The Unreal Things Cars in the Movies do That Make You Say, “Wait … What?”


If you’ve watched in frustration as an actress pulled a tray of cookies out of the oven with no oven mitts, or wondered why nobody ever locks their front door when they leave the house on a television show, then you’re about to get some joy out of acknowledging the little things that cars do on the screen that never happen in real life.

While you always have to suspend some of your beliefs in order to buy in on a movie plot, some of these things are rampant in movie productions and seem to happen consistently every time a car is in the scene:

Who keeps their keys on the visor, anyway? It seems like every time a character needs a car for a getaway for a high-speed chase, there’s always one sitting unlocked and with the keys on the visor. Not a big, heavy jumble of keys, by the way, but only the single key necessary for getting on the road. Think about this: do you know anyone who keeps their unlocked car sitting with keys ready for somebody who might need it in a pinch?

They don’t close the door. Just like nobody locks their front door when they head out, nobody shuts their car door. They simply walk away, leaving the audience distracted by the terrible things that could happen to their car by simply walking away with the door open (someone could knock the door off, they might use the opportunity to steal the car wash coupons stashed in the glove compartment or change their presets on the radio, for heaven’s sake!).

The lights are on and nobody’s in the car. While leaving the door open is a little on the crazy side, it’s completely throwing caution to the wind to leave the lights on and not fear a dead battery. Even so, it happens all the time in movies.

A precisely-positioned karate chop opens the trunk. While everyone managed to believe that the Fonz could make a jukebox play, that kind of cool just isn’t a common occurrence. So, why do movie makers think audiences will buy that every trunk opens with a bang of a fist? If your trunk opens that way, here’s the deal: it’s broken.

It’s not that easy to blow up a car. It makes for good movie footage, but despite what you’ve seen, your car isn’t likely to blow up because a bullet hit it or because it crashed. That’s good news for the typical driver, but it can make you a little nuts when you see it happen three or four times in a single film.

Whether you’re a movie lover or a car enthusiast, it’s hard to un-see these things once you’ve noticed them. Let’s all just celebrate that there are a lot of cars in movies that make life better, like when you can’t help driving a little zippy after you watch the Italian Job or you find yourself tempted to squeal your tires a la Fast and Furious. It’s enough to help you ignore the mistakes, right?


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