Film & Television · Lifestyle

‘Movie Logic’: 7 Impossible Things Regularly Seen in Films

Illustration by C.A. Martin

Movies have suffered lately from bloated budgets and ever-escalating special effects. But as I was watching a perfectly reasonable drama the other day — the excellent Equity — I thought about the number of things that regularly happen in “movie logic” that are psychologically or physically impossible (or improbable). Films that avoid these devices are better for it.

RELATED: Examining a High-Stakes World of Inequity in ‘Equity’

A partial list:

  1. A girl hears noises, goes down to the dark basement to investigate (alone). There would be no “horror” genre at all if it were not for this extremely unlikely behavior. Many women I know are afraid of their basements in the daylight, even without evil killers or monsters on the loose.
  1. Complete amnesia. No, that’s not a thing. People sometimes suffer temporary amnesia, but it’s rarely a total wipeout of all memories. Given the number of Hollywood plots that revolve around completely losing your identity, you’d think it happens all the time.
  1. Car chases and crashes that don’t hurt anyone. This is now a standard part of every action movie, and the chases are more and more improbable. The two films that started this trend, Bullitt and The French Connection, were groundbreaking. But part of what made these car chase scenes so exciting is the heart-stopping chance that bystanders would be hurt, as when Gene Hackman just misses hitting a woman with a baby carriage crossing the street.
  1. Party music stops the second a fight starts. It always amazes me that a musician hears a fight and the band stops playing the second characters in a movie start fighting. Everyone stops, there is general silence, allowing the fight to get full play in the scene. Even more ridiculous is when music is playing from speakers at a party, but someone magically turns it off when the action starts.
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