#3. Having Extended Conversations With People Who are Trying to Catch You
As Seen In:The Thomas Crown Affair, Insomnia, Heat, Thief, Bonnie & Clyde, The Departed, Silence of the Lambs and countless other serial killer movies.
Ads like to describe these crime movies as something like, "a thrilling cat and mouse thriller, guaranteed to thrill." This assessment might be accurate if mice were known to run in front of cats telling them exactly where they are, where they will be in the future, and what they plan to do once they get there. But they don't do that, because mice are smarter than that. Movie criminals, not so much.
They always seize the opportunity to taunt their pursuers, saying things like "You'll never catch me." That statement may have once been true, but by revealing his identity and his plans, well, it seems like he's made it fairly easy for the police to catch him. They no longer have to go about the tedious work of determining who the culprit is.
To make things worse, the bad guys often meet the good guys in public places.
That's right, places like a diner.
The Thomas Crown Affair, in which Steve McQueen (and in the remake, Pierce Brosnan) courts the private investigator hired to catch him. Granted, said private investigator is Faye Dunaway and later, Rene Russo, so we can see where he's coming from.
Still, if you're going to be a successful criminal, you can't think with your dick.
#2. Trusting the "New Guy" Who Nobody Knows
As Seen In:
Donnie Brasco, The Departed, Reservoir Dogs, any movie where somebody goes under deep cover.
So you'd like a career in crime, but you don't have any particular skills in that area, and you're not insane enough to fill the sociopath role. Well, there's always another surefire way to make it on a crew: be a cop.
Seriously. If there is one guy that mob bosses love even more than their funny little friend who tortures innocent people in his free time, it's the new guy who joined the crew just before the cops suddenly started magically figuring out what they were going to do next.
They don't seem to care that, despite years of work in this business, they've never heard of the guy, or that none of their associates have, or that there's no real indication the dude has committed any crimes up to a month before joining. They are also oblivious to the fact that the kid is so visibly uncomfortable with committing crime that he looks as nervous as Fred Durst at a spelling bee ("our next word is 'biscuit'...").
The thing is, the guys who have been with the boss for years, have remained loyal, done their jobs, and never asked for more, well, he couldn't really care less about them. But when a cop comes along, the boss suddenly has either a best buddy or, better yet, a surrogate son. After all, who is more open and trusting than a life-long criminal?
The Departed. Again, it's pretty odd when a cop can gain access so easily to the criminal organization even though no one knows anything about him. But in this film, the bad guys do know something about him: the fact that he was in training at the police academy.
But, sure enough, they take him on. Suddenly the cops become much more efficient once Leonardo Dicaprio has joined the crew ... making him all the more valuable! And they don't suspect him, because when asked by Jack Nicholson's character, Leo assures him he's not a cop.
"Good enough for us! If he was a cop, he's required to tell us! Right, gang? Somebody should check up on that later."
#1. Killing People Whenever It Seems Convenient
As Seen In:
Every single crime film you have ever seen.
Listen, we know that it has been scientifically proven that there is a direct correlation between how cool a movie is and how high it's body count is. And while some dark corner of our psyche likes the idea of being in a situation where we can gun down dudes with no consequences, it doesn't make for a terribly effective criminal. Let's face it, after the opening scene of Dark Knight, nobody's ever going to agree to rob a bank with The Joker again.
But in movies, even the calm, cool, rational bad guys make the mistake of gunning down victims when the consequences of murder are a hundred times greater than the consequences of what they were doing in the first place.
In Heat, our characters screw up a "perfectly-planned" heist (does that really surprise you anymore?). We totally understand trying to escape when the cops arrive, but once they're hemmed in, instead of surrendering and calling their lawyers, they whip out machine guns and go on a shooting rampage in the middle of the city.
That's only gonna make things worse, guys.
The Die Hard movies.
Cool criminal genius Hans Gruber wants to commit a robbery. He comes up with a simple plan that involves committing several dozen counts of kidnapping, several acts of murder, firing missiles at police cars and blowing up an entire skyscraper.
His idea was to disguise his robbery as an act of international terrorism. Think about that; in order to pull off a job that would normally draw the attention of the FBI and maybe InterPol, he disguises it as something sure to bring the entire force of the US military down on him and his entire home country.
Hell, if he'd gotten away, he'd likely have wound up on a waterboarding table in some secret CIA prison a few months later, wishing Bruce Willis had thrown him off a building. Good idea, Hans!
For some movie mistakes that make even less sense than these, check out 8 Classic Movies That Got Away With Gaping Plot Holes. Or find out about some good guys who made some bad mistakes in 5 Movie Martial Artists That Lost a Deathmatch to Dignity.