The easiest way to make a movie connect with audiences is to deliver a compelling and captivating story, so there’s a lot of pressure on the screenwriter to craft something that doesn’t just strike an emotional chord, but also makes sense. It doesn’t matter how rich the themes are or how memorable the characters become; if logic is thrown by the wayside, the entire movie could fall apart.
Writers are so concerned with the broader strokes of the narrative, that sometimes little details can slip through the cracks. The movies are always a place where suspension of disbelief is a necessity, but every once in a while, filmmakers go a step too far. Here are Screen Rant’s 10 Details That Almost Ruin Amazing Movies.
Fletcher (J.K. Simmons) is a tyrannical teacher who uses the most extreme methods to challenge his students in an effort to elevate them to the next level of musicianship. He justifies his unorthodox motivation techniques by telling young Andrew (Miles Teller) a story detailing how jazz legend Charlie Parker had a cymbal thrown at his head by Jo Jones after Parker delivered a subpar performance at a club. After the incident, Parker practiced harder and became the icon music fans know today. Seems like (somewhat) sound logic, but it’s flawed.
In reality, Parker was so upset following what happened with Jones, that he did not practice again for three months. So the case can be made that Fletcher’s entire philosophy is unfounded, and what he actually does is push people away. It’s true that hard criticism can inspire greatness in people, but flinging chairs across rooms and yelling derogatory statements is a bit much. You’d think a jazz aficionado like Fletcher would have done his research.
Mad Max: Fury Road
When he’s identified as a universal blood donor, Max (Tom Hardy) is connected to sick war boy Nux (Nicholas Hault), who needs fresh blood to remain in fighting shape. Max’s blood travels from a tube straight into Nux’s body while the group chases after Furiosa (Charlize Theron). It’s true that type O is the “universal donor” in the real world, but in the post-apocalyptic wasteland, they have very different transfusion practices with some potentially devastating consequences.
Max’s whole blood is being sent to Nux, which includes the red blood cells and plasma. The “universal donor” aspect of Type O applies only to the packed red blood cells, typically the most transfused blood product – there’s no universal donor for plasma. The red cells would not cause any problems, but since the plasma contains type A and B antibodies, it should cause a transfusion reaction in Nux. In case of an emergency like Furiosa at the end, it’s worth the risk. But for Nux, the process could have hurt more than it helped.
Quentin Tarantino is no stranger to hyper-realism, thanks to his cartoonish levels of violence and colorful characters. Even when he’s making a period piece, he doesn’t adhere to the proper historical timeline. In his Oscar-winning Django Unchained, there are a number of instances where dynamite is used (including the explosive finale where Jamie Foxx’s Django blows up the Candie Land plantation). However, since the film is set in the 1850s, this shouldn’t be possible.
Dynamite was not invented until 1867, almost ten years after the story of Django took place. It was fun to watch the hero win and give his oppressors their rightful comeuppance, but history buffs were certainly confused by the manner in which it happened. Nobody goes to a Tarantino flick expecting a grounded drama, but the ending would have been more satisfying if Django played by real-world rules to get the upper hand.
In Gravity, astronauts Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney) are in a race against the clock after debris from a Russian satellite their space shuttle and the Hubble Space Telescope. Kowalsky estimates that the two have 90 minutes to reach the International Space Station before all of the debris completes an orbit around Earth and threatens them again. Director Alfonso Cuarón was praised for his realistic depiction of outer space, but this is one area where he bent the rules for the sake of entertainment.
If the events of Gravity really took place, the chances of the debris presenting danger after the initial hit would be small. Following the explosion, it would have been shot in a variety of directions, and the impacts were all separated by time and distance. All of the debris would be in different orbital tracks, so the duo would have had a more peaceful and less tense journey to safety. But it probably wouldn’t have made for the better movie.
The 2002 Oakland Athletics baseball team revolutionized roster building by incorporating advanced statistics into their front office. Using these methods, they found undervalued, yet productive, players that did little things to help them win games. Their success is credited to some of general manager Billy Beane’s (Brad Pitt) pickups like Scott Hatteberg (Chris Pratt) and Chad Bradford (Casey Bond), which illustrate the film’s themes of not relying on the big market “star system” to get victories. But the film Moneyball overlooks some of the team’s key contributors.
The very same Athletics team that is featured in Moneyball had perennial All-Stars in the batting lineup and in the pitching rotation. Their ace, Barry Zito, earned 20 wins and received the American League Cy Young award (given to the best pitcher). Oakland’s shortshop Miguel Tejada was named league MVP after hitting 34 home runs and 131 RBI, playing in all 162 games during the season. Oddly enough, the movie does not even mention these players, despite them being so obviously important to the team’s record-setting campaign. Flashy names go against the philosophy shown in Moneyball, but this is a glaring oversight that sports fans found difficult to swallow.
