6 Movie Stories Only Made Possible By Massive Incompetence
Without brave heroes reading an ancient spell book out loud or leaning face-first over pulsating alien egg sacks, movies would be pretty dull affairs. In fact, some of the best films are set in motion by a doughty disregard for good ideas and basic sanity. And other times, all of the explosions, eviscerations, and escapades are the result of random background characters totally failing at simple tasks, like a drunk Phantom of the Opera skulking around in the shadows with his fly unzipped. In fact, some of your favorite movies are made possible by secret incompetence. Such as ...
Nobody Gives A Shit About Lab Safety In The Spider-Man Movies
Not counting the new Spider-Man: Homecoming, the world's seen five Spider-Man films, with a whopping nine villains. Namely: Pervert Suit Dafoe, Cephalopodork, Sad Sand Dad, Topher Space, Maximum Franco, Dinosaur CrossFit, Trust-Funder Who Keeps Inexplicably Shouting About Spider-Man's Blood, Asshole Pachyderm, and Jamie Foxx With Crime Wig. And while these bad guys saw varying degrees of success, they are all united by the mad science which created them.
Except for Paul Giamatti. There's no way to explain what the fuck he was doing.
And by "mad," I mean "runaway ambulance levels of negligence." You see, almost every major plot point in a Spider-Man movie has happened because of terrible goddamn safety and security, starting with this:
"Ugh, Tobey. I should have waited to bite Garfield. What a dreamboat."
Peter Parker's arachno-transformation happens because a genetics lab shrugs off the fact that they are missing one of their experimental specimens. For all we know, that goddamn spider is still crawling around Manhattan, turning tourists from Iowa at the Times Square Sbarro into tarantula people. Later on, Norman Osborn becomes the Green Goblin after gassing himself into a crazy superman and murdering his lab assistant during a late-night human trial. This homicide goes unsolved in a high-tech corporate lab which somehow doesn't have personalized key cards or security cameras.
"Now that I'm completely deranged, it's time to run for president!"
Let's now cut to the second film, and Doctor Otto Octavius has built a nuclear fusion reactor in the middle of a New York City loft that probably used to be an Urban Outfitters.
"I'm harnessing the power of the fucking sun in my living room. What could go wrong?"
And in Spider-Man 3, Sandman becomes the Man of Sand after stumbling into an unguarded and unmonitored science pit where lab nerds dismiss the sudden presence of a grown man as "probably a bird." Meanwhile, an alien symbiote crash-lands in Peter Parker's lap, and his college professor treats the discovery with all the caution of a baking soda volcano. At this point the series reboots, and we once again find ourselves in a poorly supervised super-spider lab.
Tinted blue this time to accentuate all the science.
The Lizard self-tests an unstable chemical in The Amazing Spider-Man, and in the sequel, Jamie Foxx becomes Electro by ignoring all lab safety protocol, trying to fix a broken and dangerous science doodad, and falling into an uncovered vat of eels. Yes, Osborn Industries is basically Willy Wonka's Factory -- a place where casual, horrific, and seemingly lawsuit-free accidents happen on the regular. This world would have no superhumans if, every once in a while, HR made staff watch a crappy VHS on the importance of goggles and eyewashes.
"Boss, I stapled my finger." "Your name is Staple-Man now, son. Go rob a bank."
Don't Breathe Happens Because Of One Dumbass Security Company
Don't Breathe is about three unlikable young burglars who break into a blind man's house to rummage through his linens, only to discover he has the murder pedigree of a disgraced Shaolin monk. How do they break in? One of the character's dads works at a small-time security firm, and our protagonists jack house keys to finance all the douchey young person stuff they enjoy -- presumably Chainsmokers albums and Tapout T-shirts.
"Sure, it's crime, but I need to put a down payment on a bathtub full of Smirnoff Ice."
One of these keys belongs to the sightless villain, and the audience is treated to a cat-and-mouse thriller about grown adults continuously failing to exit a small house.
Quick question: What the hell kind of security company stores everyone's keys in a dusty office? And before you say "All of them, maybe? I have no idea how security companies work, to be honest, because I am humble in my pursuit of knowledge," I went ahead and personally contacted ADT to see if they require customers to give them backup keys.
Courtesy of the D Money Detective Agency.
