We love these movies, but we have questions.
Have you ever watched a movie whose storyline just didn’t add up? Perhaps questions were left unanswered, or maybe the narrative played out like a cinematic slice of Swiss cheese. It happens. Even some of the best movies have holes that leave their viewers pondering the jump in logic for days—even years—later.
As much as we can forgive a good movie, those gappy inconsistencies can either ruin the movie-watching experience altogether or spark pop culture debates for decades to come. Take Titanic, for example. The James Cameron juggernaut beholds one of the most talked-about holes: There definitely was enough room for Jack on the floating door with Rose. So why didn’t he just try again to hoist himself on up there?
But we digress. Ahead, we’re breaking down several movie plotholes. Some more glaring than others, of course. But we still can’t wrap our heads around any of them. Just a friendly warning: spoilers ahead.
How could Doug have survived on a roof in Las Vegas for two days?
A significant storyline belonged to groom-to-be Doug (Justin Bartha), in regard to his disappearing on the first night of his bachelor weekend in Las Vegas. By the movie’s end, we learn that he spent two full days on the roof of Caesars Palace as his friends (Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms) got into all kinds of trouble, tiger included.
Here’s the thing: There is no way that Doug could have survived two days on the roof in scorching 90-degree weather: no shade, no food, no water. Plus, in a hotel as iconic as Caesars, someone had to notice a man screaming from the roof.
Why does everyone believe Cady, the new girl, wrote the entire burn book?
Before Cady Heron (Lindsay Lohan), the “homeschooled jungle freak,” came to North Shore High School, Regina George (Rachel McAdams) made a burn book that she kept in her room. It contained rumors from previous high school years and negative comments about every girl in the school. To play the victim, Regina plasters photocopies of the pages all around the halls, even writing herself in as a “fugly slut.” So when Cady confesses to making the burn book, why does everyone believe her? It’s unrealistic for Cady to know enough gossip after not even completing a year at the school.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Why didn’t Harry use the time turner to save his parents and kill Voldemort?
In the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and Hermione (Emma Watson) travel back in time a few hours to ultimately save Sirius Black and Buckbeak. Harry also saves himself by casting a patronus onto his future self, protecting him from the dementors. Why, out of the entire series, is this the only time we seen the time turner? And why didn’t Harry use the time turner to save his parents and kill Voldemort? Some could argue that the time turner is dangerous and can completely alter the past, but we’re still on the fence.
Why didn’t Rose’s family look for her?
We know the biggest issue rocking Titanic is that there was room for Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) on the floating door. But we’ll just leave that there.
After the Titanic sinks and Rose (Kate Winslet) survives, she takes Jack’s last name of Dawson and begins a brand-new life. Why didn’t her mother or Cal try to find her? She later became a successful actress, meaning that she garnered a level of fame for which it would be near impossible to keep her life hidden.
If Buzz thought he was an astronaut, why did he freeze with the rest of the toys?
The plot in Toy Story revolves around Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) believing that he is truly an astronaut, a real-life space ranger, and not a toy. Whenever a human like Andy enters the room, all of a sudden, the toys freeze, Buzz included. Why is that? Maybe he accepted that he is in fact a toy? Or perhaps he acts on pure instinct when his fellow playthings instantly freeze?
Where did the ice in the attic come from?
Edward Scissorhands (Johnny Depp) lived alone in an enormous house in the hills with scissors as hands and no help from anyone else. It’s nearly impossible to live with scissors as hands, let alone carve giant blocks of ice in the highest room of a mansion.
As an aged Kim (Winona Ryder) is talking to her granddaughter about Edward, the scene cuts to Edward sculpting beautiful ice sculptures in the attic of the isolated home that he lives in. Ahem, but where did the ice come from, and how was it able to stay frozen? Answers, please, Tim Burton.
Are we supposed to believe that the Wilson sisters’ best friends actually thought the FBI agents were girls?
It’s imperative to just accept this plot hole early on in order to enjoy this cult classic. Yes, FBI agents Kevin and Marcus (the Wayans brothers) go undercover to portray socialite sisters with the goal of saving the girls from a kidnapping scheme. Spending an entire weekend in the Hamptons going to fancy dinners and wearing bikinis on the beach, the agents’ true identities as Black men are never questioned—not even by the siblings’ best friends. Their answer for why they are suddenly taller? They got leg extensions.
The twist was physics books and studying during a destination wedding?
Hulu’s buzziest original film release, Palm Springs, at first seemed like a fresh take on a Groundhog Day concept: waking up every morning only to live through the same exact day again, and again, and again. There are sci-fi flourishes, thanks to the time-loop cave where Nyles (Andy Samberg) tries to stop Sarah (Cristin Milioti) from following him into. Of course, she doesn’t listen and gets stuck in the loop with him.
To break the loop, Sarah gets a bunch of physics textbooks (she doesn’t live in Palm Spring but is there for a wedding), studies every day, and suddenly understands exactly how to escape the time loop. Though her plan is successful, it was underwhelming and unrealistic that someone with no science background could just pore over textbooks to unlock the mysteries of traveling through time.
The Shawshank Redemption
How did Andy reattach the poster to the wall from inside the tunnel?
Banker Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) spent 19 years in prison after being wrongly convicted of a double homicide of his wife and her lover. He makes friends with the other inmates and an enemy with the warden. With just his rock hammer, he spends years tunneling out, covering the gaping hole in his prison cell wall with a poster of Rita Hayworth. What remains suspicious, though, is how he was able to attach that poster to the wall from inside the tunnel.
Why didn’t Joy send the memories up in the tube?
Inside Out imagines how youth brains work through emotions in the form of marble-like memories colored by each feel. The plot of the movie follows Joy (Amy Poehler) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith) trying to bring 11-year-old Riley’s core memories back to the command center.
The two see maintenance workers sending memories up the recall tube to be played in Riley’s head, the place where they’re trying to go. Joy has the idea of hitching a ride on the tube, but she is too heavy and it doesn’t work. Our question: Why doesn’t Joy just send the memories up the tube by themselves?
The Wizard of Oz
Dorothy actually wears high heels for her entire journey?
While there is a talking Tin Man, a Scarecrow longing for a brain, and a Cowardly Lion who walks on his hind legs, what we can’t get past is how Dorothy (Judy Garland) was able to travel their entire adventure in red high heels. Through the forest, on the run from flying monkeys, through the fields ahead of Emerald City: Her feet must have been killing her. Good thing those ruby slippers had magical capabilities and helped her get back to Kansas with just a few clicks.
Quinn suddenly became an amazing dancer because she felt the music?
Netflix’s latest original film revolves around Quinn (Sabrina Carpenter), a girl who has never danced in her life but wants to win the Work It Competition. She doesn’t make the school dance team, so she creates her own. Throughout the movie, she looks purposefully terrible at dancing until right before the competition, when she suddenly feels the music while stamping books at a nursing home she volunteers at. Of course, the team wins the dance competition as the newcomers. And though we all love an underdog story, this one is a little too far-fetched.