It’d be a huge understatement to say that making movies is a tough job. The scope of hundreds of people working together for months (if not years) with one common goal in mind is a spectacular undertaking in any capacity. Doing so for a final product that lasts only a couple hours for the sake entertaining audiences is even more daunting.
Still, filmmakers are human and humans make mistakes from time to time. Whether it’s issues with continuity, glaring plot holes, or even just the ever-changing placement of props or extras in the background– mistakes tend to happen. When everything is already filmed, re-shoots are impossible, or they just don’t have the time or money, the folks behind big movies still have to make do with what they have filmed, which can result in some pretty weird things on screen.
These movie mistakes can range from very nit-picky (our specialty) to the “How’d that ever get approved by production?” Some require the eagle-eyed vision of obsessive movie fans with no social lives (again, our specialty) while others seem so glaringly obvious after the fact that you’ll wonder how you ever missed it in the first place.
Either way, here are 15 Shocking Mistakes You Never Noticed In Blockbuster Movies.
15. Teen Wolf Wardrobe Malfunction
Long before MTV’s series full of brooding teens being (as the kids probably say) “wolf AF”, 1985’s Teen Wolf told the story of Scott Howard (Michael J. Fox) coming to terms with the fact he was a werewolf. The film was a massive success, grossing around $80 million on a budget of only $1.2 million.
Though, it seems they could have spent a little more money on re-shooting the final scene where an extra appears to have an unzipped fly on their jeans. Contrary to popular internet belief, it’s actually NOT an extra waving his junk around for all to see in the final moments of teen-wolfery.
14. Back to the Future’s Musical Mistake
Now, there’s certainly the bigger issue of Marty McFly stealing the credit for rock and roll from Chuck Berry in one of the final scenes of Back to the Future. But that really belongs on a “horrible things blockbuster movies did” list rather than a list of innnocent mistakes. Our gripe with the 1985 movie is the choice of musical instruments.
When Marty performs “Johnny B. Goode” at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance, his musical weapon of choice is a gorgeous Gibson ES-335. As he steals the thunder from actual musicians of the time and causes Chuck’s cousin Marvin to give him a call, Marty is on stage with a guitar that didn’t exist at the time. The Gibson ES-335 was first released in 1958, three years after the events of the movie.
13. Braveheart’s Breezy Fashion Choices
It’s probably a good time to remind readers that being overly critical of movies and irreverent of the mistakes they make is entirely the point of this list. So being nit-picky about the fashion in the 1995 drama Braveheart is incredibly specific especially since we’re ignoring things like speaking modern English while set in the year 1280. Just go with it, is what we’re saying.
In Mel Gibson’s second time in the actor and director’s chair (the first being 1993’s The Man Without a Face) the majority of the 13th century Scottish army is adorned in something undeniably Scottish: the kilt. This is one of the bigger historical inaccuracies in the film (other than the cars seen in some shots) as kilts weren’t really worn until the 17th century.
12. The Goonies’ Octopus Scene
It seems 1985 was a good year for movie mistakes because it turns out there’s a pretty good one in The Goonies. The original cut of the action-packed adventure involving pirate treasure, gangsters, and the occasional shuffling of truffles included a scene where an octopus attacks the kids.
The scene is included on certain DVD releases of the film (or just YouTube it, really) and– should you watch it– you’ll understand why it was cut. The octopus attacks, the kids stuff a tape player in its beak and it goes away. Nothing too vital to the plot.
However, even with cutting the scene, the filmmakers forgot a moment at the end of the movie where the octopus is mentioned as the kids excitedly recap their adventure all at once when reuniting with their families. Whether it should have been cut entirely from the film or they just figured it’d get lost in all the cross talk– from now on– you’ll never not hear the kids talk about the octopus.
11. Spider-Man 3’s Ohio Landmarks
There are a lot of people that would probably consider most of 2007’s Spider-Man 3 movie a mistake. There’s so much in the film that seems wrong in terms of character development, plot, and emo dance numbers that it’s a generally a film we’ve done our best to forget.
