Digital Polyphony

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Plot Holes

Posted on April 18, 2013 at 12:20 AM

Plot Holes


Storytelling lesson time, kids. Now think for a moment, put on your writing cap and answer the following:

What is a "plot hole?"

It's a term thrown around a lot, and recently I came across this piece put out by Cracked:

36 Plot Holes in Movies

Initially, I  was going to just put this in to my Monday roundup of articles and videos I liked from the previous week, do a little comment on it, then be done with. Yet, as I clicked on through the thing, looking at every single entry of supposed "plot holes" in movies, I realized the following: that these people have no idea what a plot hole is. I began to write, then write more, then...well you can see the results below (and watch me get annoyed and more annoyed as it goes on)

Still have your cap on? Good, then you probably know that a plot hole is actually really simple: it's a contradiction or serious omission to something that needs explaining. When I say "serious" i mean really important information or plot details or character personality, not something like "well, when can you feed a Gremlin? Once the sun comes up?"

Yeah, that's not important to the story. That's not a plot hole. More on that in a moment...

In other words, just because something isn't explained or given details on in a story doesn't automatically make it a plot hole. It's more where your filling in the blank is impossible because it goes against something established or simple reality - your suspension of disbelief can't allow it to pass and fit the pieces together. No story goes off to explain everything, you'd just be sitting there listening to people talk all the time, and many will remove or omit things that just aren't important or not address something because it's not the point of the story (such as in the film Looper where it's addressed that trying to explain time travel would take all day or "Fry your brain.")

Hell, the fact the writer decided not to address something was probably to prevent a plot hole in the first place, or it's just not important and would do nothing but layer exposition all over the place and then what do you compalin about? "It's Too talky" or some stupid thing like that. If you're looking that deeper than what is necessary and established already in the story and start complaining, it is entirely on you, not the writer.

So, here's the link to the article again. Open it in a new window, go to the first entry and let's take a look at all these.


#36 - Not a plothole. Wow, not a good start. Whiplash had been planning it for years. It's easy to assume he would know how to confront Stark.

On a side note, many of these are suspension of disbelief issues: some are able to do it, some look too deeply on things. Either way it's not a plot hole.

And "how about a gun?" Really? Takes away from the point of a comic book movie, not to mention to stay true to the source material. Why not Wolverine? Or Captain America? Or the Flash? You can give a gun to a ton of superheroes. Do you know what that'll all amount to? You looking like an idiot.

#35 - A curiosity but not a plothole. You know, you can ask all sorts of questions to all sorts of movies, and most are answered by the simple rules and constrictions put on my narrative storytelling - like how people say "Why doesn't Gandalf just have the eagles fly to Mordor?" If you start specifying stuff like time zones etc...then you're looking for things to complain about and are missing the point of the movie and the story being told.

This isn't a drop in logic or a plot hole, this is, what most of these are it turns out, just being nit-picky or finding minutia to just sit and complain about.

#34 - I could see that, though still not a plot hole. People probably do know who Bruce Wayne is, his death would have been in the papers. Well, in the US at least. That's why he's overseas- he's too recognizable in the States. We wouldn't recognize the richest man in Italy if he were pissing at the urinal next to us, and they probably wouldn't recognize Wayne over there. Papers in other countries don't really cover that stuff. Still, I'll let it go.

#33 - Finally, a good question at least. Not really a "plot hole" still, it's not something integral to the plot so there's no hole left open nor is it a conflict to a character trait et al... but I have often wondered that. A silly entry, I'm not annoyed…yet.

#32 - Hmmm, I think I need to rewatch Reservoir Dogs. If that's not specified, then yeah, that might actually be a plot hole because there would be a drop in logic and the death of a main character isn't addressed.

Edit: Actually this was an intentional omission by Tarantino. The story goes that Nice Guy's squib went off accidentally and Tarantino just kept it in to fuck with people because he knew film nerds would complain about it because he's Tarantino and when he's not obsessing over feet, that's what he does. But what was supposed to happen is Mr. White shoots him.

#31 - Um...just poke your fingers out of the sides? Kind of an easy answer. Also, was it really secured on all four corners? I don't recall the shot of the poster before the warden threw the rock figure through it. Even if all were put together, this is a great example of someone looking far too in to it. Andy is there for decades, toiling, planning,'s very easy to assume he's figure out how to retack something from strange angles.

