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"Hello, history buffs!"
History Buffs is an ongoing YouTube series hosted by Nick Hodges which evaluates the accuracy of historical feature films and television dramas. It generally deals with how filmmakers utilize the Artistic License – History trope and how this can be a good or bad thing, often providing proper context to events that Hollywood has ignored.


Trope Buffs:

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  • Abled in the Adaptation: In his Goodfellas review, he points out that Henry Hill had serious learning disabilities. Since he went to school in the 1950s, he didn't have the supports available today, and so he disliked school and had trouble academically. The movie makes no mention of this, giving the impression that young Henry was just a troublemaker and a delinquent. (Then again, it wasn't til Goodfellas was released that Henry Hill was the target of interviews and he was able to relate the Values Dissonance of The '50s and the modern era.) invoked
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: Apollo 13 had the astronauts panicked and bickering during the malfunctions. Footage of the actual disaster showed the astronauts extremely non-emotional and businesslike.
  • Adaptational Backstory Change: He calls out Braveheart for doing this on William Wallace by claiming Wallace's family were peasant farmers and Wallace himself got his military skills from traveling over Europe after his parents' deaths when in fact Wallace's family were minor Scottish nobility and got his military skills from his noble upbringing and working as a mercenary with the English.
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  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Nick criticizes From Hell for having Inspector Abberline played by Johnny Depp, since the real Abberline was a plain old man who was not as young and handsome as Depp.
  • Adaptational Ugliness: Nick shows side-by-side images of Joe Pesci and the much more handsome Tommy DeSimone in the GoodFellas review.
  • Adaptational Villainy: In his Elizabeth: The Golden Age review, Nick is quick to point out that the Babington plot never got to the point of Anthony Babington attempting to assassinate Elizabeth in church. Instead, like every other plot against Elizabeth in the past, it was discovered and thwarted by the efforts of Elizabeth's spymaster Francis Walsingham well before there was any threat to Elizabeth's safety.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole:
    • Rome: Instead of fleeing Rome after Caesar's assassination and staying in Alexandria until the end of the resulting upheaval as she did in Real Life, the second season has Cleopatra visiting the divided capital with Caesarion, her son with Caesar, and the two visiting Mark Antony and Octavian — both of whom are trying to succeed Caesar and would have good reason to immediately kill a third competitor like Caesarion.
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    • Tombstone never explains Ike Clanton's animosity with Wyatt Earp. The real reason was because Ike had previously sold out an outlaw gang to Wyatt in exchange for reward money, something Wyatt hoped would allow him to beat Johnny Behan in the election for Sheriff. Even though the wanted men were killed in another state, Ike became paranoid after fearing that Wyatt would reveal Ike's betrayal to the Cowboys, explaining his hatred for Wyatt in the film.
    • Elizabeth killed off the Jesuit priest John Ballard (played by Daniel Craig), which means that in Elizabeth: The Golden Age, a Suspiciously Similar Substitute named Robert Reston has to perform Ballard's role in the Babington Plot.
  • Admiring the Abomination: At the start of the 300 review, Nick states that he is fascinated by the history of Sparta despite disliking its cruel society.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: During the GoodFellas review, Nick empathizes with Henry Hill's dyslexia growing up, which ultimately led to him being effectively raised by the mob. He also seems to sympathize with the fact that Hill was forced to relive the horrible things he did in the mob long after he got out.
  • All There in the Manual: Nick usually begins his videos by giving some background information of the history or events of the film or TV show he's watching before the review begins.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • In Braveheart, Nick points out that 11th Century Scots are wearing kilts, which would not have been invented until the 16th Century.
    • The presence of turkeys in Spain at the start of 1492: Conquest of Paradise, even though the continent the turkeys are from hasn't been discovered yet.
    • The presence of Spaniards at the end of Apocalypto, even though Mayan civilization had long since collapsed by the time the Spaniards arrived in Real Life. That this should be set in 1511 would have put the matter to rest were it not for the Classic Mayan trappings the movie uses that puts the whole thing into question.
