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What An Idiot: Film
Some film characters' actions can get so dumb, one might wish for the directors to re-write the script in order for the character to get it "right".

Films with their own pages:


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    Films A-F 
  • Absolute Power:
    • Clint Eastwood's daughter is going for a jog. While she is parking her car, Dennis Haysbert, one of the Secret Service goons, is trying to kill her by pushing her car off the cliff.
      You'd Expect: That she wouldn't be out in a public place, thinking, "If they tried to kill my father, then they would try to kill me, too!" Also, after the first time Dennis hits her car with his truck, you would think that she would get out of the car and run in the opposite direction, screaming her head off.
      Instead: She stays in the car and freaks out. Her car goes over the cliff and she is seriously injured.
    • Later, Dennis finds out that she's not dead and he goes to the hospital to finish the job. He's in her room with a syringe full of poison.
      You'd Expect: That Dennis is going to put the poison directly into her IV line, killing her fairly instantly and allowing him a quick getaway.
      Instead: He's fooling around with her arm, trying to find a vein to inject the poison into. He is quickly caught by Clint Eastwood and killed with the same poison.
  • The Amazing Spider-Man:
    • Peter goes to the sewers as Spider Man to track down the Lizard and also to make some pictures of it for the Bugle.
      You'd Expect: That - not just for this particular endeavor but for his adventures as Spider-Man in general - he would remove any belongings that might identify him as Peter Parker.
      Instead: The back of his cameras are covered in labels that proclaims them to be "property of Peter Parker".
    • Uncle Ben shows us exactly why you shouldn't take the law into your own hands when a thief runs out of the drugstore and then drops his gun.
      You'd Expect: Ben would've steered clear of the situation (even if he did had any significant prior authority or military training he should been smarter about how he handled the situation. Yet and still, he was not an authority figure) and would have alerted the proper authorities seeing that the situation didn't concern him much in any way for him to be that much involved.
      Instead: He runs over to struggle trying to grab the thief's gun and ends up getting seemingly inadvertently shot fatally. Which could be deemed as a Stupid Sacrifice by some, since the incident looked fairly avoidable and unnecessary.
  • In Stargate: The Ark Of Truth, the IOA comes up with a plan to introduce Replicators into the Ori galaxy, hoping to distract them from their crusade against the Milky Way.
    You'd Expect: That they would realize how insanely stupid this plan is, especially as the only weapon capable of purging all Replicators from our galaxy was destroyed by the Ori.
    Or: They would order the SGC to carry out the plan, allowing for better execution and plenty of safeguards.
    Instead: They have their agent carry out this plan without informing the SGC, who at least know how to deal with Replicators.
    Also: They program the Replicators to be immune to the anti-Replicator weapons the SGC has, forcing them to fall back on guns, just to ensure that the SGC couldn't stop their plan.
    Worse: The IOA has the Replicators unleashed on the one ship that contains the database containing the sum total of Asgard knowledge that was gifted to humanity by them before they suicided, meaning once they assimilate the Asgard core they'll become vastly more powerful than anyone could hope to stop and simultaneously deny that information to Earth.
  • The Art of War 3: Retribution is full of them, but here are two examples from the opening scene alone:
    • Agent Neil Shaw has been dispatched to kill an arms dealer by the name of Zimmer. While at Zimmer's hotel he finds a suicide bomber who is there as part of a seperate assassination attempt, and covertly disarms him by cutting the bomb's trigger wires. Shortly thereafter, Zimmer leaves the hotel in his car.
      You'd Expect: Shaw to tail Zimmer, wait until he reaches some location where he can be covertly disposed of, and then kill him.
      Instead: He immediately throws a bomb through the window of Zimmer's car. The bomb does its job and kills Zimmer... in front of hundreds, if not thousands of witnesses.
    • Shaw then has to deal with the matter of the suicide bomber from earlier, who is wandering around confused, apparently too dumb to try repairing his bomb.
      You'd Expect: Shaw to knock the bomber out, then drag him somewhere where the bomb can be safely neutralized, just in case it was also outfitted with a timer or remote trigger. Then the bomber can be turned over to the authorities and interrogated to gain information on who was behind the attempted bombing.
      Instead: Shaw pulls out a knife and fatally stabs the bomber. Who he then leaves to die. In front of the same hundreds or thousands of people who just witnessed Zimmer being blown to shreds.
  • As It Is In Heaven: Domestic Abuser Conny has just threatened choir leader Daniel and then repeatedly rammed his 18-wheeler into Daniel's car. This was done in front of the entire choir of about two dozen people.
    You'd Expect: Someone to call the police. After all, the man just committed blatant destruction of property in front of literally dozens of witnesses.
    Instead: Nobody does anything. Conny later attacks Daniel and beats him into a pulp.
  • Asterix and Obelix versus Cesar: Having usurped power and obtained a whole cauldron of strength enhancing potion, The Starscream leads an army of Romans against the reputed rebellious Gaul village.
    You'd Expect: that he use the fricking potion! Maybe give some to his legioneers, maybe drink it himself, but use it. After all, obtaining it was a major plot point.
    Instead: He just sits there in his command post, clutching the cauldron and ignoring his soldiers' requests for a gulp. Naturally the Romans manage against the Gauls just as well as they usually do, id est miserably, and the Gauls hold them back long enough for the main heroes to find the Phlebotinum and trash the Romans. Oh, and the cauldron of potion ends up spilled on the ground. What a waste.
  • Avatar:
    • The RDA corporation wishes to mine valuable mineral called Unobtanium on the moon Pandora. In order to get the Na'vi natives to move away and allow them to mine, they set up a program for creating Avatars, which they hope will allow them to infiltrate the Na'vi, earn their trust, and thereby make it easier to get them to move. The protagonist, Jake, ends up infiltrating the Na'vi, earns their trust and becomes one of them within three months, and even sleeps with the chief's daughter. In other words, he's making an incredible amount of progress for what little time he spent.
      You'd Expect: The RDA corporation, which is run by stockholders, and which has already poured millions of dollars into the Avatar program, to hold off the bulldozers for a second and allow Jake more time to work his magic. As far as they know, he's managed to earn the chief (and the chief's wife), as well as the chief's daughter's trust. After all, it would be a heck of a lot more expensive to go using big scale bombs and artillery on the forest than to wait a bit longer and possibly have a spy get the village people to move. Especially considering that they already invested money into the Avatar program.
      Instead: They decide (prematurely), and without even telling their spy, that they won't wait any longer, and start bulldozing the forest. Extra idiot points in that they start bulldozing the part of the forest where their spy's Avatar body (which undoubtedly cost them a lot of money) was... and would've ran over it if his alien girlfriend didn't pull him away, buying him enough time to wake up in the Avatar. His reaction is, predictably, to jump onto the bulldozer and pound on their security camera to get them to stop. Their reaction? Tell him that he "went too far" and "betrayed their trust" by doing that, and promptly lock him up. Which causes him to decide to side with the Na'Vi and lead a rebellion.
    • Speaking of which...
      You'd Expect: Jake not to be so so blatant in his logs and also to have a quiet private word with the Na'Vi chief at some point before the deadline, so he could thoroughly and without haste explain the state of things and probably work out a solution.
      Instead: He makes his announcement in the worst possible moment, when it's all but too late to do anything, and after he'd antagonized both the Na'vi by stealing a bride from one of the tribe's most influential members, and his own command by wrecking that logging machine.
    • There's also the ridiculous case where Colonel Quaritch confronts Jake in the empty room, telling him the experiment is essentially over, and he's gotten Jake the money and guarantee for the surgery to fix his legs. Jake refuses to end the experiment, and gives every single sign, clear as the sun in the desert, that he's gone native and will be a thorn in their side when it comes to trying to remove the Na'vi from their tree-place.
      You'd Expect: The colonel to pick up on this, and forcibly eject Jake from the project, or put him under watch, or lock him up temporarily, or even refer to the above "you'd expect" example!
      Instead: He completely ignores these signs, basically pulling the Yoda on Anakin from Episode III, then acts shocked when Jake goes native. Or maybe he was just pretending not to notice, honestly wanted to give the poor kid in the wheelchair another shot, or was just happy to try and kill him. There's a moment when he gives Jake a long look; he almost certainly knew something was up.
    • Also, when the scientists are trying to convince the corporate executives not to destroy the Tree of Voices, they talk about how the plantlife on Pandora forms a massive neural network.
      You'd Expect: They'd drop the technobabble and put it into terms these guys can understand and respect like: "It's an organic computer the size of a planet, do you have any idea how much money that's potentially worth?"
      Instead: They focus on how spiritually significant it is to the Na'vi, which prompts the executives to dismiss it as a bunch of hocus-pocus and hippy crap (which, considering the executives haven't seen firsthand that the mystic stuff is actually real, that's exactly what it sounds like).
    • During the assault on the Home Tree, one of the attacking pilots, Trudy, has a crisis of conscience and flies away, refusing to participate in genocide. Quaritch's own Dragon Wainfleet is aboard her craft.
      You'd Expect: Wainfleet to report Trudy to his superior and have her arrested for wimping out on their mission, as well as being a potential security risk due to her sympathy for the Na'vi.
      Instead: He does nothing, letting Trudy go free. The next day she breaks out Jake, Norm, and Dr. Grace from their cell, then flies them out of the base. Thanks to her stolen craft she also becomes a major source of firepower for the Na'vi side during the final battle.
    • There are deposits of Unobtainium (which is magnetic) large enough to float mountains.
      You'd Expect: The RDA to mine these instead because these are easier to get to than the chunk under Home Tree, and possibly larger than that deposit too. Even if the Na'vi object, there's nothing they can do to stop a fleet of levitating RDA tugs from towing the floating mountains away.
      Instead: No one pays any attention to the fact that these are the equivalent to entire mountains of gold.
  • Back to the Future:
    • Part I: Doc and Marty have just reloaded the DeLorean time machine's plutonium chamber. Doc prepares to time travel 25 years into the future, but he sees the terrorists' van approaching.
      You'd Expect: Doc to jump into the time machine and yell for Marty and Einstein to quickly join him. The three could then hightail it outta there — especially since even with time machine mods, a DeLorean should be able to outrun a panel van — and if worse came to worst, the three could quickly set the time circuits and go an hour into the future or past.
      Instead: Doc goes for his piss-poor pistol, and this gives the the terrorists enough time to drive up and kill him. Marty escapes to 1955 in the time machine, and ends up nearly erasing himself from existence.
    • Part II: Marty tracks down Biff and the sports almanac at the dance in 1955. He remembers that George is about to knock out Biff with one punch, and sure enough, it happens. Marty waits until George, Lorraine, and his younger self are gone, and steps into the crowd surrounding Biff.
      You'd Expect: Marty to tell the crowd that Biff stole his sports almanac, which everyone would believe since Biff is the school bully. The crowd would subdue Biff, check his jacket pocket, give Marty the almanac, and send Biff looking for Marty in the other direction. Marty and Doc would then have enough time to burn the almanac and get back to 1985 before the thunderstorm hits Hill Valley.
      Instead: Marty reassures the crowd that he knows CPR (which didn't exist in 1955), then punches the semi-conscious Biff and straight-up jacks the almanac. One guy thinks that Marty took Biff's wallet and tells him where Marty ran. Biff finds Marty and takes back the almanac. Marty nearly kills himself getting it back, and the delay is long enough for the DeLorean (with Doc inside) to get struck by lightning when the storm approaches.
    • Part III: Doc realizes that he can't remain in 1885, so he goes to tell his Love Interest Clara that he will be leaving town, and she'll never see him again. She presses him for a reason why.
      You'd Expect: Doc to take her to the time machine and show her that he's from the future, or show her some future tech (like the hoverboard). She's smart and progressive for her time and would probably understand. Hell, she was originally supposed to die in the original timeline anyway, so why not take her back to 1985 with them?
      Instead: Doc decides that he doesn't want to futher alter the timeline, despite the fact that he had already saved Clara's life. The lovesick Doc tells Clara the truth with no evidence, and she naturally assumes he's lying and tearfully tells him to get lost. Brokenhearted, he lollygags around the saloon and passes out at an inopportune time. The delay nearly costs him and Marty their lives, and nearly costs Clara hers when she finds out that Doc wasn't lying.
  • Batman:
    • In the 1989 version, when the otherwise Genre Savvy Joker takes Vicki Vale up the cathedral to escape and says 10 minutes... before the helicopter arrives.
      You'd expect: The Joker to call his goons again and get the chopper to the top ASAP, since it took him 5 minutes.
      Instead: He dances with Vale waiting for the chopper and giving Batman time to beat the heck out of him.
    • This leads to the helicopter arriving and Joker taking off when Batman ties a gargoyle to his leg.
      You'd expect: The Joker to make a signal to the pilot to move to the chapel where the fall wouldn't be dangerous, or simply let go and hang around on the wall for the police to get him.
      Instead: He looks stupidly up at the ladder, tries to go along with escaping which causes the gargoyle to pull him down to his death.
  • Batman & Robin: Robin has just survived Poison Ivy's Kiss of Death by wearing wax lips.
    You'd expect He'd keep them on, in case she tried it again.
    Instead He pulls them off, remarking that wax lips are "immune to [her] charms".
    You'd expect Ivy would take advantage of Robin removing his only protection against her lips and give him another snog, this one terminal.
    Instead She just shoves him into a pond.
  • Battlefield Earth, as you might expect, has tons of these, but here's the most obvious. After being captured by the Psychlos for slave labor, the hero, Jonny Goodboy, manages to kill one of the guards with his own gun. He runs away, but quickly gets caught by the alien leader, Terl, and brought back to where the guard was shot. Incapable of believing that a "man-animal" would ever be capable of handling a gun, he forces a guard to hand Jonny his sidearm to prove that he's harmless. Jonny promptly shoots the guard dead.
    You'd Expect: After seeing Jonny shoot a guard before his very eyes, and having indirect evidence of him doing the same to another, Terl immediately has him killed. He's obviously dangerous and will only cause trouble for the Psychlos if he's kept as a slave.
    Instead: He just tosses him back to the slave-line as if nothing happened, still completely convinced that the humans are utterly harmless.
  • In Behind Enemy Lines II: Axis of Evil, the Navy SEALS are hiding on a mountain when a village boy looking for food stumbles across them. The boy runs away.
    You'd Expect: The SEALS to let the boy go and move to another hiding spot. After all, how likely is it for anyone to believe a 10-year old kid seeing 4 heavily armed Americans in the middle of North Korea?
    Instead: They chase the kid into the village and right into his family's house while dozens of villagers see them in plain view. Not surprisingly, the kid's sister starts screaming, and the local North Korean Army patrol comes to see what's going on, which triggers a huge shootout and ends with two SEALS dead and two captured.
  • Birdemic: This movie has several stupid moments.
    • In one scene, Ramsey attempts to rescue several people who are hiding in a bus for safety. He tries to evacuate them against their will out of the bus. Unfortunately, a bunch of birds are incoming.
      You'd Expect: Ramsey and the bus passengers to run back to the car immediately and not stop so that they could escape and not be killed by the birds.
      Instead: They don't rush back to the car and after briefly walking, they stop and stand there in the open like a bunch of idiots, and get killed by a bunch of acid-SPITTING birds who peck at them to death.
