Hollywood Myths and Misconceptions


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Many common myths can be directly traced back to popular films and TV shows. These particular sorts of myths are different from the general unbelievability of action scenes, unlikely romantic pairings and superheroes. While viewers can be sure that Rambo is fictional and that Transformers are not going to appear on their street, movies and television perpetuate more subtle misconceptions that are widely believed.

Hollywood has always chosen drama over realism. Once a myth has been established, it becomes part of public consciousness and tends to be repeated in future film & TV productions. This, in turn, establishes the myth even stronger.

Here are just a few false beliefs that we owe to Tinsel Town:


Amnesia is a great plot device, and filmmakers have recognized this since its first use in the silent film era! Talk about built-in drama – it is easy to identify with a character who is struggling to remember who they are. The eventual reveal of their actual identify provides even more plot opportunities. Alas, Hollywood’s version of amnesia bears little resemblance to the actual condition. Most sufferers do not forget their past at all and those that do typically improve over time – sometimes regaining full memory in as little as hours – or even minutes.


Quicksand is a near-certain death trap, as Hollywood would like you to believe. In reality, if you fall into a quicksand pit (which is basically just dirt/sand mixed with water), escape is far from impossible. You can loosen quicksand’s grip by moving your legs back and forth, then just float upward, since quicksand is more dense than water.

Phone Calls

Two common phone myths are that criminals only get one phone call and that it takes the police a long time to trace a call. Neither is true. Why Hollywood insists you can only make one call when arrested is not entirely known, but generally you are allowed to make the calls you need to post bail, obtain legal representation, etc. As for tracing calls, it is almost instantaneous these days – on both landlines and cellular networks.


“Split personalities” is another wonderful plot device (mild-mannered accountant is also a serial killer). The controversial Multiple Personality Disorder/Dissociative Identity Disorder is actually a completely separate condition from Schizophrenia. Schizophrenics do not have multiple personalities, but experience delusions, hallucinations and paranoid thoughts.

Electric Shocks

A “flatlined” patient being revived by an electric shock to their heart is a common scene in movies and medical TV shows. Defibrillators are actually used to correct irregular heartbeats but are useless when the heart has completely stopped beating. In that case, the only treatment is CPR and an adrenaline injection.

This is just a sample of common Hollywood myths. Given their dramatic potential versus the “truth,” we can expect these misconceptions (and others) to continue.

The Greatest American Film Critics

Today, it seems everyone is a film critic; though, before the Internet there were only a select few. These men and women handed down both flattering and scathing critiques on the works of Hollywood and America relied on their expertise to make a decision on what film they would spend their hard-earned money. Though there have been countless critics since the birth of Hollywood, these five have stood the test of time and continue to be viewed as authorities on the subject of film.

Roger Ebert was one of the most well-known and respected film critics in America. He was the first and only film critic to win a Pulitzer Prize and was considered the go-to American film critic for his entire career which spanned 46-years. Working for the Chicago Sun-Times, his film critiques were published in more than 200 newspapers worldwide. Ebert was known for his thumbs-up or down, and his critiques were honest, fair and factual. He was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2005 and died on April 4, 2013, after an 11-year battle with cancer.

Andrew Sarris was a Brooklyn-born film critic who got his start by publishing a review of Psycho for The Village Voice. Sarris is credited with popularizing the auteur theory. The vast majority of his esteemed career was spent working for The New York Film Bulletin and The Village Voice. Sarris’ most popular work was his book, The American Cinema, where he spoke in depth about the importance of the film director in creating a successful film. He was a strongly opinionated critic and was often accused of being dogmatic in his approach. He continued to critique films up until 2009 and died at the age of 83 on June 20, 2012.

Pauline Kael was an American film critic who was known for her witty, often biting, critiques. Frequently, her critiques were not parallel with her colleagues in the field. Being one of the few women in film critiquing, she refused to bow down to her alumni and relied on her own opinions and thoughts, even if they disagreed with most other critics. Roger Ebert described her as the Elvis of film criticism. Kael had a career that spanned 42-years and primarily worked for The New Yorker. She died on September 3, 2001.

J. Hoberman is a film critic who was born in New York. His career began when he started working under Andrew Sarris at The Village Voice. Here, he critiqued experimental films. His first published critique was for Eraserhead in 1977. Hoberman rose in popularity and was the most respected critic in the film review section of the newspaper. His career with The Village Voice spanned over 40-years. Hoberman is not only a film critic, he is also an author of many books and is best known for his thorough film critiques that not only spoke of the film itself but also how its themes related to issues in the world around him.

