Blockbuster movies need action. We don't tend to spend $200 million worth of tickets on a film full of subtly delivered wry wit. We need characters to do outrageous stunts, to make drastic decisions and to scream things while flying slowly through the air.
As a result, people in movies often wind up making grossly illogical and often utterly insane choices purely to spice things up. These are the characters who probably should have taken a moment to think things over:
Point Break is about some bank robbing surfers led by Patrick Swayze and the crime-fighting team of Keanu Reeves and Gary Busey trying to bring them down.
The word "team" has many definitions.
The moment we said Point Break we're guessing you pictured one scene in your mind, and one scene only: the one where Patrick Swayze jumps out of an airplane with a parachute and Keanu Reeves, in the ultimate act of reckless badassery, jumps out after him with a gun. And no parachute. He hurls himself toward the ground and catches Swayze in midair, and the two have a shouting standoff as they reach terminal velocity.
To understand how bizarre and pointless this decision was, you have to rewind a bit. Keanu's character, FBI agent Johnny Utah, catches up with Bodhi (Patrick Swayze) at the airport, who's loading equipment and cash into a plane. A shootout occurs, and Bodhi takes Utah hostage and drags one of his friends along with him, despite the fact that the guy's been shot and is clearly dying. It winds up not even mattering, because Swayze kicks him out of the plane a few minutes later anyway.
"Curse you, Swayzeeeeeeee!"
Swayze jumps out after him, leaving Keanu by himself in the plane. Of course, Keanu has no choice but to jump out because the plane is going to crash-
-Oh, wait, no. That's not right. The plane and the pilot are perfectly fine. And get this -- we're pretty sure there were more parachutes on board if Keanu wanted one.
Yeah, that's the plan. Grab the gun and leave the chute.
Swayze's plan was for his entire gang to parachute out of the plane, and there were four members of the gang before the others were killed in the airport shootout. He put one chute on the wounded guy and took another for himself, leaving at the very least two more parachutes in the airplane that Keanu doesn't bother trying to locate before flinging himself out to what was almost certain death.
Roach, we hardly knew you.
Or, better yet, Keanu could've used his super policeman powers to force the pilot to land the damn plane -- after contacting local law enforcement below to be on the lookout for a couple of parachuting jackasses hovering around in the general vicinity.
Either option would've been way more reasonable than launching headfirst into the sky like Steven Segal in Executive Decision.
If you aren't familiar with the original Karate Kid franchise, we'll take a moment of silence to mourn the childhood you never had.
The Karate Kid movies detail the coming-of-age underdog story of Daniel LaRusso. He finds meaning in life via the martial art of karate, taught to him by his apartment's handyman, Mr. Miyagi.
All our handyman ever did was sneak us vodka and scream about the kaiser.
In the first film, the bad guy is the evil karate dojo Cobra Kai, led by the star pupil (the Aryan Johnny Lawrence) and the owner of the dojo, John Kreese. Lawrence and the Cobra Kai gang harass and bully Daniel until they agree to settle their differences at a karate tournament.
That's how we settled every dispute back in the 80s.
Now, clearly the bullying and harassment is a bad thing, but that's entirely within the realm of what high school kids do. Granted, early in the film they seem intent on beating Daniel into a coma before Miyagi intervenes, but they're bullies, and they're young, and that kind of thing happens.
The baffling part is when Kreese, the adult owner of the dojo, decides to intervene. When Miyagi goes to him to ask that his students lay off Daniel (since he's the one adult in their lives who could assert that kind of influence), he laughs it off and says that if Daniel and Miyagi don't show up at the tournament, his gang is going to beat the shit out of both of them.
What kind of waiver did those parents sign, anyway?
So ... imagine you're a grown-up, probably with kids, and a war veteran (as is mentioned in the movie). You have saved up or borrowed to open a karate training center to teach children and teenagers the martial arts. Do you really put all of that on the line to take your students' side in their high school dispute with a 16-year-old kid? When teenagers fight, they get detention or a warning from the cops. When middle-aged men join the fray, things start to get weird.
You can see this demonstrated at the opening of Karate Kid II when, after losing the tournament, a crazed John Kreese freaking goes after them in the parking lot.
It doesn't go well.