    • In a later scene, At one point, a man tries to steal gas from Rod and the other survivors at gunpoint. After getting the gas, the man is killed by a bird.
      You'd Expect: Rod to take advantage of the man who held them at gun point being killed, and take the gas as well as the abandoned pistol. That way, they have spare gas in case they run out of gas on the road.
      Instead (!!!): Rod completely forgets the unattended gas can and leaves it behind, as well as the abandoned weapon on the side of the road, and later, what the heck do you know? They run out of gas! Way to go, Rod!
  • The Brady Bunch: Much of the humor of The Brady Bunch Movie and A Very Brady Sequel comes not only from the movie's main premise – a southern California family with the fashion and family sitcom morality of the 1970s, living in the mid-1990s – but the family's own cluelessness at how others react to them or attempt to manipulate them, and inability to recognize the disparity between them and others. Examples:
    • In The Brady Bunch Movie, Mike has imposed a "no tattling" rule on Cindy. When she tries to explain that the family's unscrupulous real estate developer neighbor, Larry Dettmeyer, has stolen their mail, Mike warns her, in essence, "NO TATTLING!" (Even though even an idiotic version of Mike should know that mail theft is a felony in most states, including California.) Even when the family's home is close to foreclosure for failure to pay taxes, Mike ignores the crisis as he tends to the family's more mundane situations (Jan being jealous of Marcia, Peter's voice cracking, Bobby becoming hall monitor at school, etc.). Only when Dettmeyer directly confronts Mike and in essence freely admit he stole his mail (in explaining the Bradys' delinquent property taxes is resulting in their immediate foreclosure) does Mike come close to understanding what's going on. (Dettmeyer had, in his mail theft activities, taken several "past due" notices sent to the Bradys' home and kept them hidden in his home.)
    • In "A Very Brady Sequel," a con artist, Trevor Thomas, is able to easily maneuver his way into the Brady household, claiming he is Carol's "long-lost first husband," Roy Martin. Even though there are obvious red flags, the Bradys are such idiots that neither Mike, nor Marcia, Jan or Cindy, nor Carol ask him tough questions to expose "Roy" as a fraud. For instance, even Mike would be able to recognize the physical features of Carol's first husband, and Carol would remember what happened to her first husband and why he's had no contact with her or her daughters, or in the very least subtle personality/physical quirks that Thomas would not have picked up on. Only arguably the dumbest person in the original TV series – Alice – senses that "Roy" is not who he says he is. (Of course, much of the humor of this film comes from exactly that – a con man who otherwise would be stopped dead in his tracks taking advantage of a family so stupid to recognize their own stupidity.)
  • Beverly Hills Cop: Axel Foley goes to the only lead he has on his best friend Mikey's murder, Mikey's boss, Victor Maitland. All Axel knows for sure is that his friend was a security guard in one of Maitland's warehouses and asks Maitland if he knows anything about Mikey that might help.
    You'd Expect: Maitland to just lie about knowing anything about Mikey's murder, as at this point, Axel has no reason to suspect him of any wrongdoing.
    Instead: He immediately has his goons throw Axel through a window, leading Axel to take a closer look at him.
  • Burn Hollywood Burn:
    • A director has seen his film recut by the studio behind his back. He's embarrassed about the finished product and wants to have his name taken off it. The studio heads agree to let him be credited under the standard Director's Guild pseudonym Alan Smithee. The only problem is, the director's real name is Alan Smithee.
      You'd expect: Smithee would change his own name. You know, like Hollywood professional do all the time. After all, what kind of reputation could you possibly enjoy when your name is already synonymous with failure?
      Instead: Smithee steals the only existing print of the film and holds it hostage. When the studio refuses to allow him to recut the film the way he wants it, he burns it. Smithee is committed to an insane asylum, and the studio ends up making a profit anyway when they produce a documentary about how Smithee went crazy.
    • After Smithee burns the master print of the film, the studio panics, and is left wondering that to do, especially in view of the fact that the film cost $200m.
      You'd expect: That the studio would try as best they can to reassemble the film from the various other takes and alternate camera angles that are inevitably created as part of the filming process.
      Instead: Apparently Smithee was ordered only to do one take of every single scene in the film, because actors are jerks and don't like performing more than one take of any given scene. As a result, they end up planning to sell the trailer as the actual film, until they come up with the "documentary" idea.
  • In Camp Nowhere, Mud and the other protagonists are pulling off an elaborate Con on their parents by staging a phony Parents' Day at their phony summer camp. Using Homemade Inventions, they have full video surveillance of the grounds, including the front gate. These kids know that anything could go wrong during the con. They also know that a debt collector named Polk is searching for Dennis, the man who helped them with their con. Indeed, said debt collector finds his way to the camp at the very end of the con.
    You'd Expect: The kids would catch Polk on camera at the front gate and manage to sidetrack him. They would keep an eye on the last group of parents to make sure that they leave the camp. Polk would be sent on another wild goose chase, the con would be preserved, and the kids would make it to the end of the summer without their parents being any the wiser.
    Instead: The kids don't pay any attention at the end. Polk gets into the camp and runs into Mud's dad right as he's leaving with the last group of parents. Both of them go looking for Dennis, and stumble into the kids right when they're toasting their victory. All the parents are notified, the kids are sent home, and Mud pays off Polk with the remainder of the camp money in order to save Dennis.
  • Child's Play 2: Chucky the killer doll got Andy, the boy he wanted to transfer his soul into, at his grasp. He almost finished the voodoo chant when his babysitter came and stopped his plan.
    You'd expect: Chucky to kill her and continue on with the chant. After all, he is on a time limit and if he do it too late, his soul is trapped forever in the doll.
    Instead: He stopped and took the rest of the movie playing mind games on Andy and killing his foster parents. In the end, when he tries the chant again, it was already too late. Cue the Big "NO!".
  • A Clockwork Orange: Alex is welcomed into the house of the writer whom he left as a cripple and whose wife he sexually assaulted (and possibly caused her death). The writer doesn't recognize him due to he and his friends using masks by the time of the assault. Additionally, he is in a state in which he can't fight back to any kind of violence.
    You'd expect: Alex would try to make sure the writer absolutely wouldn't recognize him.
    Instead: While on a bath, Alex sings the exact same song he sang while raping the writer's wife, loudly enough for him to listen from the other side of the door.
  • Cloverfield: A giant monster attacks New York. The heroes make it to the military checkpoint and get on the last helicopter out of the city.
    You'd Expect: That the pilot would choose any of the 360 degrees of options leading in the AWAY direction.
    Instead: the helicopter flies parallel to the monster's path, and is knocked out of the sky when the monster lunges at it.
  • Dawn of the Dead (2004): Their attempt to send food to Andy in the gun store has gone awry, and Nicole has gotten herself trapped in his store. All of the men except Steve are going to rescue her and load up on ammunition, leaving Steve to wait and open the one-way fire door that is their only way back into the mall.
    You'd Expect: Even with Steve's demonstrated Jerk Ass, that he'd recognize that the door won't open from the outside and the men would be trapped and killed - taking the bulk of their group and all of their guns to the grave. Steve would then stay by the door and do what he is asked.
    Instead: Steve wanders off for absolutely no reason, meaning that the group is forced to bang on the door until Anna hears them. The resultant delay allows the zombies to reach the door and prevent the group from closing it, forcing them to evacuate the mall hastily and unprepared, losing nearly every member in the process.
  • Deep Impact: President Tom Beck knows a killer chunk of space rock is going to hit Earth and secretly builds underground cave shelters for America's best and brightest. This leaves the matter of everyone else in the country...
    You Would Think: He would talk with his top men and at least give everyone else a list of suggestions on how they might improve their odds of surviving the disaster. Even if it was just a lot of "Duck And Cover" bullcrap, it would be better than nothing. Plus, he knew the rock was going to hit the East coast, so he could just tell the Americans to head westward.
    Instead: He pretty much tells the rest of America he's written them off as not worth saving and that he's just going to save his own ass and those of the elite. The meteor final falls, causing far less damage then anticipated. Beck, in all likelihood, will not be reelected considering how many people will be righteously pissed off at him.
  • Die Hard: Early on, following the advice someone he met while arriving in L.A., John McClane takes his shoes off and walks barefoot in the Nakatomi building to relieve some tension. During this, Hans Gruber and his men take over the building, and McClane is forced to sneak out but unable to get his shoes back on, forcing him to remain barefoot. When John kills the first of Gruber's men he attempts to take his shoes, but to his chagrin finds out that they are too small to fit him.
    You Would Think: That John would continue doing this with any future members of Gruber's team that he'd manage to kill until he found a pair of shoes that he'd be able to wear.
    Instead: McClane does not think to do this again at all. It's understandable if he's being fired at or being chased by Gruber's men since he'd be more focused on not dying, but he even forgets this during one good portion of the film where he isn't being hunted down and is in a room with 2 goons he's just killed: while he throws the body of one out the window to alert Al, he takes whatever he can from the other including some explosives he was going to use for Hans and his cigarettes, but for some reason not his shoes. And later on one of Gruber's men proceeds to shoot out several pieces of glass, causing McClane's unprotected feet to get completely cut up.
  • District 9: Aliens come to Earth, malnourished and unguided. They're taken from their ship, set up in a temporary camp which degenerates into a slum, and are constantly exploited by the private corporation responsible.
    You'd Expect That the governments of the world would take an interest in preventing the abuse of these aliens, considering that they're 1) sapient and at least as intelligent as us and 2) capable of building technology that makes us look like cavemen in comparison. They're also bigger and probably a fair bit stronger. Clearly, treating them badly will not end well for us, in the long run.
    Instead The private corporation turns the aliens into slaves in everything but name. They're restricted in where they can eat, where they can work (and what work they can do), and forced to live in slums. Their unhatched eggs are confiscated and destroyed. They are subject to being evicted from their dwellings without notice. They are required to take on human names, speak English (or understand it, anyway), and abandon any trace of their own culture. These requirements are published on the company's website, where anyone can go look them up. The world's governments apparently don't give a crap, and are instead placated by the nifty new gadgets that the company is turning out.
  • Election sees a paranoid teacher put in charge of counting the votes in the class election. Much to his horror, he sees that his least favorite student Tracey Flick has won, but the election was Decided By One Vote.
    You'd expect: He'd simply erase one checkmark for Flick and replace it with one for her opponent. It's not unheard of for someone to change their mind in the voting booth, after all. He also could have just stuffed the papers in his pocket. It's not like they'd frisk him.
    Instead: He casually tosses two votes for Flick into the trash can, taking no effort to disguise or bury the papers they're written on. Naturally, the papers are discovered and his voter fraud is caught.
  • In Evolution, General Woodman is preparing to use napalm bombs against the invading aliens, when he receives a call from Dr. Allison Reed, who claims to have "important information" relating to his plan. Previously, Allison had walked out on him in response to his behaviour towards the main characters.
    You'd Expect: Woodman to at least hear her out, regardless of whatever she did in the last few hours.
    Instead: He doesn't take the call. The bombing goes ahead, and it causes the aliens to all fuse into a gigantic amoeba-like creature. Turns out that Allison was calling to warn him that excessive heat causes the aliens to rapidly evolve. Luckily for Woodman, the heroes manage to destroy the creature, however it's implied that he'll receive a hefty demotion as a result of his screwup.
  • Face/Off
    • The Walsh Institute is keeping Castor Troy alive, in a coma. They decide to carry out a surgery that causes Sean Archer to receive Castor's face.
      You'd Expect: That afterwards, they keep the comatose Castor under the watch of armed guards 24/7, and also restrained to his hospital bed.
      Instead: The people at the Institute decide that Castor is not enough of a flight risk to justify even restraining to the bed, even though Castor is a cop killer, and even have a phone in the same room as Castor's bed. Hence, when Castor wakes up, it's easy for him to call his cronies, so that he can force Dr. Walsh to give him Archer's face.
    • Earlier, before he undergoes the surgery, Archer is told by Miller that the mission he is undertaking is a black bag operation (classified, strictly off the books, no paperwork), meaning he cannot tell his boss Victor Lazarro or his wife and daughter that he is about to receive Castor's face. Archer seems skeptical and a bit reluctant at first to carry out such a mission, thinking that there are a number of ways that something could go wrong, one of which appears to be "what if Castor comes out of his coma?".
      You'd Expect: Archer to disregard Miller's instructions and tell his family and the director that he is about to get Castor's face with a special surgery. That way, there is someone who knows who Archer really is in the event something happens to Tito or Miler.
      Instead: He never does. Castor comes out of his coma, makes the doctor give him Archer's face, then kills Dr. Walsh, Miller, and Tito by burning down the Institute, before going to the prison to taunt Archer that with everyone alive who knows who he really is dead, he'll be stuck in prison for the rest of his life. It is hence impossible for Archer to prove who he really is until he breaks into his own house to tell Eve that he and Castor have different blood types.
  • In Fantastic Four, the titular team successfully defeated Dr. Doom by having Johnny use supernova on him and Ben spraying him with water afterwards. Doom is frozen after this.
    You'd Expect: That they would know how dangerous he's become so while he's frozen, they will think of breaking him into many pieces, ending his threat once and for all.
    Instead: They just leave him like this, believing he died from being frozen. That is until in the sequel that he returned, cue the Oh, Crap moment.
  • In Feast, a plan has been devised that requires a corpse to be used as a distraction, and bomb, for the monsters to facilitate an escape plan. Just before the plan starts the 'corpse' regains consciousness, Bozo hesitates while Boss Man decides to continue as planned. The monsters go for the bait before they decide, and they blow her up as planned. Big Man asks if Bozo will agree not to tell the others about Harley Mom being alive.
    You'd Expect: The guy to say 'sure, no need to burden the others' since it was WAY too late to change the plan either way.
    Instead: When a distraction presents itself he gets into a fight Big Man that ends in the death of Heroine
  • In The Fifth Element, bad guy Zorg, after watching numerous Mooks fail to get the four stones he's after, decides to hunt them down himself. He walks in on Leeloo holding a box that he assumes holds the four stones. He orders her to give him the box. She throws it to him and tries to escape, whereupon he fires blindly into the duct system she hid in.
    You'd Expect: Zorg to make sure Leeloo's dead, then check the box to see what's inside before leaving, especially since Leeloo gave the box up without a fight and this isn't the first time he's been handed a box that he thought had the stones in them.
    Instead: He plants a bomb for no discernible reason, heads back to his ship, leaves, and only then looks inside the box. Unsurprisingly, the stones aren't in there.
  • Final Destination: In every movie, one of the characters has a Premonition about him/her and his/her friends dying at whatever place they are currently at, the character suggests they should get out of there before they end up killed, and after they get of the place, one of them ends up dead in strange circumstances eventually, and it leads to the main characters trying to cheat death
    You'd expect: That our heroes would be careful when using sharp objects, avoid going to risky events, stay indoors, stay off work, ETC ETC
    Instead : They do everything but the above.
    • In Final Destination 2, Kimberly Corman and Thomas Burke arrive near a dentist where Tim Carpenter has just had a dental check-up, there are also pigeons nearby
      You'd expect: Kimberly would keep her mouth shut about the pigeons
      Instead: Kimberly screams about the aforementioned pigeons, and it causes Tim to go stomp around them, one of the pigeons accidentally causes a construction worker to drop a glass pane.
