It should note that there is some Critical Research Failure regarding Dr. Manhattan part of the list. In the list they claim that Dr. Manhattan can see the past and he should have been able to stop Rorschach's journal from reaching the newspaper and preserve Ozymandias' utopia, and claim that even Manhattan's comic book science weakness shouldn't have stopped him. However both the original comic and the movie say he can only see his past not the past in general so there is no possible way he could have known Rorschach mailed his journal to the newspaper.
Dracula: You know Dracula's a vampire. You know how to kill him. You know where he lives. It's right next door to you. You know he's helpless during the daytime. Gee, maybe you should wait until Mina's literally on her last pint of blood and let Renfield lead you to his death.
Most of the trapped characters in the Saw movies. One very small point in their defense is that people might not mentally be at their best when they're about to die.
In the 2011 prequel to John Carpenter's The Thing (2011), Kate warns the group not to be alone because one of them could be the Thing... and then goes off alone. In another scene, the Thing detatches one of its hands to have it grab onto another character's face, while everyone else just stood there. When the reviewer group Media Whorz reviewed it, Birdy reffered to the genre's use of this trope as "Horror Stupidity Syndrome."
Night of the Living Dead has lots of this. Examples include when Barbra tripped and fell while fleeing from a zombie and just backed up in fear instead of getting up and continuing to run like she should have.
Parodied in Scary Movie, when the "Walking Dead teens" are in the theater wondering who the killer could be — when the Killer is right in plain sight in his Grim Reaper costume, mopping up the blood from his most recent victim.
"The movie numbers the days as they tick away, and along about Day #12 I'm thinking, why are these people still here? The screening I attended was treated to a surprise appearance by three stars of that cable show about Chicago's Paranormal Detectives. These are real Chicago detectives. If the Sloats lived in Chicago, they'd have a SWAT team out there by Day #7."
In Resident Evil: Apocalypse, the STARS sniper gets to hold it. The first we see of him has him sniping zombies. The first he hits in the chest, then seeing that didn't kill it, he gives it a headshot. When he spots LJ, he calmly pops the head of the zombie sneaking up to him. So, we've established that he has learning skills and has figured out that if something doesn't die from a shot to the chest, to shoot it in the head. Then Nemesis shows up. Sniper guy puts a round through Nemesis's chest; despite this exact same tactic not killing the regular zombies less than a minute ago, he is shocked that Nemesis, clearly much bigger and tougher than a zombie, doesn't die. So, does he take a headshot, like he did before? Nope. Another bullet to the chest, another round of "Why isn't it dead?!" and the sniper is blown up before he can take a third shot.
Also from Apocalypse, when the survivors need to find and rescue Angela, the daughter of Doctor Ashford, who will send in a rescue chopper to pick them up once they have Angela. So Jill arrives alongside Terri and LJ, who they had just picked up. Jill is a trained officer, and LJ has guns as well, so Jill suggests they separate and hands Terri a gun. A clearly nervous Terri points out the fact that she has never even held a gun in her life. Does Jill care about this important piece of info? Does she stop for two seconds to consider that maybe it's best if Terri remains with her rather than sending an untrained civilian off on her own when there are zombies and other deadly creatures roaming the entire city? Nope. She just stupidly sends Terri on her way, and she is quickly killed off by a group of zombified children. Though admittedly, Terri herself holds the idiot ball for not insisting on sticking to one of the others like glue.
In Resident Evil: Extinction, LJ gets bitten through no real fault of his own, and becomes a Zombie Infectee. He survived the second movie just fine, has been travelling with other survivors for five years, yet he tells no one he's been bitten.
The group of humans that get ambushed in Daybreakers. It only makes sense to travel under cover of darkness when you are NOT fighting vampires.
In Open Graves, the hero wishes to reverse time to a week ago, without wishing for his memories to remain, and thus damns himself to a horrific time-loop. What makes it especially idiotic is, even the villain granting the wish takes pity on him, warns him that it is a stupid wish, and gives him a chance to try a different wish. He does it anyway.
One must seriously wonder why the workers in Metropolis do not notice a difference between the moderate, kind, and properly-postured Maria and her psychotic, scowling, hunched over robotic duplicate.
Trinity gets a big one in The Matrix. It's right after they've rescued Morpheus and are in the subway waiting for the phone. After Morpheus "wakes up" Trinity decides right then and there, when they both know they're not safe yet, to tell Neo about something important the Oracle told her. The phone just keeps ringing while they both ponder this, conveniently enough time for Smith to catch up with them so he and Neo can have their final fight.
The partly-disabled Enterprise is threatened by the Genesis Device, which is on a "buildup to detonation." If the Genesis torpedo has to build up energy to detonate, then they could have blown up the Reliant and cut it short. It's not like they couldn't, either; they proved themselves quite capable of hitting a stationary target even with the nebula interference. Instead, this is never even suggested and the Enterprise tries to crawl away, necessitating Spock's Heroic Sacrifice.
This relies on some assumptions that may not be correct. It's stated that once the Genesis countdown is started, a detonation is inevitable (presumably because ingredients are mixed and just need the energy to spark a reaction). It's not explicitly mentioned, but the characters likely believe that hitting the device with a torpedo would trigger the Genesis explosion just as readily as letting the time run out.
Kirk enabled his ship to be damaged and many of his crew lost when he ignored regulations dictating a defensive posture with shields up when being approached by a non-communicative ship. Even worse, he gets the stupidity of his actions pointed out to him, and he chooses to ignore the reasonable advice and go ahead with blindly trusting the suspicious ship. He at least has the grace to admit he screwed up afterwards when he tells Saavik to feel free to continue quoting regulations to him in the future.
