Category Archives: Elysium

Top 10: Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Favorite Movies

Also, footballs should not be thrown on roofs.

Movies get a lot wrong. And when I say a lot I mean a lot

Jumping off of my piece from the other day, what you make of those mistakes is up to you. I try to avoid them because while they are probably better to know, they can also ruin the movie. However, they can also be hilarious depending on how wrong they are. I decided to do some research on IMDB, and I compiled ten of my favorite mistakes, and another list of five “mistakes.” Did I just ruin your favorite movie for you? Well good, it’s ruined for me, too. Let’s bond over sadness. 

Read the list below: 

21 Jump Street-  In 2010, the Supreme Court ruled that if a cop neglects to read your Miranda rights, that is not necessarily grounds for release from charges. So the cops’ mistake at the beginning is not accurate.” (IMDB)

Casablanca: There was never any such thing as a “letter of transit.” (IMDB)

Django Unchained: “Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson) uses the word “motherfucker” four times throughout the film, This is a linguistic anachronism as the word didn’t exist until the WWI era (the Oxford English dictionary lists the earliest use in 1918).” (IMDB)

No Country for Old Men: “In the scene where Anton is chasing Llewelyn through the streets at night, a modern day Dominos Pizza sign can be seen in the background.” (IMDB) [Note: I would pay lots of money for a scene where Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem eat Domino's together while in character.]

The Big Lebowski: “The first sex offender laws, like those which would require Jesus Quintana to notify his neighbors of his paedophilic record, weren’t implemented in California until 1996.” (IMDB)

The Room: “Johnny claims that he couldn’t cash a check because it was “out of state.” However, it is entirely possible to cash an out of state check. Johnny, a banker, should know this.” (IMDB)

The Room: “Mark asks Lisa “what’s going on” with “the candles [and] the music”, but neither music nor candles are present.” (IMDB)

Braveheart: “Primae noctis has never been used in the entire history of the British Isles.” (IMDB)

Braveheart: “In reality most of the Irish fought against Wallace.” (IMDB)

Braveheart: “At the funeral of Wallace’s father, the child Murron plucks a thistle, the national flower of Scotland, and gives it to the boy Wallace. This is both physically impossible (every species of thistle in the British Isles is so prickly and so tough-stemmed that you could only wrench one from its stem wearing protective gloves) and symbolically absurd (the toughness and prickliness of the thistle is its whole point as a symbol of Scottishness).” (IMDB) [Note: I really wanted to put "Braveheart" in its place. And I guess "The Room" needed to be, too.]

And Five “Mistakes”

Elysium: There are actually no machines that exist in real life that can cure both cancer and paralyzed legs. 

Inception: When traveling through other people’s dreams, people do not actually yell confusing lines of exposition at each other. 

Inglourious Basterds: Hitler was not actually shot hundreds of times in the face by a man named the Bear Jew. In fact, Bears are legally not allowed to be Jewish.

Taxi Driver: Robert De Niro is not actually a taxi driver. He is, in fact, a very talented actor. 

There Will Be Blood: In one scene, Daniel Plainview tells Eli Sunday that he is going to bury him underground. In fact, the practice of burying the dead underground did not exist until Warren G. Harding passed it into international law on July 17, 1923. Before that, bodies were stacked up in wheelbarrows, similar to what is seen in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” 

What are some of your favorite mistakes in movies? 

Movie Review: Elysium

Futuristic sci-fi films wouldn’t be much fun if they imagined the best possible scenario for the future. “Elysium” might be one of the bleakest versions of Earth’s future shown on screen.

It’s approaching the end of the 21st century, and Earth has become extremely overpopulated. Mankind is plagued by disease and pollution. Los Angeles, where the film is primarily set, looks like a third world country. The sleek, electronic buildings that lit up futuristic Los Angeles of “Blade Runner” are nowhere to be found. The tallest buildings we see are nothing but carved out skyscrapers now filled with shantytown homes.

Not everyone is doomed, though. A select few get to go live in Elysium, which is a utopian space station suspended above Earth that looks like a giant recreation of Beverly Hills. Everyone on Earth watches Elysium in wonder while nobody in Elysium can bother to ever look down at the place they once called home.

Max (Matt Damon), who for some reason is the protagonist, dreamed about going up to Elysium ever since he was a little boy. Now, he’s a grown up and he’s still stuck on Earth. He’s one of the lucky few to have a job, which he trudges to everyday while getting pick pocketed by a swarm of people speaking assorted languages (mainly Spanish).

“Elysium” is no easy place to get to. The hardline Secretary of Defense (Jodie Foster) won’t let any illegal civilian step aboard the space station. She is so insistent on this that in a particularly disturbing scene, she releases a series of bombs on a group of ships filled with innocent people.

The space station is almost too good to be true. Not only does it look like the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, but it even has machines that can heal anything from broken bones to cancer. Max gets lucky and ends up in the middle of a freak nuclear accident that gives him only a few days to live, unless he goes to Elysium. Now, he has a real excuse to get up there.

“Elysium” is the second film from South African director Neil Blomkamp. Blomkamp wowed me in 2009 with his debut feature “District 9.” “Elysium” is not perfect, but it’s not fair to call it a sophomore slump. It is filled with great ideas that unfortunately aren’t fully elaborated on. The most disappointing part is to see this nearly fully realized world go to waste. The film is called “Elysium” and Max spends so much time wanting to get there, yet so little is seen of it. Also, the idea of a Los Angeles that looks more like Mumbai is fascinating to me and I would have loved more of it, or even a more expanded view of what the rest of the world looked like at that time. A futurist should be as particular about details as a historian is.

Perhaps some of the universe building troubles stem from the story. “Elysium” is bogged down by a heist plot that boils down to computer hacking on about the same level of silliness as “Independence Day.”* What made a dystopia film like “Children of Men” so great is that exploration of the world was part of the story. “Elysium” limits itself to cold, gray corridors and the insides of rocket ships.** Not to mention that for an action film, “Elysium” has very little action.

Everyone involved in “Elysium” is doing the best they can, especially the actors, who deal with some weak material. Max feels like a generic action hero when Damon is capable of so much more. Not to mention, his love of Frey (Alice Braga), which should be the heart of the film, ends up being quite hollow. Yet, Jodie Foster manages to do a lot with a little and ejects her villain with icy apathy towards the struggles of others by using so few words. The real show stealing performance though comes from Sharlto Copley as the wild card Kruger. This is a complete turnaround from his aloof hero in “District 9.” He crafts a villain who is sometimes funny but can also be frightening just by the way he looks at you. If anyone from this proved to be leading man material, its Copley.

Looking back, “Elysium” at least gives you enough to paint a decent idea of what humanity is like at the time. You just have to look very closely at the small snippets. The best example comes after Max is arrested by two robot cops and then goes to police headquarters, only to go and talk to a voice box. This felt farcical yet totally plausible. “Elysium” shows a future where people are fractured because of lack of communication, whether that’s because technology has replaced most jobs or rich white people have decided to create their own planet. Had “Elysium” explored this more it would have transcended originality and been flat out revelatory. Instead, like many other blockbusters that try really hard to be important, “Elysium” just ends up with a jumbled message.

*I call it silly just because “Independence Day” came out at a very different time for computer technology. Let me just clarify how much I love “Independence Day.”
**No offense to rocket ships.