The Worst Movie Mistakes, And How to Easily Explain Them
Stan Lee is famous for co-creating the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, and the X-Men, but one of his coolest inventions is almost totally unknown beyond hardcore comics fans.
It was called the “No-Prize.” As Marvel’s popularity exploded in the 1960s, Lee’s gregarious public persona fueled the books’ letters columns, which were flooded with enthusiastic fan mail. Marvel’s carefully plotted and interconnected comics universe drew extremely attentive readers, who soon noticed that despite Lee and the Marvel staff’s best efforts, some stories and moments didn’t quite add up. The Hulk might show up in an issue of The Mighty Thor, the same day he was supposedly in the Negative Zone in his own book.
To address fans spotting these slip-ups, Lee invented the “No-Prize” — as in, you got no prize, although as the tradition evolved fans did start to receive a special (but empty) No-Prize envelope — which was awarded to readers who not only spotted a continuity error, but invented a creative in-story explanation for the mistake. How was Hulk in Thor and the Negative Zone at the same time? Well, time flows differently in the Negative Zone! While it seemed like he was trapped in the Negative Zone for a week, in our world, just a few hours elapsed, enabling him to make it back to take part in Thor’s story. And so on and so forth.
As a kid, I always loved the idea of No-Prizes, and I always thought someone should create No-Prizes for movies. Finally, I got sick of waiting for someone else to do it and made them myself. To get things started, I’ve collected ten notorious examples of major mistakes. But rather than simply laugh at them, I’ve provided plausible in-universe reasons why each one is actually not a mistake. And then I gave myself a Movie No-Prize for each one.
If you like the idea, try it yourself — and send us your No-Prize-worthy movie explanations on Twitter or Facebook. Maybe we’ll even start mailing out empty envelopes.