#3. Night at the Museum 2 -- Amelia Earhart Turned into Dust
If you've only been exposed to the Night at the Museum movies through the trailers, you probably assume that the museum's exhibits (dinosaurs, pharaohs, Robin Williams) come to life at night because fuck it, it's a fucking family movie and nothing has to make sense. However, the films actually give a perfectly logical explanation for these shenanigans: Within the museum resides the magical Tablet of Ahkmenrah, which come sunset grants life to everything from statues to bobble-head dolls.
They spend most of the movie, using their height, to try to prove the theory of Sacajawea not wearing underwear.
The only catch is that any exhibits that are left outside the museum walls after sunrise will turn into dust. In the second movie, the tablet winds up in the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., where one of the exhibits is Amelia Earhart's plane.
Pictured: Someone trying to convince the audience that they're a person, not just a living statute ... and Amy Adams.
Earhart comes to life and teams up with security guard Larry Daley (Ben Stiller) to take on an undead Egyptian prince in an epic battle. Afterward, Larry realizes that there is one hour until sunrise and asks Earhart for a ride back to New York City in her plane. Amelia drops Larry off in New York, they have a touching farewell scene, and mere minutes after Larry and his friends run into the museum, the sun is up and the exhibits are frozen again. They made it just in the nick of time!
Hold on a Second ...
Except for Amelia Earhart, that is. She's dead. Larry doomed her to a fiery plane crash all over again.
The last time we see Amelia, she's getting back on her plane and heading to D.C. For the record, this is what she was piloting:
"It was death or a threesome with Robin Williams and Ben Stiller. I chose well."
So let's break it down: The distance between Washington, D.C., and New York is 204 miles. Amelia Earhart's airplane, the Lockheed Vega 5B, had a top speed of 185 mph. Even under ideal flight conditions, that doesn't look good. But none of that matters, because we saw the sun come up two minutes after she left -- best case scenario, both Earhart and her plane turned into dust and they disappeared into thin air (literally, this time). Worst case, the thing landed on someone's head.
#2. The Dark Knight -- The Joker Burned Mr. Lau Alive
Mr. Lau is the guy in The Dark Knight who was in charge of the mob's banking and whose catchphrase was "I'm good at calculations" (clearly he was meant to be a gritty reboot of silly Bat-villain the Calculator). When Lau escapes to China with all the mob's money, Batman just swoops in there and kidnaps him, CIA style, because 9/11 and stuff.
"Wow, he completely misunderstood when I asked about Chinese takeout."
The last time we see Lau, he's still in jail, and we are forced to assume that he either was deported or did his time and then went back to being a super rich criminal or whatever, because billions of dollars of embezzled money aren't so important when Batman has a more flamboyantly costumed fish to fry.
Hold on a Second ...
Except that, as observant viewers already know, that isn't really the last time we see Lau -- remember the scene where the Joker burns a huge pile of money?
He saves money by making his own face paint from hobo blood and old pigeon droppings.
And remember who we saw sitting on top of said pile moments earlier, bound and gagged?
"Wanna know how I got these paper cuts?"
And remember the part where the Joker kindly lets Lau out of the pile before pouring gasoline everywhere? No, you don't, because that didn't happen. Yeah, that guy is toast.
The movie doesn't show Lau writhing in pain as he burns alive or even acknowledge the fact that he's still there, but as this video points out, it makes perfect sense for him to die this way. Earlier, Lau had told the cops that the only reason he was still alive was "because of the money" -- however, once the Joker comes into town with his "Let's just blow shit up" attitude, money is no longer so important to the next generation of Gotham City criminals. They have no use for someone like Lau; it's all question mark costumes and facial deformities from now on.
So, you know the Russian mobster who watches broken-heartedly as the Joker burns down millions of dollars? Turns out he wasn't weeping for the money. He was just really close with Lau.
"Goodnight, sweet prince ..."
#1. Alien: Resurrection -- Ripley Kills the World
Despite being pretty dumb, Alien: Resurrection ends on a fairly poignant note for fans of the series: At the very end, Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), who has been trying to get to Earth since literally the first scene of the very first movie, finally comes home. Not only that, but she also stops the aliens from reaching the planet, thereby preventing a catastrophic infestation.
"If you think this movie is dumb, wait until you see what happens if Aliens get to Earth and fight Predators."
In the movie, Ripley finds herself aboard the USM Auriga, which of course ends up riddled with those pesky xenomorphs. The Auriga is programmed to land back on Earth, but Ripley and friends decide that they can't let that happen, so they reprogram the ship to crash on the planet instead while they leave in another vessel, killing the aliens in the explosion ...
Thus solving the problem forever.
Hold on a Second ...
... along with almost everyone else on Earth, apparently. Ripley saved the planet from the aliens, but not from the huge freaking explosion she caused on its surface.
And before you bring it up, no, Earth is not abandoned in this universe. It's a dystopian future, but all the drama in the film comes from the fact that the aliens can't reach the planet alive because that would be disastrous. But you know what would be even more disastrous? Worldwide extinction.
Or at least something close to it. Seriously, check out the size of that explosion. You can tell from that clip that the continent they're blowing up is Africa, meaning that the explosion is roughly 4,600 miles wide. For comparison, the crater from the asteroid that may have killed the dinosaurs is about 112 miles wide. We have no idea how to fairly compare an exploding spaceship to a meteor impact, but it's pretty safe to assume that that kind of devastation isn't something a planet can just shrug off, ecologically speaking.
But even if we're overstating the planet-wide consequences of the largest explosion mankind has ever seen, in the absolute best case scenario, this crash still makes Ripley responsible for more human deaths than all the aliens in all the other movies combined.
"You know, we probably could have done that sun thing like those Battlestar guys."
J.F. Sargent is a Cracked workshop moderator. Follow him on Twitter and Tumblr. Please help us stop him. Davidb Marchetti is a terrible playwright for The Contemporary Theater Company. Please, support your local theater.
For more not-so-happy endings, check out 6 Movies That Didn't Realize They Let The Villain Win and 6 Superheroes Who Completely Lost Their Shit.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out 3 Scientific Advances Predicted by TV Shows.