#3. WALL-E -- The Autopilot Is Trying to Thwart Its Own Mission
The Plot Twist
In this preschooler post-apocalypse feature, we follow WALL-E, a lovable trash compactor/cassette deck who falls in love with a big white butt plug from space. This robot, named EVE, is actually there to check in on whether a trash-riddled Earth could possibly sustain life once again -- and in her search stumbles upon an honest-to-God plant, which she immediately brings back to her mothership for further analysis.
They then toss it out once it's established that it can't be smoked.
But the movie needs an obstacle between the heroes and restoring Earth to a livable ecosystem, so the big twist is that the ship's autopilot, AUTO, is trying to prevent the humans from seeing the plant and finding out that Earth is now habitable. Why? Well, it's revealed that 700 years prior, all the autopilots of these ships were given secret orders to never, ever return to Earth, which was deemed a lost cause. AUTO was simply following those orders by hiding any evidence of the plant.
Hold On, Now ...
Then why send EVE down to Earth at all?
As the film shows us right away, the captain is completely out of the loop when it comes to practically every function of the ship, which is now in the hands of AUTO -- including the part where it periodically sends recon robots to find out if there's any trace of life on Earth, even though the answer is irrelevant.
Robot jobs ... just as soul-crushingly pointless as human jobs.
Of course, AUTO is a robot, so maybe its robot brain just doesn't work like that. Let's say that even AUTO itself didn't know about the secret "fuck Earth" directive until it kicked in -- but we know the exact moment when that happens, which is this:
"Asshole mode engaged."
See that "A113" there? That's the directive number for the order to never return to Earth, blinking up at the very sight of the plant. It's the moment AUTO knows to hide and destroy it -- and yet instead, immediately after this he informs the captain about the plant. Why?
Why bring the captain up to speed on something it is about to cover up? If this robot is capable of hurting other robots and holding people hostage in order to carry out its secret orders, can it not also just withhold information? Isn't that the point of the order in the first place? Seriously, AUTO, your uncle HAL would be very disappointed.
#2. Matchstick Men -- The Con Could Have Ended With a Single Phone Call
The Plot Twist
In a bold acting move, Nicolas Cage plays a twitchy eccentric named Roy Waller who has difficulties controlling his inflection and tricks people into giving him money. Thanks to his new therapist, Roy ends up meeting the 14-year-old daughter he never knew he had (courtesy of his ex-wife) and she moves in with him.
Honestly, for the first 20 minutes we thought this was a documentary.
But since this is a movie about con artists and double crosses, you just know that at some point everything we thought we knew will turn out to be a lie! In this case, it turns out that daughter Angela was never Roy's kid -- she was part of an elaborate con set up by his partner, Frank (Sam Rockwell), to make Roy trust someone enough to give up the code to his safety deposit box. A perfect con!
Hold On, Now ...
Frank's plot is presented as a perfectly planned scam involving fake shrinks, fake daughters, fake cops, and fake hospital rooms ... but it all hinged on Roy not doing one simple, logical thing: calling his ex-wife.
"Nah, no need to make sure I'm not kidnapping you or anything."
Angela's "mother" was the only real part of this whole charade -- Frank took advantage of the fact that Roy left her pregnant 14 years ago to set up the trick. One quick phone call to her, and the gig is up. The only precaution Frank took to make sure this didn't happen was having Angela tell Roy that her "mom" didn't want him to call her ... but then they spend the rest of the movie putting him in situations where he really fucking should.
For instance, the shrink advises Roy to call his ex, and he actually does it -- he only chickens out when she picks up. If she hadn't, Roy could have left a message mentioning the whole "So we have a daughter together, huh?" thing, and that would have been it. Con over.
Or if she'd called the creep back and told him to eat a dick.
Later on, when Angela fucking disappears for hours from Roy's home, Frank himself casually suggests that she might have gone back to her mother's house, knowing full well that a call to said house would end it all right then and there. It's only a fucking miracle in bad parenting that Roy waits patiently all night until she turns up. And this was somehow all part of the plan.
#1. The Usual Suspects -- Keyser Soze Purposefully Undoes His Entire Plan
The Plot Twist
The twist at the end of The Usual Suspects is universally recognized as one of the greatest ever. If you haven't seen the movie, stop reading this article and go watch it. That was awesome, right? OK, now let us ruin it for you forever.
The whole movie centers around the mystery of the identity of Keyser Soze, a brutal mobster and not a delicious deli sandwich like one would have thought. The story is narrated by crippled con artist Verbal Kint (Kevin Spacey) as he's interrogated by the police after being found at the scene of a perfectly good drug deal heist gone wrong.
The only other survivor of the heist is a badly burned Hungarian, and what do you know, just as Kint leaves the police station, a fax gets sent in with the Hungarian's description of Soze's face ...
"Holy shit! Put out an APB for Phil Collins, NOW!"
That's right, bitches -- Verbal Kint is Keyser Soze.
Hold On, Now ...
The movie makes it clear that the "drug heist" was actually just an excuse for Soze to kill the one man who knew his face. In that case, why stick around and show said face to everyone?
While it's clear that Kint was making all kinds of shit up during his questioning, let's look at the things we do know, the stuff that happens outside of his story. We see the beginning sequence of Soze leaving the scene of the heist with the cops nowhere in sight ...
The bunny ears turned out to be a red herring.
... meaning that he could have escaped before the cops got there, but for some reason didn't. Did this guy seriously create an elaborate boat heist with four other men so he could sneak in and shoot the one man who can ID him ... and then stand around and wait for the cops to ID him?
He even willfully talked to the cops, despite having been granted immunity (meaning he could have fucked right off any time), while the Hungarian was describing his appearance somewhere else at the same time. He had no way of knowing when the fax with his face on it would arrive, and yet he still spent hours dicking around in a police station, for absolutely no reason.
Clearly that coffee wasn't as bad as we were led to believe.
Once more, this is all portrayed as a perfectly orchestrated scheme by the world's greatest master criminal, but he's shown walking out of the police station right as the fax that nails him as Soze is scrolling through the machine. His whole plan would have collapsed if the cops had chosen to hold him for 30 more seconds, or if the one at the other end had been a bit quicker at dialing.
For more things that just don't make no damn sense, check out 8 Classic Movies That Got Away With Gaping Plot Holes and 6 Movie Plots That Could Have Been Solved In Minutes.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out The 6 Craziest Animal Products Ever Patented.
And stop by LinkSTORM to learn why the Emperor really wasn't that bad of a guy.
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