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Idiot Ball / Live-Action Films
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Characters grabbing the Idiot Ball in live-action movies.

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    Horror Movies 
  • Dracula (1931): You know Dracula's a vampire. You know how to kill him. You know where he lives. It's right next door to you. You know he's helpless during the daytime. Gee, maybe you should wait until Mina's literally on her last pint of blood and let Renfield lead you to his death.
  • Most of the trapped characters in the Saw movies. One very small point in their defense is that people might not mentally be at their best when they're about to die.
  • In the 2011 prequel to John Carpenter's The Thing (1982), Kate warns the group not to be alone because one of them could be the Thing... and then goes off alone. In another scene, the Thing detatches one of its hands to have it grab onto another character's face, while everyone else just stood there. When the reviewer group Media Whorz reviewed it, Birdy reffered to the genre's use of this trope as "Horror Stupidity Syndrome."
  • Night of the Living Dead (1968) has lots of this. Examples include when Barbra tripped and fell while fleeing from a zombie and just backed up in fear instead of getting up and continuing to run like she should have.
  • Parodied in Scary Movie, when the "Walking Dead teens" are in the theater wondering who the killer could be — when the Killer is right in plain sight in his Grim Reaper costume, mopping up the blood from his most recent victim.
  • Roger Ebert also ponders this during his review of Paranormal Activity 2:
    "The movie numbers the days as they tick away, and along about Day #12 I'm thinking, why are these people still here? The screening I attended was treated to a surprise appearance by three stars of that cable show about Chicago's Paranormal Detectives. These are real Chicago detectives. If the Sloats lived in Chicago, they'd have a SWAT team out there by Day #7."
  • In Resident Evil: Apocalypse, the STARS sniper gets to hold it. The first we see of him has him sniping zombies. The first he hits in the chest, then seeing that didn't kill it, he gives it a headshot. When he spots LJ, he calmly pops the head of the zombie sneaking up to him. So, we've established that he has learning skills and has figured out that if something doesn't die from a shot to the chest, to shoot it in the head. Then Nemesis shows up. Sniper guy puts a round through Nemesis's chest; despite this exact same tactic not killing the regular zombies less than a minute ago, he is shocked that Nemesis, clearly much bigger and tougher than a zombie, doesn't die. So, does he take a headshot, like he did before? Nope. Another bullet to the chest, another round of "Why isn't it dead?!" and the sniper is blown up before he can take a third shot.
    • Also from Apocalypse, when the survivors need to find and rescue Angela, the daughter of Doctor Ashford, who will send in a rescue chopper to pick them up once they have Angela. So Jill arrives alongside Terri and LJ, who they had just picked up. Jill is a trained officer, and LJ has guns as well, so Jill suggests they separate and hands Terri a gun. A clearly nervous Terri points out the fact that she has never even held a gun in her life. Does Jill care about this important piece of info? Does she stop for two seconds to consider that maybe it's best if Terri remains with her rather than sending an untrained civilian off on her own when there are zombies and other deadly creatures roaming the entire city? Nope. She just stupidly sends Terri on her way, and she is quickly killed off by a group of zombified children. Though admittedly, Terri herself holds the idiot ball for not insisting on sticking to one of the others like glue.
    • In Resident Evil: Extinction, LJ gets bitten through no real fault of his own, and becomes a Zombie Infectee. He survived the second movie just fine, has been travelling with other survivors for five years, yet he tells no one he's been bitten.
  • The group of humans that get ambushed in Daybreakers. It only makes sense to travel under cover of darkness when you are NOT fighting vampires.
  • In Open Graves, the hero wishes to reverse time to a week ago, without wishing for his memories to remain, and thus damns himself to a horrific time-loop. What makes it especially idiotic is, even the villain granting the wish takes pity on him, warns him that it is a stupid wish, and gives him a chance to try a different wish. He does it anyway.
  • Penny, in The Haunting of Whaley House, is given three specific rules: Don't go into the Whaley house at night. Don't call out the ghosts. Don't break anything inside the house. She then proceeds to bring her friends into the house at night where they call out the ghosts and break things...
  • In Wolf Girl Beau is shown to have really bad aiming skills; he plans to murder Kara with a pistol. An angry mob forms to kill Kara who is responsible for murder. The plan is off to a sound start until Krystal seems to forget that they are looking for a 'girl' with 'long brown hair' and decides that it is as good a time as ever to flirt with a girl who looks exactly like Kara but without the hair on her face. Hilariously enough, Krystal even remarks that Kara looks familiar.
  • There are many instances of this in A Quiet Place in the form of negligence that couples Idiot Ball with Captain Oblivious.
    • The opening Prologue shows the stakes of making noise and why the family in the movie has lost their 4-year old son. It would have been an understandable tragedy had the child inadvertently made noise with the toy in the store, or somehow later made noise (such as crying) on their way home. However, the movie has the tragedy unfold by having the family take the noisy toy away from the child, then leave him with just his older sister in the store while they waited outside, his sister gives him the toy anyway but removes the batteries, and then the sister leaving him in the store alone so he can scoop the batteries back up. The family then traipses several miles back home and no one notices that the 4-year old has the large toy crudely concealed under his coat, has somehow inserted the batteries back in the toy correctly, and has also fallen about 50 to 100 feet behind the group. Parents would normally carry or walk alongside such a small child in normal conditions to make sure the child was safe and able to keep up, much less an environment where any noise can quickly get a person killed.
    • Later on, the parents still remain oblivious: They never seem to understand why the daughter seems distraught. She later disappears for several hours without the mother noticing, despite the fact that in a post-apocalyptic environment every family member would be called on to help out with chores for just daily living, especially considering that the mother is pregnant.
