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 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.