The 6 Dumbest Mistakes of Supposedly Smart Movie Characters

Movies have given us no shortage of wily and resourceful characters who can seemingly think their way out of any jam, be it with technical wizardry, combat experience, or supreme galactic mind powers. However, some of these characters, in the midst of using their wits to topple complicated obstacles, manage to inexplicably overlook some painfully obvious things that come back to bite them directly on their brilliant asses.

Iron Man -- Tony Stark Forgets to Check Up on His Billion-Dollar Company

The 6 Dumbest Mistakes of Supposedly Smart Movie Characters

Iron Man clubs us to death with the idea that Tony Stark is the hippest genius in the history of goateed science. He farts out impossible technology like he's microwaving tater tots, constructs the most advanced suit of armor ever created while being held prisoner in a hollow mountain in the middle of Afghanistan, and is able to douchequip his way into women's pants on a daily basis.

The 6 Dumbest Mistakes of Supposedly Smart Movie Characters

"Before we do this, you should know I have hepatitis A through Z."

Tony is a billionaire because he is the head of Stark Industries, a company primarily concerned with making weapons for the military, which of course allows him to become a superhero in his off hours.

The Big Twist:

Tony thinks he's going to spend his superhero time Iron Manning terrorists to death, but the surprise twist is that his true enemy is someone close to him. His lifelong friend and mentor, Obadiah Stane, has been secretly selling weapons to terrorists, because there's apparently more money in that. He is, in fact, the one who originally set Tony up to be captured at the start of the movie.

S DoaC

"I see no way that not deleting this video can come back to haunt me."

After his plan to have Tony killed fails, Obadiah makes a move to take control of the company by filing an injunction against Stark with their board of directors behind his back, a fact he shockingly reveals to Tony at some weird tuxedoed science fair.

But How Did He Not See This Coming?

Hold on just a damned second. Tony isn't an entry-level worker or mid-level manager at Stark Industries. He is the fucking CEO. His name is on the goddamned building. Why the hell didn't one of his 7 billion phones and/or answering services ring the instant the injunction was filed? Why didn't Pepper, Tony's personal assistant who handles every single aspect of his life, pass on the information?


Her punishment? She's named CEO in the next film.

We are assaulted to the point of irritation with the idea that Tony is a cosmic genius, yet he makes absolutely no effort to pay any attention to what is happening with his company. And don't say he was a hands-off inventor who didn't really get involved with the business side of things -- after three months of being held hostage by cave terrorists, the first thing he does is completely restructure the business by dissolving the weapons manufacturing arm. It's incredibly important to him, and therefore baffling that he wouldn't check in from time to time to see how everything was progressing in the wake of his job-destroying mental breakdown.

But he's too busy screaming at robots in his basement and zipping around Ferris wheels in his rocket suit to be bothered with any of that bullshit. If Tony had decided to check out the proceedings, he would've noticed that Obadiah was trying to lock him out, which in turn might have prompted him to take a closer look at what his partner had been up to for the past several months, thus uncovering Obadiah's nefarious plot (which, to be fair, seems to change on a scene-by-scene basis). But Tony, the business-savvy super genius who could've hacked any secret file on Obadiah's computer with a sidelong glance, didn't think to make even a cursory checkup on something that was surely big enough news to hit the front page of The Wall Street Journal.

The 6 Dumbest Mistakes of Supposedly Smart Movie Characters

Aliens -- Ripley Should Have Immediately Known She Was Being Set Up

The 6 Dumbest Mistakes of Supposedly Smart Movie Characters

After the events of Alien, Lieutenant Ripley is picked up in her escape pod by a team of deep space salvagers after floating in the cosmos for half a century. She debriefs her former employers about the horrible star beast that face-murdered her entire crew, at which point they offer to send her right back to the planet where she found the damn thing in order to help some Marines investigate why none of the colonists there have answered their phones in three months. They even offer to send a company representative with her to oversee the operation.

The Big Twist:

Of course, the good guys arrive and are immediately attacked by swarms of aliens (that's not the twist -- that part was given away by the title), but the big complication comes when it's revealed that the company was in on it! The company rep, Carter Burke, tries to screw all of them over, because it turns out the goal was never for them to succeed -- the goal was to capture a live specimen of one of the aliens.

The 6 Dumbest Mistakes of Supposedly Smart Movie Characters

The lesson, as always, is never trust a collar popper.

But How Did She Not See This Coming?

