(I'm not talking about minor continuity errors [...]
Neither am I. I'm talking about things that made me snicker on first viewing in the theater, but which are just the sorts of stuff that's typical of a film that's the product of writers' imaginations, jazzed up for theatrics, and not cold hard reality. Even the overwhelming majority of films based on true events don't represent what actually happened; some aspects of reality get altered in the translation to the big screen. It's not that that's a bad thing necessarily, but rather, it's just that what you see on the screen is at best an approximation that is responsive at least as much to its own rules as it is to those of reality.
Two examples in The Hunt for Red October
come to my mind. The most significant is probably that, with a range of 5,000 miles, the missiles of the Red October
don't need to be launched close to the American coast at all, to hit American targets. This is an example of the movie being responsive to its own rules rather than those of reality.
But, my favorite, that took me right out of the movie on first viewing, is that in the middle of its cat-and-mouse game with the Red October,
when the two subs are shown running silently side by side, the Dallas
surfaces to pick up Ryan from the helicopter, and yet we are supposed to believe that the Red October
can't detect any of that.
The Hunt for Red October
is, overall, quite entertaining. However, ultimately, it's just a film, and it's certainly not
a model of filmmaking with enough fidelity to reality to command a total suspension of disbelief.