Why do people love the magic of movies so much? It’s because films take us away from the doldrums of everyday life and transport us into a world where we can view life through rose-colored glasses, from perfect Georgian homes to impeccable outfits to beautiful scenery and surroundings. And because Hollywood is in the business of trying to take us through flights of fancy, its filmmakers tend to forget that many storylines and plots have to be grounded on some kind of reality too, so that the moviegoers don’t get too detached or feel like they’re being taken for a ride.
There are a lot of aspects, from big to small, that Hollywood doesn’t get right when trying to depict something that’s supposed to be realistic. One good example is a hard-core action movie like Michael Bay’s Transformers film franchise. In the second installment, Megan Fox’s character is shown traipsing and running through dusty deserts, wearing skinny white jeans and a white top. You’d think that desert dust would make your clothes all brown and grimy right? Not Megan Fox. Throughout the whole desert scene portion, her clothes remained immaculate white and her hair was still impeccably windswept as if she wasn’t being attacked by Decepticons. Here are other things that Hollywood constantly gets wrong.
15 DNA test results are ready in five minutes.
The crime-solving genre has catered to thrill-seeking, mystery-loving audiences since the advent of novels and film. We’d all get hooked into the who-dun-it stories of Sherlock Holmes, Nancy Drew, as well as novels written by the likes of Agatha Christie. Hollywood has certainly done its share to cater to those who love crime thrillers, as seen by today’s shows and movies. One example is the myriad of CSI shows that are fed to us in the almost oversaturated CSI franchise. What shows like CSI love showing us is how quick the process of DNA testing is when trying to get to the bottom of a crime. It’s practically reduced to a five-minute process when the faux FBI agents swipe a strand of hair from a murder victim, place it in a Ziploc bag, whip out a portable DNA machine, run the strand into it, and get the results right then and there. In reality, it takes six to eight weeks to perform a complete DNA test.
14 Intimacy is always romantic and perfect.
There are dozens of myths about nookie that have been going around and that’s no thanks to how it’s depicted on the screen. Those who have never done the deed may have the naïve impression that “making love” is all about how Hollywood depicts it: a room filled with scented candles, a big bed covered in silk sheets, and soft music playing in the background as the perfect setting for a couple about to give and receive pleasure. Sorry to burst your bubble, but while the pleasurable part may be true, the setting is not always perfectly romantic. Far from it actually. Getting it on in a room filled with candles is dangerous because it can lead to a fire if the candles burn out. It’s uncomfortable to bask in the afterglow of intimacy because of the icky, sticky mess that can end up places you didn't think possible. You’d have to get up and clean up first and sometimes even change the sheets before enjoying some post-coital cuddling!
13 What really goes on in the delivery room?
In movies, when the woman is in labor, she’s panting and crying and being rushed into the delivery room with the husband grasping her hand tightly. She starts screaming and cursing the day her hubby was born, yelling at him, “This is all your fault! I hate you!” Then when the baby is pushed out of her, she all of a sudden stops cursing and starts crying as a perfectly chubby and clean baby bundled in blankets is placed in her arms. She looks with love and adoration at the child and at her husband, and she tells her husband her life is complete. Does that happen in reality? Not even a little bit. In truth, a woman in labor can actually walk around, watch TV, and browse through her phone in between contractions. And when it comes time to push the baby out, she may grunt and cry, but not all moms full-on scream and curse. And when the baby is out, it looks far from chubby and smooth-skinned. More often than not, it’s wrinkly and filled with blood and gunk. And while doctors recommend the baby is placed in its mother’s arms straight away, the new mommy is often too exhausted to hold her new baby in her arms.
12 Clearing off the desk to get it on is realistic.
Hollywood depicts intimacy as either romantic and emotional or frantic and kinky. While it’s true that doing it in risqué places like a car or a public bathroom or against the wall is definitely a major turn on, they’re not the most realistic of scenarios to be a part of. Public bathrooms are the most unsanitary places you can think of and doing it in one is so unhygienic. How about doing it against the wall? It’s not that easy for a guy to hold up a girl and the discomfort can certainly take away the pleasure. How about that all-too-familiar scene where the guy sweeps all his stuff off his work desk and places the girl on top of the desk so he can have his way with her? First of all, sweeping all your stuff off your desk is hazardous. What happens when your MacBook pro goes crashing to the floor? Or the 100-page report you prepared goes scattering around the room? Not only can you lose your job, but cleaning up afterwards is going to be a huge headache.
