6 Unlikely Friendships in Movies (That Make No Damn Sense)
Entire genres of film exist purely to give us wacky pairings of characters, like a straight cop and a wacky cop, or a white cop and a black cop, or a black cop and a Chinese cop (apparently cops are pretty racist). But often the weirdest partnerships are the ones the movie doesn't seem to think are wacky at all. These are the cohorts and conspirators that, in real life, would have no reason to trust each other with a lunch order, let alone their lives.
Obadiah Stane and the Terrorists in Iron Man
In Iron Man, Jeff Bridges plays Obadiah Stane, Tony Stark's second-in-command at Stark Industries and the guy who oversees the company's business strategy ... which consists of secretly selling Stark Industries missiles to Middle Eastern terrorists, thereby forcing the government to buy even larger weapons and making a shitload of money for Tony.
Ever since Apple's rise, the bearded lunatic has been a critical component of corporate success.
Eventually, Obadiah grows tired of the "for Tony" part and makes a deal with the terrorists to have Stark executed. However, the terrorists fail to keep up their end of the bargain and hold Tony hostage instead of killing him, forcing him to build a free missile for them. Tony uses the materials to build an Iron Man suit instead and kicks all of the asses.
"We locked a disgruntled weapons designer alone in a room full of parts! How could this have backfired?"
Why It Doesn't Make Sense:
Let's set aside for the moment the fact that Obadiah is a pretty smart guy who still somehow bases his entire plan on the assumption that a bunch of terrorists won't screw him, even though they're, well, terrorists. Maybe they seemed really trustworthy on the phone.
Even then, Obadiah knows that these guys are only in business with him because he has missiles, so he ... sends them the guy who invented the missiles and completely trusts that they won't keep him to themselves? To just make them some missiles? That would be stupid even if his partners weren't terrorists.
And that's the other thing. How exactly was Obadiah planning to keep the company afloat after killing the guy who invents all the weapons?
"We're in the scarf business now."
This isn't like Apple losing Steve Jobs -- Stark Industries is a one-man show. The movie makes a major plot point of this -- when Obadiah asks a team of Stark Industries' best guys to reverse engineer Tony's work, they're completely clueless. Even with his blueprints, computers and all the resources of a huge weapons manufacturing company, they still can't match the work Tony did in a cave.
The reason they couldn't replicate his genius is that all of them were sober.
Worst of all, Obadiah almost thinks they're shitting him when they tell him this, as if he had somehow never noticed that Tony was inventing everything his company sold. Hell, even the terrorists could see that it was stupid to kill Tony, yet apparently it never occurred to the man who worked alongside him for decades.
Leonard Shelby and John "Teddy" Gammell in Memento
Christopher Nolan's Memento is the inspiring tale of a man with no short-term memory trying to avenge his wife's murder despite his disability. He does this with the help of an annoying sidekick named Teddy, a Polaroid camera and butt tattoos.
Nolan missed a golden opportunity for product placement here.
"Teddy," we later find out, is actually a corrupt cop named John Gammell who has been taking advantage of Leonard's memory problem to turn him into his own personal hit man: He makes "a little money on the side" from every guy that Leonard kills under the impression that he's found his wife's murderer ... only to forget everything and do it again. However, a deliberate misunderstanding causes Leonard to kill Teddy at the end of the movie. Or the beginning. Not sure.
The synopsis is probably carved on our back somewhere.
Why It Doesn't Make Sense:
Actually, Teddy didn't die because of a misunderstanding -- he died because that's what happens when you get yourself an amnesiac assassin. That, or at least jail time.
Even accounting for Leonard's combat skills (presumably a consequence of never being sure if your one-hour exercise routine is finished), the fact that he has no memory still makes him the world's sloppiest personal killer. First of all, he is literally covered in evidence pointing toward Teddy: This is a guy who takes pictures of every single person he meets and permanently tattoos onto his body every thought that goes into his head. Teddy knows that and even teases Leonard about it. There's also the simple fact that Leonard doesn't even remember Teddy, and because of that he never really trusts him.
Also because he betrayed both Neo and Tony Soprano.
Add that general distrust to the fact that Leonard has a huge tattoo on his chest saying his wife's killer is called John G. and we're not sure why Teddy would even want to hang out around him. Presumably Leonard has noticed before that his real name is John and his surname begins with a G. Even with the fake name, it still seems like a ridiculous risk to take, especially when there are hundreds of less intricate ways he could have ripped off drug dealers of their money.
