Hollywood keeps getting subway geography wrong

There are times when they get it wrong because there were serious timing, location access and plotting reasons, then there are times when they’re just too fucking lazy and ignorant. The most offensive is when writers rather than producers screw it up. Rick Riordan had a gloomy forest right on the other side of the Lincoln Tunnel from Manhattan. WTF? He gets lots more wrong everywhere.

I stopped watching Sleepy Hollow when it was clear there was no one from east of the Mississippi on the writing or production staff. In E4 (I think) they kept referring to a character as a “rancher”. NO ONE is called a rancher in the east! The establishing shot to his “ranch” is clearly dry brown California not green and verdant NY. They could have gotten the right shot from stock footage easily. Then the local shaman send the protagonists into a trance with the bite of a…Scorpion? No scorpions within a 1000 miles of Sleepy hollow. This was all just lazy, and loses my respect utterly.

I remember dimly that in the original comics it was mentioned somewhere that the SHIELD HQ is kept in the air by some sort of secret anti-gravity-device and that the rotors are a cover-up. Somewhere in a box must be my copies of Marvel Universe (was that the name?), I must dig them up sometime. Neat stuff, explanations, diagrams, what have you, explaining everything and everyone in the Marvel universe. Great stuff for trivia quizzes.

You’re telling me. I wish I could hop on a Metro train and get from my place to Baltimore.

Or drive into the warp that gets you from Fells Point (Baltimore) to the 9th st. tunnel from VA into DC in Enemy of the State.

Even the one station jump that Bruce Willis and Richard Gere manage to run down to get from Metro Center to New Carrollton (for those not familiar – it’s more like 15 stops) in The Jackal.

Also, every episode of Bones ever.

See, but that’s just the thing. That’s a big enough lie that you go with it. If they made a movie that was partially set in your house but they shot the lower bathroom next to the upstairs bedroom you’d notice and wonder why and that would probably take away your suspension of disbelief.

And to how the helicarrier can fly, they’re obviously using Stark Tech which doesn’t weigh as much or increases rotor lift technology past traditional power.

While I’m usually the first to complain about inaccuracies in movies, I don’t think stuff like this really matters. Even for a famous city, only people who live there would notice little details like this, and it doesn’t cause any real world problems like inaccuracies about history or science could. Movies would be a pain to watch if they had to constantly fill in a 45 minute commute between each scene.

1 Like

This is why the main characters always find a free parking spot wherever they need it, dial complicated phone numbers without ever looking them up, never get put on hold and so on.
Unless stuff like this is in some way relevant to the story or moving along things they are superfluous.

My personal favorite is Harry and Sally driving out the (in reality, unused by vehicles) ornamental gate on the University of Chicago campus and the very next shot shows them driving south along Lake Michigan from Evanston. Who drives to NYC from UChicago via Northwestern?

Yeah, ‘A Quantum of Solace’ solace cuts from the Gardesana Occidentale right to a quarry that isn’t there within miles and miles, but it works a an action sequence.

BTW, I’ve always suspected that at least half of all the car chases are wriiten because that’s much easier to do than write really good dialogue.

EDIT: Typos! They’re everywhere!

Apart from artistic license and the desire to show certain things, I’d say that continuity and shooting schedules are already so complex that layering on 100% location accuracy would be an invitation to disaster.

Rains one day, scene re-write to cope, doesn’t rain the next day when the dialogue is being re-shot, etc etc.

I’d bet there’s a fair amount of making it up on the hoof.

1 Like

OK, I have read this thread and none of you have any basis for lecturing me about art (ahem @Raybert ) if this is how you feel about movies. This is the most absurd collection of observations on art I have ever ever seen. Really.


These are the sort of meta-observations that should bring you an extra helping of joy when experiencing art. There is no error in what these people are doing. Not a single frame.

Chicago. Another great example. Nothing like that in Manhattan these days…

Oh, I know where they were, as I lived in both cities, and I didn’t mind the elevated train idea. My objection was that the Spider Man universe is New York. Not Gotham, not Metropolis, New York. This is evident in reflections of actual events and locations in town.

But there’s not a single New Yorker who can watch that elevated train going crosstown and not be jarred from their thoughts by wondering why this line stops at the Hudson since they could have easily just used the N line and just digitally added a track under repair to the Manhattan Bridge and sold it. Same exterior look, same elevated train danger, actual, better location.

Personally, I presumed this flub was deliberate meta-humor, since the scene IS an unsupported and unsupportable gag

According to my copy of The Little Book of Mornington Crescent by Tim, Graeme, Barry and Humph, everything Hollywood has done is completely legal.

1 Like

nothing ITT is even remotely as egregious as Quicksilver. It’s not even dependent on having been a resident or even if you have ever visited NYC. Fishburne and Bacon have a bike race and BAM they’re in San Francisco. It’s never addressed. There’s no acknowledgement. This has nothing to do with “continuity errors” or “keeping a tight shooting schedule.” It is blatantly wrong to anyone over five years old.

The diner scene here and entire setting of the film is NYC. at the 34 min mark they’re in SF. Then at 36.15 they’re back in NY. insane.

1 Like

Hitchcock used to do this all the time. My favorite is The Birds, where the schoolchildren start running from a schoolhouse at the top of a hill in Bodega and end up at the bottom of the hill in Bodega Bay, a completely different town.

Does Thor II locate any scenes in the foot tunnel running under the Thames to Greenwich? If not, then that is a huge opportunity lost.

No. Of course, when you have a flying hero it isn’t clear why anything would happen underground at all.

They do make a bit of a mess of Greenwich, but in a rather different and more complicated manner.

More importantly, which would win in battle: the Helicarrier, or the Valiant?

No contest. I think those pigeons are going to just get WRECKED.

1 Like

Only flying baddies get forced to act underground - viz Tom Cruze’s Mission Impossible helicopter crash scene (with the wrong stupid trains crossing through the Channel Tunnel)