However, some seriously eagle-eyed movie-goers with decent knowledge of midwest landmarks noticed some pretty weird things in a few scenes. Though set in NYC, parts of the movie were filmed in Cleveland, OH and filmmakers caught a few distinct buildings in the background by mistake.
One scene in particular–when Spider-Man fights Sandman on the armored truck– catches Cleveland’s Terminal Tower in a few shots. While it may have only been Ohioans who first caught the mistake, to them it was like spotting Big Ben in a film set in Florida.
10. Forrest Gump’s Time-Traveling Stock Exchange
Now we’re not about to say that a movie like Forrest Gump is entirely (if at all) factually accurate in a lot of what it portrays. The eponymous hero of the film bumbles his way through a whole bunch of American history that’s tweaked slightly to give him more of a starring role in things like the Vietnam war, ping pong championships, and giving President Lyndon Johnson a taste of his own medicine by exposing himself in a crowded room (Look it up, folks!)
For all its tweaks, the film tries to respect the passage of time and where Forrest fits into it. Still, there is one scene that’s completely out of place.
When Lt. Dan invests in “some kind of fruit company,” the letter Forrest receives is dated September 1975. However, investing in Apple’s stock never wasn’t possible until they went public in December of 1980.
9. Quantum of Solace’s Hovering Broom
This particular movie flub shows up on most every list in part because it’s just so wonderfully silly. The gritty realism of the modern day James Bond is a refreshing take on the character and actually revitalized the entire franchise. With the film series’ dedication to being so real in mind, seeing an extra completely phoning in a performance stands out like a sore thumb.
In 2008’s Quantum of Solace, there’s a scene where Bond is scoping out a secure facility near some docks. There’s a lot going on in the background including an extra with a broom who isn’t exactly doing a good job. It’s obvious that filmmakers didn’t want unnecessary dust being kicked up by the constant movement of a push broom but the extra could have put a little more effort into keeping his pretend sweeping a bit closer to the ground.
8. Back to the Future Part III’s Crotch-pointing Kid
This particular movie mistake is an absolute fan favorite for being just about as weird as can be. In the final moments of 1990’s Back to the Future Part III, Doc Brown returns to Marty in a decked out time-traveling train with his new family aboard, including his sons Jules and Verne.
The only thing weirder than Doc spending three movies regretting his invention of time travel and swearing to destroy his time machine only to make another one the minute he starts getting laid is how one of his kids turned out.
In the scene where his kids are introduced, one of them motions with his hand and then pokes a single finger onto his junk. Even with some explanations that the young actor was motioning to someone off-camera that he needed to pee– it doesn’t change how downright weird that gesture is. To our knowledge, daintily poking at one’s penis is not an international signal for “I have to use the bathroom.”
7. The Dark Knight Rises’ Dark Night Rises Rather Quickly
A good sign of great filmmaking is when a director can get you so immersed in a scene that you just accept everything that’s happening. The crowning achievement of that skill comes in a particular scene in 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises.
When Bane lays siege to the Gotham City stock exchange there’s a rather jarring jump in time. Let’s say that Gotham is a NYC analog. That means that the stock exchange closes– at the latest– by 4pm. So, since they’re still trading when Bane does his thing, it’s pretty clearly daytime.
When the baddies make their escape, and Batman is in pursuit, there’s a rather quick shift from day to night when travelling through a tunnel. This is, of course, because Batman running around in sunlight just doesn’t make sense. The switch– even when you’re aware of it– is so expertly executed in the film that we kind of feel bad even considering this a movie mistake.
6. The Book of Eli Doesn’t Know How Large Braille Books Are
This one is especially specific but we’ll give the filmmakers a little slack on it considering the real life alternative that could have been in 2010’s The Book of Eli.