But hey, the fact that Teddy never saw any of this coming means that, at least, his death was no big loss for the police department.
"Man, I should really change my name. To John ... Grey. Yeah."
Hans Landa and the Basterds in Inglourious Basterds
In Inglourious Basterds, Hans Landa is a Nazi officer known as "The Jew Hunter" due to his skills tracking down and killing God's chosen people, a job he greatly enjoys. At the end of the film, Landa recognizes that the Nazis will eventually lose the war and makes a deal with Brad Pitt and Ryan from The Office to allow Hitler's assassination in exchange for a full military pension and American citizenship.
"It's mostly white people in America though, right?"
Once Hitler is dead, however, the Basterds betray Landa and give him a brand new swastikut.
Why It Doesn't Make Sense:
Let's try to look at this from Landa's perspective: He knows everything about the Basterds, so he's aware that they are extremely devoted to Nazi killing -- suicidally so. He pretty much called them terrorists to their faces and saw they had friggin' suicide bombs strapped to their ankles. They do not give a shit about anything but killing Nazis, and yet Landa for some reason thought they would make an exception with him and not carve a swastika on his forehead.
"Here is a man who can be relied on for his restraint."
And that's the worst part here: Landa is appalled when the Basterds kill his friend and do their number on him. He didn't know this was a thing people did. We're talking about a Nazi officer and a remorseless killer here.
Remember, he didn't have to put himself in that situation -- Landa was the one who set the conditions of the deal, not the Americans. He was the one who decided that Pitt and his partner should get their weapons back when they exit German territory and carry him as a prisoner the rest of the way. He could have just as easily demanded they let him take a bunch of his guys to make sure there was no funny business, and that no sharp objects were allowed within a 10-mile radius of a Basterd. Hell, he's letting them kill Hitler: He could have demanded anything and they would have still said yes.
"The short guy, yeah ... no teeth."
Detective Riggs and the LAPD in Lethal Weapon
In the original Lethal Weapon, the LAPD partners up middle-aged conservative Sgt. Murtaugh (Danny Glover) with young loose cannon Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson). The result inaugurated a proud cinematic tradition of Glover claiming to be too old for shit and Gibson acting like a dangerous lunatic long before both of those things sadly became true. But for a while there, it was magical.
"Eh, needs more Joe Pesci." -- someone, at some point.
The whole thing starts when Riggs, a narcotics officer, has a disastrous case that ends with him goading a drug dealer to shoot him before taking the guy hostage and almost shooting the dealer himself. The LAPD addresses the situation by transferring Riggs to homicide, hoping that some of Murtaugh's common sense will rub off on him.
Why It Doesn't Make Sense:
We are so busy being amused by the hilariously incompatible Riggs and Murtaugh that we miss the much stranger relationship: Riggs and the Los Angeles Police Department. After all, Riggs' psychological problems aren't manifesting themselves as missed work days or arguments with co-workers around the office. He's escalating routine drug buys into shootouts, ranting about suicide and jumping off of rooftops. Guys, let this man find a new line of work.
Maybe like a teacher or something?
Instead, they transfer him to homicide, where his job will be to confront murderers. It's like assigning an alcoholic waiter to tend bar ... after he got drunk and pissed on a client. The chief of police thinks that Riggs is just faking it to draw a psycho pension, but that's irrelevant: The fact remains that Riggs is actively behaving like a nutjob and shouldn't be allowed anywhere near guns.
Also, for God's sake someone do something about that mullet.
The LAPD is reluctant to fire Riggs due to a combination of feeling bad about him losing his wife and being too cheap to pay his pension, but there's a huge leap between "let's keep him around" and "let's send him on our most dangerous cases." They could have easily assigned him to traffic detail or given him a desk job. Sure, he could have still jumped under a truck or stuck a pencil in his eye, but at least he wouldn't be hurting anyone else.
"There are at least 17 ways I could kill myself with printer toner."
And out of all the homicide detectives they could have partnered him with, Murtaugh was the absolute worst. He has no incentive to keep Riggs on the straight and narrow like the LAPD hopes -- they all know he's planning to retire soon, because he mentions it every five seconds. He gives so little of a shit that he actually hands Riggs a loaded gun at one point and yells at him to pull the trigger ... which is exactly what he does. If Riggs hadn't taken like 10 seconds to move that finger, Murtaugh would have had to buy a new suit.