11 Light sabers are what laser lights look like.
Sci-fi and fantasy movies are most likely the biggest box office draws because they cater to those who love an escape from reality. Swordfights, magic wands, super powers, weapons of mass destruction, paired with gorgeous actors donned in out of this world costumes are the stuff comic book and fantasy novel fanatics can only dream of. One of the most popular special effects that sci-fi movie makers love using is anything to do with lasers and they’re especially rampant in the Star Trek and Star Wars film franchises. But the way light sabers are depicted is absolutely misleading when it comes to how lasers really work. For once, lasers move at the speed of light, so you can’t duck from a laser beam being blasted from a laser gun because the beam moves too quickly for you to dodge. And because lasers move fast, they’re actually invisible to the naked eye. So when you see Rey or Kylo Ren wielding light sabers that display different colored lights, that’s pretty inaccurate because lasers can’t be seen, let alone emit different colors of the rainbow.
10 Women sleep in negligees and wake up looking amazing.
Remember that scene in the romantic comedy The Proposal, where Sandra Bullock’s character wakes up ahead of Ryan Reynolds’ character and she decides she doesn’t want to face him with bedhead, puffy eyes, and dried saliva around her mouth? So she jumps out of bed, wipes the sleep out of her eyes, brushes her hair, and applies some lip gloss on her mouth and cheeks, so that when he wakes up, he’ll notice that she looks beautiful even when she had just rolled out of bed. That scene was hilarious because we all know what we look like when we really wake up. There’s no fluffed up hair, but rather a tangled mess. No bright lips and rosy cheeks, but lips that are chapped and sallow-looking cheeks. And we don’t wear negligees to sleep, at least not on a regular basis. We sleep in pajamas or sleep shirts or an old pair of sweats and a T-shirt that has seen better days.
9 That pregnancy glow is real and natural.
Pregnancy is one of the most terrifying experiences a woman can go through because it’s a time in a woman’s life when she goes through the most changes not just physically, but also emotionally and mentally. Morning sickness is real, but it doesn’t necessarily happen the minute a woman wakes up and has to bolt out of bed and scramble to the bathroom to hurl into the toilet, the way it’s depicted in movies. It can happen any time of the day. And the pregnancy glow? While many pregnant women are told they’re looking better than ever, it’s not necessarily because of pregnancy. Truth of the matter is, many women make a gargantuan effort to look beautiful to cover up the fact that they feel like sh*t with the queasy stomach, aching back, and splitting headaches that pregnancy usually brings on. So no, that “glow” is not necessarily natural or real.
8 Houses always look Good Housekeeping-ready.
Almost every time a scene in a film or a TV show depicts a house as its backdrop, you tend to go green with envy and start thinking, “why the heck can’t my house look like that?” Everything looks spic and span from the perfectly manicured lawn to the beautiful throw pillows evenly spread on the pristine couch to the freshly cleaned chandelier to the Spartan kitchen filled with any and every pot and pan you could ever need. It sounds so idyllic, but it also sounds like something out of a magazine spread. How can homes featured in movies, especially those whose owners are supposed to have little kids, look so flawless? Because it’s the movies! In real life, our homes are cluttered, messy, with dirty dishes in the sink, and an unfinished box of pizza on the coffee table. And that’s even for someone without kids in the house.
7 High school students look ten years older.
One thing we as audience viewers have always noticed, yet Hollywood has failed to rectify, is how actors playing high school students in movies or TV shows look way too old to be in high school. Because in reality, they really are much older than the regular teenager. The list of movies goes on and on. In the musical hit film Grease, there was no way John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John could pass for high school seniors. Neither did Shannen Doherty, Jason Priestley, and Luke Perry look like they were still battling teenage hormones in the teen hit show Beverly Hills 90210. With the exception maybe of the Harry Potter film franchise cast, almost all other high school movies featured actors who were in their twenties, way too old to actually be in high school. It’s probably an easy solution, since it’s tougher to direct teenage actors than actors who are older and more seasoned. All that’s needed is a little bit of make-up and good acting chops to look the part of regular high schooler.
