Cinematic Indulgences 2: Physics and the Cinema

Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics is a formerly great, but still pretty decent, site specializing in review and discussion of the many physics mistakes common to films. Did you know that bullets which ricochet don’t sparkle (unlike vampires)? Well, now you do.

Not only do they discuss common physics oversights/crimes against science in general, they also review and rate specific films for their accuracy in physics. (The worst offender? Unsurprisingly, it’s The Core, 2003’s so-bad-it’s-good inverse Armageddon.) The reviews were, at one point in time, the best part of visiting the site.

Unfortunately, the authors made the grave error of publishing a book compiling their posts, then removing the posts from the site. As a result, Movie Physics is a bastardized remnant of its former glory, with most of the best material missing in action.

I’m not one to begrudge anyone who manages to make money off of their own personal pursuits, posting opinions and diatribes to the Internet. But Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics did it foolishly, harming their audience and their site.

They’d have been better off to leave the reviews on the site, as they’re free advertising. People who like them will buy the book, and (if they’re any good) the authors will make money. Schlock Mercenary and The Order of the Stick both thrive off this model, and the creators (Howard Taylor and Jeff Burlew, respectively) are quite successful. (They make a living posting stuff for free!)

Still, the general discussion of specific areas movie physics differ from real-world physics are illuminating, and the current crop of reviews are good reads, if not as good as the reviews of yore. After all, how often does a big budget anti-physics masterpiece like The Core come along?

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