This all must have seemed rather familiar to Ripley. In the first film, she intercepts a secret message from the company instructing one of her fellow crew members, Ash, to retrieve the alien at all costs. Ash (who turns out to be an android) interprets "at all costs" to mean "stab Ripley with a porno magazine," which he totally tries to do in order to keep her from destroying the alien. Essentially, Ash was under direct orders from the company to either kill or sacrifice his entire six-person crew in order to retrieve a phallus-headed space demon.

Yet for some reason, Ripley doesn't find her new mission to be the least bit suspicious. Her employers (the same ones who fed her crew to an alien last time) are sending her down to a planet (the same planet where they initially found said alien) to investigate the sudden disappearance of hundreds of people (who all work for the same alien-feeding company).


"We're calling the mission Project: Alien Capture because we're capturing the ... uh, planet back from the aliens."

What's worse, Carter Burke is like a walking red flag waving in Ripley's face for two-thirds of the movie. She agrees to go to the planet only after Burke promises that they will destroy any aliens they might find. As soon as they do find aliens, however, he vehemently objects to any and all suggestions of eradicating them (including bombing the entire facility from orbit, which would've saved us all a lot of time). Ripley then discovers log records indicating that Burke, acting on behalf of the company, specifically sent the colonists to go looking for the aliens, resulting in every last one of them getting killed. So she confronts Burke, vowing to make him pay for his crimes.

However, rather than share this absurdly crucial bit of information with any of the Marines, Ripley decides to go take a nap, because she apparently believes that Burke won't try to kill her in her sleep, even though he's already sent hundreds of people to their doom (by the way, this is precisely what he tries to do). Only after Burke's attempt to unleash a pair of face-raping stellar crabs on her is thwarted does Ripley finally reveal his nefarious plot to the rest of the Marines.

The 6 Dumbest Mistakes of Supposedly Smart Movie Characters

At which point Bill Paxton heroically offers to shoot him in the face.

And at no point do the Marines look at Ripley and say, "Wait, isn't this the exact thing that happened to you last time? Either you're the most understanding woman in the world or you're really slow to catch on to things."

Die Hard -- John McClane Somehow Doesn't Figure Out That the Terrorists Have More Explosives

The 6 Dumbest Mistakes of Supposedly Smart Movie Characters

In Die Hard, John McClane systematically outwits and kills a dozen terrorists led by Alan Rickman's fake German accent in a Los Angeles skyscraper. We learn early on that this is not in fact a terrorist attack, but a very elaborate robbery of the building's vault.

The Big Twist:

Oh, shit, the building is rigged to explode! The bad guys are going to blow up the building and the hostages with them, because they think it will help them escape. McClane foils the robbery, but fails to prevent them from blasting the building in half, since the fact that this was the terrorists' plan comes as a complete shock to him.

The 6 Dumbest Mistakes of Supposedly Smart Movie Characters

"Terrorists ... explode things? Who knew?"

But How Did He Not See This Coming?

One of the first bad guys McClane perforates with the bullets of justice is carrying a duffel bag loaded with bricks of C4 and about 87 detonators, way more than the explosives in the bag would require. Obviously, this bag is fairly important to Alan Rickman's plan, because he immediately throws a murderous tantrum demanding them back.

In response, McClane takes the small amount of C4 in the bag, jams a few detonators in it, and drops it down an elevator shaft, incinerating a few of Alan Rickman's henchmen and, as far as McClane knows, disposing of all their explosives. But Alan Rickman doesn't stop pitching a fit about the rest of the detonators. He even gives some hapless loser pretending to be McClane's friend a 9 mm face-ectomy and threatens to start executing hostages one by one after McClane steadily refuses to hand them over.

The 6 Dumbest Mistakes of Supposedly Smart Movie Characters

"Can you at least kill the assholes in accounting first?"
"Well screw you too, Sheila!"

This is a hint and a half that there are more explosives somewhere in the building (judging by the sheer number of detonators McClane is still lugging around, there are probably a lot more). Why else would the terrorists be so desperate to get the detonators back? Does he think they're rentals that have to be returned to the bomb store?

To be fair, McClane maybe couldn't have anticipated that Alan Rickman would literally blow the roof off of the joint, but he should have at least suspected that there were one or two more bombs still stashed somewhere. But this doesn't dawn on him until they finally meet face to face and yet another demand for the detonators is issued. By then it's far too late, and Alan Rickman consumes the top floors of the tower in a cataclysmic explosion that destroys a helicopter and leaves McClane swinging from a fire hose and swearing at everything.