Edit: Just checked the scene. They don't show all the corners. Wow, took me all but three seconds on youtube. In fact, they don't show any of the corners whatsoever. Where does this guy get off with this entry and the photoshopped pic? Does Cracked even double check this stuff?

#30 - It does take away from the sense of urgency, but really not a plot hole. Just a structural issue with the script, which is full of many structural issues.

#29 - I thought it was just a "catch all" of all things horrible that humans do. Still not a plot hole, more a continuity issue.

#28 - Did people not watch the movie? She died. Period. It was shown when Liam "I'll kill everyone" Neeson finds her in the house with the red door (as noted by the girl he saved earlier that had his daughter's totally rad jean jacket). She died from an overdose, murdered by the assholes in that house. He checked. Looked sad. Done. Move on to the torture scene. Addressing her later is irrelevant, her story is done. It's not "nobody cared" it's the fact that the epilogue takes place much later and narrative structure sums it up with "so that happened, let's move on." Do you want them to sit around the living and reflect on Amanda? Seriously?

#27 - "Silliness" and "Coen Humor" is probably not the best way to show plot holes in anything. Plus, that place is isolated as Hell (aka Fargo North Dakota). In fairness, all that blood would melt away with the spring or be covered up in the next shitty ice storm in.

Also not a plot hole. I don't even know what this person is trying to say. "Oh, the blood is really obvious so that's a plot hole" I guess? Just Coen weirdness if you ask me. Which makes it awesome and better than any of us.

#26 - Shit, only number 26 and there's nothing that really fits a plot hole yet. Let's see what we got here: Ah, the classic one of the Titanic debris being big enough for Jack and Rose, but anyone who's seen Mythbusters knows this was already tackled. They had to take two life vests (only Rose had one in the film, in fact this very screen shot proves that) strap them under the board to have, at least, 80% of their body out of the freezing water. Hypothetically, if Jack wasn't freezing to death, he could have went out to find another life vest (though it's established there's not exactly a lot to go around) and put it under the door and then...

You know, screw it. It's not a plot hole. It's not even an issue, even Mythbusters' door sank when both tried to get on. Inconclusive at best, and still not a plot hole in the slightest.

#25 - At this point, I have to just assume that nobody knows what a plot hole is. Yeah, he could have saved Luke...but why would he? Dirty Harry could have just shot the perp instead of being badass too, or Harry Lime could have just said "Hey, want to buy a cuckoo clock?  They're badass, yo." But that's not the point of their characters, is it? You can ask all sorts of questions in all sorts of movies, but you need to give a "why." Because he's his son? He's already said he'll kill him if he doesn't join ("He will join us or die," which he says to the Emperor thus establishing motivation), is literally beating the shit out of him, and him letting him fall is a surprise?

This tells me that it's a major hindsight issue of people's rose-colored, and mud-crusted, glasses. Sure, now, 30 something years later when we know he's the father we have to wonder why he didn't do something, but trust me, you're remembering it wrong.

#24 - No they wouldn't have. Watch the fucking movie. Listen to what people say in said movie. Hell, google it. Belloq wants to make sure the Ark is the real deal, see what it's capable of, before presenting it to Hitler, otherwise risk embarrassment. There's also a bit of dialogue in there that it needs to be a ceremony of the type that Hitler probably wouldn't approve of. Indy's involvement has nothing to do with it. Jesus, now it's not just plot holes, it's people not even aware and familiar of the movie they're saying has plot holes.

If I were to give a list of the worst entries on this list, this would be number one because it's so clearly stated in the film. Plus it's one of my favorite movies. I've seen Raiders of the Lost Ark probably over 50 times, at least, but even on my first viewing when I was ten or eleven I said "oh yeah, that makes sense. Don't want to piss off Hitler, you know."

#23 - Now this is a plot hole. Holy crap, break out the champagne!  It's been established that the T-Rex is a rather loud creature, even when walking, yet it appears at the end of the film rather quietly and nobody noticed the giant dino in a lobby. So everyone take a picture of this moment, they found an actual plot hole in a movie.

#22 - Not a plot hole, it's not a point of the story or even the world unless you desire to have every little thing explained (a movie about talking cars and someone is really obsessed on whether or not they have sex or not). Like the Gremlins one, just a curiosity. Plus, who gives a shit?

#21 - It enraged you even when you were 12? You, of course, know that the entire point of the original Trilogy was Luke's growth in to a Jedi, right? His entire center and being and philosophy of life changes as we see in Return of the Jedi where he's far more passive than the gung-ho farmboy we saw in A New Hope. Seriously? Do you know anything of character arcs?