    • The opening lecture in Timeline where it's suggested that English troops wore red uniforms and French troops wore blue uniforms during The Hundred Years War. The English did not adopt red uniforms until the 17th Century, while the French did not adopt blue uniforms until the 18th Century.
  • Art Evolution: Earlier episodes show Nick's animated self moving only in still shots. In later episodes the animation improved to where his lips and arms could move.
  • Artistic License – Geography: One of Nick's many sticking points with Apocalypto, where the adult protagonist has never seen a large Mayan city before even though such cities were literally everywhere in the Mayan civilization.
  • Artistic License – History: The whole point of the series.
    • Occasionally it makes some of its own, if by accident. A good example is the review of The Last Samurai, where Nick describes the arrival of Matthew Perry as being a kind of alien invasion since the Japanese were so isolated from the outside world. In actual fact, the Japanese had traded with the Dutch, the English, and other Europeans during the Sakoku era, restricting them to an area of Nagasaki and controlling their movement and activity. The Americans used Dutch accounts for research and guidance during their mission. The Japanese certainly knew quite a bit about the West even during the era of isolation.
    • Discussed in several videos about historical authenticity vs. historical accuracy. Nick notes that if something is done authentically then it's understandable that some license to be taken with the events and accuracy isn't that big of a deal. This is especially important for historical films that are not documentaries as despite trying to be accurate, their first and foremost objective is to be entertaining, so some leeway is to be had. For example, in The Death of Stalin, none of the actors even attempt to use Russian accents despite it being set in Soviet Russia. However, each person has an accent that would be analogous to a stereotype of the region they're from (such as Stalin having a Cockney accent due to him having a Georgian accent while speaking Russian). This makes the character's roots much easier to understand as well as avoiding the Narm of a bad Russian accent. Nick's usually fine with completely fictional characters who were based on existing people (so long as they're used in the correct historical context).
  • Artistic License – Law: In the movie The Untouchables, Canadian Mounties help Eliot Ness and The Untouchables stop Capone's gang from transporting alcohol into the United States. While Nick admits it was a cool scene that evokes the image of a Western gunfight, the Mounties had no business being there. Prohibition was an American law, while buying, selling and transporting alcohol was always legal in Canada. So the Mounties wouldn't help the Untouchables in the first place since what Capone's gang was doing was legal (under Canadian law) and whatever happens to them once they cross the border into the US was none of their business.
  • Artistic License – Linguistics: Calls out Timeline for this. First the film assumes that people in 14th Century France spoke modern French, when in reality they spoke Middle French and Occitan. Then when the time travelers meet Lord Oliver, they are able to converse in modern English when Oliver would have been speaking either Middle English or Anglo-Norman French; likewise, Gerard Butler should have been speaking Norn, Gaelic, or Scots if he wanted to pass as a 14th Century Scotsman. Nick points out both times that the time travelers and the inhabitants of Castelgard should not be able to understand each other.
  • Artistic License – Military:
    • Nick finds it absurd that in Braveheart, the Scottish were able to defeat the English at the Battle of Stirling despite the fact the former didn't wear anything but fur and kilts, which should have made it much easier for the armored English to defeat them. Furthermore, the battle in question was actually called the Battle of Stirling Bridge as it took place at a bridge and not an open field.
    • One of Nick's only serious bones of contention with Dances with Wolves is the suggestion that the 1860s Lakota-Sioux are completely unfamiliar with guns and have to be taught how to use them by John Dunbar. In reality, Native Americans — including the Sioux — were long accustomed to firearms and already used them in their conflicts with the U.S. government by the time in which the film is set.
    • Nick points out two examples of this in Timeline. First, it shows both French and English archers using longbows, when actually longbows were only used by the English and Welsh while the French used short bows and crossbows. Secondly, he points out that the Arrows on Fire trope in the film (and many others) doesn't work since rather than make the arrows powerful and deadlier, it just made them ineffective due to the extra weight. Furthermore, by the time the fire arrow reaches its target, the flames would have been blown out due to wind velocity.
