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Things that only happen in movies.
January 24, 2010 7:25 PM   Subscribe

Things that only happen in movies but are supposed to be things ordinary people do.

Im trying to come up with a list of things people do in movies that we dont question as unusual, but really are.

I just saw Up in the Air and a middle aged Clooney broke into his old high school and watched the basketball team practice. Or when people get into a singalong and everyone knows all the words. Things of that nature. More of an emphasis on ordinary Joes than, say, Die Hard villains or action/scifi/etc cliches. Thanks.
posted by damn dirty ape to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (221 answers total) 89 users marked this as a favorite
 
Hanging up the phone without saying goodbye.
posted by odinsdream at 7:26 PM on January 24, 2010 [31 favorites]


Falling in love.
posted by dfriedman at 7:29 PM on January 24, 2010 [14 favorites]


A character relentlessly, even obsessively, pursues someone who is not interested in him/her, and after a while, that person falls in love with the character.
posted by Meg_Murry at 7:30 PM on January 24, 2010 [48 favorites]


Connecting properly with a punch. Almost never happens...especially on the first punch. In real life some of that looks like 5 year olds punching each other. Thats how adults really hit. Like 5 year olds. That dude you know with the black eye...he wasn't hit by a Marine...he was hit by a IT consultant punching like a 5 year old.
posted by hal_c_on at 7:31 PM on January 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


In movies people often stand just a few inches away from one another during conversations. In real life, at least in most of America, people give one another a couple of feet.
posted by Quizicalcoatl at 7:32 PM on January 24, 2010 [8 favorites]


Confessing on the stand during a trial.
posted by anderjen at 7:32 PM on January 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


There's always a parking spot. Right out front of EVERYWHERE!
posted by ninazer0 at 7:33 PM on January 24, 2010 [9 favorites]


Those deep, meaningful conversations people have in movies? Yeah, those rarely happen. And when they do, they hardly ever end as well. It's been my experience that most people just don't care how you *really* feel.
posted by patheral at 7:33 PM on January 24, 2010 [6 favorites]


Enter the house and leave the door wide open.

Break into press conferences and share their love with the world. Also, charm outsiders on subway platforms/train stations/airplanes, etc. with your stalking technique so that they side with you when you track down your loved one and propose.

Convince someone minutes before the wedding that you are the one they should really be with.

Defeat numerous enemies in a fight by knocking several unconscious and thus taking them out of action.
posted by misha at 7:34 PM on January 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Finding a parking spot on the street in Manhattan in front of the building you're going into.
posted by greta simone at 7:34 PM on January 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Just about anyone can render almost any human being totally unconscious with a single punch.
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:35 PM on January 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


It seems people in movies spill coffee on themselves a lot more often than regular people do.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:35 PM on January 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


Make a mad (successful) dash through airport security to talk to somebody (who you have a desperate need to tell one last final thing).
posted by kylej at 7:36 PM on January 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


seconding the hanging up the phone without saying goodbye. That one drives me nuts!
And how people have already somehow settled with the cab driver and can leap out immediately upon arriving at their destination.
Have sex with bras on.
posted by munichmaiden at 7:39 PM on January 24, 2010 [12 favorites]


Knock on someone's door and decide to enter the house when they don't answer because "it was a open."
posted by biochemist at 7:39 PM on January 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


Grooms asking men who are obsessed with the bride to be the best man.

Similarly, people of both sexes agreeing to get married, and then deciding moments before they get to the altar that — oops! — they actually discovered their "true love" while at the bachelor party / at the pre-wedding events / some other moment shortly before the wedding.
posted by Alt F4 at 7:40 PM on January 24, 2010


enhance images
posted by leotrotsky at 7:40 PM on January 24, 2010 [31 favorites]


Here you go: http://www.moviecliches.com/
posted by np312 at 7:41 PM on January 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


40 Things That Only Happen in Movies
posted by jayder at 7:41 PM on January 24, 2010


Ebert's Movie Glossary is the repository for such items.

An item I have not gotten him to add: The "I can walk from here" rule. Whenever someone drives up to a scene, they park 50 feet away so they walk dramatically to towards the camera, or towards the person they are meeting. (See: Elizabethtown and countless others.)
posted by The Deej at 7:43 PM on January 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


They hardly ever actually put food in their mouth and often walk away from meals mostly (or entirely) unfinished. If I'm watching TV when I'm hungry this drives me crazy. The worst is when they pick up a fork, kind of hover it around then put it down untouched, get up and walk away. My mouth salivates and my tummy grumbles and I look at the sad food disappearing into the background.

They also look away from the road way too often while driving. I know meaningful eye contact and whatever makes a conversation more interesting but it still bugs me when they're driving along looking everywhere but where they're going.
posted by shelleycat at 7:44 PM on January 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


High school party where the kid having the party opens the door, expecting the pizza guy, and it's the entire high school on his front lawn, ready to party (plus kegs).
posted by Alt F4 at 7:44 PM on January 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


When someone runs into the room and says, "Turn on the news! They're talking about you," and when you turn on the TV the story in question is just starting.
posted by bentley at 7:44 PM on January 24, 2010 [25 favorites]


The main character driving a cool vintage car in show condition without ever demonstrating the capacity to maintain such a vehicle. Porsche 356s and Karmann Ghias are frighteningly common on TV.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:44 PM on January 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


Never having to fill your car with gas. (Which explains why your tank always runs out when you're trying to impress your new date).
posted by jeremias at 7:46 PM on January 24, 2010


Conversely, characters rarely say Please or Thank You in tv or movies.
posted by jschu at 7:47 PM on January 24, 2010


Nobody ever locks their front door, especially if they live in a big city. This always drove me crazy about Sex and the City.
posted by scarykarrey at 7:47 PM on January 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


One thing that's often used as a device to introduce or explain plot elements to the viewer is for a character to explain those plot elements in detailed terms to another character, even if that other character would obviously already know what's being explained.

The example that is sticking in my mind is from Avatar, because I just saw that recently: Near the beginning, the head of corporate operations on the planet is having an argument with the head scientist; at one point he picks up a small rock, and says something along the lines of, "Do you see this? This is unobtanium. We're here for this rock. This rock is more valuable than gold. The natives are sitting on top of the motherlode."
posted by Flunkie at 7:51 PM on January 24, 2010 [15 favorites]


In class the ending bell always rings right after some moment of drama, usually getting the subject out of some uncomfortable situation. Saved by the bell as it is.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 7:52 PM on January 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


All tracking/explosive devices have a blinking light on them, preferably with a faint beeping noise.
posted by melissasaurus at 7:52 PM on January 24, 2010 [6 favorites]


Answering machines always say nothing more than "leave a message" or something similarly brief.
posted by kosmonaut at 7:52 PM on January 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Roger Ebert's movie glossary is what you're looking for. It's a whole compilation of these things (though some are questionable), such as the bad guy telling the entire evil plot to the good guy before killing him, thus giving the good guy time to escape and/or get reinforcements.

Oh, and people who have just died do NOT look like that. Their lips drain of color, among other things. In the movies (See "Crimes and Misdemeanors") the body always looks pristine, and they're just staring into space as if daydreaming. Not true.

Blind people are generally portrayed as much more feeble than they really are. In "Places of the Heart", the John Malkovitch character does this weird hand groping thing when he walks around, which blind people don't do, ever.
posted by Melismata at 7:52 PM on January 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Seconding the "taking your eyes off the road to talk to the other person". Every time this happens I am super afraid that there's going to be a car accident.
posted by kylej at 7:52 PM on January 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Jumping out of taxis without paying drives me crazy every single time.

Same with magic computer enhancement of security cam footage.
posted by lhall at 7:52 PM on January 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Related to hanging up the phone without saying goodbye, one that drives me nuts is making plans without making plans:

Character A: I thought, maybe, you know, we could go to a movie sometime.

Character B: How about tomorrow?

Character A: That sounds great!

Character B: OK, see you then.

See you when? What movie? What theater? What time? To calm my racing heart, i always have to invent a later scene in my mind where the talk on the phone to iron out the details.
posted by not that girl at 7:53 PM on January 24, 2010 [86 favorites]


If you work at a therapist's or doctor's office, the person's story always just so happens to run parallel with some important going on in your life at the moment.

Some guy you met a week ago > the guy you've been married to for twenty years, simply because you're having problems in the marriage.

Everyone always plays video games by button mashing.

No one seems to mind if girlfriend/friend/Grandma walks in and randomly turns off the T.V. because they want to talk to you about something unimportant.

Characters always seem to have the most generic, cliche usernames that are for some reason never taken.

No matter how important you are, if you destroy your phone in a fit of anger the only person who will have tried to reach you will be the person who made you angry in the first place.
posted by biochemist at 7:53 PM on January 24, 2010


It seems people in movies spill coffee on themselves a lot more often than regular people do.

Um, I spill coffee on myself a lot more than people in movies do.


When someone runs into the room and says, "Turn on the news! They're talking about you," and when you turn on the TV the story in question is just starting.

