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Failed A Spot Check / Live-Action Films

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Being distracted from the utterly conspicuous in live-action movies.

  • In 2 Fast 2 Furious, Agent Dunn performs a rather egregious example while drinking from a soda cup from Gallo's Pizza.
    Brian: So, Agent Dunn. Looks like we're gonna be partners. Just tell me one thing right quick. What would be a better motor for my Skyline? A Gallo Twelve or a Gallo Twenty-four?
    Dunn: Uh, Twenty-four?
    Brian: I didn't know pizza places made motors.
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  • In Alaska a search and rescue plane goes right past the bright yellow crashed plane they are specifically looking for. While the pilot is launching flares specifically to get their attention. While there's no excuse for the first detail, the pilots at least have an excuse for missing the flare, as their search and rescue chopper turned away just seconds before the crashed pilot can fire his flare.
  • A.M.I.: Artificial Machine Intelligence: When Liam finds his football after it gets thrown over the fence, it's right next to a freshly dug mound of Earth hiding the barrel containing Sarah's remains. He thinks absolutely nothing of it and retrieves his ball.
  • Avengers: Endgame
    • Thor and Rocket travel to 2013 Asgard to steal the Aether. They tiptoe past Loki in his cell in an obvious manner, which Loki fails to notice because he's too busy flipping a cup in boredom.
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    • 2014 Nebula takes out 2023 Nebula's golden face-plate so as to blend amongst the Avengers and not arouse suspicion. Her utterly different body language would be a dead giveaway... though, in fairness, she avoids the heroes immediately, and they ignore her in favor of undoing the snap. Before that, they didn't pay attention to her because they were busy mourning Natasha's untimely death.
    • Finally, 2014 Thanos begins gloating as he seems to have finally regained the Stark-tech Infinity Gauntlet for himself before snapping — only for nothing to occur and Tony to reveal that all the stones were, in fact, with him.
    • Nobody in the Avengers compound notices when Thanos's ship comes through the Quantum Tunnel and blows out their roof in the process in the very next room. To be fair, this happens while they locked the base down and they're currently in the process of having Bruce use the glove to undo the Decimation, and everyone is more concerned about the sparking energies and Bruce in agony as it fries his arm, but still: giant spaceship pops out of the next room and nobody hears it. Likewise after they open the shutters nobody seems to notice the huge spaceship big enough to block out the sun until an instant before it starts shooting at them.
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    • When Bruce, Bucky and Sam are waiting for Steve to come back from returning the Infinity Stones, they don't initially notice a now-old Steve seated on a bench.
  • Batman: The Movie: The United World Council takes the cake, unable to notice the criminals' entrance or the fact each member is disappearing one by one. Note how well this works as a political commentary.
  • In Battlefield Earth, the Psychlos love gold, which is evidently the rarest mineral in the universe. They came to Earth to get it, and have spent 1,000 years strip-mining the planet to get it all. Yet, somehow, they completely missed Fort Knox, which has a good 3% of all the gold ever mined by humans in one place.
  • The French comedy La Chèvre and its American remake (Pure Luck) have the accident-prone protagonist getting robbed by a local criminal. To help him, the detective working with him takes a break from tracking down a man who the missing heiress was last seen with. He eventually tracks down the criminal at a poker game and forces him to repay the klutz. After they leave the game, they decide to get back to tracking down the supposed kidnapper. The detective takes out the man's picture and realizes he was at the poker game.
  • In Danny the Dog, while grocery shopping, Sam teaches Danny how to tell if a melon is ripe by tapping on it. A huge fight occurs in the store and everyone is scared except Danny, who is too busy checking the melons to notice.
    • Averted after the fact when Sam asks why Danny did not react to the fight that broke out in front of him. Danny calmly replies that the fight did not involve him and thus was not worth reacting to.
  • Zakk from Deathgasm somehow manages to walk into a living room and drink a beer without noticing his friend Brodie is being attacked by a demon until the demon starts screaming.
  • One of the Big Bads gets killed in Dumb and Dumber To because he didn't notice the car had parked on train tracks.