Disney movies are known for being fantastical fairy tales, but they need to be grounded in some kind of reality in order to truly connect with viewers. That was lost on the makers of their big hit Frozen, who did not understand how a monarchy works. In the movie, Hans’ master plan is to marry Anna and take the throne of the kingdom by murdering Anna and her sister Elsa. But regardless of how many family members he killed, Hans would always be a prince.
Someone who is simply married to royalty cannot become the head of state. If Hans were to carry out his plot, there would have been a cousin, uncle, or someone else from Anna’s bloodline who would be the new ruler. What makes this even worse is that Hans is a prince when audiences first meet him, so he should know this already. Fans of the movie may be able to (ahem) let this go, but it’s something that will leave casual viewers feeling confused.
To tell the difference between the dream world and reality, the extractors of Inception use a totem that only they know the exact properties of. When Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is introducing the concept to Ariadne (Ellen Page), he makes a point to say that someone cannot let even their closest allies touch their totem so it retains its full effect. However, notorious rule-bender Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) felt that didn’t apply to him and forged his own path.
Cobb famously uses a spinning top to determine where he is, but he reveals to Ariadne that the top originally belonged to his deceased wife Mal (Marion Cotillard). It’s never confirmed if Cobb actually knew all of its characteristics, so the case can be made that the top is an unreliable totem. The theory is that Cobb’s wedding ring is the real totem, but based on the actual dialogue from the character and the guidelines his team comes up with, it’s impossible to know for sure if Cobb is in a dream or not.
Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
In the second Star Wars prequel, it’s established that the romance between Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) and Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman) is a forbidden one due to the fact that the Jedi Code forbids Jedi to fall in love. This sounds like an intriguing element that adds to the drama, but it’s just something that George Lucas never really thought through. The Phantom Menace clearly introduces a biological component the the Force, and those with higher midichlorian counts are stronger with it. In order to ensure the next generation of Knights is as strong as possible, you’d think the Jedi would want their current members to pass on their genetics.
The justification used is that the Jedi want to avoid the temptation of emotional attachments, but that doesn’t hold much weight either. Throughout the prequels, the Jedi are shown being friends with each other and with others in the Republic, and there are certainly emotional components to friendships as well (see Luke’s training in The Empire Strikes Back). The point of mastering the Jedi arts is being able to control thoughts and emotions, not purge them entirely. Either way you look at it, Jedi should be allowed to live like normal people.
The ambitious go-getter Lou Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) rises to the top of seedy broadcast news thanks to his ability to capture horrifying events in Los Angeles in a way that makes them compelling television. He first enters the world by simply walking into a TV station and sharing his footage with a producer. Unfortunately, jobs are not this easy to come by in the real world, and director Dan Gilroy skimmed over quite a bit when setting up his morally ambiguous “protagonist.”
In the real world, stations are on total lockdown during the day, and at night (when Lou makes the most of his money), the security practices are even stricter. Some employ password-protected doors or have barbed wire fencing surrounding the facility. It’s one thing for Lou to quickly advance his career through hard work and determination, but for him to be able to make connections without even being questioned by authorities is a bit of a stretch. He would need to set up a formal meeting with one of the higher-ups.
In the film’s iconic “Bonnie Situation” story, Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) has an epiphany when he and Vincent (John Travolta) survive an attack. Instead of being gunned down at point blank range, the hitmen watch in amusement as their would-be murderer hits the wall behind them (before they shoot him dead). Jules is convinced that divine intervention occurred, and he opts to step away from the gangster life so he can truly appreciate the miracle he just witnessed. Vincent however, claims the guy just missed and thinks nothing of it, which seems to be Tarantino’s train of thought as well.
Call it a continuity error, but the final cut of Pulp Fiction features an infamous component that reveals flaws in Jules’ logic. A shot prior to the gunman pulling the trigger clearly shows the bullet holes are already in the wall behind Jules and Vincent. So the very foundation for Jules’ new way of thinking is incorrect. An attentive filmmaker like Tarantino should have been able to notice this before the cameras rolled and covered up the holes so Jules’ arc maintains its desired emotional effect on the audience. He had a profound transformation; if only it made sense.
Those are our picks for movies that don’t make sense because of one small detail. Please note that we here at Screen Rant are fans of many of the films listed above, and these are just small inconveniences that make viewers question what’s going on. Suspension of disbelief is a necessity in Hollywood, and even Academy Award winners are no exception.
As always, our list is not meant to be all-inclusive, so be sure to share some of your picks in the comments below. And subscribe to our channel for more fun videos like this one!