An item on IMDb this morning brought news that Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has been awarded the dubious honor of 2008’s most “gaffe-prone” movie (64 errors total) by a site we had never heard of and were tickled to discover: Movie Mistakes. Coincidentally or not, major Hollywood releases are overwhelmingly represented on Movie Mistake’s list of the 139 most, er, mistaken films of the year. (Quite appropriately, Mamma Mia! and The Dark Knight rank two and three, respectively). The site’s editor, Jon Sandys told WENN news that “with the budget of many movies, you’d think they could avoid mistakes like this, or at least use computers to cover them up, but they keep cropping up, and eagle-eyed movie fans keep spotting them.”
It’s worth considering, however, whether this list–selected by a poll of Movie Mistakes readers–reflects the dismal quality of studio editing or is instead an indication of the tastes and viewing habits of the voters. For example, Drillbit Taylor (ranked 64, and credited with four blunders) was not among the one-hundred-plus theatrical releases I saw this year, but I can’t say that I am surprised that the movie contained some gaps in visual continuity and logic. Conversely, I have little doubt that one could spot mistakes in some of the year’s finest but little-seen art films–such as Jia Zhang-ke’s Still Life or Jacques Rivette’s The Duchess of Langeais. But to find those mistakes, one would first need to watch these films.
There is something totally charming, if somewhat misguided, about Movie Mistakes, an online community of cinephiles dedicated to the ideal that the artifice in art should never show through; that mimesis is the highest aesthetic achievement. The featured “daily screenshot” on Movie Mistakes today shows Arnold Schwarzenegger hovering above a molten fire in a scene from Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991). The scolding caption tells us that, “There is no place or process in a steel mill where you have a big open pool of liquid steel.” Who would have thunk?–Benjamin Strong