He's not an isolated case, either; as the sequel continues, we find that, in fact, most adults in the Karate Kid universe are suffering from crippling impulse-control problems. We learn that Miyagi fled his home village decades earlier because his best friend, Sato, challenged him to a fight to the death. In a more normal world, all would be forgotten after a decades-long cooling off period. But this isn't a normal word. This is the 80s. When Miyagi returns, Sato -- now a wealthy businessman -- drops everything he's doing to resume the karate feud.
This franchise spawned a huge fad of parents enrolling their kids in karate lessons, but we're kind of surprised by that. The overwhelming lesson of the films is that karate turns you into a sociopath.
More of us would have stayed in karate if we'd gotten uniforms like that. White is like the lamest color.
In Free Willy, a vagrant youth named Jesse is given to a well-meaning family after he vandalizes a Sea World-type amusement park. While working to clean up his mess, he befriends Willy, the park's resident killer whale and, with the help of a spunky assistant and a Native American, he learns to stop being such a dickbeard.
He also gains the ability to uppercut whales to a theme by Michael Jackson.
The owner of the park (who in a hilarious turn of events is Michael Ironside) has a million-dollar insurance policy on Willy and is actively trying to kill the whale so he can collect on it, despite the fact that he probably spent more on buying the whale and a tank for it to live in.
"I never got my GED."
When Jesse discovers the evil plot, he immediately declares, "There's no time!" and decides to steal the shit out of Willy and set him free in the ocean.
Wait. What exactly was there no time for?
This is one of those films where absolutely no authority figures seem to exist. Everything falls to the little kid main character for no reason at all. But that doesn't make sense -- there's a lot of money at stake, there's a crime being committed and there's a whale whose life is in danger, in a world where beached whales get immediate news coverage and teams of volunteers trying to keep them alive.
So it would've taken 10 minutes to call the cops and/or the insurance company and report Michael Ironside's impending fraud. From there, get on the phone with the local news and some environmental groups. It eliminates the profit motive by tipping off the insurance company, and it draws so much attention to the situation that Carlos the Jackal wouldn't make a move on that damn whale.
Willy would've probably been legally released after all was said and done, leaving no reason for whale-stealing black ops. This is a good life lesson, kids. Whenever you get the urge to go out and be a whale-stealing hero, stop, take a breath and ask yourself whether there are some grown-ups you can call.
Grown-ups: Good for more than drug money.
When reflecting on The Truman Show, it's easy to say that everyone in that movie was insane. And by everyone, we mean the entirety of planet Earth. Everyone watched a little baby grow into a man inside a TV studio while being lied to his whole life and told it was the real world. And there was only a small group of people who thought it was a violation of Truman's human rights.
Who approved this casting budget?
Think about how many laws have to not exist in that universe for this show to happen. It's apparently legal for a person or corporation to imprison a person, as long as you feed him. It's legal to film and record someone without his knowledge. It's legal to defraud a person out of literally every possible thing he could have in his life, from a real marriage to a real career. If it can be done to Truman, it can be done to anyone, including you. It's as much an "anything goes" society as The Road Warrior.
"Hey fellas, quick question. I really like what we're doing here, but, uh ... in what way is this not slavery? Because it kinda feels like slavery."
But we digress. In the film, no one did much about the situation, and Truman is left to discover on his own that he is the unwitting star of a reality show. Then he decides to escape from his lovely and accommodating prison, at which point the insanity factor really jumps to 11.
Behind the reality show was Christof, a man who secured the rights to filming a child and observed the whole thing from his base on the moon. That just screams supervillain.
Moon base: check. Beret: check. Black outfit: check. Someone get this man a cat.
When everything else fails to stop Truman from getting into a boat and sailing to freedom, Christof makes one last desperate attempt to save his show:He tries to drown Truman.
"This cannot possibly create a terrible precedent."
That's right; Christof doesn't decide to hedge his losses after Truman tries to escape -- he just straight decides to murder his ass. While most producers would, say, offer Truman more money or just find someone else to fill the role, Christof -- against the better judgment of his production staff -- intensifies an artificial storm until Truman is knocked from the boat. Even then, it takes him a moment to calm the fury while Truman struggles to survive.
It isn't until after he sees that his murder attempt has failed that Christof actually tries to bargain with Truman to save his show like a reasonable person. It's a good thing, too, because that would have been the world's hardest murder to cover up. The whole thing is on live TV, the cops know he's controlling the "storm," and they know he has motive. Hell, the attempt to kill Truman should have been enough to put him behind bars anywhere but this universe, where there are absolutely no legal consequences to doing anything ever.