Pedantic Dickweedery At The Movies



  • Alex Weinberg is a structural engineer who has a big problem with how movies portray the destruction of bridges, and is particularly upset about suspension bridges.

    He goes into great detail about how suspension bridges are designed and why the movies are all wrong. The article calls out a few movies by name including I Am Legend, X-Men: The Last Stand, Godzilla (2014) and The Dark Knight Rises.

    Whenever I see an article like this I am reminded of a piece I read many years ago where some "scientist" explained why most of the technology in Star Trek can't actually work. And a couple of years ago celebrity astronomer Neil Degrasse Tyson wrote a piece about the "scientific inaccuracies" in the George Clooney/Sandra Bullock move Gravity.

    :wtf: is wrong with these people? Seriously. :wtf: Do these people not understand that Batman, the X-men, Star Trek and Godzilla don't actually exist?

    When Neil Degrasse Tyson complains about a scene in Gravity where the Hubble Telescope, The International Space Station and a Chinese Space Station are all in line of site of each other --- what about the fact that George Clooney and Sandra Bullock are not really astronauts and have never actually been into space? What about that inaccuracy?

    Criticizing fictional characters, fictional events and fictional devices for having techinal flaws strikes me as the height of :wtf: stupidity.

    http://i.imgur.com/ZIPw6Do.jpg



  • On the other hand, we have the very real effect that shows like CSI have on juries when it comes to forensic evidence.

    Additionally, sometimes the bad science is there for no reason at all. One example would be "The Core" where this stupid "professor" tells his students that soundwaves, upon passing into a denser medium, change their wavelength and frequency.



  • @Spanky587 said:

    When Neil Degrasse Tyson complains about a scene in Gravity where the Hubble Telescope, The International Space Station and a Chinese Space Station are all in line of site of each other --- what about the fact that George Clooney and Sandra Bullock are not really astronauts and have never actually been into space? What about that inaccuracy?

    It there is anyone that deseves a pedantic dickweedery badge, it's Neil Degrasse Tyson:

    "Neil deGrasse Tyson sent me quite a snarky email saying that, at that time of year, in that position in the Atlantic in 1912, when Rose (Kate Winslet) is lying on the piece of driftwood and staring up at the stars, that is not the star field she would have seen," said Cameron.

    From: 'Titanic' Accuracy Tightened by Neil deGrasse Tyson - news.discovery.com



  • Does the flash get bored when he does boring stuff really fast?



  • Mythbusters tests Hollywood myths all the time. What is wrong with understanding what is totally made up?

    Also, somethings movies/tv go over the top. Like that NCIS episode where there is a hacker and the two NCIS people start sharing a keyboard to type frantically to fight the hacker. Absolutely ridiculous.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Spanky587 said:

    When Neil Degrasse Tyson complains about a scene in Gravity where the Hubble Telescope, The International Space Station and a Chinese Space Station are all in line of site of each other --- what about the fact that George Clooney and Sandra Bullock are not really astronauts and have never actually been into space? What about that inaccuracy?

    That is a ridiculous comparison. Clooney and Bullock played astronauts--I don't have much of a problem with that. But those three things are so far from each other there's no way that escape plan could have worked, it's like that 'shopped picture of bridge construction where the two parts don't meet.



  • I hate technically inaccurate movies. I had to do a lot of damage control among my tech-illiterate friends after Die Hard 4 and Eagle Eye came out because they were convinced their bank accounts were going to get hacked through the speaker on their cell phone resonating with a CB radio coupled to the warp core's quantum flux inverter bypass line which takes three seconds to crack using a MicroSD card and a paperclip.

    If Hollywood would hire competent tech consultants when writing scripts, I'd have less tech support to do.



  • @JoeCool said:

    Mythbusters tests Hollywood myths all the time. What is wrong with understanding what is totally made up?

    Also, somethings movies/tv go over the top. Like that NCIS episode where there is a hacker and the two NCIS people start sharing a keyboard to type frantically to fight the hacker. Absolutely ridiculous.

    That's not the top, however. Remember that coding scene from Password Swordfish?



  • @Spanky587 said:

    Criticizing fictional characters, fictional events and fictional devices for having techinal flaws strikes me as the height of :wtf: stupidity.

    It's just another way of enjoying a movie. Guys like Neil aren't saying "This movie SUCKS because of these nitpicks!" They enjoy the movie, and then as another layer of enjoyment they can appreciate, they go over it pointing out things that don't quite make sense. You're upset because people are enjoying movies "wrong".



