12 Wildly Disappointing Cop Outs and MacGuffins in Movies

12 Wildly Disappointing Cop Outs and MacGuffins in Movies

Look, we know that “MacGuffin” is this weird old Hollywood term, but it’ll be a thing in movies forever! It can be a physical object like the treasure in The Goonies, a person like Doug (the groom) in The Hangover, or even an idea or goal like defending the house in Home Alone. If the characters want something and spring into action for it, you best believe it’s a MacGuffin. 

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Coined by Alfred Hitchcock to quickly describe the wants of his characters, it is said that he got the term from an old story about a man’s large, strange-looking package containing a “MacGuffin.” The man explains that it’s used to catch tigers in the Scottish Highlands, and the ol’ Hitchcockerino thought it was a good way of explaining every “package” going forward. ‘Round here we call our packages “the MacGuffin” too. Sorry. And how did tigers get to the Scottish Highlands?!

Anywho… This all seems like a pretty interesting and engaging way to grab our movie-going attention. So messing that up is pretty anticlimactic, and downright “un-movie.” There, we can coin terms too. Just sayin’, if you’re gonna get us all drooly over an object or whatever it happens to be, don’t cop out at the last minute and make it the afterthought. Like these 13 wildly disappointing cop outs and MacGuffins right here.

We don’t want to think of something. That’s your job!

The briefcase in Pulp Fiction is a choose-your-own adventure. CRACKED COM The contents of this magical briefcase shine a golden glow on everyone's faces, but we just have to guess what it is. Tarantino said, I like that idea that I don't tell you what's in there. But it's up to you to figure out what's in there and now that's your movie.

Movie Web

Just ask the droid nicely. We’re sure he’d give it to you.

Luke Skywalker's map piece in The Force Awakens. CRACKED.COM This missing piece of the map moved the entire plot forward, but we learn that R2-D2 conveniently had the entire map to Luke's hideout within him the whole time.

Screen Rant / Fandom 

He was such a diehard FedEx employee that he just had to deliver it. Gimme a break!

The unopened FedEx package in Castaway. IIII IIII CRACKED.COM Hanks' one unopened package serves as a beacon of hope, and he delivers it in the end, but we never learn what's inside. An early draft said it was two jars of salsa, but director Robert Zemeckis joked that it was a satellite phone. Cus yeah, what if it was?

Screen Rant / SlashFilm 

Action movies are all about amping up the drama. But we need more!

The Tesseract in The Avengers. CRACKED.COM It's an Asgardian artifact with unlimited power that can open gateways for alien invasions. Its importance is so vague that it feels like they just picked something shiny with a cool name for the good guys and bad guys to fight over.

Time / Polygon 

Even Ralph Macchio agreed… Daniel clearly broke the rules.

Daniel-San's win is a lie in The Karate Kid. LINCEN FIGHTEEN ALL VALLEY KARATE CHAMPIONSHIP SEMI-FINALS - VIDAL VIDAL FINALS LAMPENCE ALL VALLE LAVRE INCO CHAMPION EMPIONA HAS REFERES, Number RECIBA اليوم - CRACKED.COM RT The now-iconic crane kick was his move to win it all, but the ref clearly stated that strikes to the face were illegal. Ralph Macchio later admitted, No hits to the face was clearly something when the referee made the list of things not to do.

The Wrap / Youtube 

Leaving things a mystery is good… For much smaller plot points.

Patrick Bateman's killing spree in American Psycho. CRACKED.COM The book makes it clear that he really kills all those people, but the film's ending has his lawyer laugh at his confession like it's a joke. So we're left to wonder if it was all in his head. Director Mary Harron later called the ambiguous ending a mistake.

The Take 

One of the many reasons to shit on this movie.

The crystal skulls in The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. CRACKED.COM The cheap-looking plastic props are lugged around until they form an interdimensional being (whose only purpose is to kill the villain). It looks like an alien but George Lucas was careful to not call it an alien, because Steven Spielberg didn't want to do an alien movie.


So instead of the futuristic computers in Minority Report, we get this?!

The Loom of Fate in Wanted. CRACKED COM It predicts which people will cause trouble in the future, so they can stop bad guys before they hurt people (yes, like Minority Report). It's literally a magical loom (a large device for weaving cloth), which feels like a fairy tail trope that Shrek would parody.

Fandom / The Dissolve 

It’s hard to care if we don’t know who or what is on the tape!

The mystery footage in Bad Times At The El Royale. Big Payouts CRACKED.COM The FBI seeks to recover a film reel with incriminating footage of a historical figure. People have guessed JFK or MLK, but it's up to us to decide. Oh no, a person we don't know might get in trouble. Who cares?

CBR / Kandy Mag 

What’s in the box?! We’re guessing this one wasn’t Gwyneth Paltrow’s head.

Another mystery briefcase in Ronin. CRACKED.COM In the penultimate film by the late John Frankenheimer, the MacGuffin is a briefcase that Robert De Niro's character must keep out of the IRA's hands. Like Pulp Fiction, we have no idea what's in there. But it's important, they swear!

CBR / Mubi 

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