Skip to content

40 Hilariously Impractical Things That Always Happen in Movies

Sadly, life doesn't imitate art.

For every movie scene that makes us feel as though our very lives are playing out on-screen, there are a hundred others that leave us scratching our heads, wondering what the filmmaker could have possibly been thinking. Worse yet, some of the more common clichés that appear time and time again in films leave us wondering if the people writing these movies have ever observed human behavior at all.

We've rounded up the 40 most unrealistic things that always happen in movies, from the sappy meet-cutes to those utterly improbable fight scenes. And when you want to enjoy some behind-the-scenes secrets from your favorite films, start by discovering these 30 Movie Facts That Will Blow Your Mind.

Female Action Heroes Always Wearing Makeup

makeup movie cliches

It seems pretty clear that being an action hero would probably help a person work up a sweat. However, in movies, female action stars are always meticulously coiffed and made-up, with never so much as a drop of sweat or blood on them, even after taking on a veritable army of bad guys.

Knocking Someone Out With a Single Punch

knockout punch movie cliches

If you want to knock someone out, it's probably going to take more than just a quick chop to the neck or punch to the back of the head to do it, but you'd never know that from how often this K.O.s villains in films. If movies were a little more realistic, we'd see our villains repeating themselves or feeling sleepy as a result of their concussions instead. And for more movie flubs, check out The 30 Worst Movie Endings of All Time.

Villains Revealing Their Plot to the Hero

villain revealing plot movie cliches

In real life, if you have a nefarious plan, keeping it to yourself is a smart move. In movies, villains—even ones who seem to have a long history of getting away with illegal and immoral acts—just love to tell everyone about what they have planned, giving the hero plenty of time to figure out just how to defeat them in the process.

Meeting Someone By Knocking Them Down

meet cute movie cliches

In movies, bumping into someone on a city street and accidentally spilling coffee on them or otherwise knocking them down is an adorable way to meet the future love of your life. In reality, it's a great way to end up in the hospital. And when you want to improve your own dating game, start by ignoring these 40 Relationship Tips That Are Actually Terrible.

Breaking Through a Window Unscathed

through window movie cliches

Epic fight scenes are always a lot more exciting when someone crashes through a plate glass window. However, the idea that anyone can soar through a massive pane of glass without incurring some pretty gnarly—and extremely bloody—injuries is wildly unrealistic.

Typing Fast as a Substitute for Hacking

hacking movie cliches

In movies, when something needs to be hacked, all it seems to take is a very fast typer. In fact, no computer skills outside of rapid-fire typing seem to be involved when it comes to breaking into government databases or stealing company secrets.

Turning On the TV to Find the News Story Someone Just Mentioned

watching tv movie cliches

We've all seen this one a thousand times: a movie character gets a phone call from a friend, who reveals that there's been some kind of tragedy. The first character turns on the TV to get more information, and the news report about said event is not only on the channel the TV's on, it's also just starting. In real life, turning on the TV at random is more likely to yield the midpoint of a Flip or Flop episode.

Someone Screaming "No!" for What Seems Like Forever

screaming no movie cliches

When something traumatic happens to a character in a movie, they don't unleash a guttural scream. Instead, they shout the word "no" for as long as humanly possible—often taking more time to do so than whatever caused them such horror in the first place.

Getting a Parking Spot Every Time

parking movie cliches

If you've ever lived in a big city, you know that getting a parking spot outside your office or building on the first pass is virtually impossible. Of course, circling the block a hundred times does not movie magic make, so when we see a character in a movie pull up somewhere, there's not only a spot available, they don't have to awkwardly parallel park to get into it as the drivers behind them honk, either.

Shooting a Locked Door to Open It

shooting door movie cliches

In movies, firing a handgun at virtually any lock opens it with ease. In real life, however, it's a bit more difficult than that. A Mythbusters experiment revealed that the average handgun won't really do much damage on a lock—even an inexpensive padlock. In fact, only high-powered rifles fired at close range were capable of busting open a lock of any variety.

No Criminal Charges After Wild Shootouts

shootouts movie cliches

Going on a shooting spree to get a bad guy in a movie, destroying millions of dollars' worth of property in the process? Not a problem, according to virtually every action film out there. While the bad guy gets locked up for doing that very thing, the hero causing an equivalent amount of damage doesn't even get questioned by police.

