When I was in history class I was often charged with writing what I like to call “superfluous papers” – a category that covers 99.9% of the papers I’ve written in my college career. But once in a while a teacher goes off the beaten path and gives a project that at first glance seems easier than slicing butter but in fact is incredibly difficult. This is because he or she assigned me to write about a movie or show that is set in history but is the worst source you can use for a citation.
I’ll give you a clear example of what I mean. Remember when 300 came out and everyone assumed that’s exactly how people acted and that the Athenians were little scaredy cats? My teacher assigned that movie for the entire class to write about, not for some weird enjoyment to see how well we deal with slow motion sex scenes, but to point out how horrid the history was.Turns out it was about historically accurate as the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Even Wikipedia had more facts about the Battle of Thermopylae than Zak Snyder. While it would be ridiculous to take anything Snyder (or Hollywood for that matter) does seriously, it’s almost an insult to make something already epic on its own and make it into a parody of itself. It was as if Snyder decided that filming 300+ men against a million was just too boring so he took the Willy Wonka route and fudged the crap out of the facts.
While Hollywood isn’t necessarily concerned with basic information like proper dates, wars, names, people or things of that sort because they prefer naked flesh and soap opera drama, they are concerned with ratings and money. Try to hold your shock at bay. Unlike writers who know how to take inspiration from history and base their fiction around it, this list is made up of the worst offenders who turned pretty fascinating cases of history into a clustermuck of what was going on in the writer’s imagination.