The 10 Most Unrealistic Scenes from Books and Movies

It isn’t like in the movies. Or most books, either. What isn’t? Real life. Here are ten of the most unrealistic scenes I’ve noticed from books and movies.

  1. When someone nearly drowns, and everyone gives up and assumes they are dead, the person suddenly coughs and comes back to life. Well, OK, but this person just inhaled half a lake and they give a cough or two and then they are fine? I usually cough for five minutes when I strangle on a sip of water that goes down the wrong way. And of course, we have to have that dramatic moment when we think all is lost. Isn’t that getting a bit trite?
  2. In books and movies when a person is getting a fever, they are burning up and keep throwing off the cover and the person taking care of them keeps trying to keep them warm. When your fever is going up, you actually feel cold and chilled and want to bundle up. To keep a fever from going too high (before aspirin or other drugs) you would have to sponge the person off with cool water. It’s when your fever is going down, that you feel hot and throw off covers.
  3. The couple has just made mad, passionate love. It’s the best! They lie there panting but she still has on all her underclothes. Hmm. Well, I admit this one usually just happens in sitcoms.
  4. The couple has been trying to escape from the bad guys. They are tired, filthy, hungry, thirsty, and haven’t had a bath or change of clothes or brushed their teeth for three days. They are still in danger, but they can’t put it off any longer. They make love. Yuck. It would be the farthest thing from my mind right then.
  5. There can be days of danger, trekking through jungles, or across deserts, or freezing in the mountains. The woman never has a problem because she is having her period. Do heroines even have periods?
  6. The group is on an expedition to find some lost treasure. They go through horrible situations. Swamps where they lose half their equipment and some people are eaten by swamp monsters. Dangerous tribes who kill some more of the group and they barely make it away from them. More terrible stuff. Finally, they find the treasure! Hooray! Next scene, they are comfortably ensconced back in London or New York, wealthy. End of movie. Uh. Yeah they got the treasure, but how do they go back through all those dangers, this time lugging the treasure, and with just a few of them left, and with practically no food, drink, or equipment?
  7. And of course, there is the mountain climb. All that effort to get to the top, fingers freezing off, people falling to their deaths, guides deserting. Finally, the last few straggle to the top. Hooray! Mountain defeated! Uh. What about going back down? Isn’t it just as far? Just as cold? Just as many chances to fall, etc? But now there is less equipment, less help, etc. And I’ve always found going down a mountain to be harder than going up. But what do I know?
  8. There are just two or three good guys and they are highly outnumbered. The bad guys fire off 100 rounds to every one the good guys shoot. Yet the good guys manage to kill all those bad guys while getting no more than barely wounded. Are the bad guys always such bad shots? Wouldn’t their superior numbers and greater firepower make up for some of their incompetence? If I were a bad guy, I would go to the shooting range more often.
  9. The main good guy and the main bad guy always end up fighting each other after everyone else has been killed or disabled. Every other fight the good guy has engaged in has been quick and easy. But when the main bad guy and the good guy fight, it goes on forever and is really tough. Really? The bad guy never gets hit by a stray bullet and killed early on? He’s never more of a brains kind of bad guy and an incompetent fighter? OK, so I understand that these two have to face off. But, just once in a while, couldn’t some secondary character just shoot the bad guy? Or he falls off a cliff?
  10. The good guy can hold his breath forever. When he has to dive after the heroine, or is trapped and has to fight his way out while under water, it is amazing how long the good guy can hold his breath. Sometimes, while simply sitting still in my recliner, I will take a deep breath when the good guy is in the water. Here he is struggling, fighting, helping others, and I’m just sitting there but I can’t hold my breath for even half the scene. Just how does he do it?

Is there anything I’ve missed? Probably. I can think of one or two more. Can you? Let me know in the comments.

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2 Responses to The 10 Most Unrealistic Scenes from Books and Movies

  1. Roberta Jackson says:

    People try to escape by running upstairs…I guess because you are always safer running away from the bad guy two floors up where you can be cornered, instead of going out some other door or out a window.

  2. Car chases, where the good guy (usually in pursuit) never hits anything that stops him, his car slides neatly beneath the semi crossing the intersection, and narrowly avoids every pedestrian and anything else in his path, but the bad guy eventually pulls a Wile E. Coyote and smacks a bridge that’s too low. Saw a new TV series of Lethal Weapon, and it was guilty of many of these, and of course, #8 above.

    I could list soooo many unrealistic things like this in time travel romance. I at least have dealt with #5 before. My time travelers also have trouble with the change in diet, though I try not to dwell on that too much. :)