2623: Goofs

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The film is set in 2018, but when Commander Bremberly chases the hologram through Times Square, there's a billboard for Avengers: Age of Ultron. Depending on the date, that billboard would have been advertising either Infinity War or this movie.
Title text: The film is set in 2018, but when Commander Bremberly chases the hologram through Times Square, there's a billboard for Avengers: Age of Ultron. Depending on the date, that billboard would have been advertising either Infinity War or this movie.


IMDb is the Internet Movie Database, a website that contains detailed, user-contributed information about movies and TV shows. One of the sections in many entries is "Goofs". This may list bloopers, inconsistencies, implausible actions, anachronisms, etc. in the movie. While some people find enjoyment in searching for these errors, to others, the entries listed can often be overly pedantic and missing the point[citation needed] (a problem that can often afflict sites that rely on users to provide their content [Hey! Who are you calling a pedant?]). The comic makes fun of this with several goofs that simply point out differences between something in the movie and reality; but since the movie is fiction (in this case, a science fiction film that includes a space detective, a cybernetic dog, blimp drones, and a hologram kissing scene), one can say that these "goofs" might simply be more differences between the movie world and our own.

In the first goof, a named street doesn't actually exist in the city in which the movie is set. Unless the address is important to the plot (Manhattan has a number of streets with well-known characters - for example, the main theatre district is on Broadway, Fifth Avenue is a major shopping district, and Wall Street is known for large financial institutions), screenwriters can and do make up street names. It might actually be expedient to 'rename' a setting in many cases, to avoid issues such as fans showing up at said street and harassing the residents.

In the second example, they point out that there's no harpoon store at the location where the characters obtain a harpoon in the movie, and the nearest actual harpoon store doesn't have a display window. Movies take liberties with details like this for plot expediency, and is not considered a goof. Manhattan does not appear to have any notable harpoon stores,[citation needed] with or without the kind of frontage described.

In the third example, the background of a scene is of an apartment in Downtown Vancouver (a cheap and popular filming location that frequently stands in for other cities). The goof points out that the real-life apartment does not belong to the character who supposedly lives in it. Fictional movie characters do not exist in reality,[citation needed] and many scenes are set in fictional locations that are completely separate from their real-life filming locations. As such, this is only a "goof" if the scene is taken entirely literally.

The title text describes an actual anachronism. The film is set in 2018, but there's a billboard for the movie Avengers: Age of Ultron, which came out in 2015, while the next Avengers film, Avengers: Infinity War, came out in 2018. Assuming the movie was filmed before 2018, the filmmakers wouldn't have known what films would be current at the time it would be released, and certainly not the artwork they'd be using to promote them. They could have chosen to set it during the time of initial filming, but again, unless the specific date is significant to the plot, it's common to set (or rather, assume) a film takes place about the same time it's released. Generic advertisements for fictional (or parody) films might be put over egregiously obvious existing material, physically or in post-production editing, as might references to major brands – perhaps replaced by those agreed with from product placement partners.

The title text also mentions the possibility of a self-reference – the billboard could be for this film itself since it's being released at the same time it's set. This assertion that in-universe self-reference is plausible for a movie production is likely another example of the goof's writer failing to understand the basic "premise of fiction". Most movies do not exist within the fictional world they portray,[citation needed] and many audiences would find self-reference to be a far greater obstacle to suspending disbelief than an ad for the wrong Avengers movie.


[An excerpt from an Internet Movie Database web page showing a list of goofs from a film. Each item has some small illegible text below it, which on the real IMDb would say something like "7 of 72 found this interesting | Share this". The first and third items have a faint yellow-tinted background. The third item is only partially visible at the bottom of the "screen".]
Goofs (78)
The space detective's office is on Chestnut Ave, but Lower Manhattan has no street by that name. Agent Glennifer pursues the cybernetic dog onto what is clearly Ludlow Street.
The agents destroy the blimp drones in Union Square with harpoons from a store display rack. The nearest harpoon store is several blocks away and has no outdoor displays.
The apartment in the background of the hologram kissing scene actually exists in downtown Vancouver. We called the owners, who confirmed they had no residents named [...]
[Caption below the panel:]
Sometimes the IMDB "Goofs" section really seems to struggle with the whole premise of fiction.


  • There is no entry for a film featuring an agent called Glennifer or a commander named Bremberly on IMDb. Randall is clearly failing to do basic research.
  • On the real IMDb, each item in the Goofs section would be listed under a category such as "Errors in geography" (which might apply to the three goofs listed in the main cartoon) or "Anachronisms" (which might apply to the goof in the title text). However, no such category is displayed here.
  • On real Goofs pages, the information below each entry includes a public feedback listing (X of Y found this interesting) and a link entitled "Share this". In the comic, unintelligible squiggles are included in their place.
  • On a real IMDb page, all of the text would be in the Verdana, Arial or sans-serif fonts, not Randall's handwriting. While in 2022 there were two notable fonts based on Randall's handwriting, no known font contained the glyph variants depicted in the comic.
  • The comic features two entries with a yellow background, which is impossible. On IMDb, entries alternate between having off-white and gray backgrounds and only turn yellow when the mouse hovers over them.
  • On IMDb, the number of goofs is located in a navigation box between the header and the goofs list. In the comic, the number is placed in the header, and there is no navigation box at all.
  • A similar Goofs section exists in the explain xkcd wiki's page for this comic, 2623: Goofs, but it fails even more evidently to recreate the look of IMDb's Goofs page. Additionally, the last entry is recursive, which is clearly unprofessional.
  • The penultimate entry is also recursive leading to a form of pairwise recursion and formal structure subject to analysis not typically associated with goofs sections in their generalized forms.[citation needed]

