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© St. Petersburg Times, published July 21, 2000

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You just came out of a theater after seeing The Sixth Sense, and before you can say a word about the plot or the acting, the person with you launches into this major rant about how, two-thirds of the way through the film, the woman who plays the little boy's mom answered a question from Bruce Willis, which couldn't have been possible since Willis was a ghost.

Poof! There goes all the fun, the mood, the magic.

People who do this sort of thing are called names we can't print in a family newspaper. They're also called nitpickers, and like every other group on the planet, they have their own Web site.

And it's hysterical. Nitpickers.com is a list of more than 18,000 movie goofs submitted by people who care. About what, we're not sure.

The site is free, and you don't need to register to browse the lists. But if you sign up (also free), you can post and take credit for nitpicks you find, or you can refute nitpicks.

Many of the listing are the usual things: wires holding someone or something up, a conflict in the plot, or some historic or technological inaccuracy, but one of the classic examples came from Titanic, a movie that was touted as historically accurate down to the smallest detail -- which is all a nitpicker needs to hear.

Leonardo DiCaprio's character claims to have gone ice fishing on Lake Wissota in Wisconsin. As several nitpickers pointed out, Lake Wissota exists all right, but it is a manmade lake that wasn't created until 1917, five years after the Titanic sank.

I know. Raise your hand if you care.

But you have to understand the mind of the nitpicker. These are people who live for that one tiny flaw, and when they find it, they pounce.

Sometimes, however, they really do seem to go too far. For instance:

Toward the end of Independence Day, Jeff Goldblum shouts "must go faster" as he rides in an alien spacecraft, the same line he used in Jurassic Park when a T-Rex was chasing him. (It was probably a joke, okay?)

When Han Solo is put into the Carbonite freezer in The Empire Strikes Back, his arms are bound in the back so that he can't move them. But when he is thawed out, the binders are gone. (Binders schminders. The poor guy was encased in a slab of metal -- and survived.)

While Michael J. Fox is shooting free throws during a scene from Teen Wolf, a player from another team runs through the lane, which is a violation of basketball rules. (Right, and Teen Wolf was a violation of the rules of taste. That makes it a wash.)

If you'd like to nominate a site, drop me an e-mail at zucco@sptimes.com.

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