You see, security companies don't keep keys, because they don't need to go rummaging through your home. And if you find one that DOES do that, go ahead and report that company, because it has no goddamn clue what it's doing. In Don't Breathe, the security company holds everybody's keys in a shoddy drawer, which itself is protected by a single key one burglar's dad keeps hidden in his shitty desk light.
A spotlight pointing to the hiding spot.
Yup, those are the keys to countless people's homes, protected by essentially an IKEA filing cabinet. And so this entire murder-rich plot occurs because a professional alarm company runs their day-to-day operations like your moron cousin's Etsy store. Huh, it's no surprise they don't notice that all their clients are getting robbed by scuzzy teenagers.
The Gotham City Police Department Has No Idea What It's Doing
We previously pointed out that there's a scene in The Dark Knight in which the Joker forces Harvey Dent's police escort into Gotham's underground highway using flaming wreckage, when there were plenty of available routes for the doomed officers to take instead. Here's a recap:
While this was certainly a boner plan on the Joker's part, it barely rivals the boner-headedness that goes down every day with Jim Gordon's gang. Nearly all of the major problems in the Christopher Nolan Bat-films come from the GCPD being so dumb and confused that they probably take a big ol' whiz in their laundry hampers when they get up in the morning. Take this iconic scene:
You know, the one where Azrael finally catches Crazy Quilt.
To recap, the cops have captured the Juggalo-faced Osama Bin Laden of Gotham City, discovered that he still has hostages, and then left him uncuffed in a small room with a single middle-aged cop. Yeah, that's going to work out fine, you guys. No chance he's going to overpower that guy and escape using him as a hostage!
Oh snap, Crazy Quilt got loose!
Oh, wait. That's exactly what happens. Like, the Joker is the reason that handcuffs exist, and the dude's being guarded like a Target shoplifter. But understaffing isn't the only problem here -- the GCPD habitually under- and over-assigns officers in the exact wrong way.
For example, is there a gang of bank robbers taking hostages on motorcycles? Send EVERY cop to get Batman instead!
There's no problem that can't be solved by throwing a hundred cops at it.
Does that bank robber turn out to be a wheezy terrorist hiding in the sewer? Better send EVERY cop into the sewer to get him!
Who the hell is watching the precinct?
It's either every cop or no cops with these blue buffoons. When Bane bombs the sewers, there are thousands of cops trapped. This results in a Gotham so devoid of authority that the criminals take over. They sent so many damn cops that they apparently made the off-duty cops participate too! Jesus, guys. No wonder your city's a hellhole.
Danny Ocean's Parole Officer Needs To Be Fired
The Ocean films are like bubble wrap -- fundamentally void of substance, and yet endlessly entertaining when you're hungover on the sofa. If you haven't caught the first one on TBS recently, the series starts when Danny Ocean (George Clooney) is let out of prison. He then proceeds to gather 10 of his closest friends for a rollicking heist brimming with smirking and banter and delightful mummery.
"Hey Danny, I know 10 crackerjack pro bono getaway drivers-" "THE MOVIE'S NOT CALLED OCEAN'S 21."
Again, Danny is on parole. Which means that -- as we see at the start of the film -- he has to check in with a parole officer to prove that he is on the straight and narrow.
"Hypothetically, is robbing an entire casino against the rules?"
In the film, this is achieved with a single phone call and a played-for-a-gag false promise that he won't leave the state -- which, according to actual parole officers, is unrealistically lenient. Because unless you're dealing with, say, the GCPD, the parole system doesn't work that way.
Realistically, Danny would have to meet with a guy in person once or twice a week. Failure to do that would result in a bench warrant issued for his arrest, effectively making him a fugitive before he could even exchange bon mots with Brad Pitt. And while that wouldn't immediately result in his arrest, it certainly puts his nation-trotting recruitment montage in a whole new light, considering how volatile his name would be. Either he has an airport-tricking fake ID or this country's law enforcement system barely gives a flying ballsack about wanted criminals. Only halfway through this movie, Danny is "flagged" by the casino and amazingly not immediately thrown in jail.
"He had a 'Get Out Of Jail Free' Monopoly card in his wallet. There was nothing we could do."
