How movies mislead

Everyone here is probably thinking of the DeVinci code when I say this, but I’m thinking in a broader sense.

My favorite movie misconception has to be from that cinematic masterpiece, The day after tomorrow, where the protagonists are running down the hallway of the library trying to escape the cold blast of air that flash-freezes everything it touches. The brilliant explanation for why this happens is that the storm is “pulling down” air from the stratosphere “too fast” so it “doesn’t have a chance to warm up.” Practically every word in that sentence is wrong in some way:

  1. storms cannot “pull down” air from the stratosphere, no matter how strong they are, because the stratosphere is a stable layer of air that prohibits processes lower down from effecting it. Even the most powerful supercell thunderstorms will only have a little area where the strongest updraft punches through to a stable layer.

  2. assuming the storm COULD pull down stratospheric air, how cold is that stuff anyway? A quick look at a sounding taken from a weather balloon in Canada tells me that the temperature near the top of the sounding, right at the lower levels of the stratosphere, is around -60 C, which is about -76 F. Is that cold? Sure it is, but not unheard of in really high latitudes during the winter, at least with the wind chill.

  3. What really happens if that air were to be “pulled down” to the surface. Well, to answer this question we need to think about thermodynamics. What happens when you press down the piston in a tire pump? The air pressure in the pump rises. What happens to the air because the pressure rises? it gets hotter. What happens to the air pressure when you go higher in the atmosphere? It lowers. Reverse that statement, and you can say that pressure increases as you get lower in the atmosphere. If a glob of air were to be “pulled down” to the surface from the stratosphere like in the movie, it would actually warm up, quite a lot actually. Another quick look at a sounding tells me that the potential temperature (the temperature that the air being pulled down would have when it reaches the surface) is about 170 F! talk about a heat wave!

I recall reading that the amount of lift force required to keep the big UFO’s hovering orbit in *Independence Day *would have crushed everything underneath them. If that’s true, they wouldn’t have even needed the fancy cannons, their ships should have just been ginormous bulldozers.

As a person who writes fiction, it turns out that 90% of my time is spent doing research to make sure things like this don’t happen. But, that said, some movies are more concerned with an emotional reaction than a purely factual one. Movie writers and directors design films to give the audience a fright or a warm feeling or a feeling of astonishment. To make them forget they’re sitting in a theater and draw them into the story. Everyone (I hope) knows the magic and levitation in Harry Potter isn’t real, but most are willing to suspend their disbelief and allow such a fictional world to exist for a few hours.

God bless,

Speaking of how movies disseminate false information and give people false expectations, I got one word for you: Porn.

I had to have a long talk with my 13-year-old son about why he needs to stay away from adult websites. Basically, I told him that those movies would give him a horribly warped view of sexuality that would cause him disappointment and trouble as an adult.

(I also don’t let him surf the Web unsupervised.)

I explained to him that I would answer any question about sex he wanted to ask (my Dad was a doctor, and I know all the medical terms) any time he wanted to ask it. I promised to pull no punches and not to sugarcoat anything; he just doesn’t need to depend on porn or his friends’ opinions for information. After all, I sired him and his sister; I think I know how these things work.

It’s bad enough that mainstream movies blatantly distort science; it’s unconscionable that they would distort something as human and natural as sex just to make a buck.

Even regular movies as low on the rating scale as PG, and definitely anything higher than that, will often give the idea that premarital sex, profanity, violence, vengefulness, gossip, mean-spiritiedness, etc. are to be smiled upon.:frowning:

Sounds like you are doing a good job with your son. With the movies and things that he watches, help him learn to discern - encourage him to point out to you things he catches that aren’t in line with Church teaching. Just like when he learns to drive, he will probably delight in pointing out to you if you run a yellow light.:wink: In other words, you can make it sort of a challenge game to spot the errors.

Ah, one of my pet peeves. I firmly believe that Hollywood is THE major reason we have so much support for the death penalty in the USA. Bear with me.

Any of us has probably seen HUNDREDS of movies with a villian in it. How many of those villians are portrayed as actual human beings? Precious few. Instead they are portrayed as having utterly no redeeming human traits so that when they are finally killed by the hero, we feel nothing but joy at the killing. This is a serious mistake. Every REAL human being is precious and loved by God. Even murderers, killers and child molesters. It is NOT something to celebrate one of these is sent off packing to hell. Real life villians are human beings, not one dimensional monsters.

But that it the way it gets presented every time. I’m as susceptable as anybody. When I hear certain news stories I want to throw the electric chair switch myself. But it’s time we recognize that these are not healthy emotions on our part. ALL humans possess both good and evil within. And all humans can be saved by Grace. It is a tragedy to purposely take away any chance of repentance. Arguably a necessary one in some places and cultures, but a tragedy nonetheless.