Talk about enraging...I'm about to explode and it's only #21

#20 - Is this Contagion? I strangely don't recognize Matt Damon in that pic if is. I thought it was Mark Wahlberg. It's the pecs. Also, I would have to see the film again to comment, if anything to watch Gwyneth Paltrow die, but I don't recall a "cure" really being the main point as much as it's about the disease being selective of certain types of people and they're trying to corner it. I had problems with that movie anyways.

#19 - Comic-book logic, plus isn't the helmet to prevent Xavier reading his mind and not finding him? I'm sure it's both, so I'll give it a pass. You would think Magneto is smart enough to know that even if Charles can't control him, the guys around him are way vulnerable (though, I think, Xavier isn't aware who his companions are in regards to "finding" him...maybe this one isn't a pass)

#18 - ? What's the point being made here again? Who wrote this one, a five year old? I read this three times and I don't know what point it's trying to make.

#17 - I saw it was Transformers and didn't read. Plot holes in a Michael Bay movie? Whaaa? I don't want to give it any time.

#16 - You know how often people really look at change? First, not a plot hole and not important to the plot, logic or character in the slightest, but secondly, who really looks at change? What are the dates on the coins in your pocket right now (don't worry, no "Somewhere in Time" thing will happen, I bet).  That's right, you don't know because nobody ever knows because nobody ever cares. How is this important and #16 on this list? It's not even brought up in the story, herego not a part of any plot whatsoever. So this entry is made from some guy who got really stoned on his couch and said "Dude...his coins might be pre-1955. Whoah."

Hell, you probalby even have a wheat penny around somewhere and don't even know it. Maybe you're from the past.

#15 - Please, watch the movie. Hell, MOVIES. Vader didn't know he had children. He doesn't know there is a Skywalker until Empire, when the notoriety of Death Star destoryer and sister-kisser Luke Skywalker is known by everybody. Seriously, do people not pay attention to...oh what do they call them.."words" when people speak?

A case example of people remembering things wrong. Maybe the prequels screwed with their heads, but even at the end of Revenge of the Sith Vader is told by the sexy Emperor Palpatine that he killed his wife (and thus his kids). Why would he go looking for them?

#14 - Not a plot hole. Again. What a surprise. That being said, we know nothing about the rules of robts/androids in Alien. There's a million answers to this rhetorical question here, from "they're expensive" to "shut the fuck up," and addressing it in the movie would be pointless.  If you do that, then you're making a different movie entirely. Hell, let's just make the Gremlins Munshkins and Darth Vader Tyler Durden while we're at it.

Actually, Vader as Tyler Durden would be pretty awesome.

#13 - I could certainly see the issue here. The strange ship arrives along with the strange feeling and...

...oh, by the way it's not Luke he's sensing, it's Obi Wan...again watch the movie, please...

...anyways, you would think he would look around the ship a bit more if he sensed anything so strange. Maybe a plot hole, maybe just "I know he's here, not sure where so let's send in the scanner thing."

They do send in a special scanner to look deeper in to the Falcon, though, so the "not sure where" is kind of addressed. Yet, Vader wouldn't ignore the coincidence. He's a pretty smart fella. In the original trilogy, at least.

Eh, not an awful entry.

#12 - No shit, but do you know how many plot holes are in Transformers 2? How about the fact it's apparently day all over the world? It's Bay, who cares? Just write it off as Bay Bullshit.

#11 - Comic book logic, man. Seriuosly, Cap has been established to handle himself, and everyone is a "superhero" here so saying "he tried to murder Captain America" is a bit far-fetched. Besides, Cap had seen Thor's hammer in action. I'd like to think the guy knew what he was doing before jumping in to the middle of things. Plus he deflected Loki's blast (heh...) so he was probably confident, and Thor sees Cap as an equal in a way. He was just getting his ass kicked by a  "puny human" after all as Iron Man was taking him to town.

Oh, not a plot hole either way. Why did I just write all that?

Now this is an actual plot hole. It's not on this list, of course.

#10 - Oy, again with the not watching the movie. The "invisibility" is only from the bottom. You see the ship fine from every other angle, as shown in the attack on the damn thing by Hawkeye in the second act. And even if it was "entirely" invisible, the fact that planes and stuff would run in to it isn't really a plot hole. It's just writers not thinking about the potential faults of a fully invisible airship.

Now, if the thing was entirely invisible, yet somehow later on it isn't for conveninece of having Hawkeye attack it, then that would be a plot hole.

