NME Blogs - The Movies Blog

21 Unforgivable Movie Errors

By Owen Nicholls

Posted on 02 Jul 12

 
 

If they haven't had their houses burnt down by angry Sun readers now is a good time for the pedants of the world to rejoice. The fine people at MovieMistakes have announced their list of the most mistake-filled films of the year thus far and Marvel's Avengers Assemble has topped it with a healthy 17 goofs. While you can expect that count to steadily rise once the socially challenged get hold of it on DVD – Apocalypse Now has a staggering 395 reported errors – for now we'll use that faintly acceptable number as a platform to look back at our favourite filmic faults and fuck-ups.





Geographical Goofs


  • Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves (1991)

  • You can spend all day questioning the accents - “Maid Ma-Ry-An” - but the biggest humdinger in the Hollywood bastardisation of our favourite criminal is Robin of Locksley and Morgan of Black Sidekick's initial journey from Dover to Nottingham by way of Hadrian's Wall. Even without Google Maps as a guide this round trip (on foot!) is emphatically ill-advised.

  • Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981)

  • As Indy takes one of his legendary red line jaunts across the globe he flies over Thailand. Being as the film is set in 1936 and Thailand was known as Siam until 1939, Spielberg would need some kind of time-travelling fridge to get this to work.



  • The Shining (1980)

  • Despite Stanley Kubrick's propensity for perfectionism through multiple takes he couldn't hide the fact that he loves little Britain so much he shot all his films here. That's why you'll see three-pinned plugs in the Overlook Hotel and British street markings in the boot camps of Full Metal Jacket and in the streets of 'New York' in Eyes Wide Shut. There are more but we love Stan too much to point them out.

  • The Graduate (1967)

  • As Benjamin Braddock makes his trip to see his lady in Berkeley he drives the wrong way over the Oakland Bay Bridge. Berk. He should have taken the bus.

  • Krakatoa: East Of Java (1969)

  • In actuality it is, of course, West of Java but we kind of admire the audacity of a film studio that had the mistake pointed out to them during production but gave not a single solitary shit. Apparently East sounds more “exotic”.


Factual Faults


  • Titanic (1997)

  • With a boatload of attention put into making sure the silverware and plates were exact replicas to the ill-fated ship, it's a shame James Cameron's script couldn't stand up to such historical scrutiny. The greatest error being Rose's in yer face smack-down of the captain's Freudian size worship. Freud didn't publish his opinions on man's pre-occupation with giant winky related items until 1920, a full eight years after the boat sank. Take that burn back Rosie.

  • Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas (1998)

  • Leaving Las Vegas, Raoul Duke passes a sign reading “400 Miles To Los Angeles”. Even refusing to take the logical route of the I-15 it's 270 miles tops. We blame the drugs.



  • The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

  • Describing Andy's epic journey through a river of shite, Red allows himself some artistic licence with the fact that “Five hundred yards” is equal to “The length of five football fields.” which is in turn “Just shy of half a mile”. A mile is 1760 yards. 500 yards isn't even a third of that. And he lies about penguins.


Music Mishaps


  • American Gangster (2007)

  • Before Ridley Scott returned to space with Prometheus he returned to 1970's America for the tale of American Gangster, Frank Lucas. A 1970's America in which RZA's Wu Tang tattoo is clearly visible throughout the film.

  • Almost Famous (2000)

  • William Miller's vinyl collection (courtesy of his sister Anita) is a thing of musical beauty. Sadly, as the scene in question is set in 1969, Joni Mitchell's 'Blue' – released in 1971 - shouldn't have been included. Writer/Director Cameron Crowe could have picked 'Song To A Seagull' or 'Clouds' to show his Joni love, even if 'Blue', by far and away the epitome of the Canadian's talent, is a touch more iconic.



  • Apollo 13 (1995)

  • Being an astronaut comes with a variety of perks. Including, it would seem, getting The Beatles albums like 'Let It Be' a full month before they hit the shelves.

  • The Boat That Rocked (2009)

  • The film that sucked had a number of post-1966 singles spun by the disc jockeys including Jimi Hendrix's 'The Wind Cries Mary', The Who's 'I Can See For Miles' and Procul Harum's 'A Whiter Shade of Pale' all from 1967.

  • Reservoir Dogs (1992)

  • A couple from Tarantino's début. Firstly Stealers Wheel's 'Stuck In The Middle With You' was released in 1973 not 1974 as mentioned by the DJ. Secondly, who turned the music off after Blonde was taken out by Orange? Maybe Orange, not being a fan of Steve Wright In The Afternoon, saved a round for the radio.


Continuity Cock-Ups


  • The Big Lebowski (1998)

  • “There's a beverage here man!” Or at least there was. Oh no it's back again. And gone. As The Dude is bundled into the back of a very pissed off Bigger Lebowski's limo Jeff's White Russian empties and refills itself with the miraculous nature of a 300 game.

  • Pulp Fiction (1994)

  • After Jules and Vincent lay waste to 'Big Brained Brad' but before the 'Other Arquette' exits the kitchen with a hand cannon, you can clearly see the bullet holes in the wall behind them. Divine intervention or proof that sometimes shit just happens?



  • Spider-Man (2002)

  • While the merits of upside down kissing can be debated until the milk-makers come home what can't be argued is how speedily the windows behind Mary Jane get fixed. The very same windows that Spider-Man threw two men through not but seconds before. Spider-fail.

  • Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983)

  • After discovering that Mark Hamill yelling “Carrie” at the end of A New Hope is an Urban Legend up there with your mate Kevin being caught masturbating with headphones on we looked elsewhere for Star Wars goofs. We found out that being frozen in Carbonite has its bonuses, namely it can turn shirts with one pocket into a shirt with two. Definitely the force at work. We also jettisoned any notion of including the stormtrooper head bump as it's not really a mistake. They can't shoot for shit so it's not surprising that they have difficulty walking through doors. Galactic morons.


Miscellaneous Mistakes


  • Predator (1987)

  • One of the most memorable parts of the original Predator is also responsible for its most memorable mistake. After having his entire arm shot off by a pesky Pred, Carl Weathers' Dillon bolts into the jungle only to show off his 'not very well at all' hidden arm.



  • North By Northwest (1959)

  • A lovely little piece of extras spotting can do wonders for taking you out of a movie. Keep your eyes open in the run up to finale at Mount Rushmore where a little boy covers up his eyes in expectation of the gunshot.

  • It's A Wonderful Life (1946)

  • And finally this 'mistake' from Frank Capra's classic is proof positive that sometimes a cock-up isn't such a bad thing. When Uncle Billy wanders off-screen as drunk as a Lohan, a stagehand drops his equipment, causing an almighty clatter. Actor Thomas Mitchell ad-libbed the line “I'm all right! I'm all right!” getting an extra chuckle. Capra left it in and the stagehand got a $10 bonus for “improving the sound”.



 
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