Leonard Maltin was born in New York City and is one of the most recognized film critics alive today. His career began at the ripe age of 15 when he began his self-published magazine, Film Fan Monthly. Since 1982, Maltin has been a film critic for Entertainment Tonight and is best known for his series of books entitled, Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide. Since the mid-90s, Maltin has served as the president of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. He also hosts his own radio program and is a teacher at the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California.

Each of these American film critics has left their path whether they are still working their  craft or have passed on. These respected critics rose above mediocrity and embraced the art of critiquing to its finest detail. Though many have come before and after them, they will always be remembered as the greatest of their time.

Film critics

The Southeast’s Contribution to Cinema

From the tree-lined streets of Natchez, Mississippi to the self-proclaimed “Hollywood of the South,” otherwise known as Atlanta, the Southeastern United States has been the site of numerous movies. While it is far from the studios of Los Angeles and New York City, the South has something that simply can’t be replicated on a film set. Rolling fields of lush green grass dotted with lazy cattle, quaint small towns that haven’t changed since the mid 20th century, and authentic Southern charm are just a few of the reasons so many filmmakers have chosen to head south for filming. If you can’t think of any movies filmed in the Southeastern United States, here is a quick look.


Most of John Grisham’s bestsellers were set in Mississippi, and several of the movies based on his books were filmed in the Magnolia State, including A Time to Kill (1996), The Chamber (1996), and The Client (1994). In addition to legal thrillers, plenty of other movies, including award winners Walk the Line (2005), The Help (2011), and Cadillac Records (2008), as well as Act of Valor (2012), My Dog Skip (2000), and O Brother, Where Art Thou (2000) opted to film in Mississippi.


With plenty of historical sites, beautiful landscapes, acres of farmland, and even beaches, Alabama provides a versatile spot for filming. For starters, romantic comedies including Failure to Launch (2006), Norma Rae (1979), and naturally, Sweet Home Alabama (2002) filmed here. Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006) really had no choice but to film many of its scenes at the legendary Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, AL, while 2014’s Selma headed to none other than Selma, AL, as well as parts of Georgia. Oddly enough, even Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (2006) filmed in the Birmingham area.


Tyler Perry Studios is located in Atlanta, so it should come as no surprise that most of his movies including Tyler Perry’s The Single Mom’s Club (2014), Madea’s Witness Protection (2012), and For Colored Girls (2010) filmed in various areas in and around Atlanta. In 2013, 42, detailing Jackie Robinson’s life headed to Georgia after filming some portions of the film in Alabama. Several remakes and sequels have also chosen to come to Georgia for filming including The Three Stooges (2012), Footloose (2011), Stomp the Yard: Homecoming (2010), and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013). Plenty of movies centered around football also filmed in Georgia, including We Are Marshalls (2006), The Blind Side (2009), Remember the Titans (2002), the and lesser known Facing the Giants (2006). Surprisingly, the 1939 classic Gone with the Wind was not filmed in Georgia, though it was based there.


Thanks to the beautiful weather and beaches, numerous film crews have headed to Florida for filming, including 1990’s cult favorite Edward Scissorhands and The Bodyguard in 1992. Children of the 90s may be shocked to learn that although the tearjerker My Girl was set in Pennsylvania, it was filmed in various parts of Florida. A number of comedies have taken advantage of the Sunshine State’s great weather for filming, including The Water Boy (1998), Easy A (2010), and There’s Something About Mary (1998). Additional movies filmed in Florida include Apollo 13 (1995), Armageddon (1998), Scarface (1983), Challenger (1990), and Citizen Kane (1941).

South Carolina

Historical landmarks, friendly locals, warm weather, and amazing beaches have made South Carolina a favorite of filmmakers. In 1993, Forrest Gump used several small towns in SC for filming, while The Legend of Bagger Vance did the same in 1999. Cold Mountain (2002), Dear John (1993) based on the Nicholas Spark’s novel, G.I. Jane (1996), and The Haunted Mansion (2003) were also filmed in the state. 1990’s Days of Thunder took advantage of the famous Darlington Raceway in Darlington, SC for filming, while 1971’s ridiculously scary Deliverance was filmed in Long Creek.

Although it is thousands of miles from the bright lights of Hollywood, there is no denying that the Southeast has played a big part in many of Hollywood’s biggest hits.