Max Shreck and the Penguin in Batman Returns
At the beginning of Batman Returns, the Penguin kidnaps Max Shreck, a ruthless business mogul played by Christopher Walken who is arguably more intimidating than any Batman villain in this movie. The Penguin, whose supervillain origin is that he was dumped in a sewer as a baby, attempts to blackmail Shreck by showing him a collection of incriminating items, including body parts of his murdered ex-partner.
He then spouted hand puns for the next 10 minutes to solidify his place in a Batman film.
Shreck pays the blackmail, but then turns the situation to his benefit by convincing the Penguin to run for mayor of Gotham City, serving as his personal adviser. This is part of Shreck's plan to have control over city hall and build a power plant. An evil power plant.
Why It Doesn't Make Sense:
There are a hundred reasons why the Penguin makes for a horrible political candidate, starting with his face.
He's better looking than Nixon, but not by much.
But there's also the fact that he still has enough dirt on Shreck to ruin him 27 times over. So ... why didn't Shreck just kill his ass? The guy had no problem throwing a secretary out the window because she looked in the wrong folder. He doesn't have to do it himself -- he could fork over some cash and hire every hit man in the city. It's not like there's any legal risk involved -- who the hell is going to miss the goddamned Penguin?
"Penguin ... Penguin ... can't remember him. He must not have been that distinctive."
But no, he decides that the proper way to deal with the Penguin is to make him rich and powerful, then sort of hope he'll be grateful enough to be Shreck's puppet even after he stops needing him.
And trying to get him elected is a huge pain in the ass; the only reason the Penguin looks like he might actually have a shot at becoming the mayor is that they pull a series of maudlin publicity stunts to make him look like a hero -- including kidnapping a baby and then "saving" it. But the question is ... why? If he wants a puppet mayor that bad, why go through the immense effort of making that disgusting, creepy little man seem like a civilized person when Shreck could much more easily fabricate another candidate who doesn't have a dangerous fixation with infants and Arctic birds? Why doesn't he ask another of the city's popular public figures?
OK, maybe not.
The Nations of the World in Watchmen
At the end of Watchmen, it's revealed that Ozymandias, the most clever man in the world (except when it comes to passwords), has made it look like the nearly omnipotent Dr. Manhattan destroyed several major cities across the Earth, including Beijing, Moscow, Paris, Los Angeles and New York City. The point of all this is uniting the nations of the world against a blue-thong-wearing common enemy, thereby ending the Cold War.
"Or we could drop the Berlin Wall. Whichever."
When Dr. Manhattan finds out about this, he says, "Yes, that makes sense," and agrees to let Ozymandias get away with it. In fact, the only hero who has a problem with this logic is Rorschach, but he's a psychopath, and Dr. Manhattan kills him anyway.
Why It Doesn't Make Sense:
Apparently, Rorschach was the only one in the room who thought things through, because none of this makes sense.
For starters, Dr. Manhattan isn't some sort of alien entity: He's an American citizen working for the U.S. government whom the U.S. Army has used as a weapon of mass destruction in the past. He single-handedly won the Vietnam War.
But this is Alan Moore, so rape may have been involved at some point.
Even if the other countries bought the "He went rogue" idea, why would they forgive the U.S. for unleashing him in the first place? If anything, this would make things a million times more tense -- in Dr. Manhattan's absence, the "common enemy" that the rest of the world would rally together to take down would be the United States.
"World Agrees: U.S. Can Suck It."
Keep in mind that, in the comic, the fabricated attack was caused by an alien entity, and it was accompanied by some sort of psychic wave that pretty much convinced everyone of the story. And in the comic, only New York was attacked, so the other nations had no reason to be resentful -- only afraid that they could be next.
For the smartest man on the planet, much of Ozymandias' plan turned out to be completely pointless: He created a decades-long conspiracy to give everyone around Dr. Manhattan cancer and convince him to leave the planet when apparently he could have just walked up to him and said "This is what we're gonna do."
"Are you sure me wearing full pants all the time is an essential part of the plan?" "Yes, absolutely."
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For more other Hollywood ideas that baffled us, check out The 6 Most Pointlessly Elaborate Movie Murder Plots and 7 Movies That Ignored World Changing Discoveries.
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