Your most pointless TV/movie/book nitpicks

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
There's a book called Extinction Point, and the premise is most of the population of the Earth dies off after a msyterious red rain falls from the Earth. Our hero, Emily, manages to contact some other survivors in a remote area of Alaska. Emily decides the best course of action in this case is to bike her way from New York all the way to this remote location in Alaska. She never learned to drive, which isn't unrealistic for someone in New York, but she grew up in the midwest in a small farming community. I can believe the extinction level event, but living in rural America without ever learning how to drive a car? No. You need to explain that. The worst part is that strange alien lifeforms, some of them dangerous, start bursting from the various corpses laying about the city. Still going to bike your way to Alaksa? Yup. That's the plan.
Yeah, every farm kid I know was driving a 4x4 by age six and full-blown pick-up trucks by 12. That definitely doesn't pass the sniff test.
 

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Sacrosanct

Legend
As a 20-year USAF veteran, it irritates me to no end when authors refer to the Air Force as the "air force," "Air force," or - worst yet - "Airforce." It's two words, both capitalized. Some amazingly high-profile authors have gotten this wrong, and it always disappoints me to no end that no editor caught it.

Same with Black Hawk (the helicopter). It's two words. Not Blackhawk. But that's pretty minor. I also get a bit peeved when I see helicopters do things in movies they could never do..ahem...San Andreas...What really gets me more is this:
For similar reasons, I dislike in movies and TV shows when they get military customs and courtesies wrong, like when you wear your cover (hat) and when you don't, when saluting is proper and when it isn't, and simple stuff like how long your hair can be and how far your mustache can extend. And I'm always amused when a female military member was apparently issued a miniskirt as part of her official uniform.

Johnathan
Yeah. Reacher is a good example. In episode 1, he's in uniform with a full 5-day scruff beard going on. And movies do it all the time.
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
In one of the X-Files movies, Scully does a Google Search, and then goes to File and Print... without choosing a single result. There's a shot of the printer just printing out... every single Google Result?

Later she looks at the stack of papers she printed, and the top page relates specifically to the mystery they are investigating.
 

In one of the X-Files movies, Scully does a Google Search, and then goes to File and Print... without choosing a single result. There's a shot of the printer just printing out... every single Google Result?

Later she looks at the stack of papers she printed, and the top page relates specifically to the mystery they are investigating.

To be fair, there was a short window of time when the "I'm feeling lucky" button occasionally gave reasonable results.
 

MarkB

Legend
There's a Robert A Heinlein novel (I think it's The Cat Who Walks Through Walls) that features a neat transportation system on the moon - a tunnel bored through the rock between two major settlements, along a very precise sub-orbital path, and kept completely airless. At each end there's a magnetic accelerator and a subway-train-like passenger car is launched from one end to orbital speed, coasts through the vacuum of the tunnel interior, and is then decelerated at the other end, incidentally recapturing most of the energy used to accelerate it, so it's very efficient.

One of the characters complains about the waiting time between trips, since the tunnel can only accommodate one car, to which the protagonist replies that he's welcome to try and get a second tunnel funded.

Okay, but this is the moon. If you want sub-orbital paths filled with near-vacuum, you have the entire surface of the place available. Just build your accelerators out there, aligned to the correct path, and you can fire off cars to your heart's content, no need to build hundreds of miles' worth of precisely-aligned tunnels. Give the cars even the most rudimentary maneuvering thrusters and interlinked guidance software, and you can have several in the sky at once from the same accelerator, shifting to parallel paths to avoid each other and then re-aligning as they come in to the accelerator at the other end.
 

Kobold Stew

Last Guy in the Airlock
Supporter
Die Hard 2 starts off at Dulles Airport in Northern Virginia, west of Washington DC. John McClane picks up a PacBell cell phone to call Holly. PacBell phones were all located in California (it stands for "Pacific Bell"). In DC at the time, phones were still using the legacy AT&T brand. (AT&T later gobbled up most of the regional companies split off of it, in a triumph over anti-monopoly laws.)

McClane also has a magic drink at the airport bar that goes up and down and up and down in volume, despite never getting a refill, but it's the PacBell phones 3,000 miles away from the very specific Northern Virginia location that get me.
Isn't this the same movie that has a big dial on an air traffic controller's main console for adjusting the height of sea level by over a hundred feet?!
 

For similar reasons, I dislike in movies and TV shows when they get military customs and courtesies wrong,
This. I only served in the army for three years, over 25 years ago. Yet it drives me nuts and totally ruins my immersion when shows get easy details about the military completely wrong. Lots of times is is things like not knowing how to salute or where medals go on a uniform, but sometimes it is just missing something that would be obvious to someone with a military background.

Stupid Example One:
In the book/movie World War Z, the soldiers call the zombies "Zack." I guess it was supposed to be like Vietnam era soldiers calling the enemy "Charlie." Sure, soldiers in a zombie apocalypse would come up with a nickname for zombies - but that is objectively the wrong one.

The nickname "Charlie" for the Vietcong comes from the Army phonetic alphabet. In the phonetic alphabet the letter V is read "victor" and C as "charlie" (to avoid miscommunications over poor quality radio transmissions). Vietcong got abbreviated as "V.C" which then expanded to "Victor Charlie" or just "Charlie." In the Army phonetic alphabet Z is not "Zack" it is "Zulu." So in an actual zombie apocalypse the army nickname for zombies would obviously be "Zulus." Zack is just stupid and not something any soldier would have come up with.

Stupid Example Two:
The show Barry had a scene where Barry describes his first kill as a soldier in Afghanistan. It is an incredibly moving, well-written scene until a soldier in the flashback sequence says "Hey everyone - Barry just smoked a guy from 500 yards away!"

Wrong. No US soldier would express the range of a shot in yards. Shooting is always in meters. That dialogue was just so completely wrong it ruined what was otherwise an amazing scene.
 


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