    • Elizabeth: The Golden Age depicts the relatively small English Navy being massively outgunned by the Spanish Armada of King Philip II, and suffering casualties as a result. In reality, the English had adapted significantly advanced techniques in shipbuilding and naval warfare by the time the two fleets faced each other, so they didn't even lose a single ship as they managed to repel the Spaniards. Likewise, the Spaniards didn't lose any of their ships when the English deployed their fireships; they simply cut anchor out of panic and fled.
  • Ascended Fanboy: If you were wondering why new videos are coming out slower, it's because Nick has been collaborating with the Vikings cast on their podcasts.
  • As You Know: Apollo 13 uses this trope since most viewers might not understand the science of space travel, so having it explained to them helps them understand the plot better.
  • Base-Breaking Character: In-Universe, Nick points out how in Tombstone, the Earps are depicted as heroes and the Cowboys as a menace, but the reality was not so simple. He demonstrates this by pointing out that the gunfight at the OK Corral only served to divide the public in Tombstone, with some people seeing the Earps as heroes and others seeing them as cold blooded murderers. A lot of this, he points out, could be boiled down to simple politics: rural farmers and ranchers, who leaned towards the Democrats, despised the influx of Republican businessmen, miners and merchants who'd moved into Tombstone, and were thus inclined to view the Earps as government enforcers who backed big business at their expense; meanwhile, the Republicans were intent on taming the Wild West and viewed the Earps as guardians of law and order. This division can even be seen when comparing the newspaper coverage of the gunfight by the Republican-leaning Tombstone Epitapth with the coverage from the Democratic-leaning Tombstone Daily Nugget (who were sympathetic towards Sheriff Johnny Behan and the Cowboys as a whole).
  • Based on a Great Big Lie: Nick calls out the narrator of Braveheart for being a big liar, which ironically the narrator's claim that the English calling him a liar for his story is true, since most things in the film are not historically accurate and simply made up.
  • Berserk Button: Abusing the Artistic License – History trope and putting in idiot plotlines. Mel Gibson is deemed the most guilty of this with the exception of We Were Soldiers.
    • One film that pisses him off the most is Braveheart, since not only is the film historically inaccurate and lies to the audience by claiming the story is true, but it also uses Hollywood Tactics like how the Scots defeated the English with no armor, a bad romance plot between Wallace and Queen Isabella (see Improbable Age below), Gibson taking jabs at the English every chance he got, and the film disrespecting both the English and the Scots by ruining Wallace's character (this is because while Nick is English, he is also Scottish from his father's side of the family via Clan Robertson, hence why he makes a big deal out of this movie). You can tell how much he hated this movie by the constant anger displayed throughout the review.
    • Nick also finds that The Patriot has excessive anti-British bias, with all of the incessant references to "shooting redcoats." It gets taken Up to Eleven when the British are depicted as burning a church with the entire population of a rebel village locked inside — a scene which was inspired not by any real-life incident during the Revolutionary War, but by the Oradour-sur-Glane massacre committed by Nazi troops during World War II.
    • He goes nuts at Apocalypto, which while accurate in some ways in portraying the Mayans, gets some things wrong like: how the protagonists had never seen a Mayan city despite how Mayan cities were everywhere, a girl suffering from smallpox despite smallpox not yet appearing in the Americas at that point, the Mayans practicing Aztec human sacrifices, and finally — the one that broke the camel's back with Nick — was the final scene in which the Spaniards arrive, something that did not happen until long after the Classic Mayan civilization collapsed.
    • He was also outraged by the blatant historical inaccuracy of both Elizabeth I films starring Cate Blanchett, and was worried that the films would be used to teach students in history classes. His fears proven quite founded in his Elizabeth: The Golden Age review when he said a viewer told him Elizabeth was indeed screened for him in class.