    • The mother deliberately getting pregnant in such a Crapsack World is another Idiot Ball entirely....
  • In Freddy vs. Jason, Jason hacks his way through over a dozen people while Freddy only gets one kill. When they're fighting in the dream world, the teenagers help Jason. Even if Freddy was a bigger threat in the long run, they have a drug that can rid of him. No matter how you perceive it, it's simply stupid to help someone eighteen times as dangerous.

    Sci-Fi Movies 
  • One must seriously wonder why the workers in Metropolis do not notice a difference between the moderate, kind, and properly-postured Maria and her psychotic, scowling, hunched over robotic duplicate.
  • Trinity gets a big one in The Matrix. It's right after they've rescued Morpheus and are in the subway waiting for the phone. After Morpheus "wakes up" Trinity decides right then and there, when they both know they're not safe yet, to tell Neo about something important the Oracle told her. The phone just keeps ringing while they both ponder this, conveniently enough time for Smith to catch up with them so he and Neo can have their final fight.
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan:
    • The partly-disabled Enterprise is threatened by the Genesis Device, which is on a "buildup to detonation." If the Genesis torpedo has to build up energy to detonate, then they could have blown up the Reliant and cut it short. It's not like they couldn't, either; they proved themselves quite capable of hitting a stationary target even with the nebula interference. Instead, this is never even suggested and the Enterprise tries to crawl away, necessitating Spock's Heroic Sacrifice.
      • This relies on some assumptions that may not be correct. It's stated that once the Genesis countdown is started, a detonation is inevitable (presumably because ingredients are mixed and just need the energy to spark a reaction). It's not explicitly mentioned, but the characters likely believe that hitting the device with a torpedo would trigger the Genesis explosion just as readily as letting the time run out.
    • Kirk enabled his ship to be damaged and many of his crew lost when he ignored regulations dictating a defensive posture with shields up when being approached by a non-communicative ship. Even worse, he gets the stupidity of his actions pointed out to him, and he chooses to ignore the reasonable advice and go ahead with blindly trusting the suspicious ship. He at least has the grace to admit he screwed up afterwards when he tells Saavik to feel free to continue quoting regulations to him in the future.
    • The whole meeting with Khan. First, how the hell does 1st Officer Chekov, whose duty it is to notify the Captain when they are going into bad situations, completely forget that they are going into that star system where they left that mad tyrant and supergenius Khan Noonein Singh? Given that the man had been a major warlord (at the time in ST canon), had millions slaughtered, and nearly took over and destroyed the Enterprise, you would think that that would be something that he wouldn't forget easily. Second, do the Reliant's sensors not work? Do they not keep star charts or something? The idea that a whole planet could just explode and disappear, causing another planet to somehow take the first planet's identical orbit, and that the two planets were so similar that they fooled 23rd century sensors, and no one thought to question "oh, where's the missing planet that should be in sensor range?" requires a string of idiot balls that could be an offscreen Idiot Plot in itself.
      • Chekov was not part of the command crew during "Space Seed". (For that matter, he wasn't on the show during "Space Seed", although it was later retconned in that he was a minor crewmember somewhere on board that Khan remembered the face of because Khan has total recall). It is entirely possible that Chekov didn't know what star system Khan was dropped off in; after all, Khan's location has to be kept at some level of security classification, or else any one of several groups that wanted to make trouble for the Federation would simply sail there and turn him loose.
      • Also, even if Chekov had known, and had remembered well enough to make the connection, he has no reason to think that there's any connection to the present situation. If he knew the destination, he would also know that Kirk had left Khan without any working means of space travel, he'd know it's not the same planet, and he'd have no reason to suspect that that would have any bearing on the current mission.
  • In Star Trek: Generations the Enterprise-D was destroyed because four of the seven main characters passed the Idiot Ball around.
    • First up: Mr. Worf. Gee, what's the typical way to penetrate shields besides just pouring fire into them? Match frequencies with the shields! How is that halted? Rotate shield frequencies! Even if the Duras Sisters picked it up again, it'd take time and a quick eye to pick it up from Geordi's bugged visor again. Or just tell Data to do the exact same thing that he did in "The Best of Both Worlds" - change the shield frequencies, constantly at a speed only he can keep up with. The Borg couldn't keep up, how is some Klingon supposed to?
    • Commander Riker. He should have told Worf to fire at will. The Enterprise is one of Starfleet's big sticks, she should have been mercilessly whaling on that Klingon rust bucket. Even without shields, the Enterprise is covered stem to stern in phaser arrays, and is loaded with torpedoes. Instead, we get one piddly phaser strike before Data's technobabble solution.
    • Geordi, after the Duras sisters bite the dust. Gee, that main powerplant channeling immense energy has a chance to explode if it catastrophically malfunctions, it would be a great idea if the ship's designers worked in a means to dump it overboard if it did! Even stranger is the fact that they DO have a core ejection system. It is mentioned in the Enterprise-gets-destroyed-and-stuck-in-a-time-loop episode. The core ejector on Galaxy-class starships never seems to work (the cited episode, "Cause and Effect," being a good example), and maybe Geordi had figured that out and was just telling it like it is. This punts the idiot ball back to Starfleet's ship designers.
    • Troi. Wouldn't it make sense to fly away from the planet with its looming gravity pull as well as the other half of the ship counting down to explode? The only plausible explanation is that the saucer section didn't have enough power to escape the gravity well or that it was damaged in the main hull's explosion. This one in particular is a hilarious Idiot Ball hand-off because Troi's incompetence doesn't even BEGIN with her... it begins with Riker (again!) shouting, "DEANNA! TAKE THE HELM!" What? Riker, who has been stated to be one of the best pilots in Starfleet, is commanding the Ship's Counselor to fly the goddamned ship? The therapist? Who failed her officer's exams how many times? Her? Piloting the Federation flagship in the middle of a freaking crisis situation? Really?!