6 High school is all about cliques and stereotypes.
Almost everyone can say that high school was one of the most memorable times of their lives, though whether it’s good memories or bad ones that plague them is dependent on the person’s coping mechanisms and attitude back then. If you compare notes with others who have gone to high school, you’ll realize that the way high school life is depicted in movies is grossly exaggerated. One major deviation from reality is the cliques: the jocks, the cheerleaders, the science nerds, the theatre freaks all have their own little world and don’t interact with anyone else. While to some extent high schoolers do intend to band together in groups, it doesn’t mean they snub people who are from other cliques. Also, the stereotypes aren’t necessarily boxed in. Not all jocks are jerks, not all cheerleaders are b*tches, and not all student council members are self-righteous. There’s a diverse number of personalities among high schoolers and no, there are no cat fights or fist fights in the hall every day.
5 Courtrooms are all about yelling “objection!”
Because everything has to be sensationalized and exaggerated on the big and small screens, courtroom scenes are always about the action. Shouting, arguing, crying, punching, hugging, you name it. That’s why we all love watching shows like Law and Order, Boston Legal, and The Good Wife, Ally McBeal and movies such as A Few Good Men, The Firm, and even funny man Jim Carrey in Liar, Liar. Because we’re fascinated by how seemingly entertaining the goings-on in a courtroom are, we don’t realize that that’s not actually what happens in a courtroom 90% of the time. From what we hear of people who attend real courtroom proceedings, it’s actually quite boring. A hearing can drag on for hours and hours on end without reaching a resolution and you don’t always hear lawyers screaming “objection!” or the judge banging on the gavel, shouting, “order in the court!”
4 They know what a real punch sounds like.
We all love the occasional old school action movie, where actors depict characters who are battling it out, not with guns or knives, but with their pure body parts. How many times have we cheered on Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, and Jean Claude Van Damme doing martial arts and throwing punches at any adversary who stands in their way? Every time there are punches being thrown around, there always has to be a token sound effect to go with the punch. Little do we know is that Hollywood apparently doesn’t depict the way a real and actual punch sounds like. Those who have experienced or witnessed an actual fist fight would know that an actual punch sounds like a package being ripped open loudly. But Hollywood depicts it based on comic book text or based on the classic Batman TV show: ka-boom, ka-pow, and boom!
3 We all go wild when we play video games.
Video games are a huge part of every day life, not just for kids, but for many adults as well. Kevin Spacey’s character Frank Underwood in the Netflix hit drama House of Cards was depicted as being a big fan of video games. In the earlier seasons, when he was still a Congressman, he’d play the game Call of Duty on his console to de-stress. He was later shown to be playing the games Monument Valley and Agar.io. What’s funny about Hollywood is the way they depict video game players: gripping the controllers tightly, pressing on the buttons frantically with their hands shaking, and the players shouting expletives at the screen. In real life, it’s actually more effective to win a game when one is sitting calmly, pressing the buttons not-quite-so-aggressively, and giving an occasional grunt or shout every couple of minutes. It’s not quite as crazy or frantic as it’s depicted onscreen.
2 “Enhance the image” technology takes only a few seconds.
Don’t we all just love those thrillers that feature super state-of-the-art technology being used by computer experts when trying to get to the bottom of a great puzzle? Security cameras footage being tapped into to find a crook, a voice identification machine to identify the voice of the persons cryptically speaking over the phone, you name it. But just like the speed of DNA test results, Hollywood underestimates and exaggerates the efficiency of arriving at conclusions to the biggest questions of the plotline. In scenes that show blurry computer images, you have a forensic expert quickly and noisily tapping away at a keyboard using an image enhancing software and you see his boss peering over his shoulder, saying stuff like “zoom in on his face” or “make it clearer so we can see his features.” And after a few keyboard taps, voila! The person’s face is displayed clearly. It actually takes hours to enhance an image, not just a mere few seconds.
1 Characters can afford the homes they live in.
These days, real estate has been sky rocketing to the point that many middle-income folks are moving out of big, expensive cities like San Francisco, Hong Kong, and Vancouver because it’s just way too expensive to rent, let alone buy property in those areas. We all know how costly having your own place is, which is why we know when characters on our favorite shows are living realistically or not. Let’s take for example the shows Friends and Full House because let’s face it, don’t we all love Monica’s New York City apartment and the Tanners’ classic San Francisco home? The fact of the matter is, none of them would have realistically been able to afford their respective homes, based on the homes’ location and their occupations. The size of Monica’s apartment and its location in the West Village would put the rent at $5,100 a month, which would be way out of her earnings as a chef, even if she always did have a roommate to share rent costs with her. The Tanner home, on the other hand, would probably have a mortgage of $14,000 a month and is probably worth $2.8 million, which makes it way too unrealistic for a middle-income family to be able to live in and maintain.