The 6 Dumbest Mistakes of Supposedly Smart Movie Characters

"Seriously, fuck everyone named Karl!"

The Fugitive -- Dr. Richard Kimble Forgets That He Lent the Murderer His House Keys

The 6 Dumbest Mistakes of Supposedly Smart Movie Characters

In The Fugitive, Dr. Richard Kimble (played by Harrison Ford's bearded variant) is wrongly convicted of the murder of his wife but escapes on his way to prison thanks to an awesome train/bus accident. He goes on the run, trying to avoid capture while tracking down the real killer, a one-armed man who bizarrely overpowered both him and his wife.

The 6 Dumbest Mistakes of Supposedly Smart Movie Characters

"Wow, he must jerk off a lot."

The problem is, the police have no evidence that the other killer even exists (which is baffling considering that Kimble battles the guy in his foyer before the cops arrive and he has one goddamned arm, how hard can he be to find?), and there were no signs of forced entry into Kimble's home on the night of the murder, a fact the good doctor couldn't explain (which is why he wound up convicted of the murder).

The Big Twist:

In the end, Kimble finds out that the murderer was sent to kill him by his friend and colleague Dr. Charles Nichols (we assume he got some kind of discount by hiring a one-armed assassin). It was all because of an unsafe drug Kimble was about to blow the whistle on (or something).

The 6 Dumbest Mistakes of Supposedly Smart Movie Characters

In the original script, it all stemmed from his jealousy of Kimble's dope beard.

But How Did He Not See This Coming?

Remember the thing about there being no forced entry into the house? Well, Kimble lent his house keys to Nichols earlier that day. Since the whole "the killer had a set of keys" thing was kind of crucial to the investigation (it's what made Kimble a suspect, after all), you'd think he would have made the connection.

Now, we aren't saying that the fact that Nichols had free access to the Kimble residence immediately makes him the killer, but had Kimble simply mentioned to the police that he'd lent Nichols his house keys, that bit of information would've been enough to at least add Nichols to the list of suspects. Once that happened, it probably wouldn't take the cops very long to figure out that Nichols knew a sketchy one-armed man and had contacted him several times in the weeks preceding the murder. After some email transcripts revealed that their conversations focused mainly on the best methods of removing the skull fragments of other people's wives from beneath your fingernails, the case would've been pretty well closed, and Kimble would've been spared a whole lot of running away from Tommy Lee Jones.

The 6 Dumbest Mistakes of Supposedly Smart Movie Characters

"Next time I'm just going to shoot you in the dick and call it a day."

Instead, Kimble either forgot about it entirely or didn't think it was worth bringing up the entire time he was on trial for murder, right up until he was given the freaking death penalty. You'd think he'd have had plenty of time to think about it while sitting in jail.

Limitless -- The Man With the Superhuman Brain Forgets to Pay Back the Terrifying Loan Shark

The 6 Dumbest Mistakes of Supposedly Smart Movie Characters

Limitless stars Bradley Cooper as a washout writer named Eddie Morra who lives in a shitty apartment run by a terrifyingly aggressive Asian lady. About 20 minutes into the film, Eddie discovers a drug called NZT that gives him unrestricted access to every piece of information he's ever stored in his brain, even if it was only in there for a second. This apparently makes him Thought Superman, and he solves every single problem in his life in a series of montages, because that's how drugs work.

Jrt V g

We'd call this scene bullshit, but the career of Hunter S. Thompson says otherwise.

Eddie then goes to an Eastern European loan shark for some quick cash. With his NZT mind lasers, he is able to use that money to become stupefyingly rich on the stock market, which we're pretty sure is the only time in history anyone has ever become a stock-trading super baron after shoving dangerously unregulated drugs into their face.

The Big Twist:

Eddie comes home one day to find that -- holy shit! -- the loan shark is demanding repayment of his money. In the course of the confrontation, the loan shark winds up with the super brain drug, and now Eddie has a big-brained enemy who makes his life hell for the rest of the film, nearly driving Eddie to suicide.

The 6 Dumbest Mistakes of Supposedly Smart Movie Characters

"Who could have predicted that life choices based on drug abuse and criminal involvement could turn out so bad?"

But How Did He Not See This Coming?