I can't find it now, but I could swear there's a scene in Arrested Development where this explicitly doesn't happen, and it's hilarious.
posted by you're a kitty! at 7:55 PM on January 24, 2010 [9 favorites]


Roger Ebert's movie glossary is what you're looking for. It's a whole compilation of these things (though some are questionable), such as the bad guy telling the entire evil plot to the good guy before killing him, thus giving the good guy time to escape and/or get reinforcements.

Thats not what Im not looking for really. Im not interested in things like bombs, guns, fist-fights, sci-fi/technology, action movie cliches, blinking bombs, etc. Just everyday things from everyday Joes.
posted by damn dirty ape at 7:59 PM on January 24, 2010


Eating take-out Chinese food directly from those white cardboard cartons.
posted by neroli at 7:59 PM on January 24, 2010 [8 favorites]


Also, leaping into a cab and shouting, "Follow that car!" Does anyone actually do that?

What if the cab hits a red light while the car drives on? And wouldn't the driver of the car notice the cab that's been following them the entire journey? I dunno, man.
posted by lhall at 8:01 PM on January 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Standoffish loners being offered sex by hot babes (AND rejecting the hot babes because they're too cool/focused on the job at hand).
posted by cardboard at 8:02 PM on January 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Eating take-out Chinese food directly from those white cardboard cartons.

My and my friends do that all of the time - saves on dishes and they make for easy storage.
posted by patheral at 8:04 PM on January 24, 2010 [10 favorites]


Answering machines always say nothing more than "leave a message" or something similarly brief.

How about people still owning answering machines? And then listening to their messages no matter who else is around to overhear them?
posted by donajo at 8:06 PM on January 24, 2010 [6 favorites]


Roads apparently, in movies, lock onto your car and direct it to where it needs to go. There is no need for you to look ahead, leaving you able to have conversations with your passengers by turning to them for 10-30 seconds at a time, nor do you ever need to merge or change lanes.
posted by cobaltnine at 8:07 PM on January 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Waking up in the morning with your makeup still looking perfect.
posted by Joleta at 8:12 PM on January 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


Drinking milk straight out of the carton, which is inevitably spoiled and must be "hilariously" spit out everywhere.
posted by nev at 8:16 PM on January 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


One person standing up to slow clap.
posted by nev at 8:19 PM on January 24, 2010 [8 favorites]


In movies and TV, someone often has a problem with another character. Eventually they end up talking about it and the issue gets resolved. It's that easy.

Take Breakfast Club for instance. The characters mostly dislike each other due to their preconceptions. They all get stoned and reveal deep inner secrets about how their lives suck. They bond, and suddenly they all like and understand each other. In real life, the first person to open up probably would have embarrassed the rest and that would have been the end of it.


And also, no matter how hopelessly dorky the main character is, he somehow manages to get the beautiful woman to fall for him. On the other hand, dorky women don't get the hunky guys to fall for them as-is: there must be a transformation first (stop wearing glasses, new hairstyle, makeup and clothes). Think My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
posted by DrumsIntheDeep at 8:19 PM on January 24, 2010 [8 favorites]


People leaving their car parked with the windows all the way down. I can't tell you how many times I've seen characters drive into a parking lot, get out of the car, and it's obvious their window is down (usually because they grab onto the door by reaching through where the glass would ordinarily be). Presumably this is for filming purposes, to reduce glare and/or reflections, but it bothers me all the time.
posted by Nothlit at 8:19 PM on January 24, 2010


Have sex under the sheets or blankets.

(Sure, it happens in real life if the room is chilly... but sheets get too warm very very quickly)
posted by ripley_ at 8:20 PM on January 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Having a massive apartment in a major city (usually in Manhattan), despite making less than $100K per year.

Women are usually wearing matching, attractive underwear (there are exceptions, see Bridget Jones).
posted by melissasaurus at 8:21 PM on January 24, 2010 [19 favorites]


Nobody ever cooks dinner in the movies.
posted by bengarland at 8:22 PM on January 24, 2010


Having personal, private conversations right in the middle of a dinner party or other event.

Talking and enunciating clearly while brushing your teeth, without having gobs of foamy saliva all over your mouth.

Doing the dishes as a family.

Spending large chunks of your work day ostentatiously not working.

Bribing doormen at apartment buildings or the maitre'd at a restaurant.
posted by Kololo at 8:23 PM on January 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Real couples do not quite so consistently always lay in bed with their blankets pulled all the way up; in particular, real women are not quite so insistent on making sure their breasts are covered up when they're having pillow-talk with their husband/boyfriend/lover.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:26 PM on January 24, 2010 [9 favorites]


Men forget to wear pants even in situations where pants are required, and then, when someone sees them without pants, instead of immediately going, "Oh no! I have no pants!" and running off or just standing happily in all their nakedness, the man instead stands, blinks, and then goes "Uh... I'm not wearing pants, am I?"
posted by Ms. Saint at 8:27 PM on January 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Related to the "invite someone out to a movie without saying when or where" and "hand up without saying goodbye" there's a general shorthand for dramatic scenes where one of the characters leaves after the important stuff is said. Not storming off mad, but just without any small talk.

Character A: Can you break into this vault / do this job / have the cake ready for our wedding tomorrow?
Character B: I'm on it.
Character A walks off.

In real life, Character A might come off as a jerk. But in the movie, we're already on to the next scene.
posted by zippy at 8:31 PM on January 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Answering machines always say nothing more than "leave a message" or something similarly brief.

My cellphone recorded message thingy says "Hi this is Shelley's phone, leave a message". I'm sure I've heard others that are similarly short.

For movie phones I have noticed the person will often start talking without saying hello as well as the hangup without a good bye thing. Whereas even someone who hates the phone like me usually puts in at least some polite small talk before getting to the point.
posted by shelleycat at 8:32 PM on January 24, 2010


Gifts where the lid is wrapped separately from the rest of the box, so the recipient can open it instantly rather than ripping off paper, pulling aside ribbons, etc.
posted by asynchronous at 8:32 PM on January 24, 2010 [29 favorites]


subtle: wearing clothing where every single item, including t-shirts, is tailored.
posted by zippy at 8:33 PM on January 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Whenever detectives visit someone at their place of employment to ask questions about a case, the person being questioned is brusque, abrupt, and dismissive to the point of being unimaginably rude, acts as though the police presence is an enormous, irritating burden, and cannot possibly stop mopping the floor/shelving books/typing up that memo/whatever for two seconds to give them their full attention.

The intended person always answers the door or phone during a romantic gesture (as in the card scene between Keira Knightly and Andrew Lincoln in Love, Actually or when Clooney's character surprises Alex at her home in Chicago in Up in the Air).
posted by anderjen at 8:36 PM on January 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


Neighbours turning up with cake or a casserole to say hi when you move into the neighbourhood. Well, I've never had it happen anyway.
posted by Kris10_b at 8:37 PM on January 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Alarm clocks going off right as the morning news anchor starts talking. This is technically possible if you are picky about setting your clock, but few people go to that much effort.

People addressing their family members as "big brother" or "little sis" for the benefit of the audience. All the siblings I know in real life just call each other by their actual names...
posted by Nothlit at 8:39 PM on January 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


In movies, an empty seat in a classroom is inevitably a signifier that a student has died. In real life, not so much.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:43 PM on January 24, 2010 [9 favorites]


I love how in movies, when the main characters get out of bed the morning after having a full night of hot monkey sex (often filmed in the buff), they are always wearing underwear.

And how characters walk up to a stranger's house, maybe knock, and then just walk in because the door is unlocked. Happens every time, but in real life you'd get shot doing that.
posted by Forktine at 8:44 PM on January 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


Conversely to your question, I read a lot of screenplays and whenever things the opposite of what most of the people in the thread are commenting about happen, I always notice how odd it is. For instance, phone conversations with Hellos, Goodbyes, etc., always stick out. People paying for cabs--unless relevant to the plot (for instance, making them late for something or whatever)--stand out as the sign of a beginning screenwriter who thinks real life = drama. The same goes for dialogue that contains ums and ahs and pauses.

I know most people aren't complaining about these things--they're just pointing them out--but trust me, if they were in the movie, it'd drive you nuts. You'd be yelling at the screen: "Get on with the story!" every 5 minutes.

A character relentlessly, even obsessively, pursues someone who is not interested in him/her, and after a while, that person falls in love with the character.

Um...

Having a massive apartment in a major city (usually in Manhattan), despite making less than $100K per year.

This used to bother the hell out of me until I found just such an apartment--and I work retail. When people ask me what my place is like I usually say, "You know when you watch tv and the guy works retail and lives in a ridiculous loft that you'd kill for? That's what my place is like."
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 8:44 PM on January 24, 2010 [6 favorites]


Homeless people that are wellsprings of wisdom.

Someone enters the living room where two people are hanging out, and says "Joe, could I see you in the kitchen?" They go to the kitchen, have a private conversation and return, and the third person doesn't find this remotely odd or suspicious.
posted by AlsoMike at 8:47 PM on January 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


asynchronous, I love to wrap gifts with separate lids! It makes it feel really special, and yeah, kind of movie-like. But nobody who isn't really really into gift wrapping is ever going to do that.