      So now you'd expect: That either Kimberly, Burke, Nora, or one of the construction workers would shout "Jump!", thus ensuring Tim's safety.
      Instead: They stand there looking shocked as the glass pane crushes Tim, way to go, Kimberly.
  • Frankenstein: It's a sad lookout when the monster with the supposedly abnormal brain ends up being the most intelligent character in the movie.
    • The Monster has risen, and Frankenstein, the doctor and Fritz are trying to control him... except Fritz has a torch in his hand and the Monster is afraid of fire and getting more riled by the moment by its presence.
      You'd Think They'd: Get the bloody torch out of there.
      Instead: They let Fritz get even closer with the bloody torch, agitating the Monster further.
    • Fritz has been abusing and antagonizing the Monster, enraging him.
      You'd Expect: Doctor Frankenstein to sternly admonish Fritz to stay as far away from the Monster as possible.
      Instead: Fritz keeps screwing with the Monster until the Monster hangs him with his own whip. And then is completely berserk.
    • Frankenstein and the other doctor have subdued the Monster, and believe he may be dead. The other doctor has promised to dispose of him quickly.
      You'd Expect: They'd get some gasoline, find a clear patch, and immedately incinerate the Monster then scatter the ashes just to be sure, if for no other reason than to prevent any diseases from the dead body parts from a myriad of corpses.
      Instead: The other doctor places the Monster on the gurney again and decides he's going to have him some dissectin'. The Monster snaps his neck.
    • The Monster has escaped and comes across a young girl playing in a field.
      You'd Expect: That faced with a rotting, scarred, lumbering creature, she would scream and run with all speed to find a responsible adult (which, given the caliber of the adults in this film would entail her running straight into another movie...)
      Instead: She asks "would you be my friend?" and gives him a bouquet of flowers. He ends up accidentally causing her death by drowning.
    • The Monster is on the loose, and is believed to be coming towards the Frankenstein estate, where Henry Frankenstein is about to be married to his fiancee, Elizabeth, and may even be in the house.
      You'd Expect: Henry would make sure that at least an area code was between Elizabeth and the Monster, would not leave her alone, and certainly make sure there was an escape route for her in case of trouble.
      Instead: He locks her, alone, from the outside (ensuring she can't get out) in a ground-floor room with big glass windows, perfect for the Monster to walk right through to terrorize her.
    • Frankenstein is leading his section of the angry mob on their search to find The Monster. He hears something and wants to investigate.
      You'd Expect: Frankenstein would go back and make sure that at least some of the mob came with him.
      Instead: He shouts to them, and when he doesn't get a response, climbs up the hill alone where the Monster layeth down the smack upon him.
  • In Fright Night, horror movie show host Peter Vincent is facing down Jerry Dandridge. Vincent knows full well that Jerry is a real vampire, and attempts to use a crucifix to stall him in front of a window to be killed by the rapidly approaching morning sun. However, because until that case Vincent has had no previous experience with the supernatural, he doesn't immediately realise that this only works if he truly believes in the crucifix's holy power (even though he learned this from a previous failed attempt to use a crucifix against Jerry).
    You'd Expect: Jerry, who is privy to this information (and knows that Vincent is too, having told him himself), to keep his trap shut about it, and use his superhuman powers to overpower Vincent.
    Instead: Jerry mocks him, then loudly proclaims "YOU HAVE TO HAVE FAITH FOR THAT TO WORK, MISTER VIN-CENT! RE-MEM-BERRR?" then stands there laughing. Vincent promptly has faith, and manages to hold Jerry in place where he's nearly killed by the sunlight.
  • The Fugitive has Samuel Gerard seeing Dr. Richard Kimble in Cook County Jail from behind his back as he is walking down the stairway.
    You'd Expect: He should sneak on him quietly while he is going the stairs and catch him from behind. Pretty easy, huh?
    Instead: He just shouts his name out loud while he's not much far from him by the stairway. This results in Gerard nearly getting arrested by two police officers that Kimble say that he's a criminal, and losing him again.
  • Full Metal Jacket: Although R. Lee Ermey defined the Drill Sergeant Nasty trope with his character Gunnery Sgt. Hartman, the climax at the end of the first half of the film proves that he was a failure in the end. Take "Pvt. Pyle"'s suicide, where Joker finds him in the bathroom, holding his rifle, and has it fully loaded. His loud shrieking of the Marine Corps Prayer garners the attention of GySgt. Hartman.
    You'd expect that, upon discovering that the mentally shattered Pyle is holding a fully loaded rifle, Hartman would send Joker get a hold of some military police to come and defuse the situation, and in the meantime try to keep Pyle calm. As it is, he could quite easily shoot the two of them dead, after which he would be free to butcher the rest of the squad.
    Instead: Hartman doesn't do that, and just calmly asks for the rifle. Pyle fails to comply and takes aim at Hartman... who taunts and speaks down to him more, even when it's clear that the guy needs serious help. But after asking him, "What is your major malfunction, numbnuts? Didn't mommy and daddy show you enough attention when you were a child?!", Hartman is shot dead by Pyle. Only the fact that Joker is the closest thing Pyle has to a friend stops him from going on a killing spree, and he instead takes his own life.

    Films G-L 
  • Ghosts of Mars: Melanie Bernard... this becomes very obvious at the second half of the film:
    You'd Expect: That when what's left of the crew and prisoners finally reach the train, they escape and deliver their prisoner Kincaid, which they were originally supposed to do, and inform their precinct of the danger so they can suit up and get reinforcements.
    Instead: Melanie Bernard stops the train 30 seconds later so they can go back to kill off the possessed miners. Even though they all know that if they die, the ghosts will simply find another body to possess and there's no guarantee that her plan to cause a nuclear explosion will work, they decide to go anyway. Everybody except Kincaid and Bernard dies.
  • G.I. Joe: Retaliation:
    • Zartan orders an attack on Roadblock and Duke's group in Pakistan. They succeed in wiping out the entire unit except for Roadblock, Lady Jaye, and Flint, who jump into a well as the missiles start coming down. Cobra foot soldiers then check the area to see if they missed anybody. They then come across the well .
      You'd Expect: One of the Cobra soldiers to throw a grenade down the well, just to be on the safe side, so that he can make sure that if there were people hiding in the well, that they wouldn't survive. Then they would have killed Roadblock, Flint, and Lady Jaye. Then the area will have been secure. And they wouldn't be able to stop Cobra's plot.
      Instead: He tries shooting his assault rifle down the well and it doesn't prove effective, as it misses them by inches. Roadblock, Flint and Lady Jaye eventually get out of the well and eventually make it back to the States, and eventually foil Cobra's master plan.
    • Snake Eyes is captured and taken to a secret underground prison which also houses Cobra Commander and Destro. Only it turns out "Snake Eyes" is Storm Shadow in disguise.
      You'd Expect: The prison director to inform his superiors that not only is Snake Eyes still at large, but a known Cobra agent has been captured. Then possibly, they'd proceed to interrogate Storm Shadow as to why he was running around as Snake Eyes. Or at the very least strip him.
      Instead: They merely shrug and throw Storm Shadow in the same torture rigs Cobra Commander and Destro are in. Only Storm Shadow was there to spring Cobra Commander. Cue Stuff Blowing Up and SS and CC strolling away.
    • In the end, Storm Shadow was revealed to be framed by Zartan for the death of his and Snake Eyes's Master, and they form a truce so they can avenge him, and he dies at Storm Shadow's hands.
      You'd Think: The Joes would arrest him now that their truce is over, seeing as how he still killed innocent civilians and their comrades, and destroyed the Eiffel Tower, as seen in the last movie, and Storm Shadow himself stated that things would never change between them anyway.
      Instead: They let him walk away, to inevitably murder more innocents in the future, which in turn, potentially, could make the Joes guilty for his future crimes, not to mention aiding and abetting a terrorist and murderer.
  • In The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the One-Armed Bounty Hunter, who was wounded by the titular "Ugly" of the trio, decides to seek revenge on him for the loss of his right arm. When he finally gets to confront his enemy, seemingly helpless in his bathtub....
    You'd Expect: The hunter to say only a few words before killing Tuco right there, or just kill him without talking.
    Instead: He takes his sweet time to gloat about looking for Tuco for 8 months, and the time he spent learning to shoot with his left hand. The end result? Tuco shooting him at the very end of his talking with his own gun hidden in the soap foam. Lampshaded by Tuco with the line: "When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk."
  • In Highlander II: The Quickening, General Katana of Zeist sends his two goons to kill Connor MacLeod on planet Earth. However, Dumbass Has a Point by saying that MacLeod was banished on Earth and from what we see can die of old age anytime.
    You'd Expect: General Katana to agree with him and let MacLeod die of old age.
    Instead Katana slaps the guy and send him to Earth and, of couse, they die returning MacLeod to the immortal phase, thus remaking the gathering, thus obliging Katana to go himself and, of course getting himself killed.
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
    • During the battle of Moria, Thorin manages to cut off the hand of Azog, the Orc leader. Azog proceeds to clutch his wrist in pain for several seconds.
      You'd Expect: Thorin to take this opportunity to finish Azog off for good.
      Instead: He just stands there, apparently assuming that Azog will later die from the wound. Azog escapes the battle, survives his injury, and comes back with a vengeance when Thorin tries to retake Erebor.
  • Home Alone: Kevin is accused by his mother, Kate, of ruining the family's last dinner before their trip to Paris. When she threatens to send him up to the third floor, Kevin gives a heartfelt "I'm sorry".
    You'd Expect: Kate to accept his apology and give him a chance to make amends with the rest of the family.
    Instead: She tells Kevin "It's too late", orders him upstairs, and the conversation spirals into him wishing he never had his family. Kate even encourages him by saying "Maybe it will happen" and Kevin gets his wish when the family leaves him behind.
  • Home Alone 2:
    • The McAllister's are on their way to the airport, and Kevin needs to find new batteries for his Talkboy, the batteries are in his Dad's bag.
      You'd Think: Kevin would wait until they were on the plane to search for the batteries.
      Instead: He chooses to change them while he and his family are rushing for the plane, thus resulting in him getting seperated from them and finding himself in New York.
    • Later on, the concierge of Plaza Hotel, the Hotel that Kevin booked into, is suspecting Kevin of stealing his father's credit card.
      You'd Expect: That the upon Kevin's return from the toy store, The Concierge would simply ask Kevin why he has his father's credit card.
      Instead: The moment Kevin gets back after being chased by Harry and Marv, he snatches the credit card from him, and decides to hand him over to the police, thus resulting in Kevin fleeing from the hotel and getting lost.
  • In Hot Fuzz, Nicholas Angel is an extremely competent policeman, to the point that he makes everyone else in the Metropolitan Police Service look bad. The higher-ups want to sort this issue out.
    You'd Expect: Them to do something that would allow Angel to continue to aid the service, without him hogging all the spotlight. Such as putting him in charge of training up new recruits, so that the service can hopefully have more policemen like him, and become better at its job as a result.
    Instead: They reassign him to a small village in the countryside. While Angel does manage to stop a series of murders there, crime in London sharply rises as a result of his absence. By the time the higher-ups realise they need him back, he likes the village too much to leave.
  • Independence Day
    • David Levinson, a computer genius, has worked out that the aliens have a countdown. He calls his ex-wfe Connie, the President's Communications Director, to alert the government.
      You'd Expect: Connie, knowing her ex-husband, would at least listen to what he has to say (he has made a big effort to call her) and tell someone about it.
      Instead: She hangs up on him, causing him and his father to drive all the way to Washington DC to warn her. The President could have ordered the evacuation of the cities earlier had he known.
    • Jasmine Dubrow's house, outside Los Angeles, is a safe distance away from the alien spaceship over the city (she can see it in the distance from her house).
      You'd Expect: Jasmine and her young son Dylan to stay at home, far away from the aliens.
      Instead: She drives into the city, with Dylan and dog Boomer, to "pick up [her] paycheck". Then she ends up working. Finally, she ends up stuck in traffic fleeing the city and is almost killed when the aliens attack.
    • Dr Okun and his team are performing an autopsy on a captured alien.
      You'd Expect: That the room would be heavily secured, the alien would be severly restrained, and at the very least given some anaethetic to ensure it remains sedated.
      Instead: None of these things happen. The alien wakes up, breaks free from its flimsy restraints, kills everyone in the room.
  • Indiana Jones
    • In Raiders of the Lost Ark, when Indy tries to get on the Nazi flying wing airplane, a big, bald, burly German mechanic comes out to attack Indy.
      You'd Expect: Indy to simply shoot the mechanic with his revolver and then take care of the pilot of the plane.
      Instead: He engages the mechanic in a fist fight, and nearly gets beaten by him. The plane's propeller is what ends up killing the mechanic.
    • In its next film (which is a prequel, as it was set in 1935, while Raiders of the Lost Ark was set in 1936), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Chinese gangster Lao Che has just tried to have Indy killed. Indy escapes with companions Willie Scott and Short Round, but they end up getting on a plane belonging to Lao Che's company. Lao Che orders the pilots to kill the three of them. As the plane's flying above the Himalayas, the pilots decide to do the deed.
      You'd Expect: They'd just off the three of them there (by maybe slitting their throats while they're asleep or shooting in the back), and then throw them out of the plane.
      Instead: They just parachute out of the plane, leaving it to crash with the good guys inside. Not only does this give Indy time to come up with an escape plan, but it's a waste of a perfectly good vehicle.
    • Later on in Temple Of Doom, Indy is cornered on a rope bridge, with Thuggees guarding both ends of it. He threatens to drop the Sankhara Stones from the bridge into the crocodile-infested waters below, but the Thuggee leader, Mola Ram just laughs and tells him that the Thuggees would eventually find them again, and would have no reason to keep Indy or his friends alive if he threw the stones away.
      You'd Expect: The Thuggees to wait until Indy passes out from either thirst or hunger (granted, this might not have actually worked since Blumburtt and his troops were on the way, but Mola Ram wouldn't have known that). Alternatively, since Mola Ram is holding Willie and Short Round hostage, he could threaten to kill them unless Indy hands the stones over, and actually carry out the threat on one of them if Indy accuses him of bluffing.
      Instead: Mola Ram and most of the Thuggees walk out onto the bridge themselves, making it easy for Indy to take them out by cutting down the bridge's supports. Granted, they had the sense to send Willie and Short Round with them, to prevent Indy doing what he does, but they failed to spot them preparing for when Indy cuts the supports.
    • Similarly, in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, the Big Bad of the film, Walter Donovan, makes it to the Grail Chamber, where the true grail and many false grails reside. The immortal knight warns him, "You must choose, but choose wisely, for as the true grail will bring you life, the false grail will take it from you." Donovan definitely seems to take the warning seriously.
      You'd Think: Donovan would do one of the following:
      A.) Ask for more volunteers, like he did at the first booby-trap, and waiting until one of them survives, thus proving the true grail.
      B.) Alternatively, he's a Nazi after all, and the knight he's talking to is immortal, so why not just torture the knight indefinitely until he coughs up the secret? (Unless the grail also makes one immune to pain, of course).