That means whatever background information that does come up presumably doesn't label him as a parole-skipping menace. This also means that Danny's parole officer clearly didn't give enough of a shit to report said information. So Danny isn't a sly fox so much as he's insanely lucky he got the one parole officer valiantly not giving fucks like his life depended on it.
The Fugitive's Lawyer Totally Sucked
Out of all the movies about middle-aged intellectual prisoners escaping through storm drains, The Fugitive is definitely the second-most iconic. For the audacious fools who think life is a non-Fugitive-watching joke: The film follows Dr. Richard Kimble, a beardy vascular surgeon who comes home to find a one-armed man murdering his wife. Unfortunately, the police don't buy his story, and Kimble becomes the prime suspect thanks to a 911 call that vaguely implicates him, the lack of forced entry, and a life insurance motive. Before he can even grieve, Richard is shackled and eventually tossed on (and then off) the express bus to Escapetown.
"Next stop: Escapetown at Liberation Station!"
There's a good reason this film montages over Richard Kimble's seemingly short trial: No sane jury would possibly convict an accomplished surgeon of killing his wife with zero hard evidence linking him to the crime. It doesn't matter if a 911 call seems to implicate someone; people don't get convicted of crimes they seem guilty of. (Just ask Casey Anthony, George Zimmerman, or OJ Simpson.) Not to mention that Kimble is stupid rich and, as the film shows, clearly has a barrage of character witnesses who would gladly back him up.
"During all of med school, he never once murdered his wife. Not even manslaughtered."
It's not enough that Kimble seems to forget that he let someone borrow his house keys that night, or that he has no reasonable motive for killing his wife when they are both wealthy. The fact that the trial goes so profoundly tits-up means that his lawyers went out of their way to turn the jury against him. That or Kimble must've popped a squat on the witness stand and spelled "I KILLED MY WIFE" in excrement. That's how much the deck was stacked in his favor.
God And Jesus Are Incompetent In Multiple Horror Movies
Pop quiz: What do The Omen, Ouija 2, The Amityville Horror, and Paranormal Activity have in common? They all feature priests who almost immediately get defeated by a demon or ghost -- usually in some kind of violent and/or humiliating way.
It's kind of refreshing to know that Satan has a sense of humor.
There's a common film trope we've previously touched upon called the "Worf Effect." Whenever Star Trek needed to show how badass a villain was, he'd be seen beating up security officer Lieutenant Worf. This inadvertently resulted in Worf getting his ass handed to him hilariously often, therefore making him terrible at his job. The exact same thing tends to happen in supernatural horror films with priests, making them little more than Satan's whipping fodder.
Pictured: technically the most successful fictional exorcism.
In horror movies, priests are the equivalent of spiritual cellphone dead zone -- they can't have a signal for the film to work. The result is an entire genre in which the Devil is confirmed to exist, whereas God, Jesus, and their angels are either totally absent or have some convoluted reason to not help.
In The Exorcism Of Emily Rose, a devout young churchgoer is possessed by six demons, dies, and her exorcist faces murder charges in a trial directly influenced by dark forces. But it's totally okay, because she has a vision of the Virgin Mary telling her it'll ultimately give people faith! The psychic lady in Conjuring 2 claims to have seen angels helping people find the afterlife, but has to go it totally alone when facing off against multiple body-hopping demons. What the fuck kind of lazy mook is this God? I'm not the only one who noticed this. Actual priests have criticized these films for seriously downplaying the mythological power of Jesus -- a dude who can Biblically unpossess people like he's popping a zit.
"Yea, then Jesus lowered his sunglasses as the CSI: Miami theme played for all to hear."
To be clear, we're talking about fictional universes in which Biblical demons absolutely exist, and therefore have angelic counterparts who are either too weak or too lazy to lend a hand. And while you could argue that it's all part of some larger plan to strengthen faith or empower man, that sure as shit isn't the case with a film like The Omen, where Satan is workshopping the End of Days. Damien, the budding Antichrist, gets mad assists from Lucifer in the form of Rube Goldberg slaughters and literal hellstorms. Meanwhile, Gregory Peck's only hope is an ancient knife collection he has to travel across the world to get. Thanks, Jesus. You really came through at the zero hour with that fucking cutlery.
David watches movies and then tweets about those movies.
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