The whole meeting with Khan. First, how the hell does 1st Officer Chekov, whose duty it is to notify the Captain when they are going into bad situations, completely forget that they are going into that star system where they left that mad tyrant and supergenius Khan Noonein Singh? Given that the man had been a major warlord (at the time in ST canon), had millions slaughtered, and nearly took over and destroyed the Enterprise, you would think that that would be something that he wouldn't forget easily. Second, do the Reliant's sensors not work? Do they not keep star charts or something? The idea that a whole planet could just explode and disappear, causing another planet to somehow take the first planet's identical orbit, and that the two planets were so similar that they fooled 23rd century sensors, and no one thought to question "oh, where's the missing planet that should be in sensor range?" requires a string of idiot balls that could be an offscreen Idiot Plot in itself.
In Star Trek: Generations the Enterprise-D was destroyed because four of the seven main characters passed the Idiot Ball around.
First up: Mr. Worf. Gee, what's the typical way to penetrate shields besides just pouring fire into them? Match frequencies with the shields! How is that halted? Rotate shield frequencies! Even if the Duras Sisters picked it up again, it'd take time and a quick eye to pick it up from Geordi's bugged visor again. Or just tell Data to do the exact same thing that he did in "The Best of Both Worlds" - change the shield frequencies, constantly at a speed only he can keep up with. The Borg couldn't keep up, how is some Klingon supposed to?
Commander Riker. He should have told Worf to fire at will. The Enterprise is one of Starfleet's big sticks, she should have been mercilessly whaling on that Klingon rust bucket. Even without shields, the Enterprise is covered stem to stern in phaser arrays, and is loaded with torpedoes. Instead, we get one piddly phaser strike before Data's technobabble solution.
Geordi, after the Duras Sisters bite the dust. Gee, that main powerplant channeling immense energy has a chance to explode if it catastrophically malfunctions, it would be a great idea if the ship's designers worked in a means to dump it overboard if it did! Even stranger is the fact that they DO have a core ejection system. It is mentioned in the Enterprise-gets-destroyed-and-stuck-in-a-time-loop episode. The core ejector on Galaxy-class starships never seems to work (the cited episode, "Cause and Effect," being a good example), and maybe Geordi had figured that out and was just telling it like it is. This punts the idiot ball back to Starfleet's ship designers.
Troi. Wouldn't it make sense to fly away from the planet with its looming gravity pull as well as the other half of the ship counting down to explode? The only plausible explanation is that the saucer section didn't have enough power to escape the gravity well or that it was damaged in the main hull's explosion. This one in particular is a hilarious Idiot Ball hand-off because Troi's incompetence doesn't even BEGIN with her... it begins with Riker (again!) shouting, "DEANNA! TAKE THE HELM!" What? Riker, who has been stated to be one of the best pilots in Starfleet, is commanding the Ship's Counselor to fly the goddamned ship? The therapist? Who failed her officer's exams how many times? Her? Piloting the Federation flagship in the middle of a freaking crisis situation? Really?!
To be fair, flying towards the planet actually makes sense, in that you can get an extra bonus to your speed through a gravity slingshot, and distance from the Klingon ship was their only concern at the time. Granted, if you fail to finish it, you'll probably end up... very badly...
Captain Picard. While his crew was playing Idiot Ball Hot Potato, his plan to prevent a genocidal maniac from blowing up a star... was to beam down to the villain's base alone and try to talk him out of it. He didn't even go down with a weapon. To be fair, he didn't know that Soren was packing a force field. When that fails, Picard changes strategies by sitting on a rock and waiting until he conveniently spots a hole in the force field. After he gets sucked into the Nexus, he learns from Guinan's ghost that he can leave the Nexus and go anywhere, anytime. Given this supreme tactical advantage, he plans to go right back to the planet's surface where Soren was kicking his ass and was moments away from winning, rather than, say, back on the Enterprise before Soren blew up the first star and he could get his hands on a phaser to make a public arrest. Even better, he asks Guinan, who has no fighting skills at all, to come back and help him (since she's only a ghost, she instead refers him to Kirk, who is actually alive and kicks more ass in the film than Picard does).
And this ignores the fact that Picard can go back and save his relatives from dying in a fire. He could literally save he's brothers' life and his family AND take out Soren, but he does neither. Hell, bring Kirk alone. He's strong and smart and could HELP!
It is implied that he could only go back into the past once; meaning, if he saved his brother and nephew, he would be stranded on Earth hundreds of light-years from the Enterprise, which had (maybe) another Picard in command, resulting in a lot of wasted time trying to contact them, get to them, explain what exactly was going on and how he (or they) got there, that he was the 'same' Picard, etcetera. In essence, Picard performed a Heroic Sacrifice of his own by NOT doing that—he gave up the chance to help his family to save an entire planet full of strangers. Admittedly, they didn't mention this at all, despite how much of a great character moment it would have been, and true to Picard's nature.
See Voodoo Shark for why your saving throw leads to a worse plot hole. OK, so Picard can only go back once? And going back on Earth would lead to the possibility that the proper information won't get where it needs to go? Go back two weeks before on the Enterprise, inform the Picard who is already there of a series of improbable events that he knows will happen, tell him that he should send a priority 1 message to whoever is listening to go check the wiring in his brother's house, buy him a smoke alarm, and be watching him on XYZ date. Then both Picards can go leisurely take care of Soren and have a week to spare. So long as the information gets to Picard in the past, it doesn't really matter how far back he goes. He can pull a Marty Mc Fly, and give Picard a letter to be opened on the date of "Encounter at Farpoint": so long as the information makes it back to the past, it doesn't matter when in the past it gets to (at least in Star Trek physics).
