Sometimes you'll be watching a movie and an old wise man will appear on the screen. He will say little, but those few words will be full of sage advice that will guide the hero on his journey. You may even find yourself quoting him later.
What is easy to forget is that behind that wise old man is just a hack Hollywood screenwriter, and that those ancient words of wisdom were thrown in on the third draft, at four in the morning, after half a pound of cocaine.
Hollywood loves it when wisdom comes from unexpected places. There is always a homeless man around to teach an uppity grad student about love or janitor or limo driver to offer some folksy homespun wisdom.
More often than not, Morgan Freeman is involved.
That's why The Empire Strikes Back introduces Yoda as a rubbery little nuisance, seeming at first to be the comic relief, until we realize this wacky little gremlin is the spiritual and philosophical heart of the trilogy. The wisdom that comes from this troll sets the foundation for a creed which is more adored and revered today than many religions.
And it's pretty much all shit.
Take Yoda's chilling warning to Luke about the consequences of his decision to go to Cloud City:
"If you go now, help them you could, but you would destroy ALL for which they have fought and suffered..."
Set aside that this is vague to the point of incoherence, it consists of two separate clauses which are both proven completely untrue within minutes of Yoda saying them.
You're full of shit, old man!
The marginal "help" Luke provides to his friends consists in absorbing a Washington Generals-level beatdown from Vader, thus creating a painful and humiliating diversion to distract the Sith Lord from his friends' escape. Luke showing up at Cloud City has NO negative consequences for anything the Rebellion was fighting for or anything else we can see for that matter.
And let's not forget that Luke also "helped" them pick up Lando Calrissian, the guy who eventually joined the Rebellion and BLEW UP THE SPACE STATION CARRYING THE EMPEROR. In other words, the guy who ended up winning them the war.
Great call, Yoda. With those predictive skills, you must have spent many a long, hard day at the race track.
But even this comes after Luke's training, which largely consisted of slogans like:
"Do, or do not. There is no try."
Nonsensical lines like that one make Yoda the Yogi Berra of the galaxy. He seems to have picked up an incorrect definition of the word "try" at whatever community college he attended. You cannot do without trying first. It is impossible. If he'd said "get drunk, or do not, there is no drinking" it would have made as much sense.
"WOOOOO! Pride or no pride, I will get drunk."
Or was he just telling Luke to believe in himself, to plunge ahead against all odds, regardless of appearances? After all, Yoda said the line after Luke expressed doubt in his abilities. Well, we're all for self-confidence, but Luke's whole problem was that he overestimated his own abilities, and was charging into the situation without stopping to train first. The entire rest of Luke's training revolved around breaking him of that.
Which brings us right back to the trip to Cloud City that Yoda tries to talk him out of. Wasn't that just Luke trying to seize the initiative and "do" instead of hiding on a planet with the swamp rats and doubting himself?
Despite being generally the least useless of the forces of good, Gandalf is not immune to delivering little wisdom turds like these:
Frodo: It's a pity Bilbo didn't kill [Gollum] when he had the chance.
Gandalf: Pity? It was pity that stayed Bilbo's hand. Many that live deserve death. Some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them, Frodo? Do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. Even the very wise cannot see all ends. My heart tells me that Gollum has some part to play yet, for good or ill before this is over. The pity of Bilbo may rule the fate of many.
No, someone should have really, really killed Gollum. It's precious that Gandalf wants a little Hobbit to keep his innocence, but the price of that innocence is thousands of other beings dying in a war over The Ring. Gollum is the one who told the bad guys where to find the ring, and later it's his betrayal that gets the ring within inches of being captured by Sauron (thanks to him feeding Frodo to a giant spider).
Though, we may have done the same thing.
Also, why is Gandalf so uptight about killing people, when according to his own words:
"End? No, the journey doesn't end here. Death is just another path... One that we all must take. The gray rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass... And then you see it. White shores... and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise."
Hell, you'd be doing him a favor! Only we see just minutes later that Gandalf and the good guys are delivered from their fate by, well, dead people. Dead people who have not actually been resting in beautiful fields, as much as trapped in a dark, dank cave for millennia.
It turned out they had been trapped there due to an old curse. So, no, Gandalf. In the Lord of the Rings universe you don't get to see those "white shores" if some third party, without your knowledge, casts the right spell. Better hope you never pissed off any powerful wizards when you were alive!