      C.) And if it turns out you must continually use the cup over and over to remain immortal, well, just look for the one with the least amount of dust on it.
      Instead: Elsa offers to choose for him, subtly hinting to the audience that she's deliberately choosing the wrong one, and Donovan just decides that it must be the real grail. With graphic consequences.
  • Infernal Affairs and The Departed, where Yan/Costigan approaches Ming/Sullivan about reinstating his identity after Sam/Costello is dead. When Ming/Sullivan leaves the room, Yan/Costigan notices an envelope with his handwriting on it, realizing Ming/Sullivan is the mole.
    You'd Expect: Yan/Costigan would, after years of deep undercover work, have a really good poker face, conclude his business with Ming/Sullivan and then quietly inform the other policemen that he's the mole.
    Instead: Yan/Costigan immediately runs out like a madman with the envelope in plain view, revealing his hand to Ming/Sullivan who then promptly erases Yan/Costigan's identity from the police database. This leads to a series of events where Yan/Costigan is eventually shot in the face.
  • Inglourious Basterds: Shosanna has just shot Zoller a few times, only for him to stir shortly afterwards.
    You'd expect her to go ahead and finish the damn job.
    Instead she shows something approaching regret and tries to go to his side. End result, she gets filled with lead from the victim's sidearm.
  • Ip Man: Ip has just destroyed ten Japanese black belts and is rewarded with many bags of rice.
    You'd Expect: that he would take the rice and use it to feed his family and people, having made his point and avenged Master Liu's death.
    Instead: He just rejects the rice, saying that it wasn't the reason he came to the fight club.
  • In The Jazz Singer, the band Russel writes for is down a member and they promised an all-black group.
    You'd expect: Russel to try to convince the club to let a white guy sing.
    Instead: he sings in blackface, predictably leading to a fight when this secret is found out.
  • Jumper: The main character's a freaking moron. After living it up with his teleportation ability, he encounters a guy who knows what he is and has been following him since a locked-door bank robbery he pulled years ago.
    You'd Expect After escaping, he'd flee far far away. Hide. Keep a low profile. Anything but...
    Instead Return to his hometown, immediately visit his father, then look up an old flame. And then pick a fight with a guy who has a vendetta against him, teleport him to THE VAULT FROM THE SAME BANK ROBBERY THAT TIPPED OFF THE BIG BAD IN THE FIRST PLACE and leave him there. And then is angry when he squeals.
  • Jurassic Park:
    • When everybody leaves the island (except for Hammond, Muldoon, Arnold, Nedry and Grant's group) for the end of the day and because of a tropical storm, Nedry plans to hack Jurassic Park by turning off the security system (except for the raptor fences) so that he could steal the embryos and escape.
      You'd expect: Hammond to have at least actual security guards (if there were any) to stay on the island in case there was a system failure and they could have Nedry caught with the embryos and have him fix the system.
      Instead: Has everybody leave the island for the day, and have NO security guards around to stay and prevent anything bad from happening, and Nedry hacks into the system and causes phones and security power to go out. And plus he steals the embryos. And plus there is now no way to get Jurassic Park back online.
    • The girl is told that dinosaurs are attracted to sound and movement. The car she's in breaks down, and dinosaurs start moving around it, eventually attacking the car.
      You'd expect: She'd hide in the footwell and be quiet so it would go away.
      Instead: She screams and waves a flashlight.
    • They are building a cross between a nature reserve and a zoo, using cloned animals with unknown properties on a location about as far from help as you can get. So naturally, they spare no expense.
      You'd expect: They spend some of those expenses on not having simple electric systems operated by a complicated computer system. Door locks for instance, and lighting, and maybe those electric fences that keep all the dinosaurs in their own domains. Then they'd throw in a backup generator, like the ones you can find in hospitals and police stations all over the world, and maybe someone would notice that the same creatures can be secured just as well with thick steel bars or a large enough moat, like you see in lion and elephant enclosures in normal zoos.
      Instead: They don't take any of the safety measures that are standard procedure in places that keep dangerous animals, nor any of those that are standard procedure in places where people might die when the power goes out. And of course they blame their eventual failure on the unpredictability of animal life.
    • The velociraptors have proven themselves to be not only extremely dangerous, but very aggressive and extremely intelligent, easily making them the most dangerous dinosaurs in the park. Muldoon notes that they have been testing the electric fences for weaknesses, and in the intro we see one kill a man. These are animals vicious enough to skeletonize a live cow in less than three minutes, and they have made it clear they want to escape.
      You Would Expect: That they take Muldoon's advice and destroy the raptors. At the very least, the fact that the raptors have killed a man before would have lead to the animal in question being euthanized in any animal preserve or zoo on the planet. Or, at the very, very least, keep the animals quarantined in a place where they have no avenues of escape should they break out, and as far from any human beings as possible until they can figure out what to do with them. These aren't animals you want anywhere near a crowd of visiting tourists, barriers or no.
      Instead: Hammond insists they remain alive, since he has started viewing them as pets or even children and has them kept in what amounts to an electrified box in the middle of a clearing, with a dense jungle only yards away. What's worse, he places this enclosure very near to a critical utility junction for the Park's electrified fences. Eventually, the raptors escape. This conga-line of bad decisions leads to their most qualified programmer and animal expert getting killed, and nearly leads to Ellie's own death when they all attempt to restore power to the park's compromised electrical fences.
    • At the end of the movie, the survivors make their escape by helicopter.
      You'd Expect: The island to be firebombed, since it's been proven that the dinosaurs are too dangerous to be left alive and there are those who would steal them from the island, not to mention that the dinosaurs are in fact capable of breeding. Note: This is exactly what happened in the book.
      Instead: They apparently leave the island alone, seemingly in the belief that the dinosaurs will die out naturally due to not getting the lysine supplement they require to survive. Which might have been a valid plan, if not for the fact that they shouldn't have been able to breed either, yet have found a way to do so.
      • Jurassic Park: The Game does suggest that the island gets bombed flat like it did in the book, replacing the nonexistent Costa Rican Air Force from the book with B-52's from the United States Air Force.
    • In the sequel, Malcolm's team and the team from InGen have to roam the island after their equipment is destroyed by the dinosaurs. One character, Sarah Harding, warns everyone about the olfactory powers of Tyrannosaurus rex, which can sniff out just about anything. Including the baby rex blood on her vest.
      You'd Expect: She would ditch the vest.
      Instead: She doesn't. She finally realizes her mistake when there's a T. rex nose in her tent.
    • In the third movie, the characters are stranded on Isla Sorna after their plane crashed. (The fact that they went there in the first place could qualify as a "What an Idiot" moment in itself.) Fortunately, one of those characters is Alan Grant, a renowned paleontologist who has first-hand experience with resurrected dinosaurs.
      You'd Expect: Everyone else would follow his orders to the letter.
      Instead: One of them—Amanda Kirby—gripes about having to do what Grant tells them (even her ex-husband is smart enough to heed the advice of the dino expert) and does things like wander off on her own—into a raptor nest.
  • In Kingdom of Heaven, Guy becomes King of Jerusalem, and decides to get rid of all of the Muslims in the holy land alongside his ally, Raynald of Châtillon.
    You'd Expect: That if Guy and Raynald insist on going to war with Saladin, they would at least do so competently.
    Instead: They have most of Jerusalem's army march through a hot desert, which severly weakens it. As a result, Saladin wipes them all out, kills Raynald and later takes Jerusalem.
  • King Kong 2005: Carl Denham has brought Kong back to New York City to put on display and make tons of money.
    You'd Expect: Denham to remember what all Kong can do and restrain or enclose him properly, and/or keep him properly sedated.
    Instead: Denham puts Kong on a Broadway stage in Times Square, of all places, with just a few steel restraints. Kong is annoyed by the song and dance routine, and is enraged by the fake Ann Darrow used in the act. He promptly escapes and rampages. People are injured and killed, and much property is damaged. And Kong dies. And Denham's name is attached to the whole fiasco.
  • The Lawnmower Man features a triple-whammy of idiocy from all three protagonists during the finale:
    • Dr. Angelo finds out that his test subject, Jobe has successfully transformed himself into a being of pure energy and uploaded his mind into the main computer at Angelo's former employers, VSI. Fortunately, Angelo has brought enough C4 to level the building.
      You'd Expect: Angelo to set the timer for the bare minimum time for him required to haul ass out of there. Alternatively, since he's apparently willing to go out in a Heroic Sacrifice, just bypass the timer and manually detonate the charge; he'll die immediately, but so will Jobe.
      Instead: He sets the timer for fifteen minutes, then enters the virtual reality world inside the mainframe in order to trash-talk Jobe. Jobe's response is to Mind Rape Angelo, which lets him know about the bombs, in turn causing him to speed up his efforts to transfer out of the mainframe, which he eventually does successfully. The only thing saving Angelo from being guilty from one of the biggest cases of Nice Job Breaking It, Hero in the history of any film was that Lawnmower Man 2 completely ignored the first film's ending.
    • As this is going on, Angelo's friend Carla Parkette and her son Peter are waiting in a car outside, with Angelo having warned them to be ready to escape in case anything bad happens.
      You'd Expect: Carla to stay alert and remember that they're dealing with a man who has demonstrated both severe emotional instability and the ability to disintegrate people from a distance.
      Instead: She decides that now would be the perfect time to catch a nap and falls asleep.
    • With his mother snoozing away, Peter desperately wants to do something to help Jobe, who he was friends with before meeting Angelo and undergoing his treatments.
      You'd Expect: Peter to realize that he's out of his league, that Jobe is dangerous and unpredictable, and that Peter doesn't know the layout of the VSI building. Ultimately, there's nothing he can do but hope Angelo can deal with Jobe.
      Instead: Peter runs into the building and immediately gets lost. It's only the fact that Jobe has a Pet the Dog moment that prevents Peter from being blown to shreds with the rest of the building.
  • In The Last Airbender:
    • Sokka (who has supposedly spent his entire life on ice) sees a shape in the water underneath the ice.
      You'd Expect: Sokka to realize that if the ice is so thin that he can see the water it is too dangerous to even consider breaking it on his own, and to return to the village for help or at least to try to break after he's moved off that ice. At the very least you would expect him to realize that it's dangerous to have Katara on the same patch of ice and to send her a safe distance away.
      Instead: He decides to break the ice (which is so thin that he can see the water) near his own feet and for some reason is surprised when he and his sister (who had no reason to be there) nearly fall into the freezing water.
    • Later on: While with the Northern Water Tribe they learn that the Fire Nation is about to launch a massive attack. Note that all but the most powerful firebenders are helpless if there is no nearby fire to bend. Logically, the order is given to douse every fire in the city that they can.
      You'd Expect: The order to be carried out quickly and with minimal fuss.
      Instead: When the Fire Nation attacks we can clearly see that there are at least dozens of torches clearly lit with no apparent need for them to be lit. Worse, no apparent effort is ever made to put them or any of the Fire Nation's flaming boulders out! You'd think people able to control water would be good at putting out fires.
    • What really took the cake was the scene with the Fire Nation prison camp holding the Earthbenders.
      You'd Expect: The Fire Nation to lock their captured Earthbenders - people who can freely manipulate earth - up somewhere with little earth nearby. Such as, say, a metal naval vessel.
      Instead: The Earthbenders are imprisoned in some sort of natural valley that's entirely made up of earth. The only reason the place works as a prison is due to the Earthbenders having their own idiot moment.
      You'd Expect: The Earthbenders to escape as soon as they were "imprisoned". It would've required minimal effort.
      Instead: The Earthbenders stay imprisoned for months (maybe longer, it's never made clear) until the Mighty Whitey heroes come along and give them the most generic and lazy motivational speech in the world.
  • In the 2012 film adaptation of Les Miserables, Fantine has received a letter from the innkeepers taking care of her daughter born out of wedlock, requesting money to pay for her care. This is during a time when people who had illegitimate children were not looked upon well by the rest of society.
    You'd Expect: Fantine to keep the letter hidden and out of sight, or even just destroy it once she knows what it says.
    Instead: She takes it with her to work, and doesn't make any attempt to keep it hidden when her shift's over. As a result, the letter is discovered but it only says her child is being cared for by another woman. Fantine's boss confronts her about it.
    You'd Expect: She'd claim her husband died and she's a widow, to appeal to his sympathy, rather than tell him the truth that her husband ran out and thus have to fight against his prejudices.
    Instead: She tells him her husband left her and begs to keep her job. Her boss think she's a liar and a whore, and thus fires her. It only goes downhill from there.
  • In Looper, the Loopers have their contracts closed by being sent back in time to be killed by themselves. But, as one might expect, this doesn't always go as planned. Not wanting to die, the old version bolts, and the young version is then hunted to be tortured so as to affect the older version and bring them back to die.
    You'd expect: The older version to make every effort to get their past selves on board with the idea. After all, the fate they suffer is far and away worse than what their older self will face.
    Instead: The older self inevitably ditches the young one, expecting them to take care of themselves. The first time this happens, the young one is caught and mutilated until the older one surrenders. The second time, with the protagonist Joe, he's dead set on closing the contract. To his credit, at least Old!Joe tried to talk down his younger self after his younger self was nearly caught.
  • In the Lost in Space movie, the hotshot pilot feels the best course of action was to activate the self-destruct mechanism in order to destroy the alien-infested ship.
    You'd expect: He'd get clear of the blast radius first.
    Instead he sets off the destruction of the ship while they're right next to it, and rather than fly up and away from the exploding ship, he travels along it. This cripples the ship and leaves them stranded on a planet. Nice job Joey. To add insult to injury, he self-righteously justifies it to the father despite the screw up being his fault.

    Films M-R 
  • In Mannequin, Johnathan enters the back room of the rival department store and sees his beloved Emmy in a pile of other mannequins on a conveyor belt, about to be fed into a huge shredding machine.
    You'd Think: Jonathan would run over to the bright yellow control console, slap that big red EMERGENCY STOP button, and then calmly walk up to retrieve Emmy without having to worry about either of them getting ground into bits.
    Instead: He runs up the conveyor without turning off the machine. Sure, after seeing Emmy come to life, the janitor hits the aforementioned button Jonathan should have hit in the first place and we have a happy ending, but damned if it wasn't a really close call.
    You'd Also Think: The janitor would hit the stop button the instant Jonathan jumped onto the conveyor, if for no other reason than to avoid the liability and/or termination of his employment that would follow if something tragic happened.
    Instead: He doesn't do jack until after he sees Emmy come to life. "Okay, let me get this straight Mister Janitor; you couldn't give a crap if some dude gets himself killed in a rather gruesome and messy manner right in front of you, but you will hit the emergency button if a hot chick is in danger? Nice, real nice."
  • "Manos" The Hands of Fate: Mike, his young wife Margaret, and his daughter are lost in the middle of nowhere. They happen upon a creepy lodge and its creepy caretaker Torgo, who tells them about a creepy "Master," and intermittently begs them to leave. Margaret doesn't like the looks of things, and asks Mike to leave.
    You'd Expect: Mike to be a rational human being and get out of there. This "Master" fellow obviously isn't nice, and there's clearly something wrong with Torgo.
    Instead: "Well, how about it, Torgo? Can we spend the night here?" Things get worse for everyone, including the audience.