    • Related to this idea is Politically Correct History. If a film wants to tell a real world event, it needs to be truthful to the times in which the film came out as much as it can, meaning it needs to show all the past things that are not acceptable by today's standard. Several films he talks about with it get him very frustrated because its needless change to fit a political agenda and nothing more, and just hurts the overall quality of the films attempt to be "historically accurate".
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: Tombstone points out that the conflict between the Earps and the Cowboys was a little less clear cut than the movie made it out to be.
  • Brick Joke: Used with clips from the "shine box" scene in GoodFellas to make fun of Joe Pesci's rap song (yes, you read that right).
  • Compressed Adaptation:
    • As Nick notes, the real Maersk Alabama hijacking involved two failed attempts to attack the ship before the successful one, but the movie Captain Phillips reduced the number to one failed attempt.
    • Much of the events of The Death of Stalin happened months apart (and were sometimes unrelated), but to have them jump back and forth with time skips would have been too much.
    • Tombstone has two notable instances.
      • The movie skips over the Earps' failed attempt to run a stagecoach business before they rejoined law enforcement. Also because it would make them look less heroic if it were shown that their return to law enforcment was motivated by money.
      • The Cowboys' retaliatory attacks on Wyatt Earp's brothers, which result in Virgil being critically wounded and Morgan being killed, are depicted as happening on the same night, when in reality they were actually three and a half months apart (Virgil on December 28, 1881; Morgan on March 18, 1882).
  • Cool Chair: Nick — or rather, the animated version of him — has one.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Nick praises shows or movies that correctly shows values and attitudes of the past which by our modern standards are appalling. Hence, he gives praise to Vikings for not shying away from protagonists of the show having no problem of killing, raping or enslaving.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: He calls out The Last Samurai for claiming the Samurai refuse to use guns as they found the weapon dishonorable when in reality the Samurai had no problem with using guns when they were first introduced to them by Portuguese traders during Japan's Warring States period to the point the Japanese were able to make local Arquebus rifles that were much better than the ones they imported from the Europeans. Even the Real Life event the movie was based on, the Satsuma Rebellion, rebel Samurai were using guns against Government forces and were forced to switch to bows and arrow after running out of ammunition.
  • Droit du Seigneur: Braveheart claims the English nobility practice Primae Noctis on the Scottish commoners but Nick calls this out as the practice of Primae Noctis is fictional and never really existed.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The entire series is unsurprisingly about a British history buff who reviews various biopics.
  • Historical Beauty Update:
    • In his review of From Hell, Nick notes that the real Inspector Abberline wasn't a young man, and certainly wasn't as attractive as Johnny Depp.
    • He also points out an inversion; the real-life counterpart to Tommy DeVito, Tommy DeSimone, was a tall, well-built, ruggedly handsome man. Joe Pesci, on the other hand, is not. He did note that at least Pesci matched his real-life counterpart in Casino; there's a reason Anthony Spilotro's nickname was "Tony the Ant".
    • Nick also points out that during the period in which Elizabeth: The Golden Age is set, Queen Elizabeth I was much older (in her mid-fifties) than she is portrayed and had long moved past considering suitors.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade:
    • Nick is disgusted by the portrayal of Christopher Columbus in 1492: Conquest of Paradise. Contrary to the film's depiction of Columbus as a benevolent rogue and visionary, Nick rightfully points to abundant evidence that the real Columbus was a borderline Ax-Crazy war criminal and profiteer. He is also baffled that people still insist Columbus was a hero despite his genocidal actions and the fact that he neither discovered the Americas or proved the Earth was round.
    • Also at issue is the treatment of the American Revolution in The Patriot, especially where slaves are concerned. The movie suggests that George Washington's promise to free black men who fought for the Revolution embodied the American ideal of equality, when in fact the Americans were desperate to counteract a similar offer made to the slaves by the British and stop them from gaining an advantage. Not only did American ideals not apply to non-whites at the time of the Revolution, but most of the black men who fought for the Americans ended up never being freed. Mel Gibson's character Benjamin Martin technically counts, as one of the inspirations for the character, Francis Marion, was a slave-owner whose slaves fled his plantation and enlisted with the British... which, as Nick points out, tells you he was pretty despicable as a person.
