Fire up the plot-hole truck!

I was doing some reading on conspiracy theories the other day (thanks for the time-suck, Wikipedia), and I came across the entry for The Philadelphia Experiment. I read through it, then remembered seeing the movie was on Netflix Watch Instantly. That night, I decided to give it a watch.

Well, it was definitely a low-budget 80s movie, and viewed through that lens, it was OK. The ending, though (SPOILERS [on a 27-year-old-film]), where the main character decides to live in “the future,” kind of got to me.

See, he’s a minimally trained Navy enlisted guy from 1943. The whole time he’s in 1984, he’s surprised and mystified by things like aluminum cans, TV, and automatic transmissions. It might be great and romantic from a story point of view to have him decide to go live in 1984 with Nancy Allen, but after the film closes, those two are going to have some problems, not the least of which is that the guy is going to be seen as a terminally unemployable moron. He won’t even be able to hold down a job behind the counter of a gas station, because the computerized register will confuse and frighten him.

Of course, all movies have their plot holes. It’s endemic to the format, I think, because you only have two hours or so to try and tell a complete story — you’re going to leave a few loose ends hanging around there.

So what are your favorite plot holes in films?



  1. Oh, jeez, now you’ve made me nervous about an upcoming release I’ve got! As for plot holes, I know I’ve seen ’em, I know I’ve been annoyed by ’em, but unless I’m watching the movie right then, I can’t remember ’em!

  2. I’m with KC, both worried about plot holes now and fumbling for an example 🙂 I guess I’ll go to my fallback and say just about any SyFy Original Movie 🙂

  3. Monica · · Reply

    I can’t believe I’m even admitting seeing this, but my favorite has got to be from the Dragonball Z live-action movie, Dragonball Evolution. I’m not sure how many I can list here, but let’s go.

    – The villain is somehow released from an “eternal” prison without anyone knowing how.
    – The villain suddenly also has a sexy female sidekick and an airship.
    – The heroes manage to walk across a pit of lava on the bodies of enemies that don’t immediately burn to a cinder. In lava. LAVA PEOPLE.
    – The hero of the story has these amazing martial arts skills, and gets picked on inceasantly. Even if he’s “not allowed to use them”, what teenager do you know wouldn’t kick someone’s ass if he could?
    – The huge wish granted at the end isn’t used to turn everything back to normal, just to revive one dead guy.
    – If they have flying airships and badass rayguns, why the hell do they WALK anywhere?!
    – I believe my husband and I paying money to see that was probably a plot hole too.

  4. The thing is, I don’t think that thing you’ve described qualifies as a plot hole. That’s just speculating that the Happily Ever After ending would probably not work, which is something you could say about a lot of fairy tales, romance stories, or romantic comedies. Lloyd Dobler and Diane Court probably wouldn’t last after the end of Say Anything, because they really are two different types of people, with widely different goals. And I can say that about a lot of different movie couples.

    Also, I’d reject the premise you propose of the man being unemployable. Absolutely, adjusting to the new time would be difficult, but unless the film established the the character had some kind of learning disability, there’s no reason to assume that he couldn’t eventually get caught up, with proper training, maybe going back to school. I had no idea how to work a cash register until I got a job @ 20, working in a video store. And they showed me how to use. And 2 years later I got a job as a shipper in a warehouse, where I had to work a computer to ship packages via UPS and Fed Ex and, again, I was taught how to use it, despite never having used a computer before (it was another 7 years before I got my own PC @ home). And I’m no genius, either. So I think the man from the movie would be just fine, in that regard.

    The bigger potential problem would be cultural difference between the two. And man from the 40’s and a woman from 80’s would likely have far different views on multiple subjects, including gender roles. If they get married, he may expect her to quite her job, stay home and be a housewife, while she wants her own career. Stuff like that (not to mention his likely regressed views on race) could cause many conflicts.

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