19 Common Misconceptions from Movies ...

A fictional movie is a form of escapism that everyone indulges in once in a while. It is pleasurable and very entertaining, giving color to our normal, everyday lives. However, movies can also form misconceptions and falsities that some of the more unquestioning people may readily accept. Here are some of the more common movie plot devices and special effects that disregard or twist the laws and truths that normally govern us.

1. In-tandem Orgasm

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Have you noticed in many, if not all, sex scenes in movies that the lovers almost simultaneously orgasm? This leads to the misconception that in-tandem orgasms are very common in real life. However, the reality of this is people finish in their own time. So don’t go rushing yourself the next time you have sex because you want to finish together.

2. Post-Sex Modesty

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During sex, all thoughts of modesty and conservativeness are left on the bedroom floor. But once the deed is done, everyone suddenly reverts to feeling shy about being seen naked. I don’t know about you but I don’t think I’ve ever put on clothes after sex because I didn’t want to be seen naked by my man. However, I do think that this is different for everyone. So if you want to walk around naked after sex, then do it. And if you don’t want to, then cover up.

3. Sex for the Beautiful

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I think we rarely see a plus-sized or everyday-looking woman have sex in movies. I understand that this is probably for aesthetics, but this leads women to believe that they have to be movie-star gorgeous to get any action. Ladies, don’t be fooled. Don’t let your size or looks stop you from enjoying sex.

4. Women Needing Men

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Check this scenario: woman has friends, family, money, and a career but she feels incomplete because she doesn’t have a man. This makes women think that they are incomplete without a man. Truth: you need to be a whole person before entering a relationship. And seriously, you need to embrace your life and successes especially if there is no man in your life. You became successful without one and you don’t need one to remain so. (But if one comes, embrace the possibility.)

5. Free Fall Communication

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You see skydiving scenes where people talk to each other while in free fall. In reality, verbal communication in free fall is impossible. The rushing wind will drown out your voice and will temporarily impair the hearing of other people.

6. Surviving a Free Fall

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Like the saying goes, "It's not the fall that kills you. It's the sudden stop at the end". The sudden stop from a free fall shocks your body which causes your insides to ripple and rupture. This leads to internal bleeding and organs turned to mush. Also, if someone stopped you in mid-air, you risk suffering broken bones and severed limbs. In real life, the laws of physics are applicable for everyone. In movies, they are suspended for the survival of the heroes.

7. The “Ptew” of a Gun

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In movies, a silenced gun usually makes a “ptew” sound. This leads people to believe that you can shoot a person without being noticed by the neighborhood. However, this is not the case in real life. A standard gunshot is on the average 150 decibels, similar to the sound of a firecracker or a nearby jet plane. A silenced gunshot registers a bit lower, about 120 decibels, which is as loud as a rock concert. Still pretty loud, don’t you think?

8. Exploding Cars

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Here’s the deal. If small impacts and collisions caused cars to explode, then the roads would be like the Fourth of July every time there’s a car accident. Car companies would get lawsuits from all over the place and I don’t think you would even want to own a car at this point. Unless you are using heavy duty, armor piercing bullets, you can’t make a car explode with a normal bullet. You just end up spilling and wasting gas.

9. Cigarette + Gasoline = Explosion

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This scene in action movies involves the protagonist taking a puff from the cigarette and dropping it into a puddle of gasoline. A big explosion ensues and we are led to believe that this can always happen in real life. However, according to different tests conducted by various individuals, dropping a cigarette in a puddle of gasoline will not produce an explosion. The viscosity of the gasoline will usually just snuff out the cigarette cherry, eliminating the ignition source.

10. Jump through Windows

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Jumping through glass windows looks so easy and painless in movies. Both good guys and bad guys usually make it through windows without any physical damages. In reality, jumping through windows is suicide. The glass in real building windows doesn’t give as easy, and when it does, the pieces are so sharp that it can cause small to fatal lacerations.

11. Gap Jumps

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The law of physics states that any object launched horizontally, no matter how fast the acceleration, will fall while continuing to move forward. The law is often disregarded in movies to allow buses and cars to jump over ravines and bridge gaps. Don’t try to be as foolish in real life because you will just end up falling and ruining your vehicle. Or worse, you could end up killing yourself and your passengers.

12. Inclined Jumps

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Unless you land on a sloped surface, jumping off a ramp will leave your car damaged beyond repair. It will land nose first and you will not be able to drive away. This was seen on MythBusters Mega Movie Myths special. So take heed and don’t try to make this jump because it only works in movies.

13. Call Tracing Woes

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Call tracing is still shown to be a long and arduous process in movies. They have to keep the caller on the line for a certain time so they can pinpoint the location of the call. However, these days, call tracing is so easy that even civilians can do it. Call tracing is made possible by Automatic Number Identification (ANI) and information collected by phone companies and carriers. There are also various programs that can listen in on web and other communication means.

14. Slow-Mo in Zero

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Movies always depict scenes in zero gravity to be in slow motion, making us think that that’s what it normally is like. However, things should be moving faster in space because there is no gravity to slow down the movements. Astronauts move slowly because they don’t want to get into accidents from pushing off too hard.

15. Sound in Space

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We see a lot of movies in space with loud battle scenes and explosive collisions. But in real life, there is only silence in space. Sound travels by way of vibrating molecules. But in the vastness of space, there are no molecules through which sound can travel. As a result, as the Aliens movie tagline puts it, “in space no one can hear you scream.”

16. Sound and Light

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In movies, sound and light occur simultaneously. There is no delay like in real life. Truth is sound travels slower than light so you are more likely to see an explosion first before hearing it. Same goes with thunder and lighting, which is the most basic example for this.

17. The Crazy Defense

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The insanity defense is used by screenplay writers to get the protagonist off the hook and a lot of times, it actually works. But in real life, insanity is the least used defense strategy. Insanity is difficult to define so it is hard to use as a complete defense. It can, however, be used as a mitigating factor in a case.

18. Misconceptions on Amnesia

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The amnesia we see in movies is very different from the real life condition. Characters get amnesia without clear psychiatric or neurological cause. But in the real world, the cause has to be clear for a prognosis and an effective treatment plan. As for post-traumatic amnesia, movies show us that learning capabilities are not damaged; but in real life, impaired learning is more common. And if you talk about treatment, cinematic depictions of regaining memories are highly unlikely in real life.

19. Piranha Scares

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Piranhas are shown as fierce, carnivorous creatures but nothing could be further from the truth. They are not strict carnivores but are actually omnivorous, especially when they are younger. Piranhas are mostly scavengers and they don’t really eat live prey. And unlike the ferocious attacks in movies, real life piranhas take nips or small bites from fishes that swim by.

These movie myths play on the conceptions we have of our selves, on the laws of physics, and on basic realities that everyone should accept. I wrote this post, not to take away the fun from the movies, but to inform people of the things that Hollywood, and even world cinema, can make us believe. It is important that we know what is real and what is not to keep things in perspective. When we watch movies, we temporarily escape this world. But when the closing credits roll, we should know well enough that real life is quite different. What myths and misconceptions have you noticed in movies?

Top Photo Credit: Rocked My Soul

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