In John Carter, Dejah gets to hold one when the main villain gets on his knees, gives her his sword, and tells her to just kill him if she doesn't want to marry him. She has been very vocal about how staunchly against it she is the whole movie, she's a fully capable swordswoman, and she puts the sword to his neck... Her next scene has her in a wedding gown. She might have been wary on account of the fact that his soldiers would probably raze Helion if she did it, but it's not made clear.
In Silent Running, Lowell has spent eight years as the sole botanist taking care of one of the last living forests, preserved in a space station. He's implied to be the only person to still care about preserving nature and is the best man qualified to oversee the return of nature to Earth. Despite all this, towards the end of the film he suffers a crisis because he simply can't figure out why his forest is dying. In the climax, he suddenly remembers that plants need sunlight! Why did it take him that long to figure that out???
In Aliens Ripley first finds the ball by telling Carter how she figured it all out that it was him who is responsible for the deaths of the colonists, creating for him a rather strong incentive to kill her before they get back, and then everybody else decides to start passing it from one to another by keeping Carter alive and conscious (after he tries to kill Ripley and the girl), adding an extra risk factor to their lives and giving him an opportunity to try and run away when aliens attack the survivors.
Really? After the attempt to impregnate Ripley and Newt, and Ripley telling the Marines all, Hicks and Hudson were ready to kill him right then and there. Only the Alien attack and the lights going out gave him the chance to escape.
It's not explained why, but Ripley tries to prevent Burke's death saying that they 'need him' once they get out of there. Maybe they thought that murdering the one company representative would get them put on trial when they returned to the system that was completely controlled by said company.
Several characters grab the Idiot Ball HARD in Prometheus. For example, taking off the masks in a possibly contaminated area, later keeping them off when, again, a possibly contagious decapitated organism is being found, operating on its head while it is outside of a sterilised box and constantly trying to touch almost anything that looks potentially hazardous (the liquid on the walls, the “sexy snake”, the “virus vessels” etc) can be counted as such. The most prominent examples possibly would be the biologist who decides to try and touch an alien organism in a very traditional attack stance and, later on, the opening of the exterior hatch when a scientist who had turned up missing suddenly appears, lying face-down in the dirt — the crewmen simply gape at the twisted remnants of the corpse of the scientist right up until it stands up and attacks them.
The team's geologist decides (wisely) that poking around in strange ruins and touching everything in sight is a bad idea, and decides to head back to the ship. He gets handed an idiot ball right before he leaves, however, and manages to get lost. This is mere minutes after he's shown sending out probes that create a detailed three dimensional map of the cave.
This troper believes that the overuse of the idiot ball is a very large part of why so many people were disappointed with Prometheus. It had a convoluted plot, but better films have survived having convoluted plots and taking characters previously established as intelligent and competent and making them do out-of-character stupid things that gets them killed is a lazy and annoying way of thinning the cast. In addition to the above examples, the intelligent captain trying to outrun the crashed torus-shaped ship that is rolling after her. It's travelling in a straight line. She's running directly along that same line. She won't outrun that. All she had to do was swerve -slightly- to the left or right.
Quite reasonably, just about everybody in the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy. Most of the decisions that most of the characters make don't make the slightest bit of sense.
For example: The heroes get stranded on Tatooine by their hyperdrive failing due to battle damage escaping from Naboo. OK, fine, but they're utterly stymied by the locals not accepting Republic currency as payment for replacement parts. It never seems to occur to them to sell the queen's busted ship and just buy passage to Coruscant. Hell, they could just leave the ship and have Qui-Gon buy passage with the money he already has, which is implied to be significant. Anyone operating a ship that can go there certainly CAN use Republic currency, and would actually need some in order to refuel, resupply, and buy some cargo worth taking back to Tatooine once he got them there.
Supposedly, the city they entered was like Mos Esley. A wretched hive of scum and villainy except maybe smaller. Maybe they couldn't do what Obi Wan did in 4. Maybe having a queen on-board instead a farmer and an old man would make them more likely to be back-stabbed.
The film gives no good reason for the Trade Federation instigating this blockade in the first place. What is Sidious offering them that can be worth the political repercussions of an illegal blockade and occupation? They had to know that they'd be stripped of their trade monopoly if it didn't go entirely right, so it has to be a pretty good offer, but there's no hint of it.
The opening crawl says that the Trade Federation blockaded Naboo as a protest against taxation. But when Amidala announces the blockade and invasion to the Senate, the Trade Federation representative denies it and calls for an investigation. The whole point of a protest is to get attention, so why deny what they're doing?
The demand for an investigation is for the allegation of the invasion (which is extremely illegal), not the allegation of the blockade (which is completely legal). The Senate knows that the Trade Federation is blockading Naboo and why, but Darth Sidious has been making sure they don't do anything about it.
And who can forget the Jedi. Upon learning that one of their Order has ordered a huge clone army, they don't bother to investigate why he did so and if anyone had stolen his ID or manipulated him (which they had!).
It is implied that they WAS no way of knowing and they may have had an investigation which came up with nothing. After all, they didn't have force ghosts around until Qui Jon died and the army was ordered before the army was ordered which was almost 2 decades before. The trial was cold at that time.
Apparently the Jedi have such an inexhaustable bank account that the money needed to order the clone army was never missed. There's no other way to explain why they never audit their books, and discover the transfer of funds.
And when we get to the Original Trilogy, in the light of events of the Prequel Trilogy, Palpatine's response to Luke's refusal to be turned to the Dark Side is truly idiotic: He proceeds to try to torture Luke to death, in front of his father, while Luke begs his father for help, despite the fact that offering Anakin the power to preserve the lives of his family was the key to getting him to turn to the Dark Side. He may have hoped Anakin was dead, but he didn't even think of the possibility!