Anyway, movie things:

Falling asleep with a book on your face, splayed open perfectly, and staying that way through the night so when you wake up the passage is right there in front of you, and relevant to your current problem.

People don't just drink coffee. They have specific ways of drinking it or prefer tea or need soymilk or want a redbull. In movies, everyone always just seems to drink regular coffee in a nonspecific way, but in real life you always have that secondary conversation: "cream? sugar? decaf? oh, raw sugar? no, I don't know if it's cruelty-free..."

When you get something delivered, the wrapping is always loose and you can find everything. In real life, there's way too much packaging, and layers of tape, and opaque manila envelopes, and you're not sure what it is because you have ten things on backorder on amazon, and it definitely won't be relevant to your current dilemma.
posted by Mizu at 8:48 PM on January 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Gifts where the lid is wrapped separately from the rest of the box, so the recipient can open it instantly rather than ripping off paper, pulling aside ribbons, etc.

I had an aging relative who started doing this because it made it a lot easier to reuse the box AND paper (woo depression era mentality) and it was SUCH a hit at Christmas. Everyone said "Ooh, like on a soap opera!!" Never having watched soap operas, I was amused that this was clearly something everyone had seen on TV and thought, man, that's actually awesome.
posted by crinklebat at 8:51 PM on January 24, 2010 [12 favorites]


"S/he's standing right behind me, isn't s/he?"

"Yup."
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 8:51 PM on January 24, 2010 [12 favorites]


The intended person always answers the door or phone during a romantic gesture (as in the card scene between Keira Knightly and Andrew Lincoln in Love, Actually or when Clooney's character surprises Alex at her home in Chicago in Up in the Air).

I teared up when this /didn't/ happen during that scene in The L Word when Bette tries to reconcile with Tina by giving her flowers and saying "it's all in your hands."

of course she didn't answer because she was having sex with someone else in the pool... heartbreaking!
posted by biochemist at 8:52 PM on January 24, 2010


Tracking periods using a wall calendar covered with big red X's.
posted by CarolynG at 8:53 PM on January 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


After having sex, a couple decides to get up and make some food, and the woman rips the flat sheet off the bed and wraps up in it while sashaying around the kitchen. Don't most people just throw on boxers, or a t-shirt, or even a robe?
posted by anderjen at 8:55 PM on January 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


No one wears seatbelts.
posted by Lucinda at 8:57 PM on January 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Nobody ever rolls a joint in the movies, or if they do, their pot has already been neatly broken up. This always really annoys me, though I understand that destemming/shredding weed doesn't make for the most exciting cinematic experience.

Unless it's to make a special point about the character's age/appearance/social status, no one ever waits at a crowded bar for a drink, and the bartender always either knows the customer's usual or else readily interprets whatever foolish hand signal the patron throws. No one ever finishes their drink either.

Stringed instruments almost never need tuning. Computers always turn on immediately. Everyone picks the right key on the first guess. The coffee's always ready or the tea kettle is already boiling. No one makes the bed, but the bed is always made.
posted by solipsophistocracy at 9:02 PM on January 24, 2010 [11 favorites]


When characters turn on the water and immediately jump into the shower, or worse yet, get in the shower first, then turn on the water.
posted by bjork24 at 9:02 PM on January 24, 2010 [13 favorites]


I have never seen a person in real life carrying a paper grocery bag with a giant, unbagged/unwrapped loaf of french bread sticking out of it. In movies and TV, though, everyone always buys a loaf of french bread.
posted by CrayDrygu at 9:14 PM on January 24, 2010 [10 favorites]


Everyone's always wearing perfect makeup when they go to bed, and again when they wake up.
posted by lilac girl at 9:17 PM on January 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


More of a technical thing, but it always grated on me when the off-camera party in a phone call hangs up and the on-camera party gets a dial tone.
posted by jalexei at 9:17 PM on January 24, 2010 [8 favorites]


People in movies look good while having sex. Not flushed or awkward or adjusting that sheet that's caught under their shoulder.

People in movies always know this special out-of-the-way bar where there's always a quiet table. This often leads to the highly photogenic sex.
posted by adamrice at 9:18 PM on January 24, 2010 [5 favorites]


Computer hacking involves flying a spaceship through barriers, or getting rotating cubes to line up, or some other nonsense.

Musicians can play instruments without moving their fingers at all somehow!
posted by Admira at 9:20 PM on January 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


At the bar, people say, "I'll have a beer," without ever specifying what kind.
posted by emumimic at 9:21 PM on January 24, 2010 [16 favorites]


Any musical ever.
posted by pised at 9:26 PM on January 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


"S/he's standing right behind me, isn't s/he?"

"Yup."


I wish this only happened in movies...it seems to happen to me a lot.
posted by randomstriker at 9:33 PM on January 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


"My kid's play" will entail a stageful of children wearing costumes that no school anywhere could afford to make. Instead of cardboard, papier mache and maybe t-shirt material, or crap from thrift stores, the kids are oufitted with expensive, custom-made stuffed costumes even of they are playing some ridiculous non-speaking role, like "a flower."
posted by ethnomethodologist at 9:43 PM on January 24, 2010 [7 favorites]


Husbands always use blenders without the top.
Also, doctors generally find it best to discuss their relationships (with each other, no less) during brain surgery.
Then Cuddy calls over the PA and has her baby scream into the phone while they are doing brain surgery and no one notices the lady who is still having brain surgery.
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 9:47 PM on January 24, 2010


When 3 people are talking and PersonA says 'excuse us' and takes B about 3 feet away to have a private conversation. For some odd reason, C can't hear a word they are saying.
posted by CathyG at 9:50 PM on January 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ah, bands!

Someone starts playing a little riff on a guitar, someone else picks up a bass and adds a bass line, etc part by part until suddenly, it's a hit song!

No song in the history of the universe has ever been written like that, or arranged like that. Few jam sessions ever work so smoothly unless the material is very well known to all parties well in advance. And yet this cliche is so pervasive that non-musicians seem to be perpetually surprised that you can't sling a bunch of random players together and have a perfect song 45 seconds later.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 9:52 PM on January 24, 2010 [8 favorites]


When I return from grocery shopping, I do not have a big leafy celery stalk and a baguette sticking out of the grocery bag every time.
posted by falconred at 9:58 PM on January 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


OH and when people go off to the kitchen and talk quite loudly, and no one else ever hears them or listens in, even if it's an open floor plan. (See Frasier)
posted by lhude sing cuccu at 9:58 PM on January 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Having a character written to be annoying involves writing them to be the most annoying person in the history of the universe. It's not from a movie, but on the 4th episode of Weeds (not coincidently, the last one I ever watched), her brother or whoever breaks into her house to cook breakfast, starts a fire to have the smoke alarm wake everybody up, talks a mile a minute, gives the kid nunchucks which he uses to break something 2 seconds later, has no place to stay so he needs to crash there, and that's only the stuff I remember.

oh, and @kris10_b...one time I did notice my next door neighbors who were moving in had children, so I baked some brownies and knocked on their door to say hello. As soon as I knock, I hear, "answer the f**king door!" and then after being invited in, had to listen to this bizarre political rant out of nowhere for about a half hour before I could tear myself away. I'm never gonna make that mistake again.
posted by cali59 at 10:08 PM on January 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


The telemarketers never phone. Not even at dinner/supper time.

The religious canvassers never knock on anyones door. Nor does any charity.

The unexpected guest who is visiting late at night, transforms nothing more than a package of pasta and an old tomato in the fridge into a gourmet, candle lit dinner for two. And everyone always has just the right wine in the fridge...don't they?

Whenever someone wakes up, their eyes look as though they've been closed for as long as it takes to blink.
posted by Taurid at 10:13 PM on January 24, 2010


Nobody poops.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:14 PM on January 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


You don't see the children very often in families. I know this is because of the restrictions on the hours they can work but seriously, I'm a mother, my children orbit me non-stop. This was especially notable in Big Love, there were what, eight children?, and some episodes didn't show them at all. The dad and all the moms would be in the kitchen - who was looking after the children? Babies don't sleep THAT much.
posted by saucysault at 10:18 PM on January 24, 2010 [6 favorites]


Stopping explaining something so that someone else can continue explaining it.

This happens a lot on crime shows, like The Wire, Law 7 Order and so on. The chief of police or something will ask for an update on the investigation from the four detectives investigating it. The ensuing conversation goes something like this.

DETECTIVE 1: "Well boss, we've been keeping tabs on the drug runner but he hasn't been to the dealers house yet. But we think that he will go to the dealers house in the next day or so."

DETECTIVE 2: "That's because the runner is desperate for some cash to pay his child support, and the only way this creep is going to get some money is if he sees the guy who's paying him."

DETECTIVE 3: "Plus it's not only the child support. The runner is also in debt up to his eyeballs to some loan sharks. If he dosen't pay up soon, they'll be looking for him."

DETECTIVE 4: "So basically chief, we think we need to keep tabs on him, despite the fact that this investigation is seriously costing the Department some dough. If we give up now, we'll lose the chance we have to nail the dealer once and for all."

