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Suspension of Disbelief for TV and Movies

I was watching one of the CSI's the other night with my wife (she had the remote, or it would have been something "educational.") I remember one scene, where they had an eyepiece from some binoculars they'd found at a crime scene (the eyepiece, not the binoculars), threw the eyepiece into their fancy lab machine, and a few mintues later, the machine beeped at them to let it know that it had found DNA on the eyepiece. Not just that, but it had already analyzed the DNA, determined who it belonged to, and had that man's file ready and waiting on the computer screen. That was a little too much, and I voiced my opinion out loud. Well, a few scenes later and after a few more spoken opinions, my wife told me to shut up so that she could enjoy the show.

This is pretty common. I know a thing or two about science and technology, and while I won't recognize every mistake I ever see in a TV show or movie, and many are small enough that it's easy to "suspend my disbelief," many movies have enough glaring mistakes that it actually makes it hard to enjoy what I'm watching. Let me put it in perspective for people that don't know as much about science. Suppose you were watching a movie, and the lead character, out of the blue, walked up to someone on the street and asked to have sex with them, and they agreed - right there in public. And everybody else on the sidewalk just kind of made way for them, and didn't stop and stare, or call the police. Would you "suspend your disbelief" for that? Of course not - it's ludicrous. It goes completely against human nature. That's exactly the way it is when I watch a movie that butchers science - it's so far off from what would be expected to happen in reality, that it's hard to ignore.

Apparently, I'm not alone in this. I recently came across an interesting website - INSULTINGLY STUPID MOVIE PHYSICS. It's a pretty good site, and brings up a lot of the points I gripe about a lot.


I'm the same way when it comes to movies. My wife can't understand why I didn't like "Deja Vu". I just couldn't suspend my disbelief enough to even think about enjoying the movie.

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