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8 Movies Made Possible by Incompetent Background Characters

#4. The Terrorists Allow Tony Stark to Build the Iron Man Suit

In the beginning of Iron Man, genius billionaire/shithead Tony Stark is captured by terrorists and ordered to construct a state-of-the-art missile. Stark agrees, but cunningly builds a gigantic robot suit instead. He then uses said robot suit to escape, blowing up or otherwise immolating most of the terrorists in the process.


"Dickhammers, I should've seen this coming."

The thing is, Tony is under continuous heavy surveillance -- his cell/workshop is lined with video cameras that are monitored even while he sleeps. The frowny terrorist leader comes in to make progress checks, and there are always guards just down the hall, if not right outside the door. There is at least one pair of eyes watching Tony work at all times.

And he is clearly not building a missile.


"Does anything about this seem ... off to you guys?"

The cameras only have one or two very small blind spots -- not enough to conceal a big metal suit. Stark even draws detailed schematics of the robot armor and leaves it out on a table for the leader to see, and CEO McTerrorist looks them over long enough to determine that they are in no way drawings of a missile. He implies that he understands this when he tells Tony to quit fucking around and finish his missile in the next 24 hours, but then just kind of leaves the room and trusts that everything will go as planned. Furthermore, the guys watching the camera feed comment that what Tony is building looks nothing like a missile, as they are looking at pictures and blueprints of the missile in question.


And stubbornly rationalizing his obvious betrayal.

They allow Tony to keep working, right up until he finishes his mechanized armor, climbs inside it and turns it on, all in plain view. Only then do they try to shoot him. But it's too late, gentlemen. Far too late.

#3. The IT Team in Mission: Impossible Forgets Everything About Network Security

Be it Mission: Impossible or any other '90s movie involving hacking, it's always a matter of breaking into some superbase to reach a master computer. Once you're at the computer, everything's fine -- just log in, copy the files or install the virus or whatever, say stuff like "I'm in!" and "rerouting the server" a few times, then log back out and leave. Getting to the computer is the hard part. The computer itself is about as secure as the break room refrigerator. Tom Cruise demonstrates this beautifully in M:I by spending 30 minutes sneaking into a top secret facility and then ransacking their prime computer in about 20 seconds.


He's wearing glasses now, so you know computer stuff is about to happen.

Now think about your job. Can you just slide over to a co-worker's terminal and start clacking away on the keyboard? Can you install unauthorized software on your computer? Can you even open emails with attachments? No, not at all. You probably can't even change the clock without two or three IT guys materializing over your shoulder. That's because pretty much any modern workplace has every computer on an internal network -- usually, IT can monitor any desktop and take remote access any time they want. If someone starts fiddling with your station while you're away, every tech guy in the building will know about it in less than a minute. Likewise, if you get a virus or if some program isn't working correctly, they step through a wrinkle in time and appear beside you, sometimes before you even realize anything is wrong.

So, how in the hell is Tom Cruise able to rappel in and steal files from a restricted computer in a CIA complex by sweatily mashing the keyboard? There is one authorized user for this computer. That user has to log in and out of the room where the computer is located, so IT knows he isn't in the room when Tom starts his master hack. Why don't the tech guys, upon seeing activity in a supposedly empty room on the most sensitive terminal in the building, sprint down the hall, hitting every alarm that comes into punching distance? Why don't they remote access the computer and shut it down, or at least click "view desktop" so they can see what's being done?


"Huh. That's probably not OK."

Either the entire IT team decided that the computer was haunted or there was a carbon monoxide leak in their office.

#2. The Imperials Don't Scan the Millennium Falcon for Passengers in Star Wars

In Star Wars, R2-D2 and C-3PO are spared from vaporization when the officer on duty in the Star Destroyer tells the gunner not to fire on the droids' escape pod because a scanner reading showed no life forms aboard. Later, when the Imperials catch the Millennium Falcon in a tractor beam and tow it aboard the Death Star, they rely on the Falcon's logs to tell them that the crew abandoned ship (when Han, Luke, Obi-Wan and Chewbacca are actually just hiding under some floor panels). The good guys then sneak out and rescue Princess Leia, which costs the Galactic Empire their prized battle station and pretty much the entire war.