Conversations like this in police procedurals happen all the time. From the point of view of a television show, it makes sense; this is done to give all the actors some screen time. But in the real world, people don't preplan who is going to tell someone what part of the story. It's usually just one person who tells the whole story. In the real world, the conversation would probably go down something like this.

DETECTIVE 1: "Well boss, we've been keeping tabs on the drug runner but he hasn't been to the dealers house yet. But we think that he will go to the dealers house in the next day or so."

DETECTIVE 2: "That's because the runner is desperate for..."

DETECTIVE 1: "Hey, hey, hey. Whoa. What're you interrupting me for?"

DETECTIVE 2: "I was just gonna explain the thing about the child support."

DETECTIVE 1: "I was talking here. I was about to explain all that, plus the stuff about the loan shark and how we need to keep tabs on him. (Looks around at the other three detectives) Come to think of it, what are all of you in here for? I can pretty much explain the whole thing to the chief."

DETECTIVES 2, 3 and 4: "Yeah, good point. Let's go do whatever detectives do."

Basically, this fact is why I can't watch police procedural shows.
posted by Effigy2000 at 10:38 PM on January 24, 2010 [21 favorites]


I HATE how kids are props in movies. They never cry (unless it advances the plot in some cheesy way), their toys fail to be strewn everywhere, they are mysteriously absent for long sretches.

Also, wealth blankets most mainstream TV and movie worlds - the houses, the clothes, the lifestyles. "Middle class" characters live in lavish homes and rarely work. Likewise women are always made up and no one is fat. Grr.

(Counter to some comments upthread - I rarely say goodbye on the phone - neither does my dad.)
posted by serazin at 10:42 PM on January 24, 2010


People getting in the shower and only then turning the water on while standing under the showerhead. No one does that in real life.
posted by fshgrl at 10:47 PM on January 24, 2010 [4 favorites]


Strangers cooperating, in general.
posted by mnemonic at 10:51 PM on January 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ooo, I've got another one! Leaving car doors unlocked.

Example. Someone drives somewhere, gets out of the car, walks inside the building... leaving the car unlocked. No twist of the key to signify they locked the door. No pushing down of the little button to lock the door. They just get out, close the door and walk away. That would never happen in the real world because if it did, we'd be living in a car thief's dream world.

This happens less in more modern shows, and here's why. Here's a history lesson for the younger members; in the days before remotes could lock your car as you walk away, keys were the only way to lock and open your car (it's true!). So on screen, it would kill the drama and pacing of the show if a character had to reach into his or her pocket and pull out a set of keys, then proceeding to fumble through them to find the right key to open the car door with. Better to just leave the door unlocked, get in the car and drive off. Now with remote locks, they can get out, walk away and BEEP BEEP for the realism.

But even then it dosen't happen ALL the time in new shows with new cars. Which is probably even more annoying. I mean, at least the older shows had an excuse.
posted by Effigy2000 at 10:53 PM on January 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Tracking periods using a wall calendar covered with big red X's.

Bummerfilter: My uncle did this until the day my aunt died. He's still got the calendar up on the wall with some big ol' Xs right up until that day in July.
posted by johnnybeggs at 10:53 PM on January 24, 2010


William Goldman defends some of these bizarre choices in Which Lie Did I Tell?
We must enter all scenes as late as possible. We must enter our story as late as possible. Why? Because of the camera. Because of the speed. ...

1. It is always possible to find a parking spot directly outside or opposite the building you are visiting.

2. When paying for a taxi, don’t look at your wallet as you take out a bill. Just grab one out at random and hand it over. It will always be the exact fare.

3. Television news bulletins usually contain a story that affects you personally at the precise moment it’s aired.

4. It is not necessary to say “Hello” or “Goodbye” when beginning a telephone conversation.

5. Any lock can be picked with a credit card or paperclip in seconds. UNLESS it’s the door to a burning building with a child inside.

6. The ventilation system of any building is the perfect hiding place. Nobody will ever think of looking for you in there and you can travel to any other part of the building undetected.

7. All bombs are fitted with electronic timing devices with large red digital displays so you know exactly when they are going to explode.

8. Should you wish to pass yourself off as a German officer, it will not be necessary to learn to speak German. Simply speaking English with a German accent will do. Similarly, when they are alone, all German soldiers prefer to speak English to each other.

9. Once applied, lipstick will never rub off. Even while scuba diving.

10. You can always find a chainsaw when you need one.

... All ten clichés in the list are about trying to save time. Because the alternatives are too gruesome for the moviegoer: sitting there with nothing happening that relates to the story.
posted by maudlin at 11:04 PM on January 24, 2010 [6 favorites]


In the movies, if someone takes up visual art as a part of the plot, they are effortlessly really skilled, and the content is completely relevant to their dilemma.

The drawing recovered from the Titanic, pristine after many years at the bottom of the ocean? Right.
posted by effluvia at 11:14 PM on January 24, 2010


Light a cigarette, take two drags, and throw it away.
posted by hypersloth at 11:16 PM on January 24, 2010 [3 favorites]



OH and when people go off to the kitchen and talk quite loudly, and no one else ever hears them or listens in, even if it's an open floor plan. (See Frasier)


The corollary is that in any bar anywhere, people can freely chat over the music without having to raise their voices or lean in close.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:19 PM on January 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


TV detectives, when told a street name or person's name, never ask "How do you spell that?"

And I know you said no guns, but this one is so prevalent that I just can't resist: The "Mexican standoff", where two or more people stop to chat while pointing guns at each other. I'm pretty sure that never happens, especially with those trained in firearm use.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 11:21 PM on January 24, 2010


Also: a tattoo, even when completed seconds before, looks perfect. No inflammation, no blood, no redness. Also, any tattoo can be completed in a single sitting.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:22 PM on January 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


More of a technical thing, but it always grated on me when the off-camera party in a phone call hangs up and the on-camera party gets a dial tone.

And cell phones in Movieland all have dial tones.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 11:24 PM on January 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Racquetball. I've noticed that lots of movie characters like to play this with friends or co-workers while they deliver huge chunks of expository dialogue. I could be an exception, but I've never seen a racquetball court in the wild.
posted by brundlefly at 12:12 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I notice funerals.

1. There's always a church service or a graveside service or Big Calling Hours.
2. The service(s) are always SRO.
3. The women at the services are wearing: black dresses, hats, gloves, heels, hose, and, invariably, pearls.
4. The men are in suits, probably three piece.
5. There's always a Very. Expensive. Casket.
6. There's always big floral displays.

Take my word for it, funerals almost never look like this. Some do, but most don't. I'm not curmudgeonly enough to really gripe about this; I know that the writers and designers are just using visual shorthand.
posted by Vavuzi at 12:17 AM on January 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


I can't stand how people never take off their shoes on TV when they're sitting on their bed despite having been in the house for some time. Isn't that getting the bed really dirty? I'm sure it happens sometimes in real life but it always happens on TV.

At the bar, people say, "I'll have a beer," without ever specifying what kind.
Someone I was out with this weekend asked for "a beer" as an experiment. Unfortunately the bartender just said "what kind?"
posted by Bunglegirl at 1:03 AM on January 25, 2010


Whenever a character uses a computer to search for a name/business/address/file/etc, the search results scroll by super-fast for a moment and then a single result is displayed (often with a 'ding!' sound). That result is always spot on, ensuring that the narrative moves seamlessly into the final chase/race against time/surprise ending. If the character is searching for a bad guy, like a serial killer, the search engine will have this weird, tension-building feature that displays the result letter by letter, like a slot machine.

Also, said search result elicits one of the following responses:
- "Bingo."
- "You can run but you can't hide"
- "That's him/her."
- "We got it..."

posted by prinado at 2:23 AM on January 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


From "Pulp Fiction," Uma Thurman and John Travolta:

Mia: Don't you hate that?
Vincent: What?
Mia: Uncomfortable silences.

There are never awkward pauses in movies; I seem to have them all the time in life, though.

Seconding the Arrested Development scene when the DA is trying to show Michael Bluth a news clip and instead cheesy commercials appear and he says, "It'll be right on..." then after even more commercials, "It's on after this...". Love that show.
posted by dzaz at 2:25 AM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Most characters are extremely self-aware and able to deliver succinct, accurate reports of their current thoughts and feelings. They also seem to understand whether or not they are main characters or side characters and accept their places.

Interactions are not a confusing mess of people being self-centered, vague, and not perfectly sure why they are saying and doing the things they do.

Power dynamics are clear.

Girls don't fart.

Friends get away with shit that would instantly end a real friendship. Amazingly shitty things character A does to character B are forgotten two scenes later and do not take over the narrative.

People generally forgive people. Hot-shots are likeable. Assholes are funny.

Solutions and decisions created on the spot are the truest and best. If someone regrets and takes something back, it's always a sign of weakness and a mistake.
posted by fleacircus at 2:53 AM on January 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


Sex, no matter how impulsive and unplanned, is never initiated at an awkward moment in the woman's menstrual/laundry/personal grooming cycle. (Cf "matching underwear", above.)
posted by stuck on an island at 3:00 AM on January 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


I also enjoyed how all the MI6 agents in Casino Royale had laptop screensavers that said "MILITARY INTELLIGENCE" in big letters. Personally, if I were a spy working under deep cover, I'd stick with "Flying through Space" or a slideshow of kitten pictures.
posted by stuck on an island at 3:12 AM on January 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


At the bar, people say, "I'll have a beer," without ever specifying what kind.

