5 Clever Movie Schemes You Didn't Realize Were Stupid

#2. Back to the Future Part II -- Doc Brown Fails at Time Travel

Universal Studios

After having a skateboarding, rock 'n' roll inventing, almost-banging-your-own-mom adventure, Marty McFly was planning a nice evening in, just nailing his girlfriend, when Doc Brown appeared and babbled something about saving Marty's future kids. Apparently in the distant year of 2015 Marty's son gets 15 years in the slammer, and his daughter joins him after trying to get him out.

Universal Studios
It's a cruel, dystopian world, with tapped phones and job insecurity.

So Marty and Doc go back to the future (you don't say), and Marty prevents Marty Jr. from getting involved in a life of crime. All would be well, except Marty buys a sports almanac from a bizarre future where people still buy books instead of just using Wikipedia. Biff, the now elderly bad guy from the first movie, steals the book and the DeLorean, travels back in time to give the book to his past self, and sets off a huge time gangbang whose repercussions span two movies and like a billion Cracked articles.

What He Should Have Done:

Doc Brown claims to be an expert on time travel, but he's more full of shit than the manure trucks Biff keeps crashing into. He forgot that present Marty at the start of the film was living in the, well, present -- and hey, that's before the future, isn't it? He thinks Marty has to travel to the future to save his not-yet-existent children in their present.

Universal Studios
Easier than mounting a legal defense for Marty Jr. The future court system is a wreck.

But ... why?

Doc could have just shut his mouth after delivering that warning and called it an early day at the old chronology-screwing plant. Now that Marty knows what happens to get his kids in trouble, he has like 30 years to stop it. Why not plan to be out of town that day? Take a nice vacation, or tie the kids to the damn couch, or frame them for a different crime so they're already under arrest -- good luck getting arrested in jail, Marty's stupid kids!

#1. Skyfall -- Bond Leaves a Phony Message Containing Honest Information


In Skyfall, James Bond finds himself at war with creepy cyberterrorist Raoul Silva. Silva, who once worked with M, Bond's boss, became obsessed with killing her after she left him for dead on a mission gone wrong. Why they thought we would root against someone with such fantastic hair just for doing something as relatable as trying to kill his jerk boss is unclear.

Hates his boss, dicks around with computers, bad teeth ... watching him is like looking in the mirror.

After Silva shoots one of Bond's interchangeable spy groupies, 007 hauls him back to MI6 headquarters for interrogation. But Silva uses Hollywood computer wizardry to break free, because at a certain point technology is indistinguishable from magic, and that point is called "screenwriting school."

"He cast +8 to Hacking; we're fucked."

So Bond sets a trap. He leaves a "hidden" message on MI6's network for Silva to find, telling him that Bond has brought M to his old family home. Bond takes M to the estate, where they'll have time to prepare for Silva's attack.

What He Should Have Done:

Here's the problem: None of the information that Bond leaks to Silva is false. He simply found a subtle way to tell Silva exactly what he wanted to know. Silva immediately heads to the Bond estate with a small army of mercenaries, which, you'll notice, is way more than "a surly gamekeeper," which is all the backup Bond thought to bring.

It's not like the Scot was the original 007, retired and in disguise. Or was he?

What the hell kind of trap is that? Bond should have teams of special ops soldiers dropping out of the trees the moment Silva shows up. Or a tank, or a minefield, or at least two surly gamekeepers -- you're supposed to look weak in an ambush, not actually be weak.

But OK, maybe Bond was worried that any sort of official planning would somehow tip Silva off. The bigger question is why the fuck is M even there? She's not a field agent, she's too important to be put at risk, and she's the goddamn target. Silva's sole motivation is making sure she dies. Couldn't 007 have just dropped her off at whatever the British equivalent of a Super 8 is (a Supercalifragilistic 7?). Silva didn't deduce M's location. He had no means of verifying it. He only thought she was there because Bond told him -- if she was literally anywhere else, she'd have been safe and sound.

That's right. The wacky Goldfinger ejector button would have actually saved her life.

But as it is, Silva succeeds in killing M, and it's all because of Bond's automatic knee-jerk reflex to bring fine-ass women back to his place.

What? Come on. Judi Dench is killin' it for her age.

Thanks to Adem B for the assistance. Steve Hanley occasionally wastes other movie insights on Twitter.

Related Reading: Speaking of stupid schemes, have you ever heard about the time a gang of villains tried to get Batman married? Some real-world schemes are even crazier. Like the time Ed Wood convinced a church to fund Plan 9 from Outer Space. Still not satisfied? Read about the most pointlessly elaborate murder plots in movie history.

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