The Big Bad in Gamer. He's a tech genius and pretty media savvy, but makes two mistakes so laughable... First, the end reveals that he has the ability to take control of the Hero at anytime, he neglects to do this anytime during the film when it would be most advantageous to do so... like taking control for a split-second while the hero is playing Slayers, something he could easily do and make it look like a normal death in the game. Instead, he just hires a goon to kill him in game. Then he waits to usurp control of the hero until he is in the same room with him, and the hero has a weapon! Idiot ball indeed. Secondly, for someone so tech and media savvy to fall for the oldest trick in the book, having his villainous monologue broadcast to the world, is so pathetic that it doesn't bear a second thought.
Worse still, he reveals in that same scene his mind-controlling nanomachines could be dispersed in the atmosphere. Why isn't the world already under his control? Why even bother with the hero, at all?
James Cameron's Avatar: Although RDA was actually winning the final battle (until a literal Deus ex Machina struck), the commanding officer of whole operation, Quaritch, is master holder of the Idiot Ball (and the Hollywood Tactics Ball, while we're at it). His military strategies were so dumb that someone competent could blow up the Tree without losing any men and with less technologically sophisticated means. Let's take a look, shall we?
The whole idea of taking fleet of choppers in the "asteroid field" that is known to be jamming electronics to point that pilots have to operate primary by their sight. Alternatives?
RDA controls space. They don't have any orbital bombardment weapons, true, but they've could just used some old satellite or piece of space debris to make a precise strike on the Tree. They're literally flying a space shuttle as a bomber.
RDA Sec Ops is absolutely illogically missing any kind of artillery. Well, they are security, sure, but they have a stereo lithography device in the base. In other words, a 3D printer that can print FIREARMS en masse. It can't be much problematic to simply print some big gun when needed. They've could just hit the Tree from afar.
Same with some kind of long range missiles. RDA is using missiles extensively, so why don't have some long range models? Yes, the flux vortex of Hallelujah mountains is trolling the sensors, but who needs them? Just point it at the target! Nazi V2 rockets were able to hit London without computers and homing. And that was in WWII.
Instead of taking the shuttle/bomber trough the mountains, they could fly it to the space and then descend on the tree and then drop the payload.
Good Guys aren't immune to it, either. Trudy is a trained combat pilot, flying a gunship that is faster and much more maneuverable than the RDA shuttle leading the assault during the final battle, which has heavy forward firepower. Rather than using this speed and maneuverability to attack the thing from the rear and flanks where it has fewer defensive weapons, she spends the entire fight sitting right smack dab in the middle of its forward firing arc. It ends as predictably as it sounds.
Ethan Glance in Space Cowboys. He decides to, without telling anyone, take an unauthorized spacewalk on the secret orders of Bob Gerson, and with everyone shouting at him not to connect the PAM rockets on the IKON satellite, decides to do it anyway, thinking that doing so will allow him to singlehandedly move the satellite into a stable orbit (which has dozens of problems even if he was successful). But when he connects it, the satellite activates, swings around, crashes into the docked space shuttle damaging it, and the satellite starts jettisoning its outer casing. One of the panels hits Ethan, somehow just knocking him out though it doesn't damage his helmet enough for it to leak air, and leaving him unconscious tethered to an activated Soviet orbital platform. The movie ends without touching on what happened to Ethan when he got back to Earth, but if he survived, he likely faces:
An expulsion from NASA, considering his actions lead to the destruction of expensive NASA equipment.
Jail time considering he endangering NASA astronauts, damaged Russian equipment, and jeopardized the lives of thousands or even millions, because even if the missile warheads didn't detonate in the atmosphere (nuclear weapons aren't like gunpowder, and they require everything working perfectly to create critical mass), they would still shower weapons-grade nuclear material on the ground or water below, creating an environmental catastrophe.
Life imprisonment, court martial, or even capital punishment for collaborating with Bob Gerson, knowingly withholding critical mission information, and following secret orders which could have caused nuclear catastrophe.
And the film makers for concocting the idiotic scenario in the first place (along with a dose of research failure). It takes HOURS of preparation to spacewalk from a shuttle (largely due to needing to breath a special gas mixture to purge nitrogen from the blood, since the suits operate at 3 PSI of pure oxygen and shuttles run at 15 psi of air, and not doing this risks the bends), it's time consuming to get into a suit, you can't put a suit on in the first place without assistance, there needs to be a suit assembled for you, prepped, and loaded on the ship, and you cannot operate the airlock without additional assistance anyway.
Mom and Dad Save the World involves a literal Idiot Ball. One of the weapons used on the Planet Spengo is called a Light Grenade. If you pick it up, you disappear in a flash of light, leaving the grenade behind. The clever part is that the grenade says "Pick Me Up" on the side. That works because the people of Spengo are really, really stupid. A squad of attackers encounters a Grenade, and several cutscenes later, we see the squad has been reduced to two or three, surrounded by empty uniforms and scattered helmets, staring intently at the grenade. One says, "We're gonna need reinforcements."
The entire planet is an Idiot Ball. Says so within minutes of the film starting.
In the first Jurassic Park movie, while Grant and Ellie are holding back a velociraptor, a gun that was knocked out of Grant's hands and is just barely out of their reach. Lex is meanwhile hacking into the security system, and Tim, not doing anything else, decides to just stand off to the side cheering her on instead of picking up Grant's gun.
The the sequel The Lost World: Jurassic Park. "Not into the long grass! Long grass!" Sage advice, the only problem being he was running into the long grass to tell them...
Also from the second film is Sarah, a scientist who disregards every piece of common sense in existence in regards to interacting with wildlife, and Nick, who sabotages the hunting party's every step regardless of the cost in lives. Both are responsible for every death on the island.