This happens in Germany all the time. The first time I saw it, I said, "Wow, just like in the movies!"
posted by chillmost at 3:39 AM on January 25, 2010


The one thing I have always noticed is that dialogue doesn't actually happen in real life. People are always trying to talk over each other and interrupt and I very rarely see a smooth conversational flow.

Maybe I am in a movie?!

Calendar with checks, did that for conception purposes
People behind me, while I am talking about them. Happens, wish it didn't.
Knocking and then walking in. Do that to friends all the time.
Unlocked car. Yup.
Turning on the shower, while under the head. Yes, but only if I want a shock.
Oh and one of my friends relentlessly pursued a girl for about a year and a half. She did finally give in, not permanently though.
I have reveived baked goods from new neighbors twice. It was pretty sweet.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 3:49 AM on January 25, 2010


No one pees after sex, and yet I cannot think of a single moment in a movie where a woman is complaining about her UTI.

And no one fumbles around with the condom unless it's supposed to be funny. Guess that explains why women on soap operas get pregnant all the time.
posted by giraffe at 3:56 AM on January 25, 2010 [10 favorites]


I think I'm in a movie, too, or some of these answers aren't quite on target.

My voicemail really does say "Hi, leave a message." and I do use the Kramer-knock to enter friendly apartments and offices.

I often hang up the phone when a conversation is over, without saying goodbye. I'm not consciously doing this one, though, and I can see how it might be rude. Sometimes people call me out on this and complain, even.

My Chinese take-out does come in those lovely white cartons (there's a couple of them in the fridge right now, including sesame noodle yum), and I've even used "Follow that car!" twice in taxis, both times in complete seriousness. One cabbie did not believe me and just started laughing. Fucking L.A.

As an on-screen counter-example, there's Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut. Nicole and Tom (face it, they're playing themselves) continue their typical household conversation while Nicole goes to the bathroom, uses the toilet, and even wipes herself. A small detail, maybe, but I enjoy it for its real-lifeness.
posted by rokusan at 4:23 AM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Grooms asking men who are obsessed with the bride to be the best man.

If you think this is rare, you need to read more AskMe.
posted by rokusan at 4:24 AM on January 25, 2010 [11 favorites]


When a cop or bad guy is chasing someone on foot in a crowded city, they almost always find them, no matter how many twists and turns the chase takes. Dude........if I can get half a jump on you in Manhattan / Hong Kong / etc., I will lose you in 15 seconds.

When people get knocked out, they stay knocked out until the caper is complete.

Karate trumps street fighting.
posted by jasondigitized at 4:53 AM on January 25, 2010


At the bar, people say, "I'll have a beer," without ever specifying what kind.
posted by emumimic


When I'm at a bar with a great beer selection and a knowledgeable staff that's pretty much exactly what I do. I might narrow it down a little and ask for an IPA or something, but a lot of the time that's as specific as I'll get.
posted by fore at 4:57 AM on January 25, 2010


rokusan: in 1977, "Fun With Dick and Jane" had a scene where she uses the toilet in front of him (and us) while they're having a conversation.
posted by bentley at 5:33 AM on January 25, 2010


People addressing their family members as "big brother" or "little sis" for the benefit of the audience. All the siblings I know in real life just call each other by their actual names...

Reminds me of a moment from American Dad:

Francine, on the phone: "Tonight was so embarrassing. I didn't know what to do, sis. What? I've never called you "sis" before? You're right. It is oddly clunky and expositional. I mean, I know you're my sister, so who am I saying it for? Weird. Anyway, it wasn't just the restaurant or the Parade of Homes, it's just... everything. I mean, I love Stan, but... I don't know. I guess I just always pictured myself with somebody who was, well, a "somebody." So what's going on with you, sis? Are you enjoying being three years younger than me?"

Then, later, Stan is on the phone: "You should've heard Francine on the phone. She thinks she married a nobody. I appreciate you saying that, bro. I've called you "bro" before. That's what we are, we're half brothers. Well, I don't care how they say it in New Glarus, Wisconsin, where you live on a lake and have nothing in common with me. Well, then, maybe we should just stay estranged until you can find a dramatic enough reason to show up on my doorstep unannounced!"
posted by Servo5678 at 5:34 AM on January 25, 2010 [10 favorites]


Singers (performing on stage in the movie) not using microphones. Needless to say, the sound balance is always perfect even when electric/loud instruments are being used.
posted by JtJ at 5:39 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


In real life sex, people take much, much longer to achieve orgasm. If an actual guy was as quick to ejaculate as male characters invariably are, he'd be considered to have a "problem".
posted by orange swan at 5:42 AM on January 25, 2010


Installers of large panes of glass always park across the street from where the job is.
posted by unsupervised at 5:43 AM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


To follow up orange swan, labor, no matter how gnarly, never lasts more than about 30 seconds from beginning to end.

All women shower in the "Birth of Venus" pose, with dry hair in an updo, and clean themselves by languidly caressing soapsuds over their abdomen, chest and nape -- never their pits or bits.

Nobody on TV ever watches TV, except for the news. Or unless they are being portrayed as a lonely loser, in which case they will be curled up in a dark room watching the home shopping channel.
posted by stuck on an island at 6:25 AM on January 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


I've always been mystified as to why it's blatantly obvious that there is no liquid in that person's to-go coffee cup on-screen. Would it be horrible to fill it with some water to give the cup some natural weight to it?

Real life people always have actual coffee in their to-go cups as they walk around and drink it.
posted by nitsuj at 6:43 AM on January 25, 2010


The school bell rings to indicate the end of class, and as everybody is halfway out the door, the teacher remembers something he/she should have said earlier ("Don't forget - quiz tomorrow!") and yells it out as they walk by.
posted by jbickers at 6:57 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's always bugged me that people (homeowners, not apartment dwellers) coming home from work (or a night out) always enter their own homes through the front door. In my experience, most people come into their homes through the door to the garage...where they just parked the car.

Also, funerals. Specifically, police or firefighter funerals. Always, always, always, bagpipes. This must be an east-coast convention but, having been to a few such funerals in Indiana, I can honestly say I've not heard a single screech of bagpipes.

And the whole "everyone in the massive graveside crowd passes by the casket to toss a flower on it" scene. Never seen that happen either.

And one thing that always bugs me with funerals on tv detective/csi shows...the "team" always attends the victim's funeral in the last scene. As if they've now become close family friends.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:12 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ooo, I've got another one! Leaving car doors unlocked.

I actually knew quite a few people in college who did that. Idea was they kept nothing of value inside the car and they're rather someone rummage around the car instead of having a broken window and still rummage around.
posted by jmd82 at 7:14 AM on January 25, 2010


The products you see in people's refrigerators or on their dinner tables are missing something. For example, a bachelor's fridge will be loaded with generic "BEER." In movies and on TV no one uses brand names...except, of course, when they do--in which case a company has paid to make sure you'll be able to see the brand name.

Administrative gate keepers will always accommodate, albeit reluctantly, even your most imposing requests and you need never wait in line to speak to one.

Car crashes result in explosion far more often than real life crashes do.

High school students are physically mature and attractive and appear to be in their early twenties. Also, dorks and nerds are the same physically attractive people as the jocks and rich kids, except that the dorks and nerds wear unflattering glasses and do not drive convertibles.

As mentioned above, middle class households appear richer and enjoy spacious Manhattan lofts, etc. But truly wealthy homes can be distinguished by their inclusion of a harp, a grand piano, a stuffed polar bear, a huge lawn fountain and a circular driveway. Similarly, the very wealthy should have a slight British accent.

Everyone is vaguely, culturally Christian. Unless they're something else, in which case they will overtly be that thing. Also, there are no Jews, only Italians.

No people or noises interrupt a speaker for other than dramatic reason.


(Folks, the OP's question is not whether you do too do these things.)
posted by applemeat at 7:16 AM on January 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


Sex, no matter how impulsive and unplanned, is never initiated at an awkward moment in the woman's menstrual/laundry/personal grooming cycle.

I am pretty sure women in movies do not have a menstrual cycle, except for those in a certain sort of family drama who announce "I am late."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:18 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ooo, I've got another one! Leaving car doors unlocked.

When I met my wife, way back when, I traveled with her family back to her small home town in far-flung NW Kansas. NO ONE there locked their car doors. For that matter, no one locked their house doors, either. They thought I was funny when we drove downtown and I locked the car. Heck, a lot of people still left the keys in the ignition.

I suspect things are different there now.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:19 AM on January 25, 2010


Poor people, while rare, come in just two varieties: Dirty, foul-mouthed criminals, or Beautiful, angelic, and ultra sincere. The latter type of poor person, while just as physically attractive, can be distinguished from richer peers by telling the truth, wearing denim, driving an economy car (with primer spots), and by having a job in which they get yelled at, esp. waitress, etc. These types of poor people are actually better and smarter people than the other characters with more money, education, and prestige, you'll see.
posted by applemeat at 7:58 AM on January 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


Wills are not usually read aloud to a bunch of grieving (or scheming) relatives in an attorney's office. It's usually all done by mail.
posted by Lucinda at 8:00 AM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


In movies, groups of friends--especially high school friends--are always remarkably diverse. (I'm not saying this never happens in real life, but in Hollywood there's some mythical friendship race quota to meet.)