  • The Mask has Dorian Tyrell, the antagonist, being ordered to meet his boss, Niko. By that time, he has plans on turning against him.
    You'd Expect: Suspecting it's a trap, he should come with two men to accompany him in case Niko is pulling some shit on him.
    Instead: He comes alone to the meeting. Niko's men put him down with a gun on his head and golf tee on his mouth while Niko himself strikes a golf ball that is on his mouth. Tyrell's bloody lucky that he's just ordered to leave Edge City.
  • Max Payne:
    • The title character interrogating Jason Colvin about his wife's death roughly. While doing so, his secretary, Jackie, is knocking on his door.
      You'd Expect: Max forces Colvin to tell her that everything is okay.
      Instead: He continues to interrogate him roughly, giving Jackie the chance to call Aesir police.
    • Another one when Max blocks the door leading to the storage room while in pursue.
      You'd Expect: The Aesir police will have to use the bottom floor to get to the other side.
      Instead: They just blew up the door, giving Max the chance to escape with the smoke. Good thing Bravura calls them out for that.
    • Also, early on, Mona's sister, Natasha is planning on having sex with Max. Not wanting this, he orders her to leave.
      You'd Expect: He should frisk her to make sure she hasn't taken anything from him.
      Instead: He just allow her to leave without having checked out anything from her. It turns out she has stolen his wallet, and it's found on the crime scene. This is how Mona briefly thinks Max killed her before they worked together in finding the real murderer.
  • Megan is Missing:
    • Megan meets a random guy named Josh on a chat room. She doesn't know what he looks like; when asked about his web-cam, he claims the dog ate it. Megan quickly likes him; Josh convinces Megan to meet each other in person.
      You'd Expect: For Megan to have reservations about it. Or simply not go.
      Instead: She heads off to meet "Josh" and is kidnapped.
    • Later: With Megan still missing, her friend Amy goes to her favorite spot, a bridge, to record her video diary.
      You'd Expect:: For Amy to make sure she's not being watched by suspicious characters.
      Instead: She ignores her surroundings and is also kidnapped by "Josh."
  • Minority Report:
    • Where a cop who is racing to prevent a murder. He is armed with foreknowledge imagery of the crime, but it stymied when confronted with a row of identical houses.
      You'd expect: He would turn out a siren, loudspeaker, or simply shout out that the police were outside of the building.
      Instead: He takes several seconds to figure the one detail that was different about the correct house, then quietly races into the building to surprise the murderer.
    • Far more importantly, when that same future-viewing device shows him and several coworkers that he will commit a murder himself, along with a heaping helping of details including the exact time, he runs. I'll grant him that, since the machine saying you will commit a murder is by itself enough to get you arrested and indefinitely cryogenically frozen with apparently no trial. However, what he does next is totally nonsensical.
      You'd expect: He would stay the hell away from wherever the murder was supposed to take place, and continue staying away until twenty minutes before it was supposed to happen, then take a taxi over to headquarters and show up three minutes before he's supposed to kill someone in a completely different location and say "Look, I'm here, not killing anyone, and you didn't have to arrest me for me not to kill someone. Therefore I'm not guilty." Or some variation of the above, the main part being that he avoids doing it and uses the fact that he didn't do it as evidence that he isn't a murderer.
      Instead: Convinced this was a plot to frame him, he goes all-out trying to find out who's responsible, committing many illegal acts. When at the end of the time limit he realizes he is standing outside the very building his future victim is in, charges in and confronts the guy, who turns out to just be a very bribed man who then uses Anderton to commit Suicide by Cop. That's right, in trying to prove his innocence he knowingly charges right into the scene of the crime, and nearly commits it. Clearly, he never heard about Self Fulfilling Prophecies. On the other hand, he proves there is no such thing as fate by refusing to kill the man. Not that it works out well for him.
    • Egregious security errors on the part of the headquarters. Access is controlled via retinal scan.
      You'd expect: Once Anderton goes on the lam, they would lock out his retinal scan. Once he's captured and put into lockdown, they'd doubly make sure to lock out his retinal scan, especially since he switched out his eyes and had demonstrably used the originals to subvert their security once already.
      Instead: Anderton manages to breach the security of the Temple, using his retinal scan, and steals one of the Pre-cogs. After he's arrested and detained, his wife uses his eye AGAIN to gain access to the jail.
  • Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol: When Ethan infiltrated the Kremlin to try to get info on someone codenamed "Cobalt", he couldn't find the info. Just then, the guy codenamed "Cobalt", Kurt Hendricks, breaks into the executive armory room, kills a guard by breaking his neck, steals the nuclear "football" briefcase, and hacks into Ethan's team's radio frequency. Ethan then aborts the mission and as he tries to leave the Kremlin he comes across Hendricks.
    You'd Expect: Ethan to notice the briefcase that Hendricks (Cobalt) was holding (though he didn't know that he was Cobalt, but still, he was carrying a suspicious briefcase) or even the opened door to the executive armory where he got the nuclear football case and maybe turn around after passing him and stop him, and thus averting the explosion of the Kremlin.
    Instead: He just passes him, and doesn't even notice the opened door to the armory, and ends up not being able to stop Hendricks because he then sets off the explosion, knocking Ethan out, and framing the United States and the IMF (Impossible Mission Force), causing the President of the U.S.A. to disavow IMF by initiating Ghost Protocol.
  • Mortal Kombat: Annihilation:
    • Right at the beginning of the film, when Shao Kahn pulls his invasion of Earth, Raiden establishes that as long as he has the power to stop Kahn, the invasion will never take place. Kahn then boasts that as long as the portal between Earth and Outworld remains open, Earth is his for the taking. They then have a brief fight in which, although Kahn lands the opening move, Raiden soon afterward utterly trounces him.
      You'd expect: That since Raiden has such a huge advantage, he'd just KILL KAHN RIGHT THEN AND THERE. After all, it was already established in the first Mortal Kombat movie that his powers don't work in Outworld, but here they're on Earth and his powers work just fine, plus the merger between realms hasn't yet proceeded far enough for him to have lost any power.
      Instead: Raiden gives Kahn a moment of reprieve, in which Kahn manages to secure a whip from a minion and rope Sonya, getting her as a hostage as a result.
      Speaking of which, you'd have expected: That Sonya, considering the situation, would've been a lot more on her guard up to that point.
      Instead: She just stands there and gets roped into the hostage situation. This directly leads to Johnny Cage's death moments later, as outlined below.
    • Shao Kahn tells Raiden to surrender or he'll kill Johnny Cage, to which Raiden basically says he’d then easily kill all of Kahn's generals with his glowing lightning cage. Kahn says that Raiden would never let one of his precious humans die. Raiden offers to trade himself for Johnny. Kahn tells Raiden to bow at his feet, causing Raiden to drop the cage. Shao Kahn then shouts, "Fool!" and snaps Johnny's neck.
      You'd Expect: Raiden then instantly brings the energy cage back up, and uses it to kill Kahn’s generals.
      Instead: Raiden just stands there until Kahn blasts him through a wall.
      On the subject: Rather than kill Johnny For the Evulz, Kahn should have just accepted Raiden's offer. Without Raiden, the protagonists would literally have never gotten anywhere close to figuring out the plot and subverting it, because Raiden was the only one in the group with the knowledge to put it together. Kahn blew the entire plan just because he felt like being a dick.
    • The gang splits up. Liu Kang and Kitana are sent to go find Nightwolf. During their journey, they have a brief intimate moment that's broken up by the cyber-ninja Smoke. Liu takes on Smoke and proceeds to get his ass handed to him.
      You'd expect: Since Smoke is metallic, that Liu would use his Fireball technique (y'know, the same move he used to finish Shang Tsung in the first movie?) and give himself an edge.
      Instead: Liu continues to get his ass kicked, only being saved by Sub-Zero at the last moment.
    • Sub-Zero and Scorpion fight. Sub-Zero gets knocked off a ledge and is dangling over a river of lava below, so Liu Kang rushes to save him. Scorpion, seeing Liu coming, disappears. Kitana is left standing by herself.
      You'd expect: Kitana just handled a bunch of mooks perfectly fine on her own, and Scorpion's just been established as an enemy who's able to teleport, so Kitana should be on her guard, right?
      Instead: She just stands there holding the Idiot Ball and gets grabbed from behind by Scorpion. She doesn't even try to fight back.
    • Midway through the movie, after Sonya has gotten to Jax and they've escaped the attack on them at their military base, they're trudging through a desert area where Jax complains that he can't understand what's happening. He asks for an explanation from Sonya and demands to know what he's going to be putting his life on the line for.
      You'd expect: For Sonya to give Jax even a dumbed-down summary of the situation, even if, as she says, "(she) can't explain it." After all, it's not as if she's just gotten into the situation herself, right? She's already been through the Mortal Kombat tournament, she's already gotten an explanation from the first film about the whole point of the tournament, and she's been briefed at the start of this film about what's been happening. A simple "Our world was part of an inter-dimensional tournament, we won, but the host decided not to abide by the rules and just to screw us over instead, so now we have to defeat him before he completes his six-day takeover plan" would have gone a long way, right?
      Instead: She grumbles about nobody telling her why Johnny had to die (of which Jax naturally has no idea what she's talking about), the two argue a bit, and then Sonya stomps off...and gets ambushed by Mileena moments later. Poor communication almost kills her here.
  • In the very first Mothra film, an entertainment promoter, upon meeting the tiny Twin Priestesses of the eponymous Physical God, decides to make them stars in mainland Japan.
    You'd Expect: that he'd start with his strong suit: Cutting a (probably unfair) deal.
    Instead: the promoter just kidnaps them, leaving himself open to countless criminal charges, with kidnapping, false imprisonment, and enslavement being only the most obvious, then compounds his error by having them perform their sacred music (with orchestral backing!) on live TV. Oh, and he does this in a world where kaiju and other supernatural phenomena are demonstrably real, and quite well-known.
  • The Music Box: Laurel and Hardy are idiots in all their films, but this example particularly stands out. They finally get the piano up the stairs, only to be informed by a postman that they could have just drove round a nearby hill.
    You'd Expect: They simply get the piano inside and finish the job.
    Instead: They take the piano down the stairs all over again and go round.
  • Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Movie has the title character being chased by the police for pulling out a "gun", which is his right hand. When the leading police said "everyone on the floor, now!", Bean also goes down, but the lady near him said "Not you, sweetie" because she knows he's their target.
    You'd Expect: Bean to ignore what the lady says.
    Instead: Being Bean, he just follows her word, allowing the police to point their guns at him.
  • The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor:
    • In the film's prologue, the sorceress Zi Yuan casts what she claims is an immortality spell on the titular Dragon Emperor, but is in fact a curse that will transform him and all his followers into terracotta statues. Before this becomes obvious, the emperor tells Zi that she will marry him, and threatens to have her lover, Ming Guo, torn apart by wild horses unless she agrees to be his bride. However, Ming shouts out that he's doomed no matter what she does, so there's no point agreeing to marry the emperor.
      You'd Expect: Zi to try and keep the emperor talking until the curse kicks in and immobilizes him and his followers, then she can free Ming from the horses.
      Instead: She instantly refuses, promptly resulting in Ming's grisly death. Moreover, she is severely wounded and nearly killed by the emperor, before the curse finally takes hold and transforms him and his followers into statues, allowing her to escape.
    • Later on, the resurrected emperor succeeds in gaining immortality and shape-shifting powers, with which he kicks the asses of the heroes and steals a dagger which is the only weapon in the entire world capable of killing him, before turning into a winged dragon and returning to the ruins of his palace.
      You'd Expect: The emperor to drop the dagger into an active volcano, the ocean or the middle of the Gobi desert. Basically, anywhere where the good guys would have little-to-no chance of finding it.
      Instead: He keeps it on his person, which rapidly comes back to bite him on the butt when...
    • Zi Yuan, who has sacrificed the immortality she formerly possessed in order to help stop the emperor, takes him on in combat and then impales herself on his sword in order to steal the dagger.
      You'd Expect: Zi to immediately stab the emperor and put an end to his plans once and for all.
      Instead: She doesn't do anything once she's got the dagger, leading to the emperor just shoving her wounded body off the sword and off a cliff, which quickly causes her to expire.
      You'd Then Expect: The emperor to jump down to the bottom of the cliff, take the dagger back, and then maybe take the hint that he'd be better off disposing of it.
      Instead: He just walks off and doesn't try to retrieve the dagger. Rick and Alex quickly take it from Zi's corpse, and after a climactic fight with the emperor finally succeed in destroying him once and for all.
  • In Neighbors, Jimmy putting a Hebrew taunt in the school seal of the counterfeit lifting-of-probation letter as a "calling card", tipping Teddy off to the fact that it was a fake and they're still on probation. Everyone else calls him out on doing this before they actually won.
  • At the end of Night of the Living Dead, Ben goes upstairs to investigate the sound of gunshots and sees a rag-tag group of vigilantes and local policemen blasting away the few remaining zombies.
    You'd Expect Ben to shout to the militia for help and come on out to meet them.
    Instead he stares out the window in a rather emotionless fashion, whereupon a pair of rednecks see him in the window, think he's a zombie, and shoot him, after taking a noticeable amount of time to line up a headshot that he could have easily gotten out of the way of before said redneck pulled the trigger.
  • In Noah, a loose retelling of the bible story, Noah believes that he and his family will be the last people on earth, since the only other woman, aside form his wife is infertile, thus ending sin and purifying the lord's creation. When said girl (Ila), becomes pregnant on the ark (as Noah's wife asked a priest to make her pregnant through God).
    You'd Expect: That Ila and Shem, as Noah has made it abundantly clear that he is determined to make God's creation pure again by ending the human race, would know that he would not be pleased with Ila being pregnant, thus allowing the human race to continue, and not tell him about this, and immediately start to secretly build a raft to escape in before he notices Ila's growing stomach and discovers the truth himself.
    Instead: They tell him immediately after discovering Ila's pregnancy, and naturally Noah is furious, and says that if their child is a girl, he will kill her when she is born.
    And later, when they actually do try the escape raft plan:
    You'd Expect: They would make their escape at night, while Noah is asleep.
    Instead: They try to make in the middle of afternoon in broad daylight, and Noah catches them, and burns the escape raft.
  • In No Country for Old Men, Anton Chigurh is arrested by a cop and taken to the police station; the two are alone.
    You'd Expect: The cop to lock Chigurh in a jail cell.
    Instead: The cop turns his back on Chugurh to sit down at his desk and make a phone call, apparently trusting that he won't do anything untoward. Chigurh strangles him with his handcuffs, gets the key to unlock them, and steals a police cruiser. Immediately after, Chigurh, in his cruiser, pulls over a random motorist and gets out to talk to him.
    You'd Expect: The driver would wonder what the hell someone who looks and dresses like the Grim Reaper and carries a captive-bolt pistol would be doing driving a police cruiser and pulling him over, figure out something's not right, and then take off, or, at the absolute least, ask Chigurh about his lack of standard police attire.
    Instead: The driver complies with Chigurh's request to step out of the car and is shot in the head. Chigurh steals his vehicle.
  • North by Northwest: Roger Thornhill goes to the UN in New York to speak with Lester Townshend and find out who was impersonating Townshend. One of the Big Bad's mooks throws a knife at Townshend, causing Townshend to collapse into Thornhill's arms.