Nearly a decade old spoiler alert: Eli is blind and the small book he spends the entire film protecting is a braille bible. It gets destroyed but Eli is able to recite it to those who can re-print it. The only problem is that the entire bible wouldn’t fit in such a small book. A simple Google search for “braille bible” leads to a site that states a “1611 Authorized Version Bible in Grade Two English Braille is contained in 18 Braille volumes and requires sixty inches of shelf space, twelve inches high, to store.”
5. Independence Day’s Rearranged NYC
One of the more memorable scenes in the 1996 alien action/adventure movie Independence Day is when the alien ships finish their countdown and unleash their laser-y might upon cities and landmarks around the globe. With one blast from each ship, entire cities are leveled and we, as audience members, get to marvel at the destruction safely from the other side of the screens.
In that scene, the White House in Washington DC, the Capitol Records building in L.A., and the Empire State Building in NYC all meet their fiery doom at the hands of Earth’s outer space oppressors. Or did they?
The shots that show people down the street from the Empire State Building are a physical impossibility in NYC. The Big Apple landmark is located on the corner of Fifth Avenue between West 33rd and 34th Streets in Midtown, Manhattan. This means there’s no direct line of sight to the building as we’re shown in the film.
4. The Sound of Music’s Geography
By the end of the 1965 classic, The Sound of Music, the von Trapp family finds themselves in dire need of some new surroundings. The end of the film sees them eluding Nazi soldiers by hiding in Nonnberg Abbey in Salzburg, Austria the night before heading over the mountains on foot into Switzerland. It’s one of the more iconic happy endings in movie history.
The mountain range near Nonnberg Abbey shares a border with Germany and is precisely the last place the von Trapp family wanted to go. The scene is presented as if it’s the day after they performed in Salzburg so it’s unlikely they’d have made it to the Swiss border (about 5 hours away by modern roads and speeds) with enough time to climb over the mountains at about midday.
3. The Green Mile’s Early Executions
One of the main plot points of 1999’s The Green Mile is Louisiana inmates awaiting their death sentences by electric chair in 1935. The guards who work “the green mile” do their jobs with a profound respect and awareness that they’re responsible for the final moments of their inmates’ lives. They conduct electrocutions with practiced precision.
However, the Louisiana legislature didn’t actually approve electrocution as a form of capital punishment until after 1940 – more than five years after the events of the film. Granted, The Green Mile is fictional and can be considered a bit of a fairy tale, but you’d think they’d play around with the dates a bit considering how central the electric chair is to the plot.
2. The Shining’s Misplaced Maze
The Shining is one of those films that will be poured over by movie buffs until the end of time. Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 psychological horror film goes down as one of the best films of all time and debates about intention, Easter eggs, and a deeper meaning will always be around.
A hedge maze at the Overlook Hotel is mentioned pretty early on and the climax of the film involves a terrifying and dizzying run through it. Its appearance in the film is not only vital to how the plot plays out but is a perfect subject for the winding journey into madness that we see Jack Torrance take.
The only problem is that the maze doesn’t exist in the establishing shots of the hotel. When we see the hotel at the beginning, it’s planted on a mountainside right near a fairly steep drop but later in the film, the maze is there. Some may attribute its existence to the ghostly presence in the hotel, but we just think it’s something that was simply overlooked.
1. Jurassic Park’s Misleading T-Rex Paddock
We doubt anyone would argue with the statement that Jurassic Park is one of the best movies of all time. Still, we have to point out one of the larger– and literal– plot holes in movie history.
When audiences are first introduced to the T-Rex, it’s a bit camera shy, even with the enticement of a fresh goat to snack on. The tour continues, a triceratops is hugged, and the storm rolls in. When the tour loops back to the T-Rex enclosure, all hell breaks loose when the electric fences come down and ol’ Rexy wants a snack. As nature tends to find a way, things are destroyed, lawyers are eaten, and cars are pushed over the edge of the paddock.
Weird that the same enclosure we saw a goat raised on and a T-Rex break through is now home to a sheer cliff of at least a hundred feet. Audiences are so concerned with the action they rarely realize that drop shouldn’t actually be there.
Are there any other mistakes in blockbuster movies that we missed? Let us know in the comments!
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