Women always shave their legs while neatly wrapped in a towel or robe, often balancing one leg precariously over the bathroom sink. What, you couldn't do it naked in the shower? You had to dry off and get covered up?

Conversations only last as long as the car ride does. No one ever continues on the same topic once they've reached their destination.

The dance floors of clubs are always crowded and have good music, dramatic lighting, and attractive people.

Everybody's daily mail seems to consist of a lot of bills and one important letter. The important letter is always placed at the bottom of the stack of mail.
posted by castlebravo at 8:19 AM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Attorneys, for that matter, are all trial attorneys--Glamourous and outspoken ones, stylishly and expensively dressed in tailored Italian suits and with huge, luxurious offices overlooking the city. Real life attorneys are just as likely if not more likely to be that paunchy, middle aged person poring, highlighter pen in hand, over stacks of documents in a cluttered little room while mumbling and swearing and many if not most attorneys never litigate before a jury.
posted by applemeat at 8:29 AM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Those accused of a crime go to trial. While this happens in real life, it's not nearly with the frequency that it happens on TV or in the movies.
posted by craven_morhead at 8:38 AM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Apologies and forgiveness seem to be more like movie moments than real life.
posted by maloon at 8:38 AM on January 25, 2010


I don't know what to call this one, but it seems like I've seen it a lot. Hopefully this will be self-explanatory...

[Girl and Boy meet at a restaurant]
Girl: I have something incredibly important to tell you.
Boy: That's an amazing coincidence! I have something incredibly important to tell you, too.
Girl: Look, about the other night...
Boy: Look, I'm really sorry about the other night...
[They are both speaking at the same time. They laugh, nervously]
Girl: You go first.
Boy: OK. Well you know how I proposed to you on the night we are speaking about--that was awkward, wasn't it?
Girl: Yes, I...
Boy: And you remember how you said you weren't ready to get married, least of all to somebody like me, and you'd prefer it if we just stayed friends?
Girl: I know, what I wanted to say was...
Boy: Well I met someone else. She's great and everything. So now you must be happy, yes?
Girl: ...
Boy: So. What was it you wanted to tell me?
Girl: Oh. Nothing.
Boy: Alrighty then!
[Boy tucks into meal without giving it a second thought]
posted by Life at Boulton Wynfevers at 8:44 AM on January 25, 2010 [6 favorites]


People sit around only part of a table so as not to block the camera's view. Even a crowded holiday dinner table.
posted by applemeat at 9:00 AM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Gym-bunny bodies that never actually go to a gym or otherwise exercise.
posted by yesster at 9:05 AM on January 25, 2010


Single people who work in offices all day and are out all night and also have a large, loving dog at home. (Notice that the dog is usually gone after the pilot episode.)
posted by bentley at 9:17 AM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Flunkie, what you describe is often referred to as the "As you know, Bob" moment. It's a typical trick of wedging some exposition into a conversation. See every CSI episode as an example. There's always a moment when two members of the team have to explain some basic principle of science, anatomy, law, or forensics to one another, for the benefit of the audience.
posted by wheat at 9:19 AM on January 25, 2010


It seems people in movies spill coffee on themselves a lot more often than regular people do.

i disagree.
posted by 256 at 9:21 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm also starting to think I live in a movie.

misha writes "Enter the house and leave the door wide open."

Do this all the time when it's hot out. I also routinely leave my car unlocked (and windows down if it's hot) if I've got nothing in my car. A thief capable of dealing with a steering wheel lock isn't going to be hampered by a piece of glass.

kosmonaut writes "Answering machines always say nothing more than 'leave a message' or something similarly brief."

I didn't own a phone until after the Rockford Files was cancelled. Everyone knows how to leave a message on an answering machine/voice mail. My outgoing message says simply "This is Mitheral." *Beep* Waiting for VM messages to complete must waste more man hours every year than waiting on line at TSA checkpoints.

brundlefly writes "Racquetball. I've noticed that lots of movie characters like to play this with friends or co-workers while they deliver huge chunks of expository dialogue. I could be an exception, but I've never seen a racquetball court in the wild."

There are courts a few blocks from my house. These may not stick out much because the facilities lack windows are generally bland warehouse style buildings.

stuck on an island writes "Nobody on TV ever watches TV, except for the news. Or unless they are being portrayed as a lonely loser, in which case they will be curled up in a dark room watching the home shopping channel."

Lots of counter examples to this with some off the top of my head being Mad About You, Married with Children, Archie Bunker, Weeds and Friends.
posted by Mitheral at 9:22 AM on January 25, 2010


People are knocked unconscious and regain consciousness with no ill effect, leap to their feet and run off to carry on chasing the bad guy or whatever...

Also, people are in horrible, messy, bloody accidents and when next we see them in the hospital (that night, or the next day), they are squeaky clean (if female, in full makeup) with a pristine white bandage wrapped around their injuries, in a private room with big windows and some bouquets artfully placed around.

I suspect reality is more like my experience of getting knocked unconsious in a car accident, coming to on a gurney in a hallway because there aren't any rooms--my scalp lacerations closed by staples--no bandage, my hair stiff with blood, and remaining covered in blood through two hospital transfers until getting to the convalesent hospital 4 days later...
posted by agatha_magatha at 9:22 AM on January 25, 2010 [3 favorites]


Class reunions are quite formal occassions with every male wearing a suit and tie. Usual takes place in a nicely lit gym with a band playing. Should have seen my class reunion which took place in a conservation club hall with a couple 1/4 barrels of beer.

In commercials, the product being sold will occupy thirty feet of shelving.

And I'm always amazed at how attractive the detectives and CSI folk are on tv.
posted by DieHipsterDie at 9:30 AM on January 25, 2010


(I've thought of another one): Clowns are ALWAYS scary (in the movies, that is!)
posted by JtJ at 9:31 AM on January 25, 2010


The clown thing is not a fallacy.
posted by craven_morhead at 9:51 AM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


In school, the teacher's lesson always goes until the last possible second, with all students paying rapt attention, until they're interrupted by the bell.

When I was in school, the teacher almost always wrapped up their lecture well before the end of class, and everyone started watching the clock/packing up their stuff/bullshitting and wasting time a good five minutes before the bell rang.
posted by anderjen at 9:58 AM on January 25, 2010


All those zippy one-liners would not only not be funny in real life, they would be incredibly juvenile and annoying.
posted by xammerboy at 9:59 AM on January 25, 2010


stuck on an island: "I also enjoyed how all the MI6 agents in Casino Royale had laptop screensavers that said "MILITARY INTELLIGENCE" in big letters. Personally, if I were a spy working under deep cover, I'd stick with "Flying through Space" or a slideshow of kitten pictures."

There's a scene in Once Upon A Time In Mexico where Johnny Depp's FBI agent character is at a crowded sporting event, wearing a t-shirt reading, "FBI: Female Body Inspector."
posted by brundlefly at 10:03 AM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Relatively young widowhood, in general--and in particular, young widowers--seem a lot more common in shows and movies than in real families I have known. (Remember how many old TV sitcoms featured widower dads?: The Andy Griffith Show, Brady Bunch, A Family Affair, Courtship of Eddie's Father, Gimme A Break, Diff'rnt Strokes, Silver Spoons (I think?), Full House... A lot. Add youngish widows to that mix and there are many more.) Perhaps the inherent drama and pain of losing a spouse makes these characters instantly sympathetic. I also suspect that making a male character a widower is a shortcut to making him attractively needy to women viewers without any hint of suspicion associated with the divorced.
posted by applemeat at 10:03 AM on January 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


Clowns are ALWAYS scary in real life, too.
posted by _paegan_ at 10:04 AM on January 25, 2010


applemeat: "Relatively young widowhood, in general--and in particular, young widowers--seem a lot more common in shows and movies than in real families I have known. (Remember how many old TV sitcoms featured widower dads?: The Andy Griffith Show, Brady Bunch, A Family Affair, Courtship of Eddie's Father, Gimme A Break, Diff'rnt Strokes, Silver Spoons (I think?), Full House... A lot."

See also: tons of animated kids' movies.
posted by brundlefly at 10:05 AM on January 25, 2010


People are always running into people they know in the grocery store.

People jumping over subway turnstiles and getting onto the train just in time!

Common people can break down doors with their shoulder.

When a woman gets an ultrasound, the technician can always tell the sex of the baby.
posted by yawper at 10:07 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Everyone wears expensive designer-y clothes that fit very well.

Women that would be noticably attractive in real life are suddenly 'ugly' by wearing glasses or a slightly different haircut.

Talking to someone's back while the other one is watching through the window (or just into the room).