    • Alexander the Great gets a couple of ones by omission in Oliver Stone's Alexander, most notably the incident where he marches his men back to Babylon through the perilous Gedrosian desert and ends up losing 12,000 men. The film depicts this as a blunder made by Alexander, when most scholars agree that Alexander was deliberately punishing his army for threatening to revolt over not being able to return home.
    • In The Last Samurai, Moritsugu Katsumoto is portrayed as an honorable warrior who refuses to use guns and rebels against the Japanese government out of noble intentions as he feared his country was losing its traditions as a result of the government's modernization programs. In reality, the man Katsumoto was based on, Saigo Takamori, had no problems in using guns and was an early supporter of the government's modernization programs. His reason for rebelling were more selfish as he opposed the government's plans to end the special laws and privileges the samurai used to enjoy, like the right to kill peasants with impunity.
    • Dances with Wolves does this to the Sioux, corresponding with a Historical Villain Upgrade for the Pawnee. While the film portrays the Sioux as victims of harassment by the Pawnee, the reality was the other way around. Historically, the Pawnee were a small, weak tribe that were oppressed by the much larger neighboring tribes, including the Sioux. Nick justifies this by suggesting that John Dunbar is giving a biased account favoring his friends the Sioux.
    • Tombstone, along with other films about Wyatt Earp and his posse, have always portrayed them as good lawmen fighting the Cowboys to protect the town of Tombstone. In truth, Wyatt and his posse were really just seen as the good guys because they had badges, and the Earp Vendetta Ride was them breaking the law to ruthlessly kill Cowboys as revenge for the maiming of Virgil and the death of Morgan
      • Additionally, the reality of the Earps' return to law enforcement was that it was not motivated by a sense of morality, but rather, purely by the fact that it paid better, since their attempt at running a stagecoach hadn't panned out.
    • In Captain Phillips, despite the film portraying Phillips as a heroic character who allowed himself to be taken hostage by Somali pirates to save his crew, Phillips didn't do that. Furthermore, the film omits out the fact that Phillips was responsible for the pirates attacking his ship in the first place, as he ignored warnings from his superiors to avoid the area with high pirate activity to save time and money.
    • One of his largest criticisms of Kingdom of Heaven is that the film portrays Saladin and his Muslim Army as being reasonable and kind people who are the victims of the evil Christian Crusaders, where in reality Saladin was more ruthless than the film shows, and he committed acts as harsh and gruesome as the Crusaders in his pursuit of the holy land.
    • In Elizabeth:
      • The newly crowned Queen Elizabeth I is portrayed as a naive woman who is unaware that her longtime lover, Robert Dudley, is already married. In reality, Elizabeth wasn't naïve, was aware that Dudley was married, and continued their affair regardless. Even if she could marry Dudley after his wife died in mysterious circumstances, she didn't due to his family being involved in a plot against the Monarchy in the past. While Dudley himself was found innocent, he still carried the stigma of his family's treason, which would have undermined Elizabeth's rule if the two married.
      • Elizabeth puts on heavy white makeup to become her Virgin Queen persona in order to give up her personal happiness for the sake of her country. In reality, Elizabeth put on heavy white makeup to hide her smallpox scars and used the Virgin Queen persona to explain the makeup to her people.
    • Elizabeth gets this treatment again in Elizabeth: The Golden Age:
      • When she releases Sir Walter Raleigh and Bess Throckmorton from the Tower of London. The film suggests that Elizabeth did this as a magnanimous gesture of forgiveness. In reality, Elizabeth only (reluctantly) released Raleigh when his men found out he was imprisoned and threatened to withhold the queen's share of the spoils from the Battle of Flores, and released Bess out of guilt over the fact that the baby she conceived with Raleigh died of plague while she was in the Tower. (The baby stays alive in the film.)