People Ending Phone Calls Without Saying "Goodbye"

phone call movie cliches

In movies, a phone call ends as soon as one person decides it's over—usually without either party actually saying goodbye to one another. In real life, we have a term for ending a phone call without saying "goodbye": hanging up.

Impromptu Road Trips When Times Get Tough

road trip movie cliches

Feeling blue? If you're a character in a movie, the solution is as simple as going on an impromptu road trip with your best pals. Who cares about your job or family, anyway?

Hooking Up on the Beach

beach hookups movie cliches

If movies are to be believed, there are few things sexier or more romantic that hooking up with someone on a beach. In reality, having seashells and sand scratch up your back isn't actually all that fun.

Instantaneous DNA Tests

dna test movie cliches

Movie conundrum: you have a DNA sample that needs to be tested. The solution: bring it to your nearest lab and they'll get results to you in mere seconds—you know, instead of the very long time it might take to accomplish the same thing in an IRL lab.

Passionately Kissing Someone You Hate

kissing movie cliches

In real life, a little kindness, flattery, or flirtation goes a long way when it comes to getting people to like you. In movies, being a total jerk to someone else is likely to yield the same result. In fact, the most passionate make-out sessions seem to happen between people who hated each other—often justifiably so—just moments before.

Fighting After Getting Shot

getting shot movie cliches

Real talk: getting shot is painful, messy, and often debilitating, but you'd never know that from watching your favorite movies. In fact, even after taking a direct hit to the abdomen or upper thigh that would kill or at least incapacitate virtually anyone, most action heroes will continue fighting, albeit with a slight limp.

Dumpsters Breaking Someone's Fall

dumpster movie cliches

Need to escape a building quickly? In movies, as long as there's a Dumpster nearby, you're in luck. Movies always seem to make Dumpsters seem like a cushy place to land, rather than the hard metal boxes full of rotting trash they actually are.

Funeral-Goers All Conveniently Owning Black Umbrellas

black umbrella movie cliches

Sure, your average adult may have an all-black outfit to wear to a funeral. However, the odds that everyone attending your service also owns a matching black umbrella—an accessory every funeral-going movie character seems to have—are slim.

Boozing, Smoking, Anti-Exercising Characters With Ripped Physiques

eating movie cliches

For most people with jacked bodies, they're a result of lots of hours in the gym and a healthy, if spartan, diet. In movies, characters will smoke a pack of cigarettes, chug beer, eat entire pizzas, and never hit the gym, yet somehow maintain their enviable abs.

Villains Fighting One at a Time

transporter group fight movie cliches

Luckily for most movie heroes, the villains they encounter never want to attack all at once. Instead, they simply stand around in a circle, taking on their victim one-by-one, allowing him or her to easily defeat them.

Women Running in Stilettos

running in heels movie cliches

Ask anyone who's ever worn a pair of six-inch stilettos and they'll tell you: standing still in them is challenge enough. However, you'd never know it from watching movies, in which a sky-high pair of heels is as comfortable and easy to sprint in as a pair of running shoes.

Having a Normal-Volume Conversation with Someone at a Bar

bar conversation movie cliches

Movie characters never have to suffer the indignity of trying to pick someone up in a bar, only to end up having to shout at the object of their affection just to compensate for the blaring music. In fact, they can always have a conversation at a totally normal volume, no matter how packed the bar or club they're in is.

20-Somethings With Huge Apartments in Big Cities

Kate Hudson 20-something with insane apartment

The Friends phenomenon strikes in movies, too. Despite having lackluster careers and barely scraping by in virtually every respect, 20-something characters are always living in sprawling apartments without a roommate in sight in expensive places like New York, Los Angeles, and London.

Cutting Your Own Hair in a Fit of Rage


Want to signify that big changes are on the way in a movie? Have a female character dramatically cut her hair in front of a bathroom mirror. The good news? No matter how sloppy a job it seems like she's doing, it will always come out looking great.

Women Appearing Immediately Pregnant

pregnancy movie cliches

The very second a woman announces she's pregnant in a movie, she's a full-on maternity-pants-wearing, back-clutching mom-to-be, with an enormously pregnant belly to match. In reality, it takes a lot longer than a few days—like, sometimes as much as six months—to actually look like you're expecting.

