17

What word can be used to describe a bug in a movie?

By "bug in a movie" I mean a scene where an inconsistency (in dressing, the plot, the logic of the story, etc.) is exposed to the audience. I'll give some examples.

  • Two people (A, B) are talking. The camera is on A, and A has a broken (left) arm. The camera then switches to B and then back to A again. But this time the broken arm becomes A's right arm.
  • The Starbucks cup that appeared in Game of Thrones.
  • FYI (as the two posted Answers generally get at) - You can get a general term (such as a "goof"), but there are also specific more industry-specific terms for these. Are you looking for an all-encompassing word? Or a word for each of the two examples you posted? – BruceWayne Aug 9 '19 at 16:51
  • I was not looking for anything specific. The more the better. – trisct Aug 9 '19 at 17:05
  • It was not a Starbucks cup. – Lightness Races in Orbit Aug 11 '19 at 11:44
46

You could call that a "goof" (this is the word used on IMDB) or a "blooper" (though this is usually an acting error that gets cut from the show). More particularly you can talk about "continuity errors", "anachronisms" or "plot holes".

A "goof" is a general mistake in a film. A "blooper" refers more to a mistake made by an actor, or things like malfunctioning props, defective set pieces, and deliberate jokes and pranks. The main thing they all have in common is they are obvious when they happen and they interrupt the scene. You have a "blooper reel" which is a reel of film which contains the most amusing mistakes made. "Continuity error" is an inconsistency; it could be in story or a physical mistake, but it's where one thing is established and then another thing is shown later. An "anachronism" is a later invention in a film set in an earlier time. A "plot hole" is a problem with the story; for instance characters missing an obvious option to solve their problem without trouble, or an illogical/impossible event.

You can just talk about mistakes or errors. There doesn't have to be a special word.

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    +1. A "goof" is a general mistake in a film. A "blooper" refers more to a mistake made by an actor; you have a "blooper reel" which is a reel of film which contains the most amusing mistakes made. "Continuity error" is an inconsistency; it could be in story or a physical mistake, but it's where one thing is established and then another thing is shown later. An "anachronism" is a later invention in a film set in an earlier time. A "plot hole" is a problem with the story; for instance characters missing an obvious option to solve their problem without trouble, or an illogical/impossible event. – Muzer Aug 8 '19 at 22:58
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    Bloopers frequently include things other than acting mistakes, including things like malfunctioning props, defective set pieces, and deliberate jokes and pranks. The main thing they all have in common is they are obvious when they happen and they interrupt the scene. – barbecue Aug 9 '19 at 0:59
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    Excellent answer, @Muzer. Oh, it's a comment. – mcalex Aug 9 '19 at 6:52
  • No problem! @mcalex I thought it would make more sense as a comment than a new answer, especially as I was just defining in more detail the terms James K had already stated! I'm glad he has incorporated them in the edit :) – Muzer Aug 9 '19 at 8:50
  • From what I understand, "goof" can also be used of mistakes outside of movies. But that's rather rare. – OmarL Aug 9 '19 at 15:03
30

I think that the term that you're looking for is continuity error.

According to the Wikipedia:

Continuity

In fiction, continuity is consistency of the characteristics of people, plot, objects, and places seen by the reader or viewer over some period of time.

Continuity errors

Most continuity errors are subtle and minor, such as changes in the level of drink in a character's glass or the length of a cigarette, and can be permitted with relative indifference even to the final cut. Others can be more noticeable, such as sudden drastic changes in appearance of a character. Such errors in continuity can ruin the illusion of realism and affect suspension of disbelief.

A similar question was answered in our sister site.

@JamesK has pointed the word goof. According to the Wikipedia:

In filmmaking, a goof is a mistake made during film production that finds its way into the final released picture. Depending upon the film and the actual scene, the goof may have different effects: a loss in realism, an annoyance, or it could just be funny. It is often a type of continuity error. Goofs are also known as "bloopers" or "mistakes".

You can read more about the types of goofs in the linked page.

                                     Starbucks cup

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  • While the word is technically correct, the connotation of that word is different from the POV of movie makers and writers. Continuity from their POV is limited to non-plot elements. Things that were errors made during production, not during script writing. The broader definition of "continuity error" cited includes any error present in the produced film. So when talking to the people who make movies you would say "logical inconsistency" or "plot hole". Yeah, "plot hole" isn't as accurate if you're not talking about plot but they'll know what you mean since that's the popular term. Ha. – HenryM Aug 8 '19 at 18:59
  • I wouldn't call the starbuck cup a continuity error. – James K Aug 8 '19 at 20:46
  • IMDB calls them "Goofs", and sometimes they're called "bloopers", but those aren't rigorous terms. – Shawn V. Wilson Aug 9 '19 at 1:42
  • @JamesK You're right about the term goof. I've updated my answer. I saw the images of that starbucks cup but I'm not sure if that was a mistake or a joke. – RubioRic Aug 9 '19 at 5:57
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    I agree with this answer. You will find a "continuity editor" in the credits of many movies, but you won't find a "goof-proofer". This lends credibility to the fact that within the industry the accepted term revolves around the word "continuity". – Keeta - reinstate Monica Aug 9 '19 at 14:24

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