  • The Emperor's Club: While Sedgewick did miss the lecture about Shutruk-Nakhunte, he still walked past the plaque about the emperor every day for years and never cared enough to read it.
  • In E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, there's one scene where E.T. walks through the kitchen when Eliot's mom is cooking, and she would have seen him if she simply turned around a second earlier than she did — twice.
  • A number of deaths in the Final Destination series are caused by things you would think the person would notice, i.e. the bathroom practically flooding with blue water, a cracked mug practically gushing vodka...
  • Thomas Jefferson Geronimo III, the protagonist of Final Justice, apparently has no awareness of his surroundings, which results in his losing the suspect in his custody, being captured and nearly tortured himself, and the deaths of two innocent people.
  • Godzilla (2014):
    • Twice, when the infantry teams are searching for the MUTOs, their air support hovering directly overhead completely fails to spot the enormous kaiju munching on a Russian sub standing up in the jungle or the gigantic chunk of mountain ripped open until the people on the ground stumble within a few feet of them. They also fail to notice the massive hole and trail of destruction that comes out of the Yucca Mountain until one of the soldiers finds the monster's containment cell from the inside.
    • The casino-goers in Las Vegas fail to see the news broadcast showing a monster going through the city. The ceiling is taken out for them to realize it.
  • As an artistic choice, this happens so much in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly that characters can hardly be said to even exist if they are not on screen. This is actually the film maker's idea. Characters' fields of view are the same as the audience/camera's. This explains how the villain manages to sneak up on the hero in the middle of a mostly flat area for the film's final confrontation. While off-screen, the hero and the audience cannot see them.
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel: Gustave and Zero steal Boy with Apple, and haphazardly conceal the fact by replacing it with a completely different painting called Two Lesbians Masturbating, which isn't even the same shape and leaves part of the first painting's dust pattern visible. And it takes Dmitri weeks to notice this, which is odd given how much he selfishly covets the painting. Lampshaded by his sisters, who point out that they noticed, assumed he had moved it, and ask why it's taken him this long to realize it.
  • In Gravity, while drifting within the International Space Station, Stone pushes away a small latch that's in her way, thus completely missing the small fire that was building up behind the latch.
  • In Gunslinger, the main heroine Rose and the Mayor spend one scene discussing that they were going to keep him in the town jail to protect him... not realizing that antagonist Cain is nearby, listening in. When shown on MST3K, Joel muses that "peripheral vision hadn't been invented yet."
  • In Halloween (1978), Dr. Loomis is looking for proof that Michael Myers has returned to Haddonfield. He hangs around the old Myers house for hours before noticing that Michael's stolen car is parked on the street nearby, which would have saved him a lot of trouble earlier.
  • In Hornets' Nest, Nazi soldier Gunther enters a room after hearing suppressed gunfire. He sees Aldo and the two dead guys on the floor in front of him, and Turner is immediately to his right, but apparently, Gunther has no peripheral vision because he completely fails to notice the American, allowing Turner to knock his gun away and break his neck.
  • The Hunger Games: Katniss destroys the Careers' supplies from much closer than she did in the book, and is quite visible in the composition of shots focusing on Cato in the middle of his Villainous Breakdown.
  • As noted by "40 Things I Learned From Independence Day", regarding Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum storming the mothership:
    Aliens are just too stupid for words to express. An alien air traffic controller can look at a fighter that has been human-modified for 20 minutes and is only 50 feet away and not notice the welded-on missile rack until the missile is fired through his work station.
  • John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum: John gets into a fistfight with an assassin. This goes on for a good minute, with no clear winner, and then they both realize at the same time that they're standing in a museum, in the ancient weapons section. They both break open the cases and start throwing knives at each other.
  • In Jurassic Park:
    • After the scientists first arrive in the park, Ellie (a paleobotanist) notes an unusual fern and begins describing at length how it appears to be a long-extinct species. Meanwhile, Alan is trying to draw her attention to the rather large dinosaur right in front of them.note 
    • A Tyrannosaurus rex (which up until then had been heralded by the ground shaking as they approach) appears out of nowhere to save the heroes by getting into a fight with some Velociraptors at the end. Somewhat mitigated by the fact that they are now inside, and on presumably a more stable foundation; and by the fact that they are at that point too busy running for their lives to notice.