    • Captain Picard. While his crew was playing Idiot Ball Hot Potato, his plan to prevent a genocidal maniac from blowing up a star... was to beam down to the villain's base alone and try to talk him out of it. He didn't even go down with a weapon. To be fair, he didn't know that Soren was packing a force field. When that fails, Picard changes strategies by sitting on a rock and waiting until he conveniently spots a hole in the force field. After he gets sucked into the Nexus, he learns from Guinan's ghost that he can leave the Nexus and go anywhere, anytime. Given this supreme tactical advantage, he plans to go right back to the planet's surface where Soren was kicking his ass and was moments away from winning, rather than, say, back on the Enterprise before Soren blew up the first star and he could get his hands on a phaser to make a public arrest. Even better, he asks Guinan, who has no fighting skills at all, to come back and help him (since she's only a ghost, she instead refers him to Kirk, who is actually alive and kicks more ass in the film than Picard does).
      • And this ignores the fact that Picard can go back and save his relatives from dying in a fire. He could literally save his brother's life and family AND take out Soren, but he does neither. Hell, bring Kirk alone. He's strong and smart and could HELP!
      • It is implied that he could only go back into the past once; meaning, if he saved his brother and nephew, he would be stranded on Earth hundreds of light-years from the Enterprise, which had (maybe) another Picard in command, resulting in a lot of wasted time trying to contact them, get to them, explain what exactly was going on and how he (or they) got there, that he was the 'same' Picard, etcetera. In essence, Picard performed a Heroic Sacrifice of his own by NOT doing that—he gave up the chance to help his family to save an entire planet full of strangers. Admittedly, they didn't mention this at all, despite how much of a great character moment it would have been, and true to Picard's nature.
      • See Voodoo Shark for why your saving throw leads to a worse plot hole. OK, so Picard can only go back once? And going back on Earth would lead to the possibility that the proper information won't get where it needs to go? Go back two weeks before on the Enterprise, inform the Picard who is already there of a series of improbable events that he knows will happen, tell him that he should send a priority 1 message to whoever is listening to go check the wiring in his brother's house, buy him a smoke alarm, and be watching him on XYZ date. Then both Picards can go leisurely take care of Soren and have a week to spare. So long as the information gets to Picard in the past, it doesn't really matter how far back he goes. He can pull a Marty McFly, and give Picard a letter to be opened on the date of "Encounter at Farpoint": so long as the information makes it back to the past, it doesn't matter when in the past it gets to (at least in Star Trek physics).
  • In John Carter, Dejah gets to hold one when the main villain gets on his knees, gives her his sword, and tells her to just kill him if she doesn't want to marry him. She has been very vocal about how staunchly against it she is the whole movie, she's a fully capable swordswoman, and she puts the sword to his neck... Her next scene has her in a wedding gown. She might have been wary on account of the fact that his soldiers would probably raze Helium if she did it, but it's not made clear.
  • In Silent Running, Lowell has spent eight years as the sole botanist taking care of one of the last living forests, preserved in a space station. He's implied to be the only person to still care about preserving nature and is the best man qualified to oversee the return of nature to Earth. Despite all this, towards the end of the film he suffers a crisis because he simply can't figure out why his forest is dying. In the climax, he suddenly remembers that plants need sunlight! Why did it take him that long to figure that out???
    • Most likely it's a sign that his guilt over killing his fellow crewmembers and his isolation from human contact is making him lose his reason. In fact, the former is one of the reasons he later kills himself.
  • Granted, the film Rampage (2018) starts with the villains- Claire and Brett Wyden of Energyne- making a 'weapon' that turns animals into enranged giants, so they were already operating on an area of questionable intelligence, but they then compound their mistakes by trying to summon the now-giant-and-enraged animals to them by turning on a massive transmitter in the middle of Chicago that enrages the animals and draws them towards it; Claire states as she turns the transmitter on that they allegedly had 'thousands' of such transmitters, so surely they could have used another one in a less populated area that wouldn't have risked the subsequent collateral damage?
    • In their defence, at the time Claire activated it, she assumed they'd only have to deal with one giant animal (they assumed George would die in a plane crash when the signal provoked him and they didn't know about the giant crocodile), but a giant wolf can still do a lot of damage.
  • Several characters grab the Idiot Ball HARD in Prometheus. For example, taking off the masks in a possibly contaminated area, later keeping them off when, again, a possibly contagious decapitated organism is being found, operating on its head while it is outside of a sterilised box and constantly trying to touch almost anything that looks potentially hazardous (the liquid on the walls, the “sexy snake”, the “virus vessels” etc) can be counted as such. The most prominent examples possibly would be the biologist who decides to try and touch an alien organism in a very traditional attack stance and, later on, the opening of the exterior hatch when a scientist who had turned up missing suddenly appears, lying face-down in the dirt — the crewmen simply gape at the twisted remnants of the corpse of the scientist right up until it stands up and attacks them.
    • The team's geologist decides (wisely) that poking around in strange ruins and touching everything in sight is a bad idea, and decides to head back to the ship. He gets handed an idiot ball right before he leaves, however, and manages to get lost. This is mere minutes after he's shown sending out probes that create a detailed three dimensional map of the cave.
    • In addition to the above examples, the intelligent captain trying to outrun the crashed torus-shaped ship that is rolling after her. It's traveling in a straight line. She runs directly along that same line, instead of simply moving left or right out of harm's way. Predictably, she fails to outrun it and gets crushed. In reference to this example, CinemaSins regularly refers to a character graduating from the "Prometheus School of Running Away From Things".