And generally, just being able to talk in well-constructed sentences all the damn time.
posted by Harry at 10:10 AM on January 25, 2010


Illnesses and wounds are best treated by dabbing the injured person's forehead. Whenever Mr Corpse and I see this in something we're watching, we mutter "dab dab dab dab" at each other.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:19 AM on January 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


So true, The corpse... And there's no problem or shock that cannot be improved by bringing its victim a glass of water.
posted by applemeat at 10:23 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'll contribute something -- honest -- but first I had to respond to this:

kylej: Make a mad (successful) dash through airport security to talk to somebody (who you have a desperate need to tell one last final thing).

This actually happened, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't a movie shoot.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 10:28 AM on January 25, 2010


although unhealthy, i hate that these days when a character is supposed to smoke... they never inhale. either don't have the character smoke or take it for the team, it totally takes me out of the movie.
posted by telseth at 11:03 AM on January 25, 2010


400-foot tall lizards with radioactive breath stamp whole cities flat with remarkably little loss of life.

In real life, death tolls tend to be much higher, and the causes far more mundane.
posted by Devoidoid at 11:35 AM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Repeating a sentence or phrase a second time, but quieter, for dramatic effect.

"I know.... I know."
posted by brundlefly at 11:40 AM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


In real life, a woman may throw up for numerous reasons--usually because she's ill or had too much to drink. But in the movies, a woman only throws up when she's pregnant and hasn't told anyone yet.
posted by turaho at 11:42 AM on January 25, 2010 [7 favorites]


In the movies...people NEVER check the caller ID on phones. I would venture to say that 95% of all the issues and problems in movies would be solved if people would just check the damn caller ID.
posted by crushthemall at 12:07 PM on January 25, 2010


Noone uses lube.


Also Thorzdad, I live on the east coast and bagpipes are at many law enforcement related celebrations, including marching behind or in front of police or fire trucks in 4th of July parades and the like.
posted by WeekendJen at 12:26 PM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Absolutely, telseth -- actors who don't smoke correctly always annoy me. I've heard recently that the big studios won't/don't use real cigarettes because they can't 'cause they're unhealthy, instead they're made with something herbal. The actors hate them but IMO if they won't inhale, the director should film the shot differently.

So much repetition in this thread, but nobody's yet made the most natural criticism, the one we all know to be true -- lightning and thunder are almost always NOT simultaneous.

Also, who drives a car with no rear-view mirror? Almost everybody on TV and in the movies.

BTW the msg on my answering machine is just some music, then the beep. (Everyone knows what to do.)

posted by Rash at 12:29 PM on January 25, 2010


David always beats Goliath, Good always beats Evil, etc. One of the main reasons to enjoy historical movies is they get to get away those tropes. In the real world, Goliath beats David nine times out of ten, and evil triumphs regularly, if lamentably.

Also, and this one is hardly new: the character shield. Who lives and who dies in combat is a great example of Brownian motion: systemic en masse, but totally random individually. I am not pacifist but a war movie that was actually honest about this (and, once again, telling a true story really helps) if might make people a lot more realistic about the (lack of) glamor of war.
posted by MattD at 1:18 PM on January 25, 2010


People begin their exposition in one place and complete it in a completely different location, usually switching places in the midst of a sentence.
posted by Nabubrush at 1:43 PM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't think anyone has mentioned my favorite:

two people need to talk, but the room they are in is being used for a meeting, gathering, whatnot. Instead of leaving to find someplace to talk privately, one of them says "can you give us the room please" and the other people in the room actually leave. So weird!
posted by Mozzie at 2:17 PM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


People seem to use each other's names in conversation a lot more in movies/TV than in real life.

(I love all of you for mentioning that people in movies are never seen paying cabs or, if they do, receiving change. It bugs me.)
posted by swerve at 2:32 PM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


All job offers include the salary being written on a small piece of paper and handed across the table for approval.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:41 PM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Friends and family dropping by a character's home completely unannounced for a visit, and the character responding to it in same way that s/he would to an unexpected (i.e., pretty much any) phone call.

Movie:

"Knock knock"

[character opens door] "Why, hello there! Great to see you, sis/friend/mom, come on in!"


Real life:

"Knock knock"

(character engages in frantic search for clothing, possible cursing, and mad dash to answer the door)
[character opens door] "What the hell are you doing here, don't you people call first?"
posted by sentient at 3:07 PM on January 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


Babies don't have umbilical cords or goop all over them. They just pop right out and get handed to mom, clean as a whistle.
posted by sciencemandan at 3:12 PM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Miracle cures can be found for any random virus that comes down the pike, within 24 hours, and nobody important dies.
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:35 PM on January 25, 2010


Among a group of friends, no two (or more!) will ever share the same name. Same thing with students in schools or colleges. One first name each.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 3:54 PM on January 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


I don't always say hello or goodbye on the phone. They know who I am, and I'm calling for a reason, and when we're done it's usually pretty obvious to everyone.
posted by cmoj at 4:17 PM on January 25, 2010


Jack Bauer has no kidneys or a colon far as I can tell.
posted by Freedomboy at 4:49 PM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


sentient writes "Friends and family dropping by a character's home completely unannounced for a visit, and the character responding to it in same way that s/he would to an unexpected (i.e., pretty much any) phone call. [...] 'What the hell are you doing here, don't you people call first?'"

I've found this is as contentious an issue as bathroom door always open or shut. Half my immediate family lives within a dozen blocks of me and routinely will just drop by to see if I'm home/busy/need help on a project/visit/mooch coffee/etc. and vice versa. My wife's family thinks this is crazy as hell and her parents will phone from the gas station down the street if they decide to visit while passing by on one of their bi-weekly trips past our house. I've often wondered if it isn't a front porch vs. suburb upbringing difference.
posted by Mitheral at 5:29 PM on January 25, 2010


Frolicking on the beach, dancing and swinging each other through the waves, preferably at sunset.
posted by anderjen at 5:35 PM on January 25, 2010


Driving down the center of a two-lane deserted road.
posted by greta simone at 5:54 PM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Conversations on planes are always completely audible. In fact, there is often no background noise at all.
posted by Miss Otis' Egrets at 6:07 PM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Every single time you see a dude at the bathroom sink shaving, he nicks himself. Every. Single. Time.
posted by tristeza at 6:59 PM on January 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


First relayed by ninazer0. There is always a parking place right in front of where the character is going! We call this Kojaking when it happens to you. Also when you enter the parking lot give a small prayer to the bald man with the lolipop and you may be granted a spot in front of the store!
posted by Pecantree at 7:00 PM on January 25, 2010


Mitheral: Hmm. It occurred to me that this could be one of those things. I wonder how the divide works, in terms of overall trends. Porch/rural vs Suburban/Urban makes sense, but it's hard to say. Maybe it's about how clean you keep your house...
posted by sentient at 7:29 PM on January 25, 2010


I think it's worth pointing out that Robert Altman routinely violated many of these conventions, especially about people holding graceful conversations without interruptions — his movies were a big mess. Sometimes tedious, sometimes spectacular.
posted by argybarg at 10:27 PM on January 25, 2010


Christmas trees come with a wooden X attached to the bottom when purchased off the lot.

An elaborate headstone or marker is in place during a funeral or just days later when someone visits the grave. Those things take a few months to arrive once they're ordered.
posted by Oriole Adams at 11:12 PM on January 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Funnily, a lot of the time when I watched American tv shows or movies, I subconsciously interpreted a lot of these things (the present box with the wrapped lid, the knocking and entering, the eating chinese from the cartons, even the planning a date without actually planning) as "American", not as "tv show or movie". Not that I really thought about it and explained it to myself as "this is what Americans do", but the connection was there, somehow.

Ironically, here in Belgium and the Netherlands, you actually do order "a beer".
posted by Skyanth at 1:46 AM on January 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


The coldest and most-shutdown doctor on screen will suddenly be treating the ONE PATIENT of his/her career who MUST BE SAVED, resulting in some repeated tense calls to shock the patient's heart "one more time!", then moving on to the "straddle-the-patient-to-perform-CPR-as-a-desperate-last-resort-scene" and finally, a near-complete refusal to call the Time of Death.
posted by mireille at 8:03 AM on January 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Pecantree: "There is always a parking place right in front of where the character is going! We call this Kojaking when it happens to you."

My family has always called those spaces, "Maxwell Smart parking spaces."
posted by brundlefly at 8:55 AM on January 26, 2010


People's houses/apartments are always filled with numerous and beautiful bouquets of flowers.
posted by girlmightlive at 8:59 AM on January 26, 2010


Oh, yes, and people always make pasta sauce from scratch. Then they put a bit on a wooden spoon for their lover to taste.
posted by girlmightlive at 9:10 AM on January 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, yes, and people always make pasta sauce from scratch. Then they put a bit on a wooden spoon for their lover to taste.

Err, I do that.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 10:37 AM on January 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


A disproportionate number of people in TV and movies go to bars by themselves, at bars that seem to be filled almost exclusively with other people at the bar by themselves.

Now, I'm sure I'll get some "I go to bars by myself all the time" blowback, and I agree it's not a completely bizarre behavior or anything, but in my experience the majority of people at any given bar are there with another person or larger group.