  • @FrostCat said:

    That is a ridiculous comparison. Clooney and Bullock played astronauts--I don't have much of a problem with that. But those three things are so far from each other there's no way that escape plan could have worked, it's like that 'shopped picture of bridge construction where the two parts don't meet.

    The distance is not the only problem. Due to the Hubble being about 100 km farther out, they also have a Δv of 500 m/s.


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    @mott555 said:

    If Hollywood would hire competent tech consultants when writing scripts, I'd have less tech support to do

    If Hollywood portrayed hacking accurately the movies would be really boring



  • @Jaloopa said:

    @mott555 said:
    If Hollywood would hire competent tech consultants when writing scripts, I'd have less tech support to do

    If Hollywood portrayed hacking accurately the movies would be really boring

    Boring movies don't bother me. I don't really watch movies or TV.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Rhywden said:

    The distance is not the only problem.

    Well, yes, but it's enough of one that I didn't want to bother talking about delta vee.



  • @FrostCat said:

    @Rhywden said:
    The distance is not the only problem.

    Well, yes, but it's enough of one that I didn't want to bother talking about delta vee.

    Indeed. However, it's quite interesting to see that the issue of Δv leads to interesting results - did you know, for example, that it's easier from an energy viewpoint to leave the solar system than to travel to the sun?

    Not accounting for special maneuvers like the Slingshot maneuver, of course.



  • @Rhywden said:

    than to travel to the sun?

    What? You don't just fire a ground-based rocket and it reaches the sun 10 seconds later?



  • How many light-minutes from sun to earth again?



  • I was referencing Star Trek: Generations. But to answer your question, about 8 light-minutes.



  • @PleegWat said:

    How many light-minutes from sun to earth again?

    Doesn't matter...Go at night!



  • @mott555 said:

    If Hollywood would hire competent tech consultants

    From what I've heard, sometimes they do, but inevitably their notes end up in the circular file.



  • WarGames and Sneakers were moderately accurate and very interesting.



  • @Rhywden said:

    Not accounting for special maneuvers like the Slingshot maneuver, of course.

    That's the one that helps you save the whales, right?



  • @Kian said:

    hey enjoy the movie, and then as another layer of enjoyment they can appreciate, they go over it pointing out things that don't quite make sense.

    AKA Pedantic Dickweedery.

    @FrostCat said:

    That is a ridiculous comparison. Clooney and Bullock played astronauts--I don't have much of a problem with that.

    I don't have a problem with it either. But you're missing the point. You're saying that it's perfectly OK to pretend that a couple of actors are in space,. but it's not OK to pretend that they can see Hubble and the ISS at the same time.

    All movies/TV shows are based on pretense, due to the fact that reality is pretty boring. There is no James Bond. There is no Batman. The NCIS agents on TV probably shoot more people in one episode that the real life agents do in a year.

    To accept one pretense, that is completely made up, but reject another one because it is "technically inaccurate" is pedantic dickweedery, hence the title.



  • @Spanky587 said:

    reject another one because it is "technically inaccurate" is pedantic dickweedery

    You saywritetypekeyboard this like it's a bad thing.



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  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    The issue is with people understanding the pretenses in play. Due to the appalling state of scientific literacy most people won't actually realize that these inaccuracies are pretenses and will base future judgements about scientific topics on them.

    Of course, complaining about the starscape in Titanic is inexcuaable dickweedery.



  • @Rhywden said:

    soundwaves, upon passing into a denser medium, change their wavelength and frequency.

    Either I'm high right now, or that... actually makes sense.



  • Also helps Tom Cruise get away from critics.



  • @tar said:

    @Rhywden said:
    soundwaves, upon passing into a denser medium, change their wavelength and frequency.

    Either I'm high right now, or that... actually makes sense.

    I would expect wavelength to change, but not frequency.



  • You should listen to Neil explain why he pointed it out and what Cameron said to him. It really is quite funny and enlightening.



  • Indeed. As the frequency is determined by the energy, a change in frequency would also entail a change in energy.

    Such a change from merely passing into a denser material does not make sense :)



  • @Spanky587 said:

    I don't have a problem with it either. But you're missing the point. You're saying that it's perfectly OK to pretend that a couple of actors are in space,. but it's not OK to pretend that they can see Hubble and the ISS at the same time.

    Yes, because you're not pretending that a couple of actors are in space. You're pretending that a couple of astronauts are in space. Which is perfectly reasonable. Those astronauts are portrayed by actors, but they're not supposed to be actors inside the film itself.