  • Quite reasonably, just about everybody in the Star Wars Prequel Trilogy. Most of the decisions that most of the characters make don't make the slightest bit of sense.
    • In The Phantom Menace:
      • The heroes get stranded on Tatooine by their hyperdrive failing due to battle damage escaping from Naboo. OK, fine, but they're utterly stymied by the locals not accepting Republic currency as payment for replacement parts. It never seems to occur to them to sell the queen's busted ship and just buy passage to Coruscant. Hell, they could just leave the ship and have Qui-Gon buy passage with the money he already has, which is implied to be significant. Anyone operating a ship that can go there certainly CAN use Republic currency, and would actually need some in order to refuel, resupply, and buy some cargo worth taking back to Tatooine once he got them there.
      • The film gives no good reason for the Trade Federation instigating this blockade in the first place. What is Sidious offering them that can be worth the political repercussions of an illegal blockade and occupation? They had to know that they'd be stripped of their trade monopoly if it didn't go entirely right, so it has to be a pretty good offer, but there's no hint of it.
    • In Attack of the Clones, upon learning that one of their Order has ordered a huge clone army, the Jedi don't bother to investigate why he did so and if anyone had stolen his ID or manipulated him (which they had!).
    • There's a major one in A New Hope which unfortunately could have prevented the franchise. R2-D2 and C-3PO launch an escape pod to escape to Tatooine. Several Imperial officers see the launch but avoid firing simply because there are no life forms aboard, this was a mission to receive the Death Star plans so at the very least one would fire at it in case the rebels put the plans in the escape pod. To make matters worse, this is the Star Wars universe where sentient droids are as common as houseplants, the odds of a droid holding important rebel information are greater than one would think.
    • In Return of the Jedi:
      • Skywalker and Co. get caught in a net by the Ewoks because Chewbacca happened to fall for one of the most obvious traps in the universe, a hanging piece of meat over a hidden net. Now this is a character that is demonstrated to be fully sentient and smart enough to pilot a spaceship and make repairs to it, and he falls for a trap that a 5 year old kid wouldn't like he was just a dumb animal. What's worse, the other characters get caught too because they all clustered around him for some reason.
      • In light of events of the Prequel Trilogy, Palpatine's response to Luke's refusal to be turned to the Dark Side is truly idiotic: He proceeds to try to torture Luke to death, in front of his father, while Luke begs his father for help, despite the fact that offering Anakin the power to preserve the lives of his family was the key to getting him to turn to the Dark Side. He may have hoped Anakin was dead, but he didn't even think of the possibility! Palpatine's plan to sway Luke to the Dark Side to begin with was even more idiotic: simply put it "ha ha I've lured your friends into a death trap... so now you're my apprentice I guess! Go Team Dark Side!" At least with Anakin he actually offered the guy a desirable incentive to turn bum on the Republic. Palpatine's actions are even more nonsensical, factoring in the Rise Of Skywalker; the novelization reveals that Palpatine apparently knew for certain that Vader was beginning to turn to the light side, which makes the fact that he turned his back on him whilst torturing his son to death even more egregious.
    • In The Last Jedi:
      • Luke Skywalker detects dark thoughts in his nephew, whom he's known all his life. He decides... to creep into his bedroom in the night, armed, to spy on him.
  • The main villain in Gamer
    • He's a tech genius and pretty media savvy, but makes two mistakes so laughable... First, the end reveals that he has the ability to take control of the Hero at any time, he neglects to do this any time during the film when it would be most advantageous to do so... like taking control for a split-second while the hero is playing Slayers, something he could easily do and make it look like a normal death in the game. Instead, he just hires a goon to kill him in game. Then he waits to usurp control of the hero until he is in the same room with him, and the hero has a weapon! Idiot ball indeed. Secondly, for someone so tech and media savvy to fall for the oldest trick in the book, having his villainous monologue broadcast to the world, is so pathetic that it doesn't bear a second thought.
    • Worse still, he reveals in that same scene his mind-controlling nanomachines could be dispersed in the atmosphere. Why isn't the world already under his control? Why even bother with the hero, at all?
  • James Cameron's Avatar: Although RDA was actually winning the final battle (until a literal Deus ex Machina struck), the commanding officer of whole operation, Quaritch, is master holder of the Idiot Ball (and the Hollywood Tactics Ball, while we're at it). His military strategies were so dumb that someone competent could blow up the Tree without losing any men and with less technologically sophisticated means. Let's take a look, shall we?
    • The whole idea of taking fleet of choppers in the "asteroid field" that is known to be jamming electronics to point that pilots have to operate primary by their sight. Alternatives?
      • RDA controls space. They don't have any orbital bombardment weapons, true, but they've could just used some old satellite or piece of space debris to make a precise strike on the Tree. They're literally flying a space shuttle as a bomber.
      • RDA Sec Ops is absolutely illogically missing any kind of artillery. Well, they are security, sure, but they have a stereo lithography device in the base. In other words, a 3D printer that can print FIREARMS en masse. It can't be much problematic to simply print some big gun when needed. They've could just hit the Tree from afar.
      • Same with some kind of long range missiles. RDA is using missiles extensively, so why don't have some long range models? Yes, the flux vortex of Hallelujah mountains is trolling the sensors, but who needs them? Just point it at the target! Nazi V2 rockets were able to hit London without computers and homing. And that was in WWII.
      • Instead of taking the shuttle/bomber through the mountains, they could fly it to the space and then descend on the tree and then drop the payload.
