Favorite Movie Goofs

Almost all movies have flubs. They’re an inherent part of the filmmaking process. In many cases, they’re subtle, and will be unnoticeable to the majority of viewers until they’re pointed out. When the level of drink in a character’s glass changes from shot to shot in a scene, most people will focus their attention on the characters, not on the glass. However, in some other cases, goofs can be quite glaring, and beg the question how the filmmakers could have left them in the movie.

I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before that my favorite movie is ‘Dune‘. I’ve seen it so many times that I know it on a practically frame-by-frame basis. Every time I watch it, I scrutinize scenes for little details that I may have missed before. Consequently, some of the flubs in the movie really stand out to me. In fact, I look forward to them. My anticipation of them is a big part of my enjoyment of the film.

For example, in the scene where the Spice Harvester is attacked by a worm, there’s a pair of shots where a small scout vehicle races through the sand to return to the Harvester. The shots are edited with a match cut following the action as the scout drives up the Harvester’s ramp. The problem is that these two shots show completely different vehicles. They look nothing alike at all.

Heightening the absurdity of this error, the LJN company actually released separate toys based on each of these vehicles, called the Sand Crawler and Spice Scout respectively. (They also released toys based on a couple of vehicles never seen in the movie at all.)

Yet even that’s not my favorite flub. Early in the picture, as the Guild Navigator is rolled into the Emperor’s throne room, one of his attendants on screen left slips and takes a dive right onto the floor, flailing his arms as he falls. He immediately scrambles back up and hides behind another character for the rest of the shot. It’s a very quick action, and not the viewer’s center of attention. But once you notice it, you’ll never miss it again. These days, I get giddy with anticipation waiting for it to happen.

Why do filmmakers let these things slip through? In some cases, they may miss the flubs just like most viewers do. Other times, they may not have a choice, if there aren’t any “clean” takes and there isn’t sufficient footage to otherwise cover the scene without these shots. And sometimes, filmmakers leave goofs like this in on purpose, as a game to see if they can get away with it.

Those are a couple of my favorite movie goofs. Tell us what yours are.

20 comments

  1. My favorite flub can only bee seen in the full screen version of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure and is a perfect example of why movies should always been seen in widescreen. When Pee Wee is chaining his bike up to the animatronic clown to make sure its secure he pulls out a ridiculous amount of chain from the saddlebag compartment of his bike in which it obviously couldn’t contain all that chain. Unfortunately in the Full Screen version you can see the bottom of the saddlebag compartment and the chain being fed through the bottom to completely ruin the illusion. In the widescreen version the framing is such so it is cut off right above the bottom of the compartment and you can’t see the chain being fed into it. Another Pee Wee flub is when he is tired and driving at night and sees the different road signs, its supposed to look like he is passing them but if you look near the bottom of the sign you can see the signs are on a track being pulled by a rope towards the camera.

  2. All I can think about at the moment is Star Wars. How fast can your ship make the Kesel run in?

    Although Star Trek is kind of funny. Like in the original series, takes them years to get out to some areas of space, yet they can jet back to Earth or Vulcan in a matter of hours or days. In fact, it just seems that Earth or Vulcan is on the way to everywhere else. Shoot, take Star Trek: First Contact – they are protrolling the NEUTRAL ZONE, yet can make it to Earth in a matter of hours to take part in the fight.

    • Alright, so here’s the deal with the Kessel Run.

      The Kessel Run itself is route used by smugglers to avoid the authorities. As you can imagine, it’s way dangerous. Most smugglers take the longer route, but Han was capable of taking an incredibly dangerous shortcut within a shortcut.

      Dude cut six parsecs off of the trip!

      So, Han isn’t using the word parsec wrong. BUT, he doesn’t really answer Obi-Wan’s question about the speed of the ship. I guess either way it’s a bad answer :p

  3. Turd Furgeson

    My favorite of all-time is from the 4×3 Full Screen version of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. During the opening credits you clearly see the shadow of the camera’s helicopter in the bottom right part of the shot.

    • Josh Zyber
      Author

      You can also see the rotor blades at the top of the frame.

      I don’t know that it’s fair to criticize flubs in “full screen” transfers of movies that were meant to be projected widescreen in theaters. That’s really just the fault of a bad transfer.

      (Although, in the case of The Shining, it’s Kubrick’s fault for endorsing that transfer.)

  4. Southpaw

    How about at the end of Teen Wolf right before the closing credits, the guy in the stands who whips out his johnson right when Scott Howard goes up to hug his dad and girlfriend. How did they not catch that??????

  5. It’s got to be Michael Bay’s Pearl Harbour. Kate Beckinsale’s bikini coming 10+ before it’s real invention, the Japanese carrier that changes shape and configuration twice, the cameramen who get shot TWICE, Ben Affleck’s plane crashing into the sea in the afternoon and him rising in the middle of the night. And of course, the biggest one is the fact that Affleck starts the film totally illiterate (I don’t care that he might have dyslexia, my brother is dyslexia and he care spell words phonetically so nuts to that) and within three months is writing four page love letters to Beckinsale.

    Oh boy.

    • Sorry for the gaps in some of the sentences. For the record I meant to say: (I don’t care that he might have dyslexia, my brother is dyslexic and he can spell words phonetically so nuts to that)

  6. besch64

    I’m going to go with the classic. Tall Stormtrooper + low door from the original Star Wars.

  7. LeakyDiaper

    My fave has to be Napoleon Dynamite. Although im sure it wasn’t a goof, it still makes me wait in anticipation. When Kip is making a plate of nachos while on the phone with Napoleon. One second theres no chese, next theres a mountian of it.

  8. mh

    The first one that comes to mind: Yul Brynner’s earring that keeps appearing and disappearing during his song “A Puzzlement” in THE KING & I.

  9. MarioCMS

    I feel kind of proud of this one because I noticed it without the help of a webpage or anyone telling me.
    In Braveheart, when Wallace is getting married in secret, the priest is wearing a robe, but you can clearly see he’s wearing blue jeans beneath the robe.

  10. Braveheart has another one at the beginning during the big battle, when the two armies meet you can clearly see one of the barbarians smiling and going in the total opposite direction of the fight 🙂

    I’ve always loved the Storm Trooper too, even better when Lucas enhanced the sound of him hitting the door in the special editions

  11. Keenan

    The best one that comes to my mind, or at least one of the MOST obvious, is a scene at the end of Spaceballs. The dancing chest-buster alien runs along the counter singing “Hello my Baby” and you can plainly see the metal rod holding him up and dragging him across the counter; its in his tail and very easy to see if you decide to look. The rod was finally covered up in the Special Edition DVD and I assume the Blu Ray release as well.