Example: Could a fire hose really support the weight of a falling man?

It seems to me that this isn't really a question about movies or T.V. It's a question about physics triggered by a scene in a movie.

Movies and T.V. often require a willing suspension of disbelief, and questions about plausibility of items like this are irrelevant to the plot of the movie. You could easily ask a dozen such questions about any movie or T.V. show. (In some movies, in the hundreds.)

Just because a question is triggered by a movie scene doesn't make the question about movies, does it?

3 Answers 3


In my personal opinion I think questions like this are on the edge of being on-topic. It can be interesting and increase your appreciation or understanding of a movie to ask or research and answer such a question. You are correct, willing suspension of disbelief is a useful skill to have when watching movies and TV - but I can see that questions like this can be on topic.

However the recent question about Swallows and Coconuts which I closed I thought was not likely to increase your appreciation or understanding of the movie.

  • I'm accepting this as it seems to be the popular answer. I'm an infrequent visitor to this SE site, and even though I don't think it's on-topic, I didn't ask to get my own view validated, but rather to see what the community thought. As such, the highest voted answer wins on this one for me. Aug 31, 2012 at 0:28

I would like to offer a different point of view. I come to this site from a different place than many of the participants, because I am more of an information-nerd than a movie or TV buff. I am also an artist, and one thing I have come to appreciate as an artist is that when I want to do something as simple as make a drawing, I have at least a dozen decisions to make before I ever put down my first mark - (paper or board, small or large, color or bw, loose or tight, messy charcoal or tidy pencil, realistic or abstract, wet or dry...). All of these decisions affect the end product and the viewer's reception of the final piece. Multiply this by thousands if you are trying to make a movie.

What is sometimes discounted as trivia on this site really is important to the way other people appreciate a movie. Choosing to do the stunt with the hose was a decision of the writer or the director. It tells us about his intentions - Does he want me to believe this? As an artist, is effect more important to him than truth? And at the end of the day, the situation he presented in his film stretched my understanding of the world because I researched fire hoses, and the next time I see a fire hose in a film, I will be fractionally smarter about what I am seeing.

There was another question, recently closed, about the music used in an episode of Louie. It was a fascinating choice of music - when I searched for the identity of it I discovered dozens of bloggers wondering about this piece of music. It affected people. I went and watched the episode after I found out that Louie has all of the music written specifically for his show by one band. Music is integral to movies, television and perception, and to my mind, a decision no less trivial than location or CGI decisions or changing the ending from the book.

The other argument I would like to make for not closing questions that seem trivial is that we are turning people away from the site. The man who asked the question about the Louie music will certainly never be back. We need more people and their diverse interests. I think we should embrace the trivial because at the end of the day, one could argue that everything discussed on this site is trivial in varying degrees.

Stepping off of my librarian soapbox. (smile)

  • Well said. I am definitely if the opinion that we can be too narrow in our scope.
    – iandotkelly Mod
    Aug 31, 2012 at 3:43
  • 1
    I agree that every decision made during a movie is usually made for a reason. However, there's a difference between asking a question for trivial information, or asking a question for the understanding of why that choice was made. If that Louie question had been about why that piece of music was played then, I would be ok with it because that adds appreciation to the film. Speculation about physics to me is not interesting. Now, if the question had been why did they do that, sure, I could see that.
    – DForck42
    Aug 31, 2012 at 21:30
  • 1
    To address the retention issue, that's a back and forth battle for every site. There is no way we can keep 100% of visitors on our site, nor should be. Waht we have to do, in order for the site to flourish and last, is to pick who our audience is. So far, the site has been targeted more towards people that aren't interested in trivial questions. However, if you think that the topic shoudl be brought back up again, by all means start a meta post. We should periodically be asking if we're doing the right thing.
    – DForck42
    Aug 31, 2012 at 21:32

My opinion is no. We are a movie site, not a physics site, a biology site, nor a chemistry site. All movies rely to some extent on the suspension of disbelief, and with that movies tend to fudge (or out right break) known laws of physics. Asking these sorts of questions really don't add to the appreciation of the film, and really just don't belong here IMHO.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .