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 (a problem that can often afflict sites that rely on users to provide their content [Hey! Who 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, 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, 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, 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.
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