      • The film also omits how, after the defeat of the Spanish Armada, Elizabeth kept typhus/dysentery-afflicted English sailors sequestered on their ships because she was too cheap to pay for their medical care.
  • Historical Villain Downgrade:
    • In GoodFellas, Paul Cicero is depicted as an intimidating but Affably Evil Mentor to Henry Hill who doesn't commit any violent acts onscreen. In reality, Paul Vario was just as vicious as Jimmy Burke/Conway and Tommy DeSimone/DeVito, and Nick shows a documentary clip of the real Hill recalling Vario's assault of a barmaid with a baseball bat. Also, while the film doesn't give this treatment to Tommy DeSimone/DeVito in the slightest, Nick does mention one incident he did that wasn't brought up in the film, though likely because Henry Hill was the only source for it: at one point while Henry was in prison, Tommy tried to rape Henry's wife Karen; Paul Vario, whom Karen was having an affair with at the time, was enraged by this and sold Tommy out to the Gambino crime family for this and the murder of Billy Batts. The rest of the film is largely an aversion, however, and its realistic portrayal of The Mafia is why Nick favors it over The Godfather.
    • Also pointed out in his look at Casino. Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal, the real-life inspiration for Sam "Ace" Rothstein, was significantly more controlling and abusive towards his wife. In the movie, the worst Ace does to Ginger is threaten to kill her for tying up their daughter. Rosenthal, however, was significantly worse to his wife Geri, beat her and cheated on her. Unlike Rothstein, who reluctantly made Ginger wear a beeper after she tried to kidnap their daughter, Rosenthal made Geri wear a beeper before she tried to run off because he wanted to make sure he was in control of her. Nick points out that watching the movie knowing details like this make Ginger / Geri's affair with Nicky Santoro / Tony Spilotro more sympathetic.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade:
    • Nick also tackles examples of these, most notably the treatment of the English/British in Braveheart and The Patriot, both Mel Gibson films. He cites the church-burning scene in particular, pointing out that if such a thing really happened, it would have been a major rallying point for the rebels.
    • He also laments how due to the popularity of the movie Amadeus, Antonio Salieri is unfairly treated by the public as a jealous composer who hated Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart when in truth both men were friends in Real Life and respected each other's works (Salieri was even a music teacher to Mozart's son).
    • Then there is the treatment of Servilia, Atia, and Octavia in Rome. The real Servilia was only tangentially involved in the plot to assassinate Caesar. Atia was not hyper-promiscuous but was in fact considered a role model of Roman piety. Octavia never had an incestuous relationship with Octavian and had a good reputation similar to Atia's.
    • He also criticized From Hell for its negative portrayals of Chief Inspector Frederick Abberline and Sir Charles Warren during the Jack the Ripper murders. In the film, Abberline is shown to be an opium addict and has an affair with Mary Jane Kelly, Jack's last victim, even though the Real Life Abberline was never a drug addict and was devoted to his wife. Warren gets it worse, being portrayed as an arrogant aristocrat who looks down on the lower class, an Obstructive Bureaucrat who constantly tries to stop Abberline's investigation, and a racist who is fine with scapegoating London's Jews for the murders (neglecting to point out that his command to destroy the graffiti blaming Jews for the killings was to prevent anti-Semitic riots) which is nothing like the Real Life Warren.
    • In The Wolf of Wall Street, for all of Jordan Belfort's vices, he and his colleagues never threw dwarves at a giant bullseye, since they feared a lawsuit and bad PR if their clients knew about it. The film depicts this incident anyway.
    • Geri McGee and Lenny Marmor (Ginger McKenna and Lester Diamond) get this in Casino. Contrary to the film's depiction of Ginger as a greedy ex-prostitute and Lester as her former pimp, Geri and Lenny were high school sweethearts who already had a daughter together by the time Geri met Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal (Sam "Ace" Rothstein). Geri was also never a prostitute. Conversely, the film omits Frank's history of infidelity and domestic abuse to make Sam more sympathetic at Geri/Ginger's expense.