Never Getting Change After Buying Something

Bad moms no change at grocery store

In movies, characters always seem to have exact change when making a purchase. Weirder yet, in many cases, they'll tell a cashier, "Keep the change," as though your average shop clerk takes tips.

Opening Locks With a Stethoscope

using stethoscope to break into safe

Can't open a safe in a movie? If you have a stethoscope—or even just an empty glass pressed against the safe—you'll crack it in no time. In fact, this has been thoroughly debunked as an effective method of picking a lock. As it turns out, all the numbers' clicks sound pretty much the same—if you can hear them at all, that is.

Exploding Cars

car explosion movie cliches

Do cars explode on occasion? Sure. However, if movies are to be believed, virtually anything will cause a car to explode. Get in a seemingly minor accident? Car explodes. Shoot the gas tank? Car explodes. Drive off the road? Car explodes.

Villains Who Hold People Up By Their Throats

holding by neck movie cliches

Want to show what a major villain you are in a movie? Hold up the hero by his or her throat, preferably over a cliff. While this happens at the climax of many a fight scene in action movies, in real life, unless you have superhuman strength and your victim has a steel neck, it's almost impossible to do without something dislocating along the way.

Having Long Conversations During Fitness Classes

workout movie cliches

Sure, a trip to the gym can be a great time to catch up with your friends. However, anyone who's ever hit a spin class can attest to the two things: if you're actually working our hard, it's virtually impossible to carry on a long conversation, and they will kick you out of SoulCycle for that.

Easily Kicking Down Doors

kicking door movie cliches

Can't get into a room or house? Not a problem, according to many a movie character. In fact, kicking down a door is apparently about as easy as turning a key.

Runaway Brides

runaway bride

The dramatic flee from the altar by a bride is so over-used and groan-worthy. In all honesty, who spends $40K on a wedding and then decides at the very moment they're about to make things official—not a month or week before—that they're not actually that into it?

College Students With Luxurious Dorm Rooms

the roommate nice dorm

Think movie apartments are nice? You should see the rooms fictional college students get. While your average college student is lucky to have a full-sized window in his or her room, college kids in movies live in massive single rooms with flat-screen TVs and plenty of room to host parties that never get broken up.

People Running Upstairs to Get Away From Intruders

running up the stairs away from killer

In real life, if you suspect that someone has broken into your house, you either leave or call the cops. If you're in a movie, the only thing to do is run upstairs, apparently, ensuring your inevitable demise in the process.

Waking Up from a Nightmare Gasping for Air

nightmare movie cliches

While nightmares may wake you up from your rest, movies make them seem a whole lot more dramatic than they usually are. Who actually sits straight up in bed and gasps for air after having a nightmare in real life?

People With Part-Time Creative Jobs and Huge Incomes

freelancer living above means

Your average freelance writer, designer, or artist probably has a whole lot of side hustles just to help them pay their bills from month-to-month, often working crazy hours just to maintain some semblance of a life. In movies, however, creative types not only rarely work, but pull in major cash—the kind that enables them to live in huge apartments and foot the bill for luxurious trips—for turning in a single article or illustration a month. And to take a look at what these creatives likely spend their fat paychecks on, don't miss the 30 High-End Timeless Style Upgrades.

Eating Every Meal in Restaurants

always eating out

Why do movie characters even have kitchens in the first place? Virtually every character in every movie eats every meal in a restaurant or has an insane delivery budget to blow.

Lawyers Making Emotional Speeches

lawyer speech movie cliches

Courtrooms are pretty somber places in real life. In movies, however, lawyers are welcome to make highly emotional speeches—often ones that barely pertain to the case at hand—without the other legal team objecting or the judge asking them to stop.

Making Out in the Rain

kissing in the rain movie cliches

According to virtually every rom-com out there, there's virtually nothing more romantic than making out in the rain. The reality? It's cold. It's wet. Your clothes are becoming increasingly see-through and stretched out. And your hair? That cute style you spent hours on before your date? Yeah, it's wet garbage now. Luckily, you can always improve your relationship game with these 50 Easy Ways to Be a (Much) More Romantic Man.

To discover more amazing secrets about living your best life, click here to sign up for our FREE daily newsletter!

Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more