Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Gotcha: I see a 95 Mustang in a Film about the First Iraq War!

OCD-like behavior manifests itself in odd places. Take the "goofs" section in listings on imdb.com. While some of us may enjoy noting a 1995 magazine cover in a film set in the 1980s, it is a point of trivial conversation. There are folks who seem to make it their task to ferret out these anomalies. Here below are the "goofs" from the film The Squid and the Whale, recommended by my daughter after she saw it in an English class in college this past week. I wonder if a member of my dissertation committee, now long gone, lives on. We called him Professor Tidy Bowl.

Goofs for The Squid and the Whale (2005)

Anachronisms: At the end of the movie, Walt enters the newly renovated marine exhibit of the Museum of Natural History through the Hall of Biodiversity. The Hall of Biodiversity did not exist in 1986, it was added to the museum in approximately 2000, and the marine exhibit was renovated about a year later.

Anachronisms: In the middle of the movie, Walt is waiting on a subway platform. A train goes by, and you can glimpse an American flag on the side of the train. Flags decals weren't put on New York subway trains until after the terrorist attacks on the USA of 11 September 2001.

Anachronisms: Late model cars (ie, cars made after 1986) can be seen during most exterior shots.

Anachronisms: Bernie's car has a Statue of Liberty license plate, which didn't start appearing until 1986. But his car's registration says 1986 on it, which means it was issued in 1984, so it should have the older blue-on-yellow license plate.

Anachronisms: When the Berkmans are speaking to Walt's teacher about his plagiarism of the song "Hey You" by Pink Floyd during his performance during the talent show, there is a poster behind the teacher promoting reading featuring the WWE wrestler Hurricane. This wrestler made his WWE debut in 2001.

Anachronisms: Numerous late model vehicles are visible in many of the outdoor scenes.

Anachronisms: The shelves of the school library include at least two sets of reference books that were published after 1986: the 1997 Encyclopedia of Africa South of the Sahara and the "Millennium 2000" edition of the World Book encyclopedia.

Anachronisms: When Walt visits his father in the hospital, there is a Purell Anti-Bacterial Hand Dispenser on the wall in the background.

Miscellaneous: Tennis pro Ilie Nastase's first name is misspelled as "Ille" on the poster in Frank's new room.

Audio/visual unsynchronized: Frank's mouth is closed when, in front of a bathroom mirror, he observes that he has the same bone structure as his mother. Joan is heard to speak in this same scene, and her mouth never moves either, as viewed in the mirror.

Miscellaneous: The Squid and the Whale display in the museum is in reality not nearly as well lit as it is in the movie. It is a very dark display meant to simulate the inky depths of the ocean. It probably would not show up on film as it really exists.

Anachronisms: The NYC subway cars shown throughout the film were introduced in the late '90s. The NYC subway cars of 1986 would be coated with graffiti both inside and out.

Anachronisms: The ambulance that takes Bernard away is painted FDNY red. EMS was not merged into the fire department until the '90s, and prior to that ambulances were painted in the EMS colors: orange, blue and white.

Anachronisms: The fence seen around the reservoir in Central Park was built in 2003. The Whale Room in the Museum of Natural History was renovated to look as in the movie in around 2004.

Anachronisms: When Walt is learning 'Hey You' from the record and from the book, the book has the song in standard music notation and in tablature, but tablature was just starting in the guitar magazines of the mid-1980s and the style of the book is also from a much later date.

Anachronisms: The ambulance that takes the father to the hospital after he has his heart attack has the logo of the twin towers on the back that were not used until after 11 September 2001

Anachronisms: The police officer who issues Jeff Daniels a ticket for double parking is wearing a Navy blue uniform. Those were introduced to the NYPD in 1994. The uniforms in 1986 were sky blue.

Anachronisms: Many of the cars parked on the street throughout the entire movie are cars made in the late 1990s as well as the early 21st century. These cars would not have been around in the 1980s.

Audio/visual unsynchronized: In the dinner scene at Bernard's new home, Frank asks him what happened to his old agent. Bernard responds with "Pissed me off," but in the shot he is clearly chewing rather than speaking.

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