    • Criticizes Kingdom of Heaven for this in regards to the Christian Crusaders and Knights Templars. The film makes them cruel or evil to contrast them with Saladin and the Muslims. However, as he points out, the Christians were no more evil or good than the Muslim people living there, and that the film was pushing a heavy bias against Christians, which he feels hurts the films quality heavily because it turns a Gray-and-Gray Morality story and period of history in to the biased perspective of "The Crusades were just evil Europeans".
    • With Tombstone, Ike Clanton is depicted as a full-fledged member of the Cowboys when in real life, he was more an associate of theirs. Similarly, the Cowboys are also shown shooting at the Earps' wives during their revenge hit on the Earps for the OK Corral, which never happened; they only went after Virgil and Morgan.
  • Hypocrite: Nick calls out writer Randall Wallace for saying it was perfectly okay to sacrifice historical accuracy for entertainment in Braveheart when the same writer took great pains to make sure We Were Soldiers was historically accurate to a tee.
  • Improbable Age:
    • Nick calls out Braveheart for claiming William Wallace had sex with Queen Isabella, whose son became King Edward III, as a big lie and impossible since not only was Edward III born ten years after Wallace's death, Isabella wasn't married yet to King Edward II during the events of film as she was still living in France and was nine years old!
    • Nick criticizes the opening scene of Elizabeth: The Golden Age, in which Queen Elizabeth I is considering several suitors in 1585, on several levels. First, by 1585, Elizabeth had reached middle age and had long written off the idea of marriage. Second, two of the suitors presented to her, Eric XIV of Sweden and Ivan the Terrible, had long been dead by the time the scene takes place.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: His Casino review points out that the casting of Joe Pesci as Nicky Santoro wasn't just a creative decision by director Martin Scorcese to work with actors he'd previously worked with on GoodFellas, but also because Pesci was a dead ringer for Tony Spilotro, the mafioso Santoro was based on, which he demonstrates with some side-by-side of press footage of Spilotro alongside footage of Santoro. This is especially noticeable given Pesci's short stature also worked in his favor because Spilotro was also short in stature, to the point that many nicknamed him "the Ant".
  • The Mafia: Calls out the trope as a whole for overly romanticizing "honor-bound" Italian-American gangsters — especially as applied in The Godfather — while GoodFellas depicts their true colors: psychotic scumbags who terrorized everyone and routinely turned on each other.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: He applauded The Death of Stalin for having the actors use their own accents for the film, instead of them attempting to mimic Russian accents. For one, it would have detracted from the film, and for another, more importantly, he noted that Russia had a multitude of accents anyway, and was bemused that Stalin was given a Cockney accent, because Stalin himself had the Russian equivalent of one.
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer:
    • Nick feels the need to explain that, yes, Joe Pesci really did have a Gangsta Rap song.
    • Does the same when he shows that, for real, Mozart composed a choral song called "Leck mich im Arsch", about licking his ass.
  • Not So Different: Nick notes that despite being personal and geopolitical enemies, Stalin and Hitler shared a paranoid hatred of Jews.
  • Obviously Evil: In Tombstone, the Cochise County Cowboys are made identifiable by wearing red sashes around their waists. Nick posits that the movie took influence from the gangsta films that came out around that time.
  • Pet the Dog: He closes his Amadeus video with one of Salieri's piano concertos, in order to demonstrate that the man was far from a mediocre composer.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: In his review of Dunkirk, Nick takes a moment to criticize complaints about the movie lacking representation of women and people of color, pointing out that while both groups were instrumental in the war effort overall, very few were present at Dunkirk.
  • Politically Correct History: Another thing that Nick doesn't like, since it hides the fact the past wasn't that great for some people.
    • A scene in The Patriot shows the Continental Army offering freedom to black men if they fight against the British, embodying the American ideal of equality. The Continental Army's motives for doing this were less than noble in reality, as they were trying to counteract a similar offer being made to blacks by the British. Most blacks who fought for American independence ended up being sent back into slavery.