#9 - No. Again not a plot hole. The explosion wasn't in his control. Now choosing to let Ra's die later on...that is a plot hole. No matter how you spin it, that's something that goes against his established philosophy by that point (which is, "it's what you do that defines you" and then he lets a guy die). Why isn't that one on here? It'd be a great example of a character conflict resulting in a plot hole.

#8 - Don't care. Already brought up earlier.

#9 - Certainly an oversight, though not a plot hole. If you want to get really down and dirty, sure, you can say it is. It goes against established history which creates a "hole in factual logic" but's stretching it a bit to call it a "hole in the plot." Why? Because you damn well know you would have to look it up to even realize it. Do you watch movies with Wikipedia open all the time? Fact checking everything?

#7 - Don't care. Bay.

#5 - The words never bothered me as much as the selective floor crumbling with no supports. But I suppose you can say it's a plot hole that he climbs back up to the crumble-floor on letters that aren't part of Jehova. More a visual error, but when A doesn't equal B and C still happens, then yeah, I guess you could call that a hole...that Indy almost fell down. (zing)

#4 - No, and that's not the biggest plot hole in Back to the Future 2. Amazingly, this list doesn't even have that one. When Old Biff goes back to 1955 and made the "alternate timeline," he should have not have been able to go foward in the original timeline (where he puts the DeLorean back near Future Marty's house).  It's unclear on how all that works, because Doc and Marty are in the same timeline, they go back, and everything is changed, so when Biff went forward, things should have been changed as well.

It's time travel mumbo-jumbo, though. All theory, and looking too deep takes away from the point of the story: you know, to just sit and have a good time.

#3 - Eh, again you're trying to find logic in time travel when it's all theory to begin with. None of that is established in the story anyways.

#2 - Maybe? I don't know, that's kind of reaching. I guess we'll have to assume that the call could be traced and specifically back to Josh's cubicle. I'll give this one a pass, though still not a plot hole because you have to assume a hell of a whole lot to make it in to one, it is an interesting question.

#1 - Wrong. Complete wrong. He never says that. In fact, Daniel-san's girlfriend, Elizabeth Shue, tells him right before the tournament begins that anything above the waist, including the head, is a point. So not only is it wrong in that the ref NEVER says this, the actual OPPOSITE is said in the film so it's addressed on how the points work so we have the climatic finale.

Not only that, during the whole famous "You're the Best" (by the legendary Joe Esposito) montage, there's numerous scenes of people getting punched/kicked in the face and head and neck. In that same montage, in his match with Dutch, Daniel himself is kicked in the face and Dutch receives a point.

So what movie did this guy see? Is he thinking of the previous match when Bobby does an illegal hit, or in the championship match with the illegal hit to the knee that then caused Daniel-San to have to use the Crane move? Did he even see the movie? Is he thinking of Part 3, maybe when Mike "Bad Boy of Karate" Barnes is just whailing on him every other time as he tries to toy with him, gainging points, losing points, just being an all around dick because his Sensei, John Kreese, and Kreese's buddy Terry Silver (played by Thomas Ian Griffith, I know him. We call him "TIG") is seeking to punish him?

Yes, I have seen Karate Kid a lot. Ok? Same with Raiders.

Holy shit. I about died. #1 and it's not even in the movie.

So, what did we learn here? Well, we didn't exactly learn what a plot hole is, and that nobody seems to know what a plot hole is, but we learned that people can just make stuff up and not only will nobody fact check it, they'll put it up on the internet and call it true. Maybe that's what angers me most, it goes back to my journalism roots I suppose, but I think I might just be slightly more angered because I'm such a film fan, a fan of a lot of these movies on this list even, but I guess I actually paid attention when watching whereas everyone else just "kinda remembers" and then jumps to photoshop to point out their pretend-cleverness.

Another thing I really learned here? Nobody can just sit and be entertained, can they? Everyone just spends so much time trying to find something wrong or a fault in anything these days. How pathetic are we to where we can't just sit and find a little bit of joy? We always just look for the wrongs in everything and everyone and whateer it is they put out there. It's find to be critical, but look at these things? Look at them! Are any of them all that important? I would say it's fun, just poke fun at a few things here and there, but how can it be fun when nobody even knows what they're talking about or, in some cases, are even wrong on the point they're trying to make in the first place?

Oh, and one final thing I learned:

Probably...but am I wrong on any of these? Or does Cracked need new editors?

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