  • In Kamen Rider Heisei Generations: Dr. Pac-Man vs. Ex-Aid & Ghost with Legendary Riders both Michihiko Zaizen and his troops somehow do not realize that they are talking to a rider, nor that he is someone that can't be honest about joining them. Haruto simply bluffs them and goes on. Mind you, he wears his driver and rings pretty much all the time. They are somewhat recognizable even when in an inactive state. No wonder he is a bit smugger than usual when his plan works out without them noticing.
  • Kiss of the Tarantula: The police get reports of seeing Susan at the scene of the drive-in deaths. Apparently, they only saw her and not the four teenagers' screaming death throes (which resulted in two of their heads sticking out of windows.)
  • The Last Leprechaun: Henry doesn't notice the electricity crackling on his fiancé.
  • The Little Hours: The old nun who goes into the room where Alessandra and Massetto are getting it on doesn't seem to notice at all, though her presence makes them stop.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • In The Two Towers, Wormtongue is surprised that Gandalf didn't have his staff confiscated at the door to Théoden's hall, even though Gandalf was holding it in his hand as he walked down the length of the hall in clear view of Wormtongue. Ian McKellen on the commentary track says he was well aware of this problem and that he was trying to make the staff as inconspicuous to the camera as possible during his walk towards the throne — you can see he's holding the staff fairly low and partly under his grey cloak, but it's still clearly visible.
    • As Alan Lee points out in the Design Team audio commentary of The Return of the King Extended Cut, the orcs crossing the river to Osgiliath have great big bloody torches. And yet no soldier really notices.
  • In The Lovely Bones Susie Salmon admitted after the fact that she didn't pay any attention to her surroundings, implying that she might have lived if she did.
  • The Malibu Bikini Shop: It turns out some of the bikinis were made from water-soluble thread, leading to the women wearing those bikinis and running down the beach getting exposed when they get splashed.
  • The Meg: It takes several minutes for a crowded beach filled with hundreds of swimmers and boaters to notice a seventy-foot shark swimming just a few metres directly below them in crystal-clear water. Apparently, not a single person was actually diving or looking under the surface.
  • Mindhunters: In a Danger Room Cold Open situation, two FBI trainees enter a house to save a serial killer's latest victim and declare the area safe before they're both "killed" by a second perpetrator. Their supervisor later chews them out about all the telltale signs they missed that the killer might have had an accomplice, including two cars parked in the front.
  • Parodied in Monty Python's Life of Brian, where members of the Judean People's Front (or was it the People's Front of Judea?) hide from the Romans behind coat racks, under blankets, behind poorly constructed and non-concealing chairs, and out on the patio, only to have the Romans fail to discover them. Somehow, the Romans do find a spoon. On the second try.
  • In Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie, Crow says this when digging through the Satellite of Love ends up breaching the hull. When he asks for his plans and gets them, he spots out the detail. "Oh, well, look at that! 'Breach hull, all die!' Even had it underlined!" Then, he lampshades it with a case of Didn't Think This Through.
  • The Postman: General Bethlehem accepts Woody, who's clearly mixed race, as a conscript into the racist Holnist army, somehow not noticing this (which his minion Idaho later gripes about).
  • The entire first third of Shaun of the Dead is one giant failed spot check, with the protagonists not noticing a Zombie Apocalypse unfolding around them even when they run into actual zombies — "Hey! We're not using the "Z" word!" In particular, the long scene where a hungover Shaun goes through his morning shopping routine (which we've already seen in its "normal" form at the beginning of the movie), utterly failing to spot things like some blood in a glaringly obvious place (then slipping on said blood before shrugging it off), or actually paying for what he gets from the store.
  • The Sixth Sense is a classic example of a Tomato in the Mirror ending which, while brilliant at first sight, relies massively on this trope when you think it through.
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming
    • Spider-Man sneaks into his bedroom by the window, clinging to the ceiling, taking off his mask and closing the door before going down... and only then does he notices Ned Leeds sitting on the bed. Sure it's a bunk bed, the top of which having blocked Peter's line of sight from the window, but still, so much for super-senses.
