Top 10 Debunked Movie Myths

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Top 10 Debunked Movie Myths

VOICE OVER: Ryan Wild WRITTEN BY: Matt Klem
These movie myths have been around forever! For this list, we'll be looking at common misconceptions about the world from on screen tropes. Our countdown includes Cars Explode All the Time, Grenades Have Huge Explosions, Morning Sickness as a Pregnancy Test, and more!
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Top 10 Movie Myths Debunked


Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Movie Myths Debunked

For this list, we’ll be looking at common misconceptions about the world from on screen tropes.

Which of these bugs you the most in movies? Vent in the comments.

#10: Cars Explode All the Time

How many times have you seen a car blow up on television or in film? Almost any action movie is likely to have at least one exploding car. Although it looks fantastic on screen, the reality is quite different. Yes, gasoline is flammable, but just because something burns, doesn’t mean it explodes. Basic science class taught us that fire needs oxygen to burn and the tank in a car has very little of that to trigger an ignition. Add to that the fact that the core materials of a car aren’t that flammable. So no, cars do not burn that easily.

#9: Magic Paddles

Our hero gets wounded and down they go. Someone checks their heart and it seems to have stopped. They pull out those infamous paddles, yell “clear” and somehow they’re brought back to life. It’s a miracle! Actually, yes, it would be if that actually worked, because defibrillators are not meant to restart a stopped heart. During ventricular fibrillation or tachycardia, a person’s heart beats in an abnormal way, causing irregular blood flow to the brain and the rest of the body. Getting a zap from that machine is supposed to jolt the heart back into a regular rhythm. Much like how CPR seems guaranteed to work in the movies, those shocks aren’t what you think they are either.


#8: Grenades Have Huge Explosions

They are a staple of countless war and action movies. We see the hero pull the pin of a grenade with his teeth, toss it, and whatever they needed to hit magically explodes into a gazillion pieces. Of course, none of that is anywhere near the real world. First off, forget ever trying to pull out the pin with your teeth. If it were that easy, there’s no way they’d stay inside the grenade. As for the explosions, grenades are dangerous and deadly, but don’t detonate in massive fireballs. You’re more likely to see a big poof of smoke and shrapnel thrown everywhere.

#7: Persistence Is Romantic

Ted Mosby had a theory about big romantic gestures … When someone has already shown that they’re not interested, these fall into the desperate, creepy category! Yet in countless romantic comedies, persistence, usually of a man pursuing a woman, is portrayed as admirable. In the real world, anyone who showcased that type of behavior would likely be flagged as a stalker and reported to authorities. When you think about it, if you told someone you weren’t interested, and they showed up outside your house playing music, it would be pretty uncomfortable.

#6: Poison Can Be Sucked Out of a Wound

You’re out in the desert and a snake latches onto your leg and bites. Your friend offers to suck out the venom to stop it from reaching your heart. Sound familiar? Sadly, unlike the movies, your friend is not doing you any favors here. For starters, the venom doesn’t just remain in one place; it spreads around fast. Secondly, having your friend put their mouth on the wound just increases the risk of infection. If you’re bitten by a snake, don’t have someone suck out the wound, or apply a tourniquet; try to remember what the snake looked like and seek medical assistance as soon as possible.

#5: Waiting 24 Hours to Report a Missing Person

One of the most dangerous side effects of popular media is how myths can be made to seem true. There have been countless films and television shows that have propagated the idea that you have to wait 24 hours before reporting someone missing. Nothing could be further from the truth. If you know definitively that your friend or family member cannot be found, there’s no need to wait some magical time period before reporting them missing. The sooner you connect with law enforcement, the better your chances are of having them get a jump start on locating that individual.

#4: Morning Sickness as a Pregnancy Test

On screen, feeling sick in the morning is a surefire sign that a woman is pregnant. The truth however is that only about 70% of pregnant women experience morning sickness. A much more reliable indicator of pregnancy is a missed period. Other signs can include fatigue, an increased need to pee, and tender, swollen breasts. Despite all of this, movies and television shows often rely on morning sickness to reveal that a character has a bun in the oven. Maybe she just has the flu? Or ate some bad sushi the night before?

#3: Gunshots Toss People

Don’t get us wrong! Getting shot is certainly going to hurt. And it’s likely that the shock will jolt you. But the idea that a bullet has enough force to toss a human being back is all Hollywood, and no substance. Even the Mythbusters tackled this in their “Blown Away” segment. No matter how big the gun they used, their human analog barely budged. It’s far more likely that a victim will simply fall to the ground. If you remember your high school physics, Newton’s third law says “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction”. If the person being shot flew back, so would the person pulling the trigger.

#2: Are You a Cop?

Entrapment is defined as when a law enforcement officer convinces someone to commit an unlawful act when they may not have done so otherwise. Once committed, the cop then arrests them. This is where the myth about undercover cops being required to identify themselves came from. Although entrapment is illegal, undercover operations are legit, but must be conducted very carefully so as to not encourage the illegal actions. Hollywood took their own spin on this and made it seem as if officers would have to declare themselves even in the most vanilla of situations.

#1: Explosion Walkaway

If you’re some kind of superhero with crazy powers or an awesome suit, maybe we’ll let this one slide. But for everyone else, there’s no way you’d survive the explosions we see heroes walk away from in movies. Regardless of the intensity of the explosion, a shock wave flows outward from the epicenter. If the blast is sufficiently large enough, the wave would easily mow down whoever happens to be in the radius. The idea that you can set off a massive set of explosives and just walk away from the ignition makes for a great shot, but is nowhere near reality.
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