    • Good Guys aren't immune to it, either. Trudy is a trained combat pilot, flying a gunship that is faster and much more maneuverable than the RDA shuttle leading the assault during the final battle, which has heavy forward firepower. Rather than using this speed and maneuverability to attack the thing from the rear and flanks where it has fewer defensive weapons, she spends the entire fight sitting right smack dab in the middle of its forward firing arc. It ends as predictably as it sounds.
  • In Dreamscape, Max von Sydow figures out Christopher Plummer's evil plan and tells him so, right to his face. The response? "Have You Told Anyone Else?"?
  • Ethan Glance in Space Cowboys. He decides to, without telling anyone, take an unauthorized spacewalk on the secret orders of Bob Gerson, and with everyone shouting at him not to connect the PAM rockets on the IKON satellite, decides to do it anyway, thinking that doing so will allow him to singlehandedly move the satellite into a stable orbit (which has dozens of problems even if he was successful). But when he connects it, the satellite activates, swings around, crashes into the docked space shuttle damaging it, and the satellite starts jettisoning its outer casing. One of the panels hits Ethan, somehow just knocking him out though it doesn't damage his helmet enough for it to leak air, and leaving him unconscious tethered to an activated Soviet orbital platform. The movie ends without touching on what happened to Ethan when he got back to Earth, but if he survived, he likely faces:
    • An expulsion from NASA, considering his actions lead to the destruction of expensive NASA equipment.
    • Jail time considering he endangering NASA astronauts, damaged Russian equipment, and jeopardized the lives of thousands or even millions, because even if the missile warheads didn't detonate in the atmosphere (nuclear weapons aren't like gunpowder, and they require everything working perfectly to create critical mass), they would still shower weapons-grade nuclear material on the ground or water below, creating an environmental catastrophe.
    • Life imprisonment, court martial, or even capital punishment for collaborating with Bob Gerson, knowingly withholding critical mission information, and following secret orders which could have caused nuclear catastrophe.
    • And the film makers for concocting the idiotic scenario in the first place (along with a dose of research failure). It takes HOURS of preparation to spacewalk from a shuttle (largely due to needing to breath a special gas mixture to purge nitrogen from the blood, since the suits operate at 3 PSI of pure oxygen and shuttles run at 15 psi of air, and not doing this risks the bends), it's time consuming to get into a suit, you can't put a suit on in the first place without assistance, there needs to be a suit assembled for you, prepped, and loaded on the ship, and you cannot operate the airlock without additional assistance anyway.
  • Mom and Dad Save the World involves a literal Idiot Ball. One of the weapons used on the Planet Spengo is called a Light Grenade. If you pick it up, you disappear in a flash of light, leaving the grenade behind. The clever part is that the grenade says "Pick Me Up" on the side. That works because the people of Spengo are really, really stupid. A squad of attackers encounters a Grenade, and several cutscenes later, we see the squad has been reduced to two or three, surrounded by empty uniforms and scattered helmets, staring intently at the grenade. One says, "We're gonna need reinforcements."
    • The entire planet is an Idiot Ball. Says so within minutes of the film starting.
  • In the first Jurassic Park movie, while Grant and Ellie are holding back a velociraptor, a gun that was knocked out of Grant's hands and is just barely out of their reach. Lex is meanwhile hacking into the security system, and Tim, not doing anything else, decides to just stand off to the side cheering her on instead of picking up Grant's gun.
    • To be fair, the gun *was* jammed, though it's not like Tim was likely to know that.
  • The sequel The Lost World: Jurassic Park. "Not into the long grass! Long grass!" Sage advice, the only problem being he was running into the long grass to tell them...
    • Also from the second film is Sarah, a scientist who disregards every piece of common sense in existence in regards to interacting with wildlife, and Nick, who sabotages the hunting party's every step regardless of the cost in lives. Both are responsible for every death on the island.
  • In Jurassic World, had Claire or anyone at the Indominus Rex enclosure bothered to check its tracking device before sending a trio into the pen to investigate, it wouldn't have escaped and none of the bloodshed would have ensued.
    • Somewhat justified in the fact that the scientists had no clue that I-Rex could use camouflage since Dr. Henry Wu did not tell any one the I-Rex's genetic makeup. Since they didn't know it's genetic makeup it wouldn't have been unreasonable to think that it had ripped out the tracking chip and escaped exactly like it would end up doing later in the film.
  • The Wild World of Batwoman: the villains have a drug that makes people inexplicably happy and compels them to dance. More, the Designated Heroine is not only aware of this, but managed to use the substance against them in a previous scene. So when she's handed a bowl of soup she didn't order by a suspicious waiter wearing a bad fake moustache, and sees a random guest at the restaurant stand up and start dancing for no reason, what does she do? She gavumphs the soup without a second thought. Needless to say, thirty seconds later she's a dancing fool.
  • Pacific Rim:
    • The world council. So the Jaegers are starting to lose. Okay, that's a problem. But if the Kaiju are getting stronger, why do they think a wall is going to be immune to that problem? Sure enough, the Kaiju get through one of those walls and a Jaeger saves the day.
    • The wall makes no sense at all. It can't fight back and it's not like the kaiju is going to get bored and walk away. Even if it takes a day or so it will break through eventually because nothing will be killing it. You can't even nuke it if it's that close to the city. The wall's inadequacy is painfully obvious when you notice that the kaiju that broke through is BIGGER than the wall itself. Finally, when the last kaiju shows up it's literally twice the size of the next largest kaiju (though to be fair the wall's designers couldn't really have foreseen that). The wall of life would literally be a Waist High Wall to it.
    • To top it all off, the kaiju Otachi appears and reveals it can fly. Wall: Completely moot.