    You'd Expect: Thornhill to leave the knife as-is, and yell out, "Get a doctor! He's been stabbed! Someone threw a knife at him!"
    Instead: Thornhill yanks the knife out of Townshend's back, getting his prints all over the knife and looking very much like he'd done the deed. A photographer catches his picture while he's holding the knife.
    Even Worse: Thornhill bolts from the building and goes on the lam, making his innocence look even more in doubt.
  • In Pacific Rim, facing an upsurge in Kaiju attacks, the world's governments decide to abandon the Jaeger program in favor of building a giant wall to stop the Kaiju. Then in 2024, the Kaiju Mutavore breaks through the Sydney wall. The only reason they don't have to nuke the city is because they'd only closed the local Shatterdome the day before, so Striker Eureka is still on hand to take Mutavore down.
    You'd Expect: They'd realize that the wall doesn't work and instead restore funding to the Jaeger program.
    Instead: They continue to maintain that the wall will work, leaving the Jaeger program alone to stand against the Kaiju. The Kaiju are eventually defeated, but only at the cost of all of the remaining Jaegers and most of the remaining experienced pilots.
    You'd Also Expect: If they're not going to cancel the wall, they might think about putting guns on it. The wall isn't getting rid of the kaiju, just blocking them, and the oceans are kinda important if humanity wants to survive.
    Instead: Whoever had the idea seems to have never thought beyond "wall stops kaiju", and thus all it takes for an undefended wall to be breached is a kaiju pounding on the thing for an hour.
  • Pan's Labyrinth:
    • The normally intelligent and bookish Ofelia given the task to enter a magical room and retrieve a knife that's under the care of a monstrous, sleeping guardian. Said guardian will only remain asleep as long as Ofelia doesn't touch any part of the sumptuous feast that's sitting on the table in front of him.
      You'd expect: That Ofelia would remember every single Fairy Tale she's ever read that featured a situation similar to hers that had gone sour; that she'd remember the admonitions of the very scary-looking faun who'd given her the task, the disturbing, sharp-nailed cenobite-like guardian who is sitting at the end of the table and the time limit that she's working under, AND that she would complete her task and get the hell out of there as quickly as her prepubescent legs could carry her.
      Instead: She stops to dawdle long enough to eat two grapes, thus awakening the ravenous guardian, which proceeds to chow down on the fairies and then try to eat her as well.
    • Also in Pan's Labyrinth, when Mercedes gives the key of the storage house to Captain Vidal, she confirms that it's the only key.
      You'd expect: She would then proceed to tell the partisans she's aiding to bring some explosives or other means to break through the sturdy door.
      Instead: She gives them a duplicate of the key, which they use in their very next raid to steal supplies. This immediately results in Vidal getting suspicious of the person originally in charge of the keys, i.e. Mercedes, and eventually leads to her getting captured, and inches away from horrible torture.
  • In Passenger 57 — which, overall, makes perfect sense if it's intended to take place in a parallel universe where everyone is an utter moron — one of the best moments comes when the Hero's Girlfriend is fighting one of the henchmen near the open luggage door of a moving airplane. She's about to fall out the door, clutching at the henchman's pant leg; he reaches desperately for his rifle, lying a few inches away. Finally he gets his fingers on it, gets it in his grip...
    You'd Expect: he might consider, you know, shooting her.
    Instead: he turns the gun around, and hits her with the butt. Guess who ends up falling out of the plane?
  • Percy Jackson Sea Of Monsters: Luke puts the Golden Fleece onto Kronos' coffin/sarcophagus, which will eventually reawaken him. The protagonists all make a beeline to remove it. They meet opposition, but Tyson shows up and takes care of it, leaving the coffin wide open.
    You'd Expect: Percy runs up to the coffin and removes the Golden Fleece, which is his current main goal. It's right next to him, there's no way he'd miss it.
    Instead: Percy completely ignores the coffin and wastes at least a minute hugging Tyson and saying he's glad Tyson's okay, which is enough time for Kronos' revival to be complete.
  • In The Phantom of the Opera (the 2004 film), Raoul bests the Phantom in a duel.
    You'd expect: He takes advantage of this moment, either by running him through with his sword or by knocking Erik cold and having someone fetch the Paris police to cart him off to jail.
    Instead: Immediately goes home to plan a Zany Scheme to catch the Phantom, leaving the Phantom lying there in the snow.
  • In The Pink Panther (2006), Chief Inspector Dreyfus is investigating the murder of the French football team's coach, and has made the inept policeman Jacques Clouseau the official face of the investigation so that he can operate from behind the scenes until Dreyfus is ready to take the case.
    You'd Expect: Dreyfus to have developed a fairly rock-solid case by the time he took Clouseau off the investigation.
    Instead: He decides that the killer is a Chinese doctor, solely due to the coach being murdered with a poison made from Chinese herbs, and the doctor having reason to want the coach dead. Turns out it wasn't him, and Dreyfus only manages to avoid causing an international incident due to Clouseau arresting the real killer that same night.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
    • In the third film, Captain Jack Sparrow is visited in Davy Jones' Locker by his old friends, crew, enemies, and a load of Chinese Pirates, all of whom want to get him out of there. They prepare to leave on the Black Pearl, but Jack refuses to take along Will, Elizabeth, Barbossa, Pintel and Ragetti, since all five have attempted to kill him in the past. He discovers that Barbossa has in his posession a special map that is implied to be their only way out of the locker, seemingly leaving Jack with no choice but to take him and the other four along, since his magic compass doesn't work here.
      You'd Expect: Jack to have the many pirates at his command overpower the five and get the charts, if he doesn't trust them enough to let them be in his crew. Then he can leave them in the locker while he uses the charts to escape.
      Instead: He decides to take the lot of them with him. While most of the immediate consequences are either comical (Jack and Barbossa both trying to captain the ship) or quickly overcome ( Will's betrayal of the crew), the film does end with Barbossa stealing the Black Pearl AGAIN.
    • In the third film's climatic big battle, Will Turner has gotten behind Davy Jones. Will is armed with a cutlass.
      You'd Expect: Will to remember that Davy Jones's heart isn't in his body, and instead target his limbs to try and immobilize him, or at least slow him down.
      Instead: He stabs Jones where his heart would be. Jones isn't affected, disarms Will, and fatally wounds him soon after.
    • Also during that battle, Captain Jack Sparrow manages to get his hands on said heart. Jack intends to stab it and achieve immortality, since whoever does so will take Davy Jones's place, and will have the job of ferrying those who die at sea to the next world for eternity.
      You'd Expect: Jack to immediately stab the heart.
      Instead: He reveals to Jones that he has the heart. Jones responds by stabbing Will, and Jack ends up making Will stab the heart, so that he can captain the Flying Dutchman, and continue to see Elizabeth.
    • Near the end of the fourth film, Barbossa has just stabbed Blackbeard with a sword, and left it in him. Angelica rushes over to pull the sword out.
      You'd Expect: Her to pull the sword out by the handle.
      Instead: She pulls it out by the handle AND the blade, cutting her hand as a result.
      To make matters worse: The blade's poisoned. Jack subsequently has to pull a Batman Gambit on Blackbeard to make him unwittingly give up his life for Angelica's.
  • Poltergeist: The Freeling family have rescued their daughter from a malevolent demon and its almost inescapable dimension located inside their house. The tiny medium lady they brought in to help declares "This house is clean."
    You'd Expect: They'd move out immediately. Not take the risk despite what the medium says and live in Holiday Inn and move their stuff out of the house during the day.
    Instead: The Freelings decide to stay in the house one more night until all their stuff has been moved out. They get attacked again.
  • Prometheus:
    • Two members of the expedition team (Fifield, a geologist, and Milburn, a biologist) are lost and wandering through the corridors of an alien structure when they come upon a pile of corpses who all have exit wounds in their heads. They radio in to the ship's captain, justifiably freaked out, and tell them their position. Janek tells them he's been getting a glitch from one of Fifield's mapping probes that is situated at the end of a long corridor.
      You'd Expect: That, since Janek can see the stranded team members' location on his comm system and can direct them, he would tell them to wait near the entrance of the structure until morning. Or, failing that, he would tell them to stay exactly where they are and not touch anything - literally, anything besides the course of action he takes.
      Instead: Janek laughs at their discovery, acts like the glitched probe isn't a problem, and leaves them to wander around some more in the structure. A few minutes later, he goes off to have sex with Vickers and leaves the comm station unmanned, leading to...
    • Milburn and Fifield are camping in the "big head" room, where they discover that all of the jars on the floor are leaking black liquid. A snake-like creature emerges from a pool of the liquid, and Milburn gets down to examine the creature. Fifield tells him this is not a good idea and that they should leave immediately.
      You'd Expect: Them to leave immediately. Run out of the room and don't look back. After all, both of these men were Genre Savvy when they bugged out during Shaw's discovery of the first Engineer body.
      Instead: Milburn continues goading the creature, and even begins stroking it. The creature subsequently latches onto Milburn's arm and breaks it, which leads to Fifield falling into a pool of the liquid and having his helmet melt into his face.
  • In the 2008 Rambo film, Rambo is ferrying a group of missionaries to Burma when they run into pirates. Rambo tries to negotiate with them, but the pirates refuse to leave without Sarah, the lone woman of the group, leaving Rambo with no option other than to brutally kill the lot of them.
    You'd Expect: The missionaries to accept that under those circumstances, Rambo had little other choice, and that they wouldn't hold it against him too much.
    Instead: They're utterly disgusted with him, with the leader of the group even telling Rambo that whatever the situation, violence is never a suitable answer.
  • Rat Race:
    • The Cody brothers decide to split up in order to double their chances of winning the race, and go to a locksmith to have a copy of their key made.
      You'd Expect: The two of them to keep quiet about the race around strangers.
      Instead: They openly talk about how they're racing to Silver City in order to open a locker in the railway station containing $2 million. The locksmith overhears, and decides to steal their key and go after the money himself.
      You'd Expect: The locksmith would give the Cody brothers two identical cut keys, so that they don't notice the theft.
      Instead: He gives them two uncut keys. As a result, the brothers realise almost immediately that they've been robbed, chase the locksmith down and manage to steal the key back.
    • Whilst driving on the highway, Randy Pear accidentally burns one of his fingers, and unintentionally flips off a female biker. His wife Bev decides to apologise and explain things to the biker.
      You'd Expect: That she would be able to do so without resorting to obscene hand gestures.
      Instead: She flips off the biker in order to demonstrate what happened. That, combined with Randy accidentally insulting the biker, results in the Pear family getting attacked by a load of bikers wielding baseball bats. They subsequently crash their car on the stage of a meeting of World War II veterans. Randy, who burnt his tongue during the chase steps forward to explain things.
      You'd Expect: That after two seconds at the most, Randy would realise that he's unintelligible, shut up, and get another member of the family to speak.
      Instead: He rants on, seemingly unaware of what he sounds like, and flips the veterans off as part of his "explanation". To make matters worse, the Pear family showed up in Adolf Hitler's car, Randy sounds like an angry German, and unknowingly looks like Hitler himself. One of the vets mistakes him for the real thing, and fires at the family with a revolver.
  • In Resident Evil: Afterlife, The T-Virus-infected Albert Wesker needs to eat human flesh. He thinks eating Alice's flesh will give him control of the virus. He has all the resources of Umbrella and two of Alice's former allies-turned-mind-controlled-puppets at his disposal.
    You'd Expect: He'd use those resources to find Alice, specifically Claire, who knew where Alice was headed, and set a trap for her there.
    Instead he gambles on Alice following the radio transmissions to Arcadia. Then when she arrives at Arcadia:
    You'd Expect: he'd unleash a horde of mind-controlled people to hold her down, or pull out a taser or do something to incapacitate her while he has the element of surprise.
    Instead he has a single mook train a gun on her, explains his plan and expects to succeed by beating her in combat.
  • Resident Evil: Apocalypse The S.T.A.R.S. sniper is sitting on the roof of a sporting goods store, picking off zombies, with headshots, at his leisure. He's even good enough to pop the head of one sneaking up on the Ethnic Scrappy. Then, Nemesis shows up.
    You'd Expect that, as an experienced, competent sniper who seems to have realized that the monsters wandering around the city only die with headshots, he'd put one of those high caliber bullets through the Nemesis' skull.
    Instead: He shoots him dead center in the chest, and is shocked that he doesn't go down. So he shoots him again in the same exact spot. Nemesis blows him up before the sniper can get a third shot off, and then proceeds to slaughter all the rest of the S.T.A.R.S. officers.
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes: (Human) Protagonist Will has been dosing his father with his experimental brain-boosting drug, ALZ-112 that his company scrapped after one of the test apes went apeshit during a company meeting to get funding/approval for more development. After seven years of not only full reversal of his father's Alzheimer's, but improved brain function, Dad starts to develop resistance to the virus that delivers the drug into his system and deteriorates rapidly as his Alzheimer's returns with a vengance. Nevertheless, Will goes back to his boss and tells him the drug works, but only temporarily.
    You'd Expect: Will to consider investigating the possibility of using immunosuppressant drugs or other ways to reduce human immune response to the delivery mechanism, which are widely used in organ transplants.
    Instead: He starts in on a more-aggressive virus designed to beat the immune system. Soon enough, his boss has his own What an Idiot moment when he sees how effective the treatment is on apes and brings in many more apes to experiment on, refusing to listen to Will's pleas to slow down on testing because they don't know the potential effect this more aggressive viral strand will have on humans. The virus turns out to be both the catalyst for the titular "uprising", and causes the implied Class 3a Human Extinction Event that allows enhanced apes to take over the planet.
  • Robin Hood (2010). King Philip of France has mustered an army to conquer the English.
    You'd Expect: They would land somewhere without a very high, very level bluff from which England's famous archers have perfect aim towards their troops, and they would get the hell out once they saw that they were pinned on three sides with archers to the front and cavalry to their left and right flanks, and the sea to their backs.
    Instead: They continue right on with the landing, even as their army is being felled in swoops by English longbowmen and subsequently ground into the mud by the cavalry. Whilst some of their men are being crushed to death with their own boats.
  • RoboCop
    • In the first film, Dick Jones demonstrates a combat robot (ED-209) in a public office of OCP, hoping for it to be mass-produced for use in Detroit.
      You'd Expect: That he'd have the combat robot not loaded with live rounds for this demonstration, in case something goes wrong (imagine that), and doesn't stop being aggressive even after throwing down your weapon on the ground.
      Instead (!!!): He has the ED-209 loaded with live rounds for the demonstration, and wouldn't you know it, it malfunctions and kills one of the board members, Kinny!
    • RoboCop 2. OCP's Security Concepts division has been trying to create a successor to Robocop, dubbed Robocop 2. Ala Robocop 1, all of their test subjects have been recently slain officers, only these officers were Driven to Suicide by the conversion. Dr. Faxx concludes that Alex Murphy's strong moral convictions were what kept him from offing himself.
      You'd Expect: Having quite literally the exact mental conditions necessary for a stable transplant, she would select the appropriate officer from the police and help him transition into his new role. Please note this is exactly what her predecessor did, and it worked brilliantly. At the very least, she could pick a civilian that falls under similar criteria.