Farewell, sweet Tarkin. May flights of TIE fighters shriek thee to thy rest.

Hey, what happened to that life scan, fellas? We already know that the Empire has the technology to scan a small object for life forms as it moves rapidly through space in a matter of seconds. With a ship the size of the Millennium Falcon being dragged slowly into one of their hangars over several miles of interstellar void, they should've been able to run that scan about 70 times, which is enough to read Chewbacca's future, let alone find everyone hidden on board.


"I sense many clogged shower drains in you."

Furthermore, they know that the Falcon blasted its way through an Imperial checkpoint, and Darth Vader immediately realizes that it's carrying the stolen Death Star plans. Vader even senses Obi-Wan's presence, which is the biggest red flag in history. Yet instead of scanning it, he sends a couple of entry-level Stormtroopers inside to read the fucking log (and get knocked out by Han Solo).


Also, does anyone actually believe that these guys could read?

If Vader had just run the goddamned scan, he would've captured and executed the future leaders of the Rebellion right there. Boom, the Empire wins forever. Instead, Luke and Han save Leia and bring the Rebel Alliance the Death Star plans, which are then shoved directly up Vader's ass.

#1. Every Programmer in WarGames Is Dangerously Careless

In WarGames, teenage hacker David Lightman inadvertently triggers WOPR (an AI that controls America's nuclear arsenal) into running a thermonuclear war scenario against NORAD, bringing the world to the brink of atomic destruction. He does this by guessing WOPR's secret backdoor password, put in place by the AI's creator, Professor Falken (the password is "Joshua," the name of Falken's dead son).


See?

Here's a quick breakdown of why everyone involved in WOPR's creation is a cosmic retard:

First, for reasons that cannot be explained, the AI that controls all of the world-ending weapons in the United States can just be dialed up by any antisocial kid searching for games to play on his adorable floppy disk microcomputer. Beyond that, the different war programs WOPR can run are kept in a list alongside actual computer games like chess and backgammon, just waiting for someone to accidentally start them.


"We don't want anyone getting bored in the middle of a war, do we?"

Why does WOPR even have games? It's designed to simulate nuclear war scenarios, and has the ability to launch actual nuclear weapons (for some reason). What military engineer decided that it would be a good idea to throw checkers into the mix? There shouldn't be any bullshit at all on that computer, and moreover all the war scenarios should be labeled with the most unappealing names in the universe so no plucky teenage computer whiz would ever mistakenly run one.

Second, in that list of games and global death exercises, Professor Falken includes a program named after himself ("Falken's Maze"). This is how David figures out that Falken created WOPR, which leads him to discover the password that nearly coats the Earth in white-hot nuclear fire -- Joshua, the source of the password, is Falken's dead son, and the most important figure in his life. Anyone who reads a few articles about Falken would learn this almost immediately, which is exactly what David does. So David very correctly guesses the obvious and types in "Joshua" as a password and is rewarded with access to the most dangerous machine ever built.


You'd expect a computer that can murder the world to require letters AND numbers in the password.

Falken, a computer genius, created the most guessable password in history (short of "password" itself), then attached said password to a remorseless nuke-wielding robot and left a trail of breadcrumbs for anyone to follow.


"I could change that password, but I'm far too busy not giving one boiling shit."



David is a superfly tweet machine who enjoys making stupid shirts and listing lists over at Film School Rejects, where he is a staff writer and generous lover.

For more movie happenings that don't quite make sense, check out 6 Movie Plot Holes You Never Noticed Thanks to Editing and 5 Gaping Plot Holes Hollywood Knows You Won't Notice.

If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out The 6 Most Baffling Crimes Pulled Off by Senior Citizens.

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