I don't know if this is due to not wanting to spring for a lot of extras or if it is simply easier plotwise to have a man and woman meet at a bar and hook up without the complication of "I'd love to go back to your place to have sex, but my buddy rode in with me and I've got to drop him off first".
posted by The Gooch at 11:18 AM on January 26, 2010


Splashing water on one's face at a basin.
posted by Brian James at 1:42 PM on January 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


(Some of these are repeated for emphasis)

Women who make love wearing bras, and lovers who exit the bed wearing underwear.

Cars that explode when they crash.

Friends and neighbors of the murder victim who are openly hostile to the investigating police for daring to interrupt their plant watering/sunbathing/nail polishing.

Suspects who confess, explaining the remaining mysteries as they do. IRL, suspects who have remaining mysteries have a chance before a jury.

Corpses that aren't repulsive. If female and scantily clad, it doesn't matter if they've been there all weekend, they're still ready for a cover shoot.

Guns that shoot locked doors open.

Opponents that are barely affected by being hit in the face or kicked in the body. IRL, if you are punched bare-knuckled in the jaw, you don't shake it off; you go down.

Car chases in the city never end in the pursued car crashing, nor getting blocked by traffic. OTOH, the pursuers are highly likely to crash.

Even though the outnumbered hero has just defeated (n-1) of the bad guys, the nth bad guy sticks around, thinking he'll be the one to kick his ass. Gotta say: if you drop (n-1) of my paid co-toughs (for n>3), I'm getting the hell out of there.

Bombs have timers.

Horrific, blocks-long car chases with scads of crashes, and open automatic gun play don't merit a near-complete lockdown by the police in the days following.

Strippers are only interviewed by the police during their sets on stage.

A phone call can be alway be traced (even to a cellphone) by the police, but only if they can keep the caller online for 15 seconds (or slightly longer). The phone company keeps no records of calls, nor can they go back into records to trace calls to a given number (like to someone awaiting demands from a kidnapper). This might actually serve a public good, maintaining this illusion, of course.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:08 AM on January 27, 2010


Strippers are only interviewed by the police during their sets on stage.

Or in their "dressing room," which is clotted with other strippers who either curse the cops or flirt with them. The stripper being questioned will either be tough as nails or a sweet, gum-cracking bumpkin who "thinks she's seen that guy around here."
posted by ethnomethodologist at 7:51 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


People brush their teeth, ostensibly with toothpaste, but don't rinse with water when they're through.

(I believe I've seen this on reality shows, though, so either it's due to the story editing, or the practice isn't as rare in real life as I think...)
posted by sentient at 8:49 AM on January 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Attractive men and women work side by side and are best friends for years and never even consider taking it further until one of them is engaged to be married to someone else. Then they throw all caution to the wind and make themselves look like idiots trying to sabotage the marriage.

The "every cop movie shows a scene in the stripper bar" bugs me, too. Also the really physically fit people (six-pack abs, etc.) who never exercise at all during the course of the movie.

I know you said no guns, but it drives my son crazy that no one ever reloads in a gunfight, no matter what kind of gun they are using (unless it is the hero opening his gun to see that he only has one or two bullets left and so has to shoot the hot water pipe to release steam, etc).

Men who are kneed or kicked in the groin get up after a second and start running.
posted by misha at 10:04 AM on January 27, 2010


I've found that the prestige and importance of the high school newspaper is greatly exaggerated on most TV shows and movies in two primary ways:

1) It is generally considered a major feat and honor to become a reporter for the school paper, often with the protagonist begging and pleading with the instructor for the chance at this rare, once in a lifetime opportunity, when, from my own recollection, all you really had to do was sign up for the class.

2) In many TV shows/movies the entire school is stopped in its tracks when a hot off the press new edition of the newspaper comes out with a highly controversial story, when, at least in my experience, the school newspaper came out irregularly, was barely read by anyone beyond the people who had a hand in producing it, and usually dealt with fluff pieces like the Zoology class field trip to the aquarium or editorials about how hard finals were.
posted by The Gooch at 11:30 AM on January 27, 2010 [3 favorites]


sentient, this has always bothered me as well. There is never any foam in any of these people's mouths, and no one ever dribbles toothpaste-spit on themselves when they are talking in the midst of brushing.
posted by joan cusack the second at 1:17 PM on January 27, 2010


No one ever does up the chin strap on a motorcycle helmet. Most won't even have chin straps.

On finishing a phone conversation where the person gets bad news they'll stare at the phone receiver before putting it down. If it's really bad news they'll either put the receiver down really slowly or slam it down.

Dedicated rich chess players/pros will have a big fancy chess set whereas in real life hard core players would just use the standard set. Chess in any scene, even in the back ground will have a 'check' / 'checkmate' / 'mate in X moves' (when X is a silly number) at the end of the scene.

Poker showdowns will be something with an astronomical probability of actually happening (like 4 Aces vs 4 Kings)

Characters sawing a steering wheel back and forward while driving down a straight road

When someone returns to their house after they have been burgled, their first clue will be the door is slightly ajar. On entering, slowly pushing the door back they will see every single draw has been turned out and all the pictures will be crooked.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:27 PM on January 28, 2010


When characters turn on the water and immediately jump into the shower, or worse yet, get in the shower first, then turn on the water.

Heh, I get in the shower before turning on the water. I have no idea why.
posted by matthewr at 3:53 PM on January 28, 2010


Another cliche -- the person getting into their car fails to notice the character hiding in the back seat. Maybe, in a really big car; but preposterous with a small car.
posted by Rash at 5:30 PM on January 28, 2010


fearfulsymmetry: When someone returns to their house after they have been burgled, their first clue will be the door is slightly ajar. On entering, slowly pushing the door back they will see every single draw has been turned out and all the pictures will be crooked.

I've been burgled* twice. That happens 50% of the time, in my experience.

* Heh, "burgled". Burgled burgled burgled. Fun to say.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:05 PM on January 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Morning mouth doesn't exist in the movies. After a night of (possibly drunken) wild sex, the woman and man will awake, snuggle, and probably kiss with tongue without brushing their teeth or cleaning up at all.
posted by benzenedream at 12:25 AM on January 29, 2010 [2 favorites]


Boy Scouts being sober on camping trips.
Every Scoutmaster being sober on camping trips.
Scouts of any kind wearing their full uniforms outside of Scouting activities (like at school) or during less-formal activities (like camping trips or bowling).

(Maybe I was just in a laid-back troop.)
posted by clorox at 2:42 AM on January 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


The bombs may always have countdown timers, but the 30 seconds until catastrophe is always more like 2 minutes of real time.
posted by hip_plumber at 11:51 PM on January 29, 2010


When police are working on a case, they always have some kind of bulletin board type thing with really nice laminated, clear photos of all the suspects and other involved parties (see Law & Order, for instance). I have a hard time believing this is how it's really done considering the time it would take to do such a thing. I'm guessing that real world cops use a markerboard and perhaps crummy black and white faxed photos (or no photos at all).
posted by bengarland at 12:34 PM on January 30, 2010


clorox- when I was in school, if a boy/girl scout troop had a meeting after school, they'd all come decked out in their uniforms. I envied them.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 12:58 PM on January 30, 2010


Slugging down like a half bottle of scotch in one go without, at the very least, making a pained face.
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:27 PM on January 31, 2010


Oh and, always being late for work. "I gotta go, I'm late." "I'm already late."
posted by turgid dahlia at 7:39 PM on January 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


turgid dahlia, just exactly what part of that is unrealistic to you?

God, feels like you're describing my hidden-camera biographical documentary.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:26 PM on January 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


There are always prostitutes in the police station.

People have L-shaped sheets that cover men to the waist and women to the neck.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:11 PM on February 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


IAmBroom, if you mean the bit about being late for work, I mean if people in the real world were as constantly late for work as people in movies are constantly late for work, nobody would be employed, anywhere.
posted by turgid dahlia at 12:39 PM on February 10, 2010


Seriously? turgid d, I am not trying to make this into an internet fight, but... at virtually every place I've worked, there've been employees who were habitually late, and I've been one of them.

I'm often 15-30 minutes late. At a recent job, a couple guys were known to seldom start their days before 10am, although "9-3 were the core hours" that we were all supposed to be there.

And no one got fired for lateness. The super-late guys are still working there.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:58 PM on February 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


People go to convenience stores and ask for "a pack of cigarettes."

Pairs sitting next to each other in booths or tables at restaurants, rather than across from each other.

And nobody ever has stuff in their apartments. No mail, no garbage waiting to get thrown out (unless it's a Bruce Willis circa The Fifth Element-type character), everything is always immaculate and tidy and yet no one ever cleans.
posted by blazingunicorn at 3:07 PM on February 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


blazingunicorn, my girlfriend and I always sit next to each other when we're going out to dinner. It's much more cozy than having the person be all the way across the table. I think it's curious that you see this only in movies (especially since I can't think of the last time I saw someone in the movies not sitting across from one another -- it seems like the camera angles/shots would be weird if they sat side by side).
posted by bengarland at 7:33 PM on February 24, 2010


Related.
posted by biochemist at 5:15 PM on January 23, 2011


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