#3. GoldenEye & Under Siege 2: Dark Territory -- The Villains Make a Fortune on a Terrorist Attack (Which Will Render Their Money Worthless)
1995 saw the release of both GoldenEye and Under Siege 2: Dark Territory, one of which marked James Bond's return to the screen after a long absence, while the other marked Steven Seagal's return to the screen after eating an entire pan of baked macaroni at Piccadilly Cafeteria. Both films feature a villain planning to launch a terrorist strike with computers and a satellite, adding more fuel to the long-standing belief that Hollywood doesn't completely understand how either of those things work.
In Under Siege 2, Travis Dane is paid $1 billion by Middle Eastern terrorists to hijack a military satellite particle weapon and fire it at a nuclear reactor hidden beneath the Pentagon, triggering an explosion that will wipe out the entire eastern seaboard. He intends to do this with a CD-ROM.
In GoldenEye, Alec Trevelyan aims to hack into the Bank of England and steal all their funds electronically. Immediately afterward, he will use the GoldenEye satellite to send an electromagnetic pulse through London, erasing all of their financial records and sending the country into chaos (and neatly covering his theft, to boot).
"OK, Nightcrawler, put in the CD-ROM."
But wait a second ...
In both movies, the villains are getting paid in the currency of a nation whose economy is about to be completely annihilated by their actions, effectively reducing their ill-gotten fortunes to valueless stacks of colorful paper.
Dane's plan to nuke Washington, D.C. would instantly vaporize most of the government and leave a third of the United States totally uninhabitable. It is safe to assume that the value of the dollar would take a catastrophic plunge, much like Steven Seagal himself in Executive Decision. Now this makes sense from the point of view of the terrorists who hired Dane -- they just want to see the US destroyed. But Dane is getting paid in the currency he's about to render useless -- when the money is transferred to his account, you can clearly see that he's getting tossed one billion American dollars to destroy the only nation capable of honoring their value:
His lack of foresight is apparently deafening.
Alec Trevelyan makes the same mistake. It does no good to loot the Bank of England if you're going to erase Great Britain's entire financial history 30 minutes later. It's going to be difficult to convince people to deal in pounds sterling if there's no record of the damnn things being worth anything. That's like stealing a bunch of Picasso paintings and then Men-In-Black-ing Picasso from everyone's memory.
We suppose Trevelyan could delay phase two of his plan long enough to take his stolen money to a currency exchange, but coming in with a sum large enough to maintain the Crown would probably raise a few eyebrows (and Politburo alarms). No matter how you look at it, he's coming out of this broke.
"Before I kill you, James, I'm really gonna need that 20 bucks you owe me."
#2. Ferris Bueller's Day Off -- Mr. Rooney Tries to Nail Ferris on an Excused Absence
Edward Rooney, the most vindictive high school principal in history outside of Ernie Hudson in The Substitute, has made it his mission to bust Ferris Bueller, a wormy egocentric teenager who spends the entire movie smiling disingenuously and dressing like Tommy Davidson. After Ferris fakes an illness to skip school for a day, Rooney decides to put every single one of his duties as an educator aside and leaves his office to go searching for him, obsessed with catching Ferris in the act so he can use it as evidence to prevent him from graduating. Although if Rooney hates him so much, we're curious as to why he'd want to keep him around for another year.
Not to mention the fact that Ferris is clearly 24 years old.
But wait a second ...
Ferris' absence from school was excused by his parents, which means Rooney can't do a goddamned thing about it.
When Ferris doesn't show up for class, Rooney immediately calls his mother, who confirms that Ferris is home sick for the day. And that, right there, should have been the end of it. Rooney's role in the situation has been completely eliminated. The school can't punish Ferris for an excused absence any more than Tom Hanks can slap Helen Hunt for getting remarried at the end of Cast Away after she thought he was dead for four years.
It doesn't matter if Rooney had been downtown to personally witness Ferris singing "Twist and Shout" on a parade float -- neither he nor the school has any legal right to take action. Hell, Ferris could walk right into Rooney's office and hand him a burrito. He literally can't do shit.
Sure, Rooney could call Ferris' parents and explain his concerns, particularly in the event of that burrito scenario. He could arrange a parent-teacher conference with the Buellers to discuss Ferris' numerous suspicious absences. But as far as punishing Ferris himself, Rooney's hands are tied.
So he breaks into the Bueller home instead.
#1. Superman Returns -- Lex Luthor Wants a Monopoly on Uninhabitable Real Estate
Despite his reputation as one of the most diabolical geniuses in comic book history, the scope of Lex Luthor's cinematic scheming is apparently limited to elaborate real estate scams. In the original Superman, Luthor's plan was to fire a nuclear missile at the San Andreas Fault and sink California into the ocean, transforming some desert land in Arizona he'd just purchased on the cheap into million-dollar beachfront property.
In Superman Returns, Luthor creates a large Kryptonite-filled landmass in the North Atlantic Ocean, because that is apparently something you can do. The Kryptonite will eventually raise sea levels high enough to much of the world, allowing Luthor to live like a king on his own private island and charge a fortune to any survivors rich enough to purchase land from him.
It is a plan that radiates as much brilliance as the man who concocted it.
But wait a second ...
Luthor's doomsday-triggering paradise is a radioactive chunk of jagged sterile rock.
It would take a seriously compelling infomercial to sell even a photograph of this shithole.
The island is a barren gray wasteland completely incapable of sustaining life. Luthor himself would probably jump off the highest point of its dagger-toothed skyline after living there for a week. And just because Kryptonite is Superman's specific weakness doesn't mean it's harmless for regular humans. Kryptonite is an intensely radioactive substance, and building a house on a continent made of the stuff would be the same as unrolling a sleeping bag atop an exposed uranium core. This may be a comic book movie, but unless you're the main character, the only super power you're getting from radiation is cancer.
And this also brings to mind the problem with GoldenEye and Under Siege 2 earlier: What currency is Luthor planning on dealing in once the entire world is drowned by his floating toxic shit brick? Is he going to print a bunch of LuthorBucks to distribute among the survivors? He intends to become a billionaire by completely destroying the infrastructure that wealth requires to exist.
And even if the land did become valuable, what's to stop the first army that comes along from just taking it from him? He seems to think he can defend his claim to the only dry bit of land left in the entire world with a cartoon gangster overcoat and three--three--henchmen.
One of whom is Kumar.
His plan's best case scenario is he becomes king of a radioactive graveyard, trying to sell people real estate for billions of dollars that he cannot possibly spend.
Robin Warder is the co-owner of a pop culture website called The Back Row.
For more ridiculous acts of villainy, check out The 6 Most Pointlessly Elaborate Movie Murder Plots and The 6 Most Pointless Supervillain Schemes Ever Hatched.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out Twitter Sums Up Everything Bad About Itself in One Video.
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