  • X2: X-Men United:
    • The entire broken dam scene. Iceman and Storm could have conceivably saved the day without needing a Heroic Sacrifice, since both are capable of manipulating the temperature of water. Likewise, Jean's actions could have easily been done from the safety of the plane. The characters come to the conclusion that Jean did it deliberately, rather than a mere lack of forethought.
    • Rogue attempting to fly the Jet, without any training in its operation, simply because she was getting impatient. It predictably crashes only a few seconds after take-off and ends up being damaged, forcing Jean to sacrifice herself.
    • Earlier, Xavier has a minor but understandable one. He notices that Deathstryke is starting to regain control. He's smart enough not to say anything, but the fact that he keeps glancing over to her alerts Strkyer, allowing him to give her another dose of serum to keep her obedient.
    • The fight at Bobby's house is one for the cops. There have to be half a dozen of them, and despite the fact that they have their weapons in hand and trained at the mutants, none of them open fire on Pyro once he starts slinging fire around. This when they had already demonstrated willingness to use deadly force (on Wolverine, so it doesn't count, but they didn't know that).
  • X-Men: First Class:
    • Really Charles? You really thought the Just Following Orders excuse would go over well with a a holocaust survivor like Erik?
      • To be fair, Charles was just inside the head of a man as he died slowly and painfully, and now his best friend is wearing a telepathy-blocking helmet. It's not unrealistic for someone to say something rock-stupid after experiencing death and then being confronted with what seems to them to be the walking corpse of a loved one.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), April picks this up when she goes to her editor with a bizarre account of mutant turtles and absolutely no evidence to back it up. She actually did have evidence, but was too sleep-deprived and probably jacked on caffeine to remember that she had the photo on her phone.
  • The cheesy sci-fi movie R.O.T.O.R. has a Killer Robot with a laughably obvious Weaksauce Weakness (loud car horns). In spite of this, none of the characters bother to use this to incapacitate it and stop its rampage.
  • Ex Machina:
    • Nathan's house doubles as a state-of-the-art research facility and features independent room access, cameras backed by facial recognition software, and even a lockdown protocol in case of power failure. And yet access is controlled only by plastic cards without passwords or biometrics — which is to say, crappier than last year's iPhone.
    • Nathan spends a great deal of his time drunk while having over a house guest who he is deliberately trying to set up to betray him. To be fair, his behavior was probably a deliberate ploy to make Caleb more sympathetic to Ava. But when coupled with the above idiot ball...
  • In Project Almanac, the whole group, filming themselves breaking into their own high school and stealing boxes full of bottled hydrogen.
  • In Minority Report, John gets pegged for a future murder. Since the date and time of the murder are known, instead of going through a lengthy Clear My Name plot, he could have just skipped town for a couple of days, then after the date the murder was supposed to have occurred he could calmly come back and figure out who set him up without having to dodge his former collegues.
  • In Godzilla VS Mecha Godzilla II a group of scientists deduce that a giant, extremely dangerous flying Kaiju birthed from an egg. Right beside the empty egg is a yet unhatched egg. Godzilla shows up and fights the flying Kaiju, making the scientists realize that both monsters are interested in the egg or one monster is interested in the egg and the other wants to kill any other monster they can find. So the scientists bring the egg to Tokyo which allows the film to happen. As a result their city is destroyed and everyone they know and love is either homeless or dead. It is a profound and frustrating burst of idiocy held by every human character in the movie.

    Fantasy Movies 
  • In Hellboy II: The Golden Army
    • Prince Nuada and Princess Nuala share a telepathic link that lets them know what the other is thinking and causes them to share any physical damage they incur. When Nuada is sentenced to death, Nuala accepts the verdict, sacrificing herself to prevent her brother's scheme. When Nuada escapes, Nuala tries to stop him, but she could, at any time, kill herself to stop him, as she was already prepared to do earlier. In a later scene, she allows herself to be taken to the heroes' headquarters, but neglects to inform them that Nuada can find her anywhere and knows everything they tell her, allowing him to progress in his scheme. When Nuada throws his magic bean into the gutter, Nuala neglects telling the others to keep it away from water until it's too late for them to do anything. Only in the end does Nuala finally put two and two together and kill herself to stop Nuada.
    • Abe gets it rather badly shortly after spinning the "my brother knows everything I know" idiot ball — what does he do when he is informed of this rather critical piece of information? Go inform HQ that they'll probably be getting a PO'd elf prince breaking in? Work on evacuating everyone to safety? No, he and Hellboy get drunk and sing love songs.
    • At any point in the movie someone could have thwarted the prince's plan by destroying part or all of the crown that controlled the Golden Army, which is exactly what they end up doing in the end.
  • In Masters of the Universe, Evil-Lyn tricks Julie into handing her the Cosmic Key by disguising herself as Julie's dead mother. Not once does Julie question how her mother is alive, where her father could be, or why her mother would want the Cosmic Key.
    • Somewhat understandable - grief can make people extremely irrational, and her mother had only recently died. She also felt somewhat responsible for her mother's death.
    • Also Skeletor. He goes to the trouble of invading another planet to relieve the heroes of their Cosmic Key...and instead of either taking it with him when he leaves or at least completely destroying it, just breaks it and leaves it behind. With the guy who invented it, and the rest of the heroes. Between them, they have everything they need to fix it, AND a guy who can figure out how to set it to teleport them directing into Skeletor's throne room.
      • Then again, coming up with absolutely ludicrous plans seems to be Skeletor's entire thing, in both this movie and...well, pretty much everything else.