    • One of the wives of the soldiers in We Were Soldiers is white yet is shocked to learn stores outside of the Army base practice segregation. However, something like that should not have been unknown to her, since the movie is set during the Civil Rights Movement, where the news reported about it.
    • One of his largest issues with Kingdom of Heaven was that it portrayed the Muslim people as overall good people who were more morally just than the Crusaders, who are portrayed as being either evil or sadistic. While the Crusaders definitely committed acts of violence on their march and after, he also points out that the Muslims were not as noble and moral as the film depicts them, citing the film as heavily bias in its depiction of the two sides.
  • Pop Culture Osmosis: Nick sets up the Death of Stalin review by stating that while most people associate Adolf Hitler with pure evil, Josef Stalin was also right up there and it would have been perfectly appropriate to celebrate his death.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Certain actions undertaken by the Earps during the OK Corral gunfight are so confusing that even the cast of Tombstone wondered what their intentions were in confronting Ike Clanton's group.
  • Show, Don't Tell: Nick criticizes the fact that a scene depicting Mark Antony's famous eulogy at Julius Caesar's funeral was cut from the second season of Rome, instead having a bit character give a secondhand summary of the speech. This not only removes a pivotal scene from what is supposed to be a depiction of events following Caesar's death, but the dumbed down substitute doesn't explain why Antony's eulogy was a masterpiece of political demagoguery.
  • Shout-Out: In his review of Tora! Tora! Tora!, he cites The Nostalgia Critic for providing a basic and accurate summation of his feelings for Pearl Harbor.
  • The Stool Pigeon: In his Casino role, Nick is inclined to agree with all the evidence that came out after Lefty Rosenthal's death that suggested he was a secret FBI informant, as it explains why Lefty never had to worry about jail time or his assets being seized by the federal government.
  • The Spartan Way: In the 300 review, Nick goes through Sparta's child-rearing practices in detail.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Nick admits in his GoodFellas review that he sympathizes with Henry having a difficult time in school due to his learning disabilities, saying that he had a tough time in school for similar reasons.
  • Take That!:
    • In his review of Tora! Tora! Tora!, he mocks Pearl Harbor for its historical inaccuracies, jingoistic themes and disrespect to the survivors of the attack.
    • He does two of these in his review of GoodFellas: he criticizes countdown-style YouTube shows for "liking" cool scenes in movies without even understanding what made them cool, and is critical of The Godfather for showing a fake, romanticized view of the Mafia that was unduly influenced by Mafia pressure behind the scenes.
    • While discussing Queen's "I Want to Break Free" video in the Bohemian Rhapsody episode, he says that the video was based on Coronation Street, which he refers to as a boring British soap opera.
    Even the intro's boring. Look, even the cat's fallen asleep.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Nick wistfully noted that while The Terror was true to the book and kept a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere as the threat, he wished they'd just gone with the very real, very dangerous foe of a large polar bear, which would have been just as scary and hewn closer to reality. invoked
  • Throw the Dog a Bone:
    • Despite the many faults he finds in Alexander, Nick praises Oliver Stone for correctly portraying Alexander the Great as a bisexual despite backlash by protesters during the film's release.
    • Even though he finds plenty of glaring omissions and inaccuracies in Rome, Nick actually likes Brutus's Suicide by Cop at the Battle of Philippi even though it isn't really how he died.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Nick points out some films were actually based on books and stories and not Real Life. He also calls out horror movies like Annabelle for using this trope as a gimmick despite the true stories in question not being verifiable.
  • Viewers Are Morons: He criticizes the American producers of Master and Commander for changing the antagonists' nationality from American privateers in the book to Napoleon's French Navy due to this trope and thinking American viewers would be confused and not know who to root for.
  • You Are What You Hate: In Timeline, Nick points out that the English villain Lord Oliver's negative reaction to the French character François is pretty hypocritical, since because Lord Oliver is an English noble during The Hundred Years War, he is arguably French himself.

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