The Wild World of Batwoman: the villains have a drug that makes people inexplicably happy and compels them to dance. More, the Designated Heroine is not only aware of this, but managed to use the substance against them in a previous scene. So when she's handed a bowl of soup she didn't order by a suspicious waiter wearing a bad fake moustache, and sees a random guest at the restaurant stand up and start dancing for no reason, what does she do? She gavumphs the soup without a second thought. Needless to say, thirty seconds later she's a dancing fool.
In Iron Man 1 the S.H.I.E.L.D agents, first ignoring the more advanced suit on the computer monitor and then trying to shoot at Iron Monger with handguns.
Inception has a big one near the climax. Earlier in the movie, Cobb explained to Ariadne that he shouldn't know the layout of the dream so that his psychotic dream wife will not be able to find the mark and screw things over. Then when they reached the third dream level, he suddenly insists on Ariadne to tell him where the short-cut is, despite her protests; and when she did tell him, all he responded was "tell that to Eames" - which is even more stupid and unnecessary, considering that Eames himself created that shortcut. Cobb didn't even use that information for anything, and sure enough Mal used that short-cut to ambush and kill Fischer, almost jeopardizing the entire mission.
Jonathan Kent tragically letting himself die to make sure Clark can keep his powers a secret and keep Martha Kent safe is predicated on the lifelong midwest farmer foolishly running into the path of a tornado to save a dog first.
Krypton's leaders for mining the planet's core hollow instead of seeking resources on other planets, as they had in the past. Krypton is way ahead of Earth technologically, but even we know that a planet needs a core to survive.
Many have criticized the film because Clark doesn't consult the holograms of Jor-El for information about General Zod.
The world council. So the Jaegers are starting to lose. Ok, that's a problem. But if the Kaiju are getting stronger, why do they think a wall is going to be immune to that problem? Sure enough, the Kaiju get through one of those walls and a Jaeger saves the day.
The wall makes no sense at all. It can't fight back and it's not like the kaiju is going to get bored and walk away. Even if it takes a day or so it will break through eventually because nothing will be killing it. You can't even nuke it if it's that close to the city. The wall's inadequacy is painfully obvious when you notice that the kaiju that broke through is BIGGER than the wall itself. Finally, when the last kaiju shows up it's literally twice the size of the next largest kaiju (though to be fair the wall's designers couldn't really have foreseen that). The wall of life would literally be a Waist High Wall to it.
To top it all off, the kaiju Otachi appears and reveals it can fly. Wall: Completely moot.
Prince Nuada and Princess Nuala share a telepathic link that lets them know what the other is thinking and causes them to share any physical damage they incur. When Nuada is sentenced to death, Nuala accepts the verdict, sacrificing herself to prevent her brother's scheme. When Nuada escapes, Nuala tries to stop him, but she could, at any time, kill herself to stop him, as she was already prepared to do earlier. In a later scene, she allows herself to be taken to the heroes' headquarters, but neglects to inform them that Nuada can find her anywhere and knows everything they tell her, allowing him to progress in his scheme. When Nuada throws his magic bean into the gutter, Nuala neglects telling the others to keep it away from water until it's too late for them to do anything. Only in the end does Nuala finally put two and two together and kill herself to stop Nuada.
Abe gets it rather badly shortly after spinning the "my brother knows everything I know" idiot ball — what does he do when he is informed of this rather critical piece of information? Go inform HQ that they'll probably be getting a PO'd elf prince breaking in? Work on evacuating everyone to safety? No, he and Hellboy get drunk and sing love songs.
At any point in the movie someone could have thwarted the prince's plan by destroying part or all of the crown that controlled the Golden Army, which is exactly what they end up doing in the end.
In Masters of the Universe, Evil-Lyn tricks Julie into handing her the Cosmic Key by disguising herself as Julie's dead mother. Not once does Julie question how her mother is alive, where her father could be, or why her mother would want the Cosmic Key.
Somewhat understandable - grief can make people extremely irrational, and her mother had only recently died. She also felt somewhat responsible for her mother's death.
Also Skeletor. He goes to the trouble of invading another planet to relieve the heroes of their Cosmic Key...and instead of either taking it with him when he leaves or at least completely destroying it, just breaks it and leaves it behind. With the guy who invented it, and the rest of the heroes. Between them, they have everything they need to fix it, AND a guy who can figure out how to set it to teleport them directing into Skeletor's throne room.
Then again, coming up with absolutely ludicrous plans seems to be Skeletor's entire thing, in both this movie and...well, pretty much everything else.
In Highlander II: The Quickening (yes, but let's ignore the nonsensical pissing over the canon for a moment), the villain picks up a massive idiot ball. Connor is old and probably going to die in the next 10 years from natural causes. The villain, despite waiting for the last 500 years for the exiles to do whatever it was they were doing and finally claim the prize, decides that killing Connor is paramount and sends his mooks to try and kill him. Instead of waiting a few extra years for the guy who is nearing death, has no means of interstellar travel and no interest in returning, to die, he sends his insane and incompetent mooks to try and kill him. They instead get killed, which turns Connor young and immortal again. So the villain then heads to Earth to face off in person, instead of sending less incompetent mooks to kill him.
What makes it even worse is that the blithering idiocy of this plan is lampshaded not just by Conner, BUT ALSO BY THE TWO DUMBASS INSANO REJECTS HE SENT IN THE FIRST PLACE.
To be fair, he apparently DOES have a means of returning, since he has the Prize (at least, this seems to be implied by the love interest's attempt to confirm that she understood his explanation of the new backstory that completely contradicts the first film). But he clearly has absolutely no interest in doing so. Holding on to an immense Idiot Ball seems to be a theme for villains played by Michael Ironside.