  • In Highlander II: The Quickening (yes, but let's ignore the nonsensical pissing over the canon for a moment), the villain picks up a massive idiot ball. Connor is old and probably going to die in the next 10 years from natural causes. The villain, despite waiting for the last 500 years for the exiles to do whatever it was they were doing and finally claim the prize, decides that killing Connor is paramount and sends his mooks to try and kill him. Instead of waiting a few extra years for the guy who is nearing death, has no means of interstellar travel and no interest in returning, to die, he sends his insane and incompetent mooks to try and kill him. They instead get killed, which turns Connor young and immortal again. So the villain then heads to Earth to face off in person, instead of sending less incompetent mooks to kill him.
    • What makes it even worse is that the blithering idiocy of this plan is lampshaded not just by Conner, BUT ALSO BY THE TWO DUMBASS INSANO REJECTS HE SENT IN THE FIRST PLACE.
    • To be fair, he apparently DOES have a means of returning, since he has the Prize (at least, this seems to be implied by the love interest's attempt to confirm that she understood his explanation of the new backstory that completely contradicts the first film). But he clearly has absolutely no interest in doing so. Holding on to an immense Idiot Ball seems to be a theme for villains played by Michael Ironside.
  • In Highlander: Endgame, Connor MacLeod tells Duncan MacLeod that his newlywed wife is a pre-Immortal, meaning that she can potentially stop aging and live forever with Duncan. The catch is that she has to face a violent death or she'll grow old and die. You might think that Duncan would bring the matter up after their honeymoon and explain the whole Immortal business, then give her the choice. Instead, Duncan decides that immediately after consummating their marriage, it would be a great idea to stab her to death while she sleeps. Duncan is quite surprised when his wife doesn't find this to be a romantic gesture and instead runs out of the room screaming because she thinks her husband of a few hours is a psychopath. Needless to say, their marriage doesn't last after that night and she keeps the grudge some four hundred years later.
  • Clash of the Titans:
    • The vain Queen Cassiopeia had the nerve to proclaim that her daughter, Andromeda, was more beautiful than the city's patron goddess, Thetis ... and she did this inside of Thetis's own temple, no less. In typical form for the Greek gods, Thetis does not take kindly to the insult, and as punishment, she demands that Andromeda be sacrificed to the Kraken, or else the entire city would be destroyed.
    • Also, at the beginning of the film, the arrogant and vengeful King Acrisius of Argos condemns his own daughter, Danae, and her infant child, Perseus — who happens to be the son of Zeus, the leader of the gods — to the sea. It never seems to occur to Acrisius that Zeus just might be a little P.O.'ed by this. (Zeus commanded Poseidon to unleash the Kraken on Argos, destroying the entire kingdom. Acrisius may not have noticed, however, since he was busy being crushed to death by Zeus's hand.)
  • Another Ray Harryhausen example: Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger .
    • The Big Bad witch Zenobia visits Sinbad at his ship to gloat over his inability to save Prince Kassim. Unfortunately Princess Farah is present, and she blurts out that the sage Melanthius may be able to turn Kassim back into his true form. This lets Zenobia know that she must take an active hand to stop Sinbad. If Princess Farah had just kept her mouth shut, Zenobia wouldn't have interfered. Not only would Sinbad's mission have been much easier, but the shrine of the Arimaspi wouldn't have been violated and its power would have been available in future situations.
    • Sinbad's ally, the wizard Melanthius, interrogates Zenobia after she's been captured. Not only does he show her an important map and key, asking her if they're what she's looking for, he then feeds some of her magic growth potion to a killer bee. Not surprisingly, the ensuing mayhem allows Zenobia to escape.
  • Played for Laughs in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. A crew finds Elizabeth's dress on board after she sneaks on board, prompting a mad rush to find the stowaway naked lady. None of them even stop to think said lady could be wearing men's clothes?
  • Toward the end of Twilight, Bella's mother visits her in the hospital after Bella was assaulted by a vampire before being saved by Edward. The vampire crushed her leg, threw her into a mirror where a shard cut into her femoral artery, and bit her wrist. Humans can't know about this. So Carlisle explained to Bella's mother what happened: Bella fell down TWO flights of stairs and THEN INTO A WINDOW!! That is Looney Tunes-level comedic hijinks. Did she hit a trampoline at the bottom? The idiot ball is being held by Bella's mother, father, and the hospital staff for believing such a ludicrous story!
  • The Land That Time Forgot
    • In the original film, the survivors of a sunken British ocean liner, led by manly token American Bowen Tyler, take over a German submarine. Bowen locks up the German captain, von Schoenvorts, and keeps the first officer, Dietz, around as an adviser of sorts. The only problem is, von Schoenvorts is the reasonable, cooperative one, and Dietz is the treacherous, untrustworthy, opportunistic one. He sabotages the sub's radio and compass. Bowen knows this. He saw Dietz trash the radio and even hit him for it, and Dietz smirks smugly when Bowen discovers the sabotaged compass, all but confessing. And yet Bowen continues to insist on keeping Dietz free and at his side and von Schoenvorts locked up. Even when von Schoenvorts briefly takes back the sub with Dietz's help and Bowen and the Brits have to re-retake it, Bowen again locks up von Schoenvorts instead of Dietz - who of course begins cooperating with his captors again. Sensing a pattern? Bowen sure isn't. He has the Idiot Ball. Nearly every problem the characters get into that leads them to have to go to Caprona is a direct result of Bowen inexplicably continuing to trust Dietz.
