TODAY’S RANT: Continuity Gaffes

For those unfamiliar, a continuity gaffe is a mistake in a movie in which something that shouldn’t change from one instant to the next does. They result from movies being shot over many days in an order unrelated to how the film unfurls before the viewer. Take an example, say a brawler is wearing a green shirt, they cut away to the other fighter, but when they flash back he’s an orangutan in a bikini. If it’s still not clear what I’m talking about, the YouTube clip below shows a horde of gaffes from the first Star Wars trilogy.

Now, from the title of this post, you probably think that I’m some sort of obsessive-compulsive nerd who catches every little niggling mistake in a movie. To this I say, I wish! I’m a not-the-least-bit-compulsive nerd. I don’t catch any movie continuity gaffes– not a single one. Sure, I can see them when they’re circled and the film is run in slow motion, but otherwise I’m clueless. This has made me wonder if there isn’t something defective with my brain. When they are pointed out they seem pretty glaring.

What really bothers me is not that I never catch a continuity gaffe in a movie, but rather that I catch them in my real life all the time. I’ll distinctly remember setting my keys down on the valet, but after a thorough search I’ll find them in the freezer. I’ll remember having written a paragraph, but when I come back to my laptop I find nothing but the cryptic message, “xzsawrwddd&&ppPPP.” I’ll put down Shakespeare’s Sonnets and when I pick the book back up, it’s a James Patterson novel.

I’ve developed two competing hypotheses to explain these gaffes. First, I’m in the Matrix, and Mr. Smith is corrupting the code. Second, my secretly super-intelligent cat is fucking with me.

2 thoughts on “TODAY’S RANT: Continuity Gaffes

  1. Cat…that’s always the problem when something goes wrong around here. I’ve edited a couple of student movies I did scripts for in college, and it gets to the point where everything just blurs together. I’m sure pros are better at it, but look at how much footage they have to look at. Drugs…drink…reel after reel…the desire for sleep – or more drugs and drink.
    “Ooooops !”
    “Who cares, G.B., send it out as is…”


    • Yeah, I suspect that someone notices many of these gaffes, but by the time it’s being edited who’s going to accept the expense of reshooting it? When only a few geeks who watch every frame in slow motion are likely to notice… Maybe some of it is subliminal product placement.


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