    • At the end of the film, Spider-Man puts on his Spidey suit again in his room, failing to notice Aunt May standing behind him...
      Aunt May: WHAT THE FU-(cut to credits)
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: Khan's Roaring Rampage of Revenge was made possible thanks to the USS Reliant's crew neglecting to notice that a planet, Ceti Alpha VI, was missing, and thus, they were studying the wrong one, Ceti Alpha V, and allowed Khan the means to escape from exile.
  • Star Wars: In The Last Jedi, Supreme Leader Snoke gets so caught up in his successful capture of Rey that he fails to notice Kylo Ren using the Force to shift the lightsaber next to him, aiming it at his waist. He only realizes what's happening when Kylo uses the Force to switch the saber on, bisecting Snoke. It really doesn't help that Kylo is thinking in Exact Words; when Snoke reads his mind, all he sees is, essentially, "I'm going to stab my enemy with a lightsaber". Snoke fails to realize that the "enemy" in this case is him, so he lets his guard down.
    • As a meta-example there is the case of 3-CP Os silver leg: all throughout the original trilogy his right leg from the knee down is silver instead of gold. Most viewers seem to completely miss this, and are shocked when someone points it out (here is a prime example). That said, it's not as far fetched as it seems as in the vast majority of scenes he is either shown from the waist up, and even when his silver lower leg is on screen it's often surprisingly hard to tell. Anthony Daniels himself said that at one point the stills photographer (i.e the person who was taking pictures of him every day) one day suddenly asked him why he was wearing a silver leg that day, meaning even he overlooked it until then.
  • In Stiletto, Beck enters an empty parking garage and somehow fails to see Raina, despite the fact that she can be no more than a few metres away from him, allowing her to get the drop on him.
  • The Suckers: Vandemeer, one of the world's greatest big-game hunters and already established in-story as possessing excellent senses, somehow fails to notice the badly concussed George staggering up behind him.
  • In Tragedy Girls, a janitor walks in just after Sadie and McKayla murder Syl, and are chopping up her body. The two girls freeze in place, but he doesn't even look up, and simply goes about his business, shuts off the lights, and leaves the two of them standing there in the dark. Their faces make it clear even they think this is absurd.
  • A particularly egregious example in Michael Bay's Transformers, wherein a hobbit-sized (and glaringly product-placed) Decepticon sneaks around in an incredibly obvious manner, yet somehow manages to avoid being caught by the security guards standing only a few feet away. Appropriately mocked in the RiffTrax. "How's your peripheral vision, Frank?" "Terrible. Yours?"
  • Not played for laughs in The Tribe where one of the deaf students is run over by a truck slowly backing up behind him.
  • The infamous scene in A View to a Kill where Stacy doesn't notice a blimp approaching her, even when Bond yells at her to look out.
  • In War of the Worlds, the family tries to steal a car to get away from the tripods. A mechanic sees them and orders them to stop. They frantically try to warn him to come with them or else he will die, and when he won't listen, drive away. He chases them on foot, ordering them to stop, and doesn't notice the tripods even though they are very loud and destroying everything, and ultimately gets blown up.
  • In Wild Horse Phantom, Link Daggett and his gang somehow fail to notice Billy Carson and Fuzzy, despite them sitting on horseback in the open about 20 feet away from them, while the gang is riding towards them.
  • In The Wolfman, Dr. Hoenneger gets so wrapped up in discussing Lawrence's delusions and the treatment he's devised, that he's the last person in the room to notice Lawrence is transforming right behind him.
  • At the end of X-Men, despite Senator Kelly being mobbed by reporters, all of them fail to notice his eyes (sclera and iris) turning a bright, glowing yellow. Even though they wouldn't know it meant he'd been replaced by Mystique, it should still warrant a question or two by the reporters seeing as he'd just given a speech about mutants.
  • In Zombies! Zombies! Zombies!, a john somehow fails to notice that the hooker he has brought into his car and is inviting to suck his dick is a Flesh-Eating Zombie who is covered in blood.


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