In Highlander: Endgame, Connor MacLeod tells Duncan MacLeod that his newlywed wife is a pre-Immortal, meaning that she can potentially stop aging and live forever with Duncan. The catch is that she has to face a violent death, such as by being stabbed, or she'll grow old and die. You might think that Duncan would bring the matter up after their honeymoon and explain the whole Immortal business (complete with a demonstration by stabbing himself!). Instead, Duncan decides that immediately after consummating their marriage, it would be a great idea to stab her to death while she sleeps. Duncan is quite surprised when she doesn't take it well; from her perspective, her husband she's been married to for a few hours is a psychopath who just stabbed her in cold blood and now she has a gaping wound in her that she can't explain! Needless to say, their marriage doesn't last after that night and she keeps the grudge some four hundred years later.
Clash of the Titans : The vain Queen Cassiopeia had the nerve to proclaim that her daughter, Andromeda, was more beautiful than the city's patron goddess, Thetis ... and she did this inside of Thetis's own temple, no less. In typical form for the Greek gods, Thetis does not take kindly to the insult, and as punishment, she demands that Andromeda be sacrificed to the Kraken, or else the entire city would be destroyed.
Also, at the beginning of the film, the arrogant and vengeful King Acrisius of Argos condemns his own daughter, Danae, and her infant child, Perseus - who happens to be the son of Zeus, the leader of the gods - to the sea. It never seems to occur to Acrisius that Zeus just might be a little P.O.'ed by this. (Zeus commanded Poseidon to unleash the Kraken on Argos, destroying the entire kingdom. Acrisius may not have noticed, however, since he was busy being crushed to death by Zeus's hand.)
Played for Laughs in Pirates of the Caribbean. A crew finds Elizabeth's dress on board after she sneaks on board, prompting a mad rush to find the stowaway naked lady. None of them even stop to think said lady would be wearing men's clothes?
Toward the end of Twilight, Bella's mother visits her in the hospital after Bella was assaulted by a vampire before being saved by Edward. The vampire crushed her leg, threw her into a mirror where a shard cut into her femoral artery, and bit her wrist. Humans can't know about this. So Carlisle explained to Bella's mother what happened: Bella fell down TWO flights of stairs and THEN INTO A WINDOW!! That is Looney Tunes-level comedic hijinks. Did she hit a trampoline at the bottom? The idiot ball is being held by Bella's mother, father, and the hospital staff for believing such a ludicrous story!
In The Land That Time Forgot, the survivors of a sunken British ocean liner, led by manly token American Bowen Tyler, take over a German submarine. Bowen locks up the German captain, von Schoenvorts, and keeps the first officer, Dietz, around as an adviser of sorts. The only problem is, von Schoenvorts is the reasonable, cooperative one, and Dietz is the treacherous, untrustworthy, opportunistic one. He sabotages the sub's radio and compass. Bowen knows this. He saw Dietz trash the radio and even hit him for it, and Dietz smirks smugly when Bowen discovers the sabotaged compass, all but confessing. And yet Bowen continues to insist on keeping Dietz free and at his side and von Schoenvorts locked up. Even when von Schoenvorts briefly takes back the sub with Dietz's help and Bowen and the Brits have to re-retake it, Bowen again locks up von Schoenvorts instead of Dietz - who of course begins cooperating with his captors again. Sensing a pattern? Bowen sure isn't. He has the Idiot Ball. Nearly every problem the characters get into that leads them to have to go to Caprona is a direct result of Bowen inexplicably continuing to trust Dietz.
In the sequel, The People That Time Forgot, the Idiot Ball holder is Ajor, the usually competent hot cave babe. When she, Ben McBride, Charlotte and Dr. Norfolk are greeted by the Samurai-esque Nagas, the leader of their warriors, Chung-Shah, speaks English and claims Bowen taught him, and his a guest of theirs and to come on over. Ben and the gang can be forgiven for buying into this. Chung-Shah is a pretty convincing liar and seems nice... but Ajor, whose tribe was annihilated by the Nagas, says nothing. She just stands there as Chung-Shah lies, lies and lies. And then they're taken to the Naga ruler Sabbala and oh no it was a trap. In fact, even Ben and the others should've known better... considering Ajor told them in great detail how the Nagas killed her tribe and kidnapped Bowen.
Lyra at the end of The Golden Compass. She just goes to sleep, knowing full well her father/uncle is hiding something. She decides not to ask the alethiometer for details because she's afraid to know the truth, which is not at all in sync with her character — probably Because Destiny Says So.
Even worse, this actively breaks the books' own aesop about questioning authority and fighting for the truth!
Snow White, locked in the tower most of her young life, has managed to escape, and is lost in the Dark Forest. The evil Queen Ravenna and her brother Finn find the Huntsman, who has visited the Dark Forest & survived. Queen Ravenna orders the Huntsman to find her at spearpoint, and also (falsely) promises that if he brings back Snow White, she can bring back the Huntsman's dead wife using Snow White's life in exchange for hers. After the Huntsman brings Snow White back, he asks "What do you intend to do with her?" as if Ravenna hadn't already made it pretty clear. Snow White protests that Queen Ravenna and her brother Finn are going to double-cross the Huntsman, to which Finn exclaims "My sister has many powers...but she cannot bring your wife back from the dead, you fool!" Good job, tell the suicidal, unstable Huntsman, who is only helping you for the sake of being reunited with his wife, that it was all a lie. This should end well for you. Cue fight scene and escape, with the Huntsman and Snow White now as tentative allies.
Finn hands the idiot ball back to the Huntsman when they meet at a later time. In a fight the Huntsman was at first losing, he gains the upper hand by charging at the brother and impaling him on the shards protruding from a tree stump. (Finn) "Sister, heal me." Time to retrieve that great axe of yours, just feet way, and take off his head? No, just stand there, forcing him onto the stump. Fortunately the task of curing her brother was too much for the queen.
