made it seem, but the silencer industry isn’t complaining. People have been believing that guns can be near-silent for a long time because of this. This is also why most of these add-ons are called suppressors, not silencers.
5. Glowing Radiation
When you see something that’s radioactive, you would think that it would glow (probably a bright neon green), and you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that way. After all, that’s how the movies and TV have been showing us radioactive material for years and years. How else would we know it’s dangerous? Apparently, radioactive material glows similarly when it comes in contact with phosphor, so maybe that’s what we’re seeing. Maybe someone’s been going around sprinkling phosphor on everything that’s radioactive, making it glow all cool like. Whatever, it looks super neat. I’ll allow it.
4. Zoom And Enhance
You see it in every crime show. The investigators have a picture of a criminal. It’s fuzzy, low quality and barely legible. No problem. Just zoom and enhance. It’s quite an amazing process. The computer somehow magically pulls features from a grainy picture that there was no way it could ever pick up. Yet there it is. There’s no way this could ever work in real life. We can’t pick up the reflection of a criminal in the reflection of someone’s pupil from 700 ft in a potato quality picture. If the original picture is crappy, the final picture is going to be crappy. There’s no enhance feature that makes pictures from the 70s into HD quality.
3. The Magic Of Chloroform
Someone sneaks up behind you, puts a rag over your mouth and, after a few seconds, you’re knocked out. This is movie life but not reality. In real life, a chloroform rag would take several minutes to knock you out. That’s a lot of struggling, and how boring would that be to watch. There’s another drug that everyone is familiar with; it’s the one that Dexter uses in Dexter. That drug is called etorphine and Dexter shoots it into his victim’s neck rendering them immediately unconscious and the effects last several minutes. This one is also dramatized for the screen because, in reality, it takes about 13 minutes for etorphine to take effect in polar bears. Since Dexter isn’t taking down polar bears, it should take even longer—unless of course, he’s shooting the drug directly into his victim’s blood vessels, but that’s even more unbelievable.
2. Large Creatures In The Unknown
Whenever there is a cave down in the depths somewhere in movie land, there is almost always a large and menacing creature hiding away down there. Our fantasies of massive sea creatures hiding in the depths of the oceans are also variations of this. The truth is, though, that this would never happen in real life. In real caves, everything is dark and the plant life is lacking, there’s very little food other than what washes up in them, what large animals could ever survive there? In almost every case, the cave animals are small and move very little. They may look disgusting, but they definitely aren’t large and they aren’t wasting tons of energy. Stop worrying and go spelunking to your hearts content.
1. Restarting Hearts With Defibrillators
It happens all the time in the movies. Someone flatlines with no heart beat, so the paramedics, doctors or whoever come in, grab the de-fib paddles and shock them back to life. It’s really dramatic and everyone cries. But this would never work in real life. When someone’s heart stops, you need to perform CPR. If, however, someone is in ventricular fibrillation—maybe suffering from rapid heart contractions or some other heart abnormality—you could then use the de-fib paddles to shut down the heart and allow it to reset itself.