      Instead: She selects Cain, a sociopathic crime boss and dealer of the Fantastic Drug Nuke, on the basis that his desire for immortality is similar to Murphy's strong dedication to duty (y'know, the thing that makes him the perfect Robocop) while his addiction will act as a method of controlling his behavior. She's right to the point that he's a stable transplant, but without Murphy's strong moral compass, he predictably goes berserk during his unveiling to the press. Johnson is quite right to pin the blame for the mess on her.

    Films S-Z 
  • The Sandlot: The gang are attempting to retrieve the Babe Ruth autographed baseball from the clutches of the Beast. One of their schemes involves using ropes and pulleys to lower Yeah-Yeah into the Beast's yard. Yeah-Yeah grabs the ball and holds onto it for a few seconds, but the Beast walks up.
    You'd Expect: Yeah-Yeah to clutch the ball with both hands and hold onto it for dear life as he's raised outta there.
    Instead: He panics, and the ball slips out of his one-handed grip when he's jolted upwards.
  • Saw:
    • One of the two prisoners Lawrence needs to answer the cell phone to save his wife and himself and foil the murderer's plot. Unfortunately, courtesy of the sadistic Jigsaw, Lawrence is chained to a pipe and the cell phone in question is lying about 40 cm out of his reach. He has a hacksaw and he's wearing a long sleeved shirt.
      You'd Expect:That he takes off his shirt and swings it over the phone. Or that he uses the hacksaw to hook on the phone. Or that the other prisoner uses some object to knock the phone closer to Lawrence.
      Instead: Having failed to reach the phone with some stupid box, Lawrence does takes off his shirt...and then ties it around his chained leg and proceeds to saw it off. *Face Palm* Yes, he was screwed up and in panic. It was still idiotic and furthermore, the other guy wasn't in panic but still he didn't suggest the obvious solution.
    • In Saw V, The players who have been selected turn out to be highly Genre Savvy when they figure out (early in the film) that closing the door in a room activates the next trap. This, in addition to brainstorming creative solutions to the traps, does a lot to get the audience on their side. Near the end of the film, Brit and Malick (the two remaining survivors) kill a woman named Luba and use her body to provide an electric current to open the door to the final trap. They enter the room and learn that they (and, presumably, all the other survivors who lived) have to stick their hands into a sawblade in order to draw enough blood to fill a beaker and open the final door to escape.
      You'd Expect: Given the fact that they were a fairly smart duo, either Brit or Malick (who had suggested alternate plans before) would go back to the previous room, disconnect the electric clamps, bring her body into the final room and use her hands to draw enough blood to fill the beaker. Alternatively, they could have just cut off her arms (seeing as Brit still had a very big knife) and use it to fill the beaker that way. Granted, the arms wouldn't be attached to a beating heart, meaning the amount of blood yielded almost certainly wouldn't fill the beaker all the way, but it'd still lessen the damage Brit and Malick would take to their own bodies.
      Instead: They stick their hands in and cut halfway up through their arms to fill the beaker. They both survive, but pass out due to massive blood loss, and when Malick later appears again in Saw 3D it's revealed that he permanently lost the use of his left arm due to nerve and muscle damage.
  • Scarface (1983) has Tony Camonte/Montana finally founding Guino Rinaldo's/Manny Ribera's location. When he's about to explain to him about what is it about, Cesca/Gina also entered the fray, trying to explain that they're married.
    You'd Expect: That Tony should ask Guino/Manny if it's true that he's trying to sleep with his sister and let him explain of what's going on.
    Instead: He kills Guino/Manny without even saying a word. This results in Cesca/Gina being heartbroken and she even goes so far as to take her own pistol and plans to kill her brother.
  • In Scream (1996) the killers, Billy and Stu have captured Sydney and plan to kill her by framing her father who has not appeared since the beginning of the film and then killing him in "self-defense". To make the plan more convincing, they plan to cut themselves to make it seem like they "barely got out alive".
    You'd Expect: That they would kill them FIRST then set their plan into motion.
    Instead: They cut themselves up first, leaving Sydney just standing there and giving her a chance to escape and leaving themselves in no condition to kill Sydney and the Not Quite Dead news reporter lady that they thought they had killed earlier.
  • In Scream 2, Sydney and another victim are in the back of a police car when the killer steals it. In the ensuing confusion, the killer crashes the car into a light pole, pinning a dead, armed cop to the hood and knocking himself unconscious.
    You'd Expect: Either woman to take the loaded handgun sitting in full view on the hood and shoot the killer in the chest. Failing that, hold him at gunpoint until help arrives.
    Instead: They run away into the night, allowing the killer to revive and continue the chase.
  • Scary Movie:
    • The first movie's plot is a parody of the movie Scream, meaning that there is a killer, one of the main characters, Buffy Gilmore, is convinced that the serial killer is just a prankster, even with what had been going on, eventually, she finds herself in a confrontation with Ghostface.
      You'd expect: That Buffy would finally catch on to the fact that the killer was real, and go for help.
      Instead: She sarcastically mocks every Slasher movie cliche in the book, resulting in her death.
  • Seven Pounds:
    • With Emily only having a month to live due to her failing heart and no waiting donors because of her rare blood type, Tim decides to kill himself to become a donor for her as he has the same blood type. Craziness aside...
      You'd Expect: Tim to do something simple like slit his wrists or hang himself.
      Instead: He pours ice cold water in his bathtub along with his pet jellyfish and lets the jellyfish sting him to death. Yeah, a jellyfish, some of which are well known for their venomous stings that could affect organs. Of course, since this is the dramatic climax, his heart is just fine for the transplant.
  • The Shining:
    • Jack Torrance gets an interview from Mr. Ullman about being a caretaker of the Overlook Hotel. While doing so, he is being told a story about the previous caretaker, Charles Grady, having gone insane and killed his family with an axe before killing himself due to a supernatural force living in there.
      You'd Expect: That Jack should take a hint that he may earn this similar problem and just drop out of job.
      Instead: He takes the job, anyway. Then it gets worse from here.
    • The cook Dick Hallorann offers to take Wendy's son who is only five years old, away from his mother for a few moments for some 'ice cream.
      You'd expect: His mother offers to come with him. How does she know he's not going to kidnap her son? After all, a good parent wouldn't let their child out of their sight.
      Instead: She does and doesn't even question it. What an Idiot, indeed.
    • Danny learns he can contact Hallorann via psychic communication. Hallorann tells him to do it only in an emergency. Danny contacts him when he finds that his father is going into the same room where Danny was traumatized.
      You'd expect: Hallorann realizing that Danny's father is losing his mind and is psycho and that he should not go up there by himself and have police handle the situation.
      Instead: He drives up there himself without any weapons.
    • Hallorann is in the Overlook hotel. Now, he knows Jack has lost his mind and has gotten into a bit of trouble.
      You'd expect: He's quiet and does not draw attention to himself. After all, he doesn't have a weapon to defend himself with.
      Instead: He dumbly calls out to Jack, revealing his presence and getting himself killed. What an Idiot.
    • Wendy is trapped in the bathroom and has pushed Danny out the window while her husband is busy smashing down the door. She has a knife by her side.
      You'd expect: She automatically gets out of there while she could or just stab him.

      Instead: She wastes time SCREAMING every time he whacks the ax into the door. She stabs him, but only bruises his arm when she could have gone for a more vital spot, thus rendering him out of bounds.
  • Signs:
    • There is a species of aliens for whom water is a lethal acid.
      You'd Expect that these aliens would stay far away from a planet that has a 70% water surface. Or, at the very least, they'd stay in their advanced interplanetary spaceships for the duration of the invasion, or they'd wear some sort of environmental suits to protect from the deadly acid that exists in gaseous form in the air and frequently falls from the sky.
      Instead, the aliens invade water-soaked Earth, on foot, naked.
    • You'd Expect that aliens advanced enough to conquer interstellar travel would be somewhat intelligent, or at least technologically superior to humans.
      Instead, these aliens are unarmed, are outmatched by baseball bats and glasses of water, and are outsmarted by closet doors.
    • Finally, you'd expect that these hydrophobic creatures would finally be repelled in a scheme that makes use of the planet's prodigious water supply.
      Instead, news reports say that the invasion is repelled in the deserts of the Middle East.
    • This Entirely Sums It Up:
      Cracked Magazine: It's like humans landing on a planet where 70 percent of the surface is covered in molten lava, and the inhabitants are basically just moving sacks of lava. Even the atmosphere is so dense with lava vapor that often lava just rains from the sky with little to no warning. So what's your plan of attack? If you say anything other than "Jump out of the spaceship completely naked, your junk proudly flopping about, and engage the lava monsters in hand-to-hand combat," then congratulations — you are smarter than the aliens in Signs.
  • In Sky High near the end of the movie, Will's friends arrive at the hall, seeing him pinning Gwen/Royal Pain, ready to finish her off.
    You'd expect: they wait for Will to finish her off before calling him.
    Instead, they call him right away, distracting him, allowing Gwen to break free.
  • In Sleeping Dogs at the end main character Smith is cornered by Jesperson and the Special Police Force. He fires at Jesperson, but is obviously not trying, since he rants that isn't this what they want, him to fight them? He defiantly walks away from them while Jesperson angrily tells Smith not to turn his back on him.
    You'd Expect: Jesperson to just shoot him in the leg, or have his men go grab Smith.
    Instead: He fatally shoots Smith after he turns away, then complains he needs him alive, and even kicks his corpse in frustration. Face Palm.
  • In Smokey and the Bandit 2, Justice has the Bandit at gunpoint and tries to take him in. The Bandit tricks him into using up his bullets. He orders Junior (the poster child for this trope) to give him his own gun as the Bandit tries to escape.
    You'd Expect: Junior's gun to be loaded and Justice successfully scares the Bandit into surrendering.
    Instead: Junior's gun is empty and the Bandit escapes.
    It Gets Worse
    Justice: Junior! Why didn't you have your gun loaded?
    Junior: When I put bullets in it, daddy, it gets too heavy.
  • The Smurfs: Papa Smurf and the other Smurfs visit the bookstore to find a component for their plan to return home. They get surprised by Gargamel forcing them to escape via an air vent.
    You'd Expect: That all the Smurfs would run like heck for safety.
    Instead: For no apparent reason, Papa decides to stay and hold off Gargamel while the other Smurfs continue on. By this point, Gargamel is armed with a powerful weapon made from Smurf Essence and easily captures Papa. Note that Gargamel likely couldn't follow them through the little vent in the first place, making Papa's sacrifice pointless and causing everyone to have to rescue him.
  • While storming the castle in Snow White & the Huntsman, the heroes are stuck right outside the castle because the gate is still shut.
    You'd Expect: The guards would take this opportunity to pour boiling oil on the heroes, quickly and easily winning the war for the villains.
    Instead: They wait until after the gate is open and half the army is inside.
  • Some Like It Hot has Joe and Jerry see that Spats, the mobster who they saw kill Toothpick Charlie, is himself bumped off by overbosses. At the time, they are hiding under the tables because it's a party for the mob. Spats can't hurt them anymore, because he and his men are dead.
    You'd Expect: They would hide under the tables until everyone leaves. With Spats dead, the heat is off them, and they can stop being incognito.
    Instead: They get out from under the tables and try to sneak out. This sets the rest of the mobsters in the room after them.
  • Space Mutiny:
    • When all the main engineering crew of the Southern Sun announce their intention to join in the titular mutiny in a meeting amongst themselves, one of the engineers, Parsons clearly isn't on-board with the whole plan. The other engineers mock Parsons, but don't actually act overly hostile towards him.
      You'd Expect: Parsons to sit out the meeting, maybe indicate that he would be amenable to joining in the mutiny, then go and alert the ship's commanders.
      Instead: He openly accuses the other engineers of mutiny and treason, and announces his intention to report them... and is then shocked when they turn on him and kill him horribly.
    • Later on, one of the bridge crew, Lamont receives evidence that the mutineers were responsible for the destruction of a shuttlecraft. The ringleader, Kalgan, decides that she must be disposed of.
      You'd Expect: That in order to take advantage of the fact that the identity of the mutineers is still largely unknown, Kalgan would send some of his loyalists to "escort" Lamont from the ship's disco (don't ask), then dispose of her in a part of the ship he controls.
      Instead: He sends some of his loyalists, and they escort her to... right outside the disco, where Kalgan shoots her dead in person. Naturally this is heard by several people in the disco, including The Hero, Dave Ryder, who promptly tries to chase Kalgan down. While Ryder fails to actually capture Kalgan, his stupidity ends up giving the good guys direct evidence that the mutiny exists, and that Kalgan is one of the ringleaders.
    • What's worse: Lt. Lamont had only a few scenes ago spoken with a man in engineering who warned her about the conspiracy. After she orders him to the bridge he is cornered by Kalgan's men and commits suicide.
      You'd Expect: That Lt. Lamont would notice that the man she ordered to the bridge to tell her about the mutiny failed to show up, and would tell someone else about it.
      Instead: She goes disco dancing and gets murdered (as described above).
      For Added Idiocy: Lamont was *on the bridge* when she got the report and while the evidence was intercepted, the engineer still gave very specific details which should've logically been passed on to the Captain. A double bout of idiocy both for Lamont for not saying anything, and for Kalgan for just assuming she didn't say anything and not just laying low for a while.
  • Spider-Man Trilogy:
    • During the climax of the first film, The Green Goblin has just impaled himself on his own glider. As Peter delivers the body, Harry walks in and angrily accuses Spider-Man of killing his father while grabbing a gun.
      You'd Expect: Peter to web the gun out of Harry's hands, and explain that the Green Goblin killed his father. It would be truth From a Certain Point of View, the wounds on Norman's body match up with the glider's weapons, and the Green Goblin already has a history of targeting Os Corp executives. Apologize to Harry for failing to save Norman and leave.
      Or: Peter, at any point in the next two films, to get in contact with Harry as either himself or Spidey and try to explain things.
      Instead: Peter leaves as fast as he can, leaving his psychologically unstable best friend with the mistaken belief that Spider-Man is responsible for the death of his father.
    • Later on in the third film, Harry Osborn, a.k.a. the New Goblin, recovers from his amnesia, and decides to switch from killing Peter to making his life miserable. To that end, he breaks into M.J's home and threatens to kill Peter if she doesn't break up with him.
      You'd Expect: M.J. to remember that her boyfriend is a superhero who has dealt with supervillains several times by now, and tell him what Harry's up to. And if Harry finds out, at least Peter will be prepared for another attack from the New Goblin.
      Instead: M.J. does everything that Harry asks of her, contributing further to Peter's moral and emotional downfall, and later prompting him to try and murder his former best friend.
  • Superman series
    • In the original Superman, Lex Luthor has set into motion his plan to sink California into the sea using a nuclear missile aimed at the San Andreas Fault, and has incapacitated Superman both with Kryptonite and by sending a second nuclear bomb in the opposite direction. When he reveals that the second target is Hackensack, New Jersey, his girlfriend Ms. Teschmacher protests that her mother lives there.
      You'd expect he would lead her out of the room, handcuff her to something and then maybe go back and watch Superman die.
      Instead he shrugs her off, and leaves them both alone and unmonitored. Five minutes later, she's saved Superman from the Kryptonite and he's escaped through the ceiling, on his way to foiling the plan.