The Huntsman in turn hands the idiot ball back to the Queen at the end of the movie. She asks of Finn at an earlier stage: How is it that an innocent young girl makes a fool of my BROTHER? It's in the genes, lady.. Told that Snow White is either her downfall or key to immortality, the Queen is informed of an army preparing to attack the castle, led by Snow White. She welcomes this news, thinking it will lead Snow White into a trap, so she can at last gain her immortality. So what do her forces do? Fire explosive, burning balls at the approaching group, along with many arrows. Snow White only survives by luck.
Night at the Museum II. When Larry returns and is given the hourglass with his trapped friend, why doesn't he immediately free the cowboy, by opening the glass as quickly as Kamunrah closed it? Or at the very least turn it upside down to let the sand flow away from him? Instead, he stands there for a huge part of the dialogue just holding it (at least having the sense to hold it horizontally so no more sand pours on the cowboy). Later on, the hourglass once again falls on the floor upright, putting the cowboy in mortal danger again.
In the second installment of The Neverending Story, Bastian seems to be clutching the idiot ball for dear life, for no other reason is how easily he's manipulated by the villain. You'd think he'd be less inclined to make wishes, particularly for such reasons, when the self-professed villain and her bird-boy lackey (who he should be able to notice is working for the villain) both keep insisting he make wishes. Not only that, he accepts magical (possibly boobytrapped) gifts from her and despite knowing and having far more reason to trust Atreyu than her, for some reason continues act like Atreyu is some kind of idiot when he insists the villain shouldn't be trusted. He clutches it even harder in the third sequel, where he barely does anything but be a coward.
Bastian also is given opportunities to make wishes with the Orin, (Unknown to him that making wishes will cause his memories to be removed from his mind) but most of the time he doesn't even make the wishes. A good example would be when Xayide sends her minions after Bastian, Nimbly tells him to make a wish but he doesn't and Nimbly has to save him.
At the end, Superman kisses Lois to make her forget everything that had happened over the last two weeks instead of just letting her deal with it all like an adult. Why didn't he just do this the moment she discovered his secret identity?
Then there's the part where Lara's hologram tells him he can "never" get his powers back if he gives them up to be with Lois. It's bad enough he decides not to just ignore this edict; but he makes his decision to be with her so casually that he basically just shrugs his shoulders and says, "I love her," then gives them up only to get them back somehow after he learns about Zod, et. al.
In Pulp Fiction, Butch's storyline requires a number of idiot balls. Butch decides to risk going back to his apartment to get his watch, a precious family heirloom, despite the fact that he knows people are out to kill him. When it gets to his apartment, no-one seems to be there, so he decides to hang out and cook some Pop-Tarts rather than thank the gods for his good fortune and flee immediately. It turns out that Wallace and Vincent were waiting for Butch at his apartment, but Wallace decided to go get some snacks and had to leave his MAC-11 machine pistol behind. Vincent meanwhile went to use the restroom, leaving Wallace's gun sitting out in plain sight. Vincent had already shown several previous instances of stupidity.
Fracture (2007) - The fact that there'll be a 'fracture' in the villain's otherwise great plan is well foreshadowed not only with the title, but also with a rather complicated prop. Will it be the planting of a gun? Or an unexpected friend to the DA judge? Maybe the DA will take justice in his own hands...? Well... he just admits everything upfront in a BBG monologue, not suspecting that the man of law might be wearing a wire. Can't blame him though - the cash was on some kind of digital sound recorder, maybe like the one built into his cell phone.
It's worse than that. As he points out himself, the villain still would have gotten away with it because one can't be tried twice for the same offense in the American legal system. If only he hadn't forgotten that the first time he was charged with ATTEMPTED murder, meaning when his victim died it was possible to try him with murder, a different crime.
Justified in noir film Where Danger Lives to explain why the hero runs off with The Vamp: he has a bad concussion and isn't thinking straight.
The police drama Blitz is a pretty intense and tight movie about tracking a vengeful cop-killing lunatic, but at one point it hits a scene that would have completely derailed the entire movie if a single character had not acted like a moronic sheep. An informant is moments away from telling a reporter the name of the killer, but he first decides to go count the money he's being paid in the bathroom of the pub where they're meeting. The killer, however, knows he's there and follows him into the bathroom. The killer confronts the informant, who quivers in panicked fright, until the killer calmly and almost casually pulls him into a bathroom stall and drowns him. If the informant had instead bolted for the door leading back into the crowded, public pub where at least a dozen people were located and started screaming for help at the top of his lungs, he likely not only would have survived but the killer would have been caught either in the pub or immediately afterward once his name became public knowledge.
In Lethal Weapon 2, Riggs does the "idiot ball" thing with his girlfriend du jour, Rika. Paraphrased here:
Riggs:: "Wow, good thing we escaped your evil employers who just tried to kill us, Miss Van den Haas. Now let's drop you off at your apartment, where they know you live, without any police protection!"
*hands Idiot Ball to her*
Rika: "Hey, great idea, Officer Riggs!"
Action Movies (Non-Sci-Fi)
EveryJames Bond villain, by explaining the whole plot to Bond, and then putting him in an easily-escapable trap with an inept guard. (Naturally, this is lampshaded in Austin Powers, where Scott says "Why don't you justshoothim?" And Dr. Evil doesn't explain, but simply cuts him off by going "SHHH!" every time, saying "I've got a whole bag of 'SHHH!' right here!")
In the film Cobra, the final confrontation between the titular police officer and the villain (a serial killer named the Night Stalker) begins by the villain pointing out that cops have to play by the rules even when dealing with a man as evil as him and as such couldn't just gun him down. Now this would be a perfectly logical and interesting argument if Cobra hadn't gunned down at least two dozen men in a car chase five minutes beforehand. Not only this, but he's well aware from the news that Cobra is trigger happy and is famous for solving problems with his gun. Why he thought a man with the body count of at least thirty would care if he shot a serial killer guilty of molesting a child in cold blood is, perhaps, best left to himself.