One word. “Precious.” I felt more sympathy for the dreadfully abusive mother in that film than I did for her daughter. Another word: “Monster,” with Charlize Theron. And another: “The Woodsman” (Kevin Bacon as a ‘sympathetic’ child molester.) So, I really don’t agree that sympathetic depictions of “bad” people exist. They do. Heath Ledger’s Joker in “The Dark Knight” - much more “human” than the Jack Nicholson Joker. I could go on.

As for Hollywood being THE major reason we have “so much support for the death penalty,” have you never seen “The Fugitive”? (Cited by many people I know as why they’re against the death penalty.) Or, “Monster’s Ball”? Or, “Dead Man Walking”? Or, the classic melodrama “I Want To Live” with Susan Hayward? Or the currently-showing “Conviction”? I can’t think of a single movie that promotes a ‘pro-death penalty’ message. Not one. The subject isn’t even mentioned in “Silence of The Lambs,” which I hope isn’t your example.

Edited to add: Forgot to mention the original ending of ‘Fatal Attraction.’ Vastly diff movie with that diff ending.

Oh sure, they make a few token films with some 3D villians. But there are 20 movies where the ‘bad guy’ is a subhuman beast for every ONE where he just a tragically flawed human being.

You don’t even HAVE to mention the judicial death penalty to advocate it. It happens in the thousands of movies where the hero does it for us instead of the judicial system. When people become acustomed to that outcome, it shows in their overall attitude towards criminals.

And it’s not limited to Stallone/Arnie movies either. This very theme showed up in the rated G “UP” (which I otherwise loved). Is it really necessary to have a fight to the death in a movie for 5 year olds?

A few years ago I watched HBO’s “Rome” which was really fascinating to me as a history lover. What was presented in this mini series seemed pretty realistic to me. I had a problem with some of the storyline but was hooked on watching the whole series because my family and I went on a trip to Italy in 2006, so the images in the movie brought out in living color the artifacts and places we’d seen.
The part that was very unrealistic was that while people were having affairs all over the place, very few women ever got pregnant. I’m sure that before modern times and the invention of artificial birth control, there were many more pregnant women than what we’re used to seeing today. It always annoys me when a couple has (implied) sex in a movie, and they can be out on a desert island someplace, far from any means of ABC, and yet the woman doesn’t get pregnant. Hollywood glorifies the sexual aspect without being bothered by the aftermath in a lot of cases.
I don’t mean this to sound like I approve of artificial birth control, but am just pointing out this lack of reality in the movies and TV shows.

Hollywood is primarily about making money. Second, it is about promoting an agenda. An endless series of Jennifer Aniston dysfunctional sexual relationship movies.

Dysfunctional characters is the current template for most Hollywood movies and most TV programs, including cartoons like Family Guy and South Park. We are being taught that dysfunctional is OK. That it’s OK for a young, semi-attractive doctor to pick up a guy at a bar for anonymous sex. Instead of finding her dead body in an alley the next day or finding out she has an STD - nothing bad happens.

Too many movies are fantasies about sexual deviants. People who could care less about AIDS and other STDs and where immorality doesn’t mean anything. “Hey man. If it feels good, do it.” That’s all.

I go to one or two movies a year. That’s it. Especially if PIXAR puts out something.

God bless,

I read this thread with interest as it is currently a topic of conversation I’m having with my parents, but in respect of TV. I don’t know what your soaps are like now (although used to dip into Dallas and Dynasty for pure entertainment when they were around) but soaps in the UK portray (generally) a society that I wouldn’t want to be within 100 miles of!

There is not enough thought put into how lives are portrayed. We are always being fobbed off with ‘we are just reflecting society’ but that is just not true - I’m happy to say my community is nothing like soapville. But I do feel they are misleading young people especially by making life choices and behaviour that is really quite shameful be acceptable. For instance people are always ‘bed hopping’ without the whiff of an STD and if there is a pregnancy there is no shame at all. The way they talk to each other is appalling - always yelling and being agressive - this is why I would not think of watching the BBC soap ‘Eastenders’ (which I believe you may have over there). One of the other’s storylines at the moment is about a drug addicted teen and this is actually being handled quite well (hence the discussion with my parents) but those are few and far between.

Unfortunately now too there seems to have to be a gay character in every soap. I am not homophobic but don’t want to see it becoming so acceptable that we don’t even raise an eyebrow anymore to see 2 men kissing on screen. My daughter is 12 and likes to watch sometimes with me but I have my finger on the remote and anytime I think a theme is going to come up that I don’t want her to hear I mute the tv or turn it over!