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I'm getting a 404 error when I try to go to the comic by number. But it shows up on the main xkcd.com home page. Barmar (talk) 16:39, 23 May 2022 (UTC)

https://xkcd.com/2623/ works for me. Sollyucko (talk) 16:52, 23 May 2022 (UTC)

Any New Yorkers here to confirm if there's a harpoon store a few blocks from Union Square? If not, that needs to be listed here as a "goof"... I really do love that line suggesting "harpoon stores" are common enough but the nearest one doesn't have an outdoor display. Ids1024 (talk) 17:18, 23 May 2022 (UTC)

Remember that it needs to be a harpoon store that was operating in 2018. I think there was a Whalers Я Us near Union Square before it permanently closed during Covid. 20:27, 23 May 2022 (UTC)
This comment is facetious, right? 04:38, 24 May 2022 (UTC)

There may not be a store explicitly called a "harpoon store", but there is at least one diving equipment store that has harpoons. 17:27, 23 May 2022 (UTC)

Yeah, harpoons might be sold at a store that doesn't exclusively or even primarily only sell harpoons, though that wouldn't necessarily change there not being a source for them at the location of the movie scene, let alone the fact that a store that carried them probably wouldn't have them on an outdoor display rack.-- 23:36, 24 May 2022 (UTC)

I'm glad Randall Munroe also hates CinemaSins. Lordpipe (talk) 17:32, 23 May 2022 (UTC)

WHERE does he reference CinemaSins? As a fan of both I'd LOVE to see some indication Randall is even aware of CinemaSins, :) NiceGuy1 (talk) 04:11, 28 May 2022 (UTC)

Nobody tell Randall about [[1]] Kev (talk) 17:41, 23 May 2022 (UTC)

IMDB is also referenced in: 2441, 155 (ish), and 1460 (in the title text) 20:34, 23 May 2022 (UTC)Bumpf

Do any Muppets movies contain billboards for themselves? That feels like something a Muppets movie would do. GreatWyrmGold (talk) 20:48, 23 May 2022 (UTC)

I don't remember any in A Muppets Christmas Carol. But it's been a while since I saw it, so... 22:13, 23 May 2022 (UTC)

as soon as i saw the "goofs" section of the explanation itself i started wheezing harder than i had at any other explainxkcd page ever. whosoever idea that was, you are a genius -- 02:09, 24 May 2022 (UTC)

I just dropped by to say "Bravo!" to whoever worked on the GOOFS section. (I didn't check the page history.) Nitpicking (talk) 02:39, 24 May 2022 (UTC)
I did check the page history but couldn't figure out who started and added to "Goofs." I agree that the section is genius. 04:38, 24 May 2022 (UTC)
It looks like it was Kev how added the "goofs" section Kvarts314 (talk) 10:19, 24 May 2022 (UTC)
Yes he added the first entry, but others have added the rest. I'm uncertain I think it belongs here, but it is funny. Maybe move it down under the transcript?--Kynde (talk) 11:50, 24 May 2022 (UTC)
IMO, it has the same 'status' as a Trivia section (it is one of those in almost every regard, after all), which is traditionally placed post-Teanscript. But I'm not a prescriptionist, at least not in this case, just saying I think it'd be consistent. If you even need my anonymous support for such a trivial within-page move. 11:57, 24 May 2022 (UTC)
In my opinion it does not "nothing to explain the comic" - quite the contrary: It's the best way to explain what the comic is about. See https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/SelfDemonstratingArticle and https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ComicallyMissingThePoint Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 13:17, 24 May 2022 (UTC)
You people are the reason I always press "Go to this comic explanation" first thing I visit. Love you all! 18:04, 24 May 2022 (UTC)

Random movie goof validates Randall, as expected:
I picked "The Game", one of my favourites, but also because it's set in SF and has many outdoor scenes.
Sure enough, there were several trivial goofs, but not location-wise.
Check this one out: 'In the end credits, rigging grip Michael Santoro's name is spelled "Micheal".'
Followed by this: 'In the end credits, there's an extra space between actor André Brazeau's first and last names.' Beechmere (talk) 04:22, 24 May 2022 (UTC)Beechmere

This is why there are now different types, so you can jump over the borring to those with plot points, or errors by characthers... --Kynde (talk) 11:52, 24 May 2022 (UTC)

"Spaceballs" is a notable exception to "Most movies do not exist within the fictional world they portray." When will then be now? Soon! 14:27, 25 May 2022 (UTC)

As is the Muppet Movie - Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem are able to find and rescue our stranded heroes by reading the screenplay 15:43, 14 July 2022 (UTC)

As an IMDb contributor - mainly Trivia and Goofs - I feel targeted here, LOL! Thankfully I don't submit such nitpicky things, and obviously future and alternate versions of real life places are allowed these (maybe the street was renamed and another harpoon store opened up in the meantime). NiceGuy1 (talk) 03:59, 28 May 2022 (UTC)

Recently, a lot of spam posts were found in the Template:sandbox page, including some "goofs". 00:53, 10 April 2023 (UTC)

Also, comics almost never come alive and edit other comics, but this indeed happened. 02:04, 10 April 2023 (UTC)
Now there are five comics "alive". 03:02, 24 April 2023 (UTC)