Wait a second. Despite the fact that his veins are coursing with the mind-flexing drug of the future that makes you remember everything ever (possibly even events in other people's lives that you didn't even witness), it somehow slips Eddie's mind to pay the loan shark back? It's not like he didn't have the money -- he is literally the most rapidly successful man in history at this point in the film. Eddie has written his dream novel, made a fortune on Wall Street, and become the personal financial adviser to one of the most powerful men in the country.

The $100,000 Eddie owes the loan shark is like peanuts now, plus he has the memory of a mythological deity -- why the hell wouldn't he pay off the loan? Instead, he lets his face get plastered all over the news under the headline "Handsome Billionaire" while Crazy Russian Scarface gets to stand around leering like a hideous ogre, wondering when the fuck he's going to get his money back.

The 6 Dumbest Mistakes of Supposedly Smart Movie Characters

"I should go pay him back, but it's not like these sits are going to up themselves."

The film ends with a permanently drugged Eddie about to become a senator, with eyes on becoming president. It's played like a happy ending, but the guy seems like a shoo-in to immediately forget where he left the nuclear launch codes.

Watchmen -- Dr. Manhattan Forgets That He Can See the Past

The 6 Dumbest Mistakes of Supposedly Smart Movie Characters

As Watchmen draws to a close, and you attempt to pound circulation back into your legs, Ozymandias reveals that he has siphoned energy from Dr. Manhattan (the dong-swinging omnipotent superman) to stage atomic-level blasts in major cities across the globe. By framing Dr. Manhattan as an unpredictable (and indestructible) threat to the entire world, he brings an end to the Cold War, saving us all from total annihilation at our own hands.

However, Rorschach doesn't cotton to this idea, seeing as how Ozymandias murdered millions of people to pull it off, and he vows to bring the truth to light. However, before Rorschach can leave Ozymandias' snow palace to spread the word, Dr. Manhattan blows him up like a jelly doughnut in a decompression chamber, thus preserving Ozymandias' lie and keeping the world united and safe from nuclear war.

The 6 Dumbest Mistakes of Supposedly Smart Movie Characters

Satan's answer to snow angels.

The Big Twist:

Except at the end we find out that Rorschach had already mailed his journal, which we see in the hands of the news media just as the credits roll, implying that his batshit insane version of events will be both entertained and accepted by all who hear it. Dr. Manhattan's plan to go along with Ozymandias' plan was foiled by a guy who isn't as smart as either of them.

The 6 Dumbest Mistakes of Supposedly Smart Movie Characters

"At least I was smart enough to understand the concept of pants."

But How Did He Not See This Coming?

Wait. This is Dr. Manhattan here. That is, the godlike being who can see through time and space.

True, Ozymandias created a tachyon field (comic book science) that blocked Dr. Manhattan from seeing the future, but he should've still been able to see the past at least marginally clearer than the scrambled porn struggling through the blocked channels on your parents' television. If he was so intent on preserving Ozymandias' plan, why wouldn't he check the past to make sure nobody did exactly what Rorschach did to jeopardize it? That's just like proofreading your work, man. You're supposed to be a doctor.

The 6 Dumbest Mistakes of Supposedly Smart Movie Characters

"Hey, it's not like I have all the time in the wor- oh, wait ..."

If Dr. Manhattan had taken half a second of his infinite lifespan to scan the sands of time, he would've noticed Rorschach dropping his gibbering scribbles in the mail and could have done one of a million different things to "correct" it (teleport to the newspaper office and vaporize the journal, turn the journal into a chicken, etc.), because ultimate power is pretty flexible. Instead, after voicing his agreement with Ozymandias' logic and killing a fellow superhero to keep the plan a secret, Dr. Manhattan gives it absolutely no more thought and beams off to another galaxy, never to return.

T.D. Woodward MST3Ks TV shows and bad movies on YouTube. Check him out!

For more boneheaded movie characters, check out 6 Heroic Movie Deaths That Could Have Been Easily Avoided and The 5 Most Easily Avoidable Movie Deaths.

If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out The 4 Least Anticipated TV Shows of February 2013.

And stop by LinkSTORM where Soren will show you how to hump properly.

Do you have an idea in mind that would make a great article? Then sign up RIGHT NOW and pitch your first article today! Do you possess expert skills in image creation and manipulation? Mediocre? Even rudimentary? Are you frightened by MS Paint and simply have a funny idea? You can create an infographic and you could be on the front page of tomorrow!

And don't forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr to get sexy, sexy jokes sent straight to your news feed. Are you on Google+? So are we!

Scroll down for the next article


Forgot Password?