    The issue with the Hubble and the ISS is one of internal consistency. The film essentially says "this is a world mostly the same as the one you inhabit, with some minor differences that get the story going". But then they place "landmarks" where they shouldn't be. It'd be like a couple of actors in a movie set in New York said "the Brooklyn bridge is closed, let's take the Golden Gate instead!". The Golden Gate bridge isn't in New York, and the fact that they'd take it breaks the internal consistency of the movie. It's no longer the same world but with a few differences to get started, the world is significantly different.



  • How can a fucking wizard be poor in the harry potter movies?



  • @JoeCool said:

    Also, somethings movies/tv go over the top. Like that NCIS episode where there is a hacker and the two NCIS people start sharing a keyboard to type frantically to fight the hacker. Absolutely ridiculous.

    That's so ridiculous, that it comes out from the other side, being awesome



  • @Spanky587 said:

    When Neil Degrasse Tyson complains about a scene in Gravity where the Hubble Telescope, The International Space Station and a Chinese Space Station are all in line of site of each other

    I believe this was an artistic choice, to avoid the movie being basically 85 minutes of Sandra Bullock trying to calculate orbital mechanics with a slide-rule.



  • @tar said:

    85 minutes of Sandra Bullock trying to calculate orbital mechanics with a slide-rule.

    Still a better love story than Twilight.



  • @fbmac said:

    How can a fucking wizard be poor in the harry potter movies?

    This reminds me how Terry Pratchet sidestepped such things with his Law of Conservation of Reality (Google cache version because the original seems down ATM).



  • Yeah, but Attack of the Clones was a better love story than Twilight.

    As was An Inconvenient Truth. And Taylor Mead's Ass. And most Failblog videos.

    Disclaimer: I have not actually seen Twilight :trolleybus: But that doesn't mean that a romance between a politician and the sound of his own voice isn't going to be better than that.



  • @Spanky587 said:

    :wtf: is wrong with these people? Seriously. :wtf: Do these people not understand that Batman, the X-men, Star Trek and Godzilla don't actually exist?

    That's not the issue: they aren't bothered at all, they're just explaining the facts to other people who think the movies portray reality.



  • He missed I, Robot, one of the most blatantly wrong examples. And it was a MAJOR plot point in that movie.

    I wish I could remember what movie it was but there was one recently that shows a train crash through a subway station, and the train blows through like 25 concrete pillars and barely even slows down and it was PISSING ME OFF because there was no rebar.

    And I'm like, "dude, there's no rebar in that subway station, it was going to collapse next week even without the train".

    I mean I get that he only skill Hollywood writers have is being writers, but how could the 500 people involved in that special effects sequence ALL lack the knowledge of HOW THE WORLD WORKS to think that concrete pillars have no rebar?

    Oh and that scene in Cloverfield where a building was leaning against another building, Jesus. That was awful.



  • Speed? Because it sounds like you just described the finale in Speed.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    I think that was the finale action sequence in Speed.



  • It was a recent movie (I think I saw the trailer while watching 2014 Godzilla), but Speed may have exhibited the same problem.

    In some ways, I like movies like the upcoming Gods of Egypt which was so utterly ridiculous in all aspects, it doesn't even slightly matter if you believe the physics.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Spanky587 said:

    You're saying that it's perfectly OK to pretend that a couple of actors are in space,. but it's not OK to pretend that they can see Hubble and the ISS at the same time.

    Yes, yes I am, because those two things are different categories of "doesn't comport with reality".


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Spanky587 said:

    pedantic dickweedery

    COME AT ME WITH FLAGS, BRO!


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @tar said:

    Either I'm high right now, or that... actually makes sense.

    What? That's actually true. Generalizing, pretty much all waves do that, including light.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @fbmac said:

    How can a fucking wizard be poor in the harry potter movies?

    Because they're apparently clueless due to authorial fiat.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @blakeyrat said:

    I mean I get that he only skill Hollywood writers have is being writers, but how could the 500 people involved in that special effects sequence ALL lack the knowledge of HOW THE WORLD WORKS to think that concrete pillars have no rebar?

    Dunning-Kruger, man.



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  • @FrostCat said:

    What? That's actually true. Generalizing, pretty much all waves do that, including light.

    I know, right?


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    @Jaloopa said:

    If Hollywood portrayed hacking accurately the movies would be really boring

    Hm, I think Mr Robot shows quite well that being reasonably accurate doesn't necessarily have to ruin the movie/show. Doing at least some research can make movies so much more believable.


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