Pop Culture Pet Peeve: YouTube anachronism in 'The Hurt Locker'

Hurt-Locker-youtube_l Man oh man is The Hurt Locker a great movie. And you don't have to just take my word for it. EW's Lisa Schwarzbaum gave Kathryn Bigelow's intense drama about bomb defusers in Baghdad a solid A. Part of the film's strength is its unflinching realism: The three central actors — Jeremy Renner, EW Action Hottie Anthony Mackie, and Brian Geraghty — appear on screen not as glossy stars, but as dirty, sweaty, supremely stressed-out soldiers stuck in the middle of a dehumanizing war zone. I was pretty shocked, then, to discover a major anachronism in this otherwise air-tight movie. In an early scene, Geraghty's character observes a local man filming him with a video camera and says, "He's getting ready to put me on YouTube." Title cards at the beginning of the film tell us that The Hurt Locker takes place in 2004. YouTube, on the other hand, didn't launch until 2005. Ooops.

Since I am an obsessive freak, the error nagged at me for the rest of the movie. Which is why I'm adding glaring anachronisms to my ever-growing list of Pop Culture Pet Peeves. I'm sure you've all been irked by them over the years, too. Which take-you-out-of-the-viewing-experience anachronisms — in movies or TV — have bugged the crap outta you? Oh do share, PopWatchers. You know how I love a communal gripe fest.    

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  • Kerri

    I realize that many of the anachronisms in “Knight’s Tale” were deliberate and intentional, but knowing this never makes me enjoy the movie any more. I just can’t make my brain accept the things in that movie.

  • Jon

    That’s not a glaring anachronism. In fact, only an obsessive few — or maybe just an obsessive one (you) — would even know or care that YouTube appeared in ’05 rather than ’04. And to have a minor detail such as that ruin the experience of the movie for you — as if it was something huge, like an old-west cowboy driving an SUV — probably means you need to check into a mental institution.

  • Ceballos

    Do most people know that YouTube started in 2004?
    Anyway, one movie anachronism off the top of my head is in the “Rent” movie. The Broadway show doesn’t give a specific year in which the action is happening, but the movie states that it’s 1990 in the beginning. That doesn’t work because the character of Angel references “Thelma and Louise” in a song. The problem with that is that “Thelma and Louise” didn’t come out till the next year.
    I guess most people wouldn’t know that the “Thelma and Louise” reference is a year off, the same way I didn’t know the YouTube thing in “Hurt Locker” was a year off. That proves your point that when a viewer knows something’s off (no matter how relatively insignificant it may be), it gets to be a big deal to that person.

  • Hunter

    Get a life and quit nitpicking.

  • Wojo

    Whenever Barney from “The Flintstones” started playing Sudoku on his iPhone, I kind of got taken out of the moment. We all know Apple didn’t enter the mobile phone market until well into the Iron Age.

  • Rock Golf

    In “Born On The Fourth of July”, “American Pie” plays during a parade in 1969 or 1970. Of course, the song didn’t come out until 1971.
    In Stephen King’s “Silver Bullet” movie, the action is supposed to take place in the 70’s, but a pile of empty cans includes several Diet Cokes which didn’t come out until the mid-80’s.

  • Peeves

    The error of everyone wearing UnderArmour logo’d football apparel during the film Friday Night Lights, which is based on the 1988 Permian High School Panthers, was a distracting error to me as I knew UnderArmour wasn’t founded until 1996 .

  • SarahP

    Get a life yourself, Hunter. Why are you commenting on a post you don’t care about? You can’t help when things drive you crazy.
    One cliche that drives me nuts in movies or tv is when two people are talking on the phone, one hangs up on the other, and you hear a dial tone. There’s no dial tone in real life, just dead air. It happens in so many shows that I can’t even pinpoint one, but it annoys me every time.
    Another huge annoyance I had was when Brie’s son in Desperate Housewives was on the swim team and might get a scholarship, but when they showed the actors at swim practice, it was appalling. None of them were good swimmers, not at all! You’d think they could have tried harder to play to the actor’s strengths.

  • Captain Canuck

    Ya. So it’s a movie. A good movie. Why would you let that ruin the rest of the film for you? Any kind of Art or Entertainment asks you to take a certain leap of faith and not get bogged down in reality. It’s the difference of a year, but obvioulsy the film makers assumed the audience would grant them the artistic license to create their story. Get Over It!

  • Niix Starkyller

    Wojo rules.
    That is all.

  • Mark

    Like Rockgolf, song anachronisms really bug me. I remember Robin Williams singing “You Can’t Hurry Love” in “Good Morning Vietnam” ostensibly in 1965, when in fact the song wasn’t released until a year later. After that, I spent the rest of the movie dating every song that was mentioned or played – much to the annoyance of everyone watching the movie with me. And this stuff really stays with me – twenty years later, I don’t remember anything about “Vietnam” except the soundtrack.

  • JillEE

    My pet peeve happens in every football movie when they show the last second play: the clocks winding down, and they make the touchdown just as the last second ticks off. The thing is that the time doesn’t matter in the last play of a football game, if the play starts before the times up then even if the clock gets to zero, the score still counts. The game isn’t over until the play ends, even if the time is up. Therefore there is no need to score before time runs out. It always ruins the race against the clock clips for me.

  • JT

    Dinosaurs roaming an island in 1993.

  • JT

    JillEE, i thought i was the only one who ever realized that.

  • Laura

    Even though this movie was a fantasy, I have always hated this one anachronism that occurs in “Kate and Leopold”: Hugh Jackman’s character is supposedly a Duke from 1876, and in one scene he chastises a man on a date with Meg Ryan’s character for not knowing the real plot of the opera, “La Boheme”. Except that “La Boheme” did not premiere until 1896, so Jackman’s character would never have heard of it. So yeah, that one always really bothered me.

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