King Leonidas in 300 brusquely rejects Ephialtes's offer to join his army because his deformity would cause a weakness in the ranks. Leonidas apparently doesn't realize that pissing off a man who knows your position's only weakness isn't such a smart idea. He also never thinks to suggest that Ephialtes fight with the other Greeks, who are mere "brawlers." It's also worth noting that the Spartans only fight a single battle in formation before breaking up into single-man wrecking crews anyway. There are several possible justifications for this. The first is that Spartans despised deformity, and it is true to Spartan culture for Leonidas to reject him out of hand. It also may be a case of Delios being an Unreliable Narrator who embellishes the truth to make a better story. The real life Ephialtes was a regular man who was simply greedy.
Walter Donovan readily accepts the first grail Dr. Elsa Schneider hands him. After he drinks from it, he quickly ages to death.
Elsa herself succumbs when she tries taking the grail despite multiple warnings. Before she knows it, the temple has collapsed and she's hanging above an abyss. She then uses Indiana hold to reach for the grail, but her hand proves too slippery, causing her to fall to her death.
Dante in Clerks holds it by wanting to get back together with his cheating ex (Caitlin) even though his current one (Veronica) really cares about him and she SHOWS it. Jay, Silent Bob and Randal call him out on this dumb move. Jay says he's often seen Veronica do nice things for Dante like changing a flat for his car (earlier you see her bringing Dante lasagna to work just because and prevent him getting mauled by an angry mob) and says she's a keeper. Silent Bob tells Dante that "There's a million fine-looking women in the world. But they don't all bring you lasagna at work. Most of 'em just cheat on you.". Randal calls him out during an epic "The Reason You Suck" Speech. Dante lets go of it a bit too late however and Veronica dumps him anyway.
Duncan in one scene in Mystery Team. Though nowhere near the "boy genius" he claims to be, he is still shown as being competent and the smartest of the group... except for the scene where he drank dog urine to disinfect his HAND.
In The Santa Clause 3, Jack Frost appears to be a walking Idiot Ball. Anyone he interacts with seems to lose at least 50 IQ points, making it absurdly easy for him to manipulate his way into a takeover.
During the Vulgaria plot in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Jeremy and Jemimah are left alone and instructed to not go outside for any reason, because they would immediately be caught by the Child Catcher and imprisoned. When the thinly-disguised Child Catcher shows up trying to tempt the hungry children outside with delicious treats, Jeremy immediately wants to go outside and get something to eat, but Jemimah reminds him of the danger and says it's probably a trick. A moment later, however, she changes her mind and they both go outside and into the colorful stranger's wagon... only to be surprised that it was actually a trick and they've been imprisoned in a cage. And worst of all, there are no delicious treats inside!
And the townsfolk are perfectly happy to shout "No! It's a trap!" from their doors, but apparently can't be bothered to oh, say, pick up the children and/or drag them inside?
Children are outlawed - picking up the children and taking them inside would have gotten them arrested, so taking no action beyond a verbal warning (itself possibly risky) is understandable.
Every Step Up movie needs some sort of conflict in order to form something resembling a plot. Unfortunately only Revolution's conflict is caused by a massive case of idiot ball. Eddie finds a video which reveals that his best friend's girlfriend, Emily, is secretly the daughter of the man who wants to destroy his neighborhood to build a new hotel. The problem here is that the video, as well as Emily's actions since he met her, also prove that she's on his side and has being doing everything to help stop her father. None of this matters to Eddie who launches a nasty, vindictive plot that effectively destroys his relationship with his best friend, Emily's relationships with her father, his best friend's relationship with Emily, the dance crew's chances at winning $1 million, AND the neighborhood's chance at saving their community. All in one single fell swoop. And all because his best friend kept Emily's identity a secret. Really?! The idiot ball gets passed around to the dance crew who, for some reason, went along with his selfish plans in the first place and then later quickly forgive him despite all the immense damage he's caused. What's worse? His best friend forgives Eddie after he delivers one of the worst half-assed apologies ever.
Lily and Zach in The Secret Life of Bees live in the Deep South during the 1960s. You'd think they'd be aware that black men were killed for even looking at white women during that time. They sit together in the black section of the town movie theater and, unsurprisingly, Zach is carted off by the local rednecks. He escapes, but not before the emotionally fragile May, distraught over what happened, commits suicide.Good job kids.
In Reste Avec Moi, a elderly man is being beaten to death with a pipe in a case of road rage. The man's adult daughter and a group of big burly men just stand there and gape, leaving the daughter's husband to run over and stop the attack - which results in his losing control and nearly beating the attacker to death (for which he is arrested).
Many driver's ed films will show drivers making incredibly stupid decisions behind the wheel – everything from age-old safety rule violations such as driving drunk, failing to obey stop signs and speeding to today's danger of using cellular phones and texting while driving. The consequences are played out and while sometimes they end with the offending driver just being scared or at worst shaken up, more often than not the aftermath is not good.
At the end of Firefox where the climax is dependent on the fact that Clint Eastwood's character has momentarily forgotten to think in Russian, even though he's been kicking the snot out of everybody for the last fifteen minutes by doing just that.
The Doctor's Wife in Blindness is the only sighted person in the entire asylum. So what does she do when a blind guy in another ward starts waving a gun that he can't aim, stealing food and possessions, and demanding women? Why, lead a bunch of other women to him and let him rape all of them, herself included.
Tank Girl. Tank Girl, Jet Girl, and Sam probably could have gotten clear of Liquid Silver without much trouble after taking the Madam hostage, but instead Tank Girl decides to stop for a musical number and as a result Sam is recaptured by W&P.