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It happens in every film

“Okay, my number’s 555-”… No, it’s not

It happens in every film
07 February 2011

We have no qualms with John McLane ejecting himself out of a grenade filled-cockpit and floating merrily to safety, and we’re only slightly miffed at Shia LaBeouf swinging with CGI monkeys in the latest Indiana Jones instalment. But it’s the stuff away from the high-concept fodder which grinds our gears. The innocuous, unimportant things that scriptwriters paint as normal and we the audience take, like naive children, when in factual fact they are falsities.

Here are the biggest ones…

(Images: Rex Features, All Star)

No one ever skips breakfast

Scriptwriters have it intrinsically wired into their heads that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And it probably is, but not to the extent that oversleeping and being late for the biggest meeting of your life requires frantic toast-in-mouth driving, with one hand on the wheel as you simultaneously wash it down with a carton of milk.

No one says goodbye when on the phone

We can understand why a character abruptly hangs up on, say, a kidnapper demanding a ransom for their loved one, but there's no excuse to cut short a good-natured chatter on the blower without so much as a ‘see you later’. However, for all those American characters who all claim to live in the ‘555’ area code (which is non-existent, we’ve checked) it’s any wonder they receive calls in the first place.

Unnaturally uneven bed sheets

Unless a couple goes to work on bed linings with scissors before hitting the sack, there can be no explanation as to why the sheets naturally fall on top of a woman’s neckline yet go all the way down to a man’s belt impression. Of course, anyone who knows the difference between a 12A and a 15 age rating are well aware that covering a woman’s modesty could mean a lower classification. That doesn’t make it any less weird, though.

Conversations while brushing teeth

Cleaning your teeth is a necessity. Cleaning your teeth while talking at the same time should be avoided at all costs. It’s full of nontangible dialogue and rather messy. People in films, however - especially couples whose bathrooms branch out into their bedrooms - will seemingly go out of their way to conduct conversations down the end of a toothbrush.

Showering makes you deaf

You walk in the bathroom. You turn on the shower. You step inside the shower and suddenly you lose the sense of sound. An intruder could be causing all sorts of racket in the room next door and you’d be none-the-wiser. And when you opened the shower curtain you’ll also squint a lot and become partially sighted – this is because you have fallen for one of the biggest misconceptions of them all.

Head injuries have no lasting effect

Injury lawyers have their work cut out for them in the movies. Unless it’s a boxing flick or melodrama, being knocked unconscious in everyday circumstance rarely provides lasting damage, so the profession is pretty much redundant. Still, at least commercial breaks during daytime TV would be a better place.

You physically can’t clear up misunderstandings

If character A is about to clear up a misunderstanding, character B will talk over them and leave without giving them chance to speak. And then B storms off. In reality, A would have a real name; like John. And John would raise his voice until he could get his point across, or else send them a text.

Crossing the road is always dangerous

Blofeld, Lecter and Kruger – all accomplished cinematic villains. Another one for this list is plain old tarmac. According to mainstream film, roads are seldom empty and putting your hand up to cross one will make cars violently halt 6 inches from your legs – the Green Cross Code would get you flattened in this unforgiving world.

Best friends have no lives of their own

Lead characters have every right to be the soul of the party, but if we take into account how little attention they pay to their best friends and how their buddies tolerate it then we see a lot of our former heroes as self-absorbed divas who’d struggle to get a friend in real life. Obviously, Bill Murray is an exception to this rule.

Major landmarks always visible from windows

Why aren’t there many films about estate agents? Because they’ve got the easiest job in the world, apparently. Got an office in New York? There’s the Empire State Building. A flat in Paris? There’s the Eiffel Tower. A bedsit in Wolverhampton? Erm, well, you see our point. This lazy geographic shorthand is making us all believe that anyone can have a room with a stunning view. Shocking.