6 'Brilliant' Movie Scientists (Who Suck At Their Job)

#3. Dr. Lawrence Angelo from The Lawnmower Man

Why He's A Genius:

Dr. Angelo (Pierce Brosnan) invented Project 5, a virtual-reality program that transforms its users into telekinetic gods. Unfortunately, godhood isn't all that it's cracked up to be, since you end up looking like Max Headroom on angel dust.

Not that this would hinder your chances of getting laid. The film's portrayals of VR sex are so disturbing that a man's penis would invert itself.

Why He Should Not Have Been Allowed To Do Science:

The film opens with the good doctor unsuccessfully testing Project 5 on chimps. After failing to create psychic ape-messiahs, Dr. Angelo recruits Jobe (a.k.a. Frank Lapidus on Lost), the titular, mentally retarded groundskeeper, to test Project 5.

"My experiment will make you smarter..."

And when we say "Dr. Angelo recruits Jobe," we actually mean "Dr. Angelo hops the unwitting schmo up on IQ-boosting video games and smart drugs for laughs."

"...or an episode of ReBoot directed by David Cronenberg."

Dr. Angelo had good intentions but a miserable grasp of scientific ethics. The ability to read at a middle-school level would be mind-blowing enough for Jobe, but giving him the ability to blow up a middle school with his mind? Please. We'd be better off with the chimps. The worst they'd do is transmogrify reality into a giant banana.

#2. Dr. Herbert West from Re-Animator

Why He's A Genius:

Dr. West concocted the Re-Agent, a serum that resurrects the dead as mindless zombies. At first, the Re-Agent sounds like a truly awful idea. But think about it: Zombies are tireless, have no use for money and have crossed the unknowable chasm between life and death. In sum: They're the ultimate migrant laborers.

Sure, people would probably protest that these undead abominations are taking jobs away from living Americans, but that's simply because they don't have a zombie butler yet.

Why He Should Not Have Been Allowed To Do Science:

The Re-Agent raises some profound ethical questions, such as "Where's the dignity in dying if your rotting corpse is forced to work at Arby's?"

Regardless of a societally suitable answer (frankly, we'd only settle for nothing less than In-N-Out), Dr. West said, "Screw that noise!" and tested his serum in secret. This meant sneaking into morgues, reanimating disgruntled zombies and then reanimating any poor bastard unlucky enough to wander into the undead's path.

Needless to say, West racks up a sizable body count by the film's end. Had he just told someone what the fuck he invented, we're sure the N.I.H. would've provided him with a dump truck full of overripe old folks to un-birth. The movie would then be exactly like Cocoon if all the senior citizens ate each other.

Heck, West could've held a press conference to demonstrate the Re-Agent. Sure, there's the chance one of his test subjects would strangle an audience member with its zombie intestines, but that's the kind of stuff that gets your driveway paved in Nobel Prizes.

#1. The Ghostbusters

Why They're Geniuses:

For those two readers who have never seen Ghostbusters: drive to your nearest mall and buy it. Now. Drive in the left lane if it's quicker. And don't worry about fatalities, the cops will understand. They've seen Ghostbusters.

For the rest of humanity: In no time and for little cost, they slapped together the Psycho-Kinetic Energy Meter, the Proton Packs, ghost-capturing technology and had the foresight to buy up cheap downtown New York real estate during the pre-Giuliani years.

14 North Moore Street. Google Map it.

Why They Should Not Have Been Allowed To Do Science:

When faced with irrefutable proof of mankind's ultimate question--the existence of ghosts and thus life after death and the soul--the Ghostbusters did what absolutely no ethical scientist would do: declare war on the spirits and imprison them in tiny boxes.

The theological and philosophical ramifications of an afterlife? Poppycock. The fact that most apparitions are just looking for earthly closure? Bosh. What about the possibility of reconnecting with dead loved ones? Screw that noise! Treat those bastards like we're exterminators and they're a roach infestation!

So let's just that say that if Grandpa Jim materializes in your home, DON'T call the Ghostbusters. Otherwise Peter Venkman will show up stinking of Campari, bark a witticism to no one in particular and unceremoniously Proton Pack the shit out of your living room.

Once all your earthly possessions are charred and radioactive, Venkman will slap you with a $1,000 invoice and ship Gramps off to ghost jail, where he'll spend eternity getting buggered by poltergeists in a firehouse basement.

And about those Proton Packs? These "unlicensed nuclear accelerators" have a fairly important design flaw: If you cross the streams, you'll destroy the universe.

This means that, at any given moment, reality as we know it rests in the hands of three clumsy, out-of-shape scientists.

Say Venkman trips. End of the universe. Stantz sneezes. End of the universe. Egon prolapses. End of the universe.

Winston was not a scientist.

Holy crap, the dickless EPA guy was right!

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And check out some actually terrifying scientists, in 9 Real Life Mad Scientists. Or check out some people that are making science cool, in The 6 Most Badass Stunts Ever Pulled in the Name of Science.

And stop by our Top Picks to see Brockway and Gladstone try to grow their very own Kelly LeBrock.

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