Having said all that - thanks to the OP for the explanation as to why Day after tomorrow wasn’t feasible - when I first saw that movie I spent the whole second half planning how I was going to store enough food for the family in case of an impending ice age and how many camping stoves I could fit under the stairs :blush:

Hi yorkshiregirl,
A very good post:thumbsup:.
I presume that all soaps have an OG (obligatory gay). This is all part of the normalization process. I don’t watch them as I believe they are the televisual equivalent of mouldy bread.
Not only do soap producers like to boast about the “reflecting society” garbage as you rightly point out, but they also arrogantly claim that this is the stuff Shakespeare would be writing if he were around today! This shows the type of crass smugness which TV emits.
They play on the lowest common denominator of human instinct: greed, gossip, aggression, promiscuity etc.
The people involved in disseminating this crud have one unspoken thing in common: fear. Fear of real love with it’s true message of eternal life in Him.
God Bless,

Movie Misconceptions:

You can be poor and work in a low paying job but still be able to have a large house :rolleyes:
Poor families always seem to dress well.
People who work in offices do nothing but sit around and talk all day.
Back in the a lot of movies and tv shows before the 90s women always had to fall when they were running away or trying to escape from something. :rolleyes: Now we are more likely to sport knives and guns and fight back.
Speeding is ok you’ll never get caught :thumbsup:

Oh no, you’ve triggers another manualman dimly rememberd and probably butchered quote moment!

1980’s TV sitcom producer interview:

Q: What do you find rewarding about your work?

A: It’s not just comedy. We believe that if we can make America laugh at what they are, we can make America CHANGE what they are. :eek:

I never looked at TV the same way ever again after that.

Movies and TV tell stories that titillate, shock, and astound. They don’t depict ordinary life with it’s ordinary problems because no one would watch them. Anyone who takes seriously what Hollywood puts out is either quite naive or unfamiliar with how theater works. It’s the same with newspapers and magazines. The motto for the news is “If it bleeds it leads”. People love to be scandalized and horrified, and also delighted. That’s human nature, for good or ill.

No one should take their moral values from mainstream Hollywood any more than from the scrawlings of 12 year olds on bathroom walls. Both intend to do the same thing–get attention. How much attention and credit we give to such things is up to us. Should there be standards? Yes, but our society has thrown out decency as passé and old-fashioned just so they can ramp up the scandal, the shock and awe.

We should speak out against excess, but not be surprised that people still want to see something new and unusual. It’s why so many flocked to see Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ”–to see the character, Christ, undergo horrible torture. More than one person fainted or walked out in disgust. Any film can take things too far for some or overstep the bounds of good taste and truthfulness. We support films with our money. Take away the money and they’ll stop making films that go too far, although it won’t stop them pushing their agendas be they sexual license or left wing politics or whatever it is.

but people DO form their opinions from movies and tv, and liberals, especially young ones who are just cementing their outlook on life, are the worst at this. I can’t tell you how many times family guy or south park has been quoted in political conversations. Of course there’s also the da vinci code etc. People will always start out by saying “stop whining it’s just fiction” almost always following up with “…even so, it could be true.”


When you have no guide by which to measure good or bad, moral or immoral or amoral, what is a movie? It’s a bunch of people that you can fantasize about being - in some way. Movies where people act like divorce is a good thing, for example, might make you think: “Hey. The Church is against divorce generally, but maybe I should look at my divorce this way.”

It does erode good thinking. It puts the “hey, that could be me” into alternative lifestyles. In a society with many fractured families, movies can be an influence. And what about the R rating today compared to 10 years ago - 20 years ago? Please wake up people.

I know for a fact that movie producers would be on the phone with the censors in Hollywood, pleading for a few more seconds of skin in their latest movie. We didn’t go from I Love Lucy to Two and a Half Men overnight.

We went from the elegant Grace Kelly to Jay and Silent Bob? Ewwwww !

To guys talking on TV about how they “want to have sex” but use the F word instead. Oh yeah. Our Culture Continues to Go Downhill.

For the sake of real standards that mean something, dump 80-90% of your movie collection dated after 1978.

God bless,

It’s disingenous to say that this is nothing to worry about—since Hollywood and the writers and producers of TV land DEFINITELY have an agenda nd try to push it whenever they can. Are we not supposed to worry about that?

Indeed. :o

Hi Della,
I genuinely do not know why you would cite ‘The Passion of the Christ’ in a thread about how movies mislead.
Anyone who focuses solely on the torture scenes is missing the message of the story.
God Bless,

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