    • Superman Returns:
      • At the end of Superman II, in just a week of his absence, three superpowered villains wreak havoc with the entire world while Superman is gone. He tells the President that he's sorry, and that he'll never put the world in that position again.
        You'd expect: Anything, anything, anything but what he ends up doing.
        Instead: He leaves without telling anyone he's going into deep space to find out what he was told by his own father happened: Krypton blew up. He ends up being gone five years. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
      • Lois Lane is investigating a story about a blackout which seems to have spread from a specific location.
        You'd expect she'd do some research into who lives there before barging into the house, or tell somebody, anybody where she was going, or at least drop off her five year old son somewhere else before going there.
        Instead she goes in without telling a soul, and gets herself and her five year old son held hostage by Lex Luthor.
  • Taken:
    • The main villains are human traffickers working for the Albanian Mafia.
      You'd Expect: That if you want to get into human trafficking in Europe, you'd get your supply from Eastern Europe, East Asia, Africa, and all those other places full of vunerable women without money. Hell, tell them that you'll take them to a 1st world country to work as a maid or something, and they'll climb into the truck and pay you for it. Their governments have little resources to defend them, their families are poor and without any international clout, and because they're in the country illegally, a lot of law enforcement will look the other way.
      Instead: They believe that the ideal victim is a girl with a family rich enough to send her on vacations, from a country with enough diplomatic clout to demand explanations. Better yet, let's scout for targets at a post 9/11 airport where our actions will be taped by security cameras and since they just got past customs, all the women have been officially documented as having just entered the country. Yup, that'll end well.
    • Bryan's daughter Kim and her friend Amanda aren't much better in terms of common sense.
      You'd Expect: That they would get a licensed taxi to take them to wherever they're staying, and not tell anyone they don't know where that is.
      Instead: They accept a ride with a complete stranger, and give the exact same stranger the address for the place they're staying at, their room's location, and also tell him that they'll be alone. As a result, the kidnapping gang's job becomes a lot easier.
    • Later in the same film, the girls, including the protagonist's daughter, are being auctioned off as sex slaves. One of the buyers finds Bryan holding him at gunpoint and demanding he buy a girl who, yes, turns out to be his daughter. Bryan is caught, and clonked on the head, hung him from a pipe, and asks what the hell he's doing and why he just cost him over half a million dollars. Bryan offers to pay the guy back.
      You'd Expect: A number of options present themselves. He could scoff at the suggestion, sure that this anonymous attacker can't refund him over half a million dollars, whereupon said anonymous attacker would produce some proof that yes, he could (and you know he would). He could say "Oh, well in that case I guess I can forget this ever happened," possibly demand a little extra for his silence (Bryan didn't specify what he was paying for, or how much). Or, if he insists on being a Card-Carrying Villain, he could shoot him in the head with his own gun.
      Instead: He goes on about how this is "a unique business, with a unique clientele", which completely fails to explain why he thinks it's a good plan to walk away, leaving him in the hands of his security guys, who Bryan has already proven himself quite capable of overcoming. He breaks out, of course.
  • In Thelma & Louise, Thelma meets a handsome stranger named Harlan who turns out to be a Handsome Lech. Harlan tries to rape Thelma, but is driven off at gunpoint by Louise, who disregards his excuse that they were "just having a little fun."
    You'd Expect: Harlan to back off and walk away. If he's got anything nasty to say, fine, just make sure Louise can't hear it. Because, you know, she has a gun.
    Instead: This exchange:
    Louise: What did you say?
    Louise's Gun: BANG!
  • At the end of Time Bandits, Kevin is teleported back to his room, which is filled with smoke and firemen are in his house because the family microwave caused the fire. His parents find a strange looking rock inside the microwave. Kevin warns them not to touch it.
    You'd expect that they give the firemen the microwave or just don't touch the rock.
    Instead they touch it and explode.
  • In The Toxic Avenger, a trio of thugs attempt to rob a restaurant with a shotgun and a pistol. Toxie later intervenes, and it soon becomes clear that the thugs can't beat him in melee combat.
    You'd Expect: That one of the thugs would pick up one of the guns and just shoot Toxie.
    Instead: This idea never occurs to them, and Toxie subsequently kills all three of them.
  • Transformers:
    • The Decepticons are primarily aircraft alt-modes. The Autobots are ALL restricted to land movement. The humans plan is to place Sam and the Allspark and a few soldiers on a helicopter transport. Which is standard procedure for EVAC of civilians, but hardly appropriate in this situation!
      You'd Expect: The Decepticons LET them load the Allspark onto the helicopter. Then they wait until the copter is high in the air, reasonably far from the Autobots... then they just fly up to it and take the Allspark with minimum resistance from the puny humans.
      Instead: The Decepticons start a big fight and lose.
    • Also, at the beginning of the film, the human Sam Witwicky is selling the Plot Coupon on eBay.
      You'd Expect: The Decepticons hack themselves a Paypal account and bid on the item.
      Instead: They send two Decepticons to interrogate Sam, running afoul of the Autobot sent to protect him.
  • Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen:
    • Alice, a Decepticon Pretender masquerading as a girl, is caught in a... tender embrace with Sam by Mikaela. Disgusted, Mikaela storms out of the room.
      You'd Expect: Alice prevents Sam from getting off the bed at all. If that's not possible, quickly and efficiently pin him down in one move while raising minimal fuss.
      Instead: When Sam does resist, Alice spends some time throwing Sam around. The noise alerts Mikaela, who is able to get back in time to help him.
    • Alice might have as well held a Smart Ball during that scene when compared against what Sam and co. did in this scene. After they found the Crest of Leadership needed to revive Optimus Prime to defeat The Fallen, the military, who had Optimus Prime's corpse, gave Sam a call, who was at the Great Pyramids, about deciding a place to meet and revive Optimus Prime.
      You'd Expect:That they would decide on a good rendezvous point like the Great Pyramids where the heroes were, and there were no Decepticons or witnesses around.
      Instead: Everyone decided to go to a nearby populated village where the Decepticons were headed. The result was a huge battle between the Autobots and Decepticons in the middle of a bunch of witnesses, with Sam nearly dying in the cross-fire. An Epic Failure in what was already an Idiot Plot.
  • The Untouchables:
    • Frank Nitti accidentally exposes himself as the murderer of Jim Malone to Eliot Ness. Nitti promptly flees the scene and heads for the rooftop. After a scuffle with Ness, Nitti finds himself hanging from the rooftop. Out of principle, Ness helps him up and apprehends him.
      You'd Expect: Nitti to exercise his right to remain silent, for anything he says can and will be used against him. Such as what he actually does.
      Instead: He decides to mock Malone's death in-front of Ness and brags that he'll beat the rap. Ness promptly abandons his code of ethics and tosses Nitti off the roof.
    • Earlier, Frank Nitti writes Malone's address on a matchbook to help him carry out his murder.
      You'd Expect: Since it's now potential police evidence, Nitti would dispose of it right away.
      Instead: He does not. The matchbook is what identifies him as Malone's killer, which leads to his downfall.
  • The Seventies cheesefest Viva Knievel:
    • Evil Knievel's protege-turned-rival Jessie has overheard a plot to kill Evil via sabotaging his his latest stunt, then using the transport of his body to cover for the transport of millions of dollars in cocaine over the Mexico/US border. Jessie clumsily tries to tell Evil this, then knocks Evil out when he tries to blow Jessie off.
      You'd Expect: Jessie to call off the jump and point out the rigged bike to authorities, thwarting the Big Bad's plans without risking anyone's life.
      Instead: Jessie takes Evil's place on the big jump and dies instead. A Senseless Sacrifice made worse by the fact that the bad guys merely claim Jessie's body is Evil's and proceed as planned. Made even worse by, earlier on...
    • Evil sneaks into a Mexican sanitarium to talk to his mentor/mechanic, Will. Will tells Evil that he'd found pictures of their custom tractor-trailer in the possession of the Big Bad, leading to Will's being set up as being a junkie and institutionalized (getting him out of the way so that the bad guys' sabotage of Evil's bike would go undetected.)
      You'd Expect: Evil to postpone the jump - at least until he could get Will out of the sanitarium.
      Instead: He tells Will that he has to stay in the sanitarium until after the jump. Despite the fact that he knows he's been targeted by criminals. The same criminals he knows were Jessie's patrons.
  • The backstory to Wishmaster reveals that if someone makes three wishes of a Djinn, it will destroy the barriers between our world and the Djinn's world and allow their kind to overrun the Earth. One such creature grants two wishes to an ancient sultan, the second of which inflicts all kinds of horrible suffering on his subjects. Just as the sultan is about to make a third wish to undo his previous one, the court sorcerer shows up and tells the sultan what will happen if he makes his third wish.
    You'd Expect: The Djinn to dismiss the sorcerer's accusations as nonsense, and to reassure the sultan into making his third wish.
    Instead: He admits everything the sorcerer is accusing him of, and even goes so far to show the other Djinn that are attempting to break through the now-weakened barriers between the worlds. Naturally the sultan is reluctant to make a wish under these circumstances, and it gives the sorcerer time to imprison the main Djinn inside a jewel.
    • As a corollary to this, the Djinn's plan is dependent on the one who awoke him making their three wishes, and it is in his best interests not to alienate said person.
      You'd Expect The Djinn would make every effort to grant the wishes as positively at possible, or at the very least sabotage them in ways that don't make him look like a needlessly sadistic prick. Also, maybe hold off on randomly screwing other people who make wishes for yucks. There will be plenty of time for that when his kind rule the world.
      Instead: The Djinn goes about doing his Jackass Genie thing, inevitably causing the heroes to find some way to weasel out of freeing him.
  • World War Z: It is a Zombie Apocalypse, and zombies are known to be attracted to loud noise.
    You'd Expect That A) the outmost importance of keeping quiet would be hammmered into the survivors everywhere and all the time, and it would be strictly enforced, and B) that the military would immediately weaponize this trait, creating lures to drive the zombies away from survivors and into traps.
    Instead The second part is merely neglected, but the people of Jerusalem actually go out of their way to violate the first one. While in a city, protected from the undead hordes by a wall, they decide to celebrate their good fortune by singing. All together. Through a microphone. Naturally, zombies cannot pass such a heartfelt invitation and start piling a zombie-pile outside untill they scale the wall.
    You'd Expect That since that wall is essential to the city's survival, the military would monitor it. After all, the zombies are not exactly subtle or stealthy.
    Instead They somehow miss the assaulting horde untill it literally spills over the wall.
  • X-Men: The Last Stand:
    • Scott starts hearing Jean's voice in his head, calling his name.
      You'd Expect: That, being the leader of the team, he would (at the very least) go talk to someone about it, especially Xavier (who would be able to read his mind and figure out what's going on).
      Instead: He secretly packs a bag, blows off Logan (who tries to help him) and goes off to Alkali Lake by himself. There, he accidentally(?) awakens Jean/Phoenix, who then proceeds to de-atomize him. As if acknowledging Scott's actions, no one mentions him for the rest of the film. Stuffed into the Fridge and Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome, indeed.
    • Prior to the events of the film (and the trilogy), Xavier implanted a series of mental mindblocks in Jean's mind to prevent a latent personality (Dark Phoenix) from taking over.
      You'd Expect: That anytime over the last twenty-plus years, Xavier would have at least mentioned this information to Jean for her own safety. Not even when she's brought back to the school from Alkali Lake does he bother to come down and see her (when she's feeling conflicted about her identity) and try to restore the mindblocks. Instead, he's teaching a class.
      Instead: Jean, more pissed off than ever, takes up residence at her old home, and Xavier willingly walks in (with Magneto, no less) to try and reason with her. It ends about as well as you would expect.
    • Magneto wants to kill the mutant whose DNA is being used to create the anti-mutant serum, who is located on Alcatraz Island. Magneto, in a stupendous display of power, lifts the freaking Golden Gate Bridge to get to Alcatraz.
      You'd Think: that since Magneto wants to kill this particular mutant, and doesn't really care about civilian casualties incurred in the process, that while he was lifting an object hundreds of feet in the air that weighs over 1000 tons, he'd just drop it on their heads or turn it into a blizzard of shrapnel to tear every living being on the island into shreds.
      Instead: he uses it to form a bridge, marches across it and digs in for a long, difficult, and unsuccessful siege of the place.
  • X-Men: First Class:
    • After successfully preventing the Cuban Missile Crisis from escalating into a full-out nuclear war due to the meddling of a psychotic mutant, mutants are now known to both the Russian and U.S. governments as a powerful force capable of causing hurricanes, flying, blasting people, and lifting an entire submarine out of the ocean.
      You'd Think: Both sides would see the potential for using these people in combat, especially given that they prevented a full-on nuclear war since the CIA was well-aware of the role that the mutants played in the incident. Or at the very least, acknowledging that these are the last people you'd want to provoke and make angry!
      Instead: Both sides just see the potential threat presented by these powerful individuals and try to blow them up with missiles. After just seeing one of the mutants lift a submarine with his power!
    • Moira is fighting against Erik, a guy who she knows can control metal with his mind.
      You'd Expect: That she wouldn't fire a gun at him, given that guns shoot metal bullets. Hell, with the power Erik possesses, he could probably shoot them back at her!
      Instead: He deflects the bullets easily, and one of them hits a bystander.
      Even Worse: Even after Moira sees him deflect the first bullet, she keeps shooting, accomplishing fuck-all.
    • Charles Xavier knows everything about Erik Lehnsherr, having read his mind and spoken to him numerous times about the future of mutants and humankind. Erik, being a Holocaust survivor, constantly voiced the view that humans and mutants could not coexist, and that the U.S. government would eventually treat the mutants like the Nazis treated Jews. Then the U.S. and Russian battleships attempt to indiscriminately destroy the mutants with missiles, which Erik catches with his powers and sends back.
      You'd Think: Charles would remember Erik's views on mutant and humankind, especially his past as a persecuted minority, and try to phrase his arguments for not declaring war on humanity to the effect of a.) they were outnumbered and vulnerable and b.) Erik was becoming just like his former enemies in his extremism.
      Instead: He says, "They were Just Following Orders." To a Holocaust survivor. Who is now a member of yet another persecuted and threatened minority.
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past:
    • There is no doubt Mystique is a heroic figure in the movie. By the 70s, she is the only one who actively works for the mutant cause and does things like rescuing Alex's unit from being experimented on by Trask. She decides the best way to deal with Trask is to eliminate him.
      You'd Expect: Mystique would kill him in his sleep or in an otherwise covert manner.
      Instead: She consistently chooses to attack Trask at very high profile events like the Paris Peace Conference and the Sentinel demonstration in Washington DC, where security is typically tight and she has a higher risk of being killed and/or captured, which is exactly what happens in the original timeline when Charles Xavier isn't there to talk her out of killing Trask.
    • Magneto deciding to try and kill Mystique is hypocritically in-character for him.
      You'd Expect: Like the above example, Magneto would kill her at her most alone and vulnerable.
      Instead: He attempts to kill her at the Sentinel Demonstration in Washington DC. The stupid part is that Wolverine and Beast, two people capable of kicking his ass, are present and accounted for. They do kick his ass and nearly succeed in killing him.

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