    • In the sequel, The People That Time Forgot, the Idiot Ball holder is Ajor, the usually competent hot cave babe. When she, Ben McBride, Charlotte and Dr. Norfolk are greeted by the Samurai-esque Nagas, the leader of their warriors, Chung-Shah, speaks English and claims Bowen taught him, and his a guest of theirs and to come on over. Ben and the gang can be forgiven for buying into this. Chung-Shah is a pretty convincing liar and seems nice... but Ajor, whose tribe was annihilated by the Nagas, says nothing. She just stands there as Chung-Shah lies, lies and lies. And then they're taken to the Naga ruler Sabbala and oh no it was a trap. In fact, even Ben and the others should've known better... considering Ajor told them in great detail how the Nagas killed her tribe and kidnapped Bowen.
  • Lyra at the end of The Golden Compass. She just goes to sleep, knowing full well her father/uncle is hiding something. She decides not to ask the alethiometer for details because she's afraid to know the truth, which is not at all in sync with her character — probably Because Destiny Says So. Even worse, this actively breaks the books' own aesop about questioning authority and fighting for the truth!
  • Snow White and the Huntsman
    • Snow White, locked in the tower most of her young life, has managed to escape, and is lost in the Dark Forest. The evil Queen Ravenna and her brother Finn find the Huntsman, who has visited the Dark Forest & survived. Queen Ravenna orders the Huntsman to find her at spearpoint, and also (falsely) promises that if he brings back Snow White, she can bring back the Huntsman's dead wife using Snow White's life in exchange for hers. After the Huntsman brings Snow White back, he asks "What do you intend to do with her?" as if Ravenna hadn't already made it pretty clear. Snow White protests that Queen Ravenna and her brother Finn are going to double-cross the Huntsman, to which Finn exclaims "My sister has many powers...but she cannot bring your wife back from the dead, you fool!" Good job, tell the suicidal, unstable Huntsman, who is only helping you for the sake of being reunited with his wife, that it was all a lie. This should end well for you. Cue fight scene and escape, with the Huntsman and Snow White now as tentative allies.
    • Finn hands the idiot ball back to the Huntsman when they meet at a later time. In a fight the Huntsman was at first losing, he gains the upper hand by charging at the brother and impaling him on the shards protruding from a tree stump. (Finn) "Sister, heal me." Time to retrieve that great axe of yours, just feet way, and take off his head? No, just stand there, forcing him onto the stump. Fortunately the task of curing her brother was too much for the queen.
    • The Huntsman in turn hands the idiot ball back to the Queen at the end of the movie. She asks of Finn at an earlier stage: How is it that an innocent young girl makes a fool of my BROTHER? It's in the genes, lady.. Told that Snow White is either her downfall or key to immortality, the Queen is informed of an army preparing to attack the castle, led by Snow White. She welcomes this news, thinking it will lead Snow White into a trap, so she can at last gain her immortality. So what do her forces do? Fire explosive, burning balls at the approaching group, along with many arrows. Snow White only survives by luck.
  • Night at the Museum II. When Larry returns and is given the hourglass with his trapped friend, why doesn't he immediately free the cowboy, by opening the glass as quickly as Kamunrah closed it? Or at the very least turn it upside down to let the sand flow away from him? Instead, he stands there for a huge part of the dialogue just holding it (at least having the sense to hold it horizontally so no more sand pours on the cowboy). Later on, the hourglass once again falls on the floor upright, putting the cowboy in mortal danger again.
  • In the second installment of The Neverending Story, Bastian seems to be clutching the idiot ball for dear life, for no other reason is how easily he's manipulated by the villain. You'd think he'd be less inclined to make wishes, particularly for such reasons, when the self-professed villain and her bird-boy lackey (who he should be able to notice is working for the villain) both keep insisting he make wishes. Not only that, he accepts magical (possibly boobytrapped) gifts from her and despite knowing and having far more reason to trust Atreyu than her, for some reason continues act like Atreyu is some kind of idiot when he insists the villain shouldn't be trusted. He clutches it even harder in the third sequel, where he barely does anything but be a coward.
    • Bastian also is given opportunities to make wishes with the Orin, (Unknown to him that making wishes will cause his memories to be removed from his mind) but most of the time he doesn't even make the wishes. A good example would be when Xayide sends her minions after Bastian, Nimbly tells him to make a wish but he doesn't and Nimbly has to save him.
  • Superman II
    • At the end, Superman kisses Lois to make her forget everything that had happened over the last two weeks instead of just letting her deal with it all like an adult. Why didn't he just do this the moment she discovered his secret identity?
    • Then there's the part where Lara's hologram tells him he can "never" get his powers back if he gives them up to be with Lois. It's bad enough he decides not to just ignore this edict; but he makes his decision to be with her so casually that he basically just shrugs his shoulders and says, "I love her," then gives them up, only to get them back via the green crystal after he learns about Zod, et. al.
  • In Dracula Untold, Vlad apparently forgets about all his powers during the fight with Mehmet. It could have been that the silver weakened him, except he finishes the fight after nearly being killed, by bat-forming behind Mehmet and impaling him with his own stake. He probably should have opened with that move, since the silver clearly wasn't preventing it.
  • The Lord of the Rings presents us with a number of idiot balls not present in the books. The most blatant example is from The Fellowship of the Ring, when the Nazgûl attack at Weathertop. Aragorn takes it when he just leaves the hobbits to fend off the wraiths all by themselves, with the lame excuse of searching out the area. He should know better. Frodo takes it right afterwards when he warns the others and puts out the fire although the wraiths are afraid of it. They attack immidiately afterwards, and Aragorn fends them off with a torch. The movie, more than the books, drives the Idiot Ball home pretty hard.
    • Ironically, Peter Jackson wanted Pippin to be the primary ball holder throughout the movie, toning down most of his brighter moments. The fact that he is the one to lit the bonfire at Weathertop was meant to underscore this point. However, according to the logic of Middle-Earth, Pippin did exactly what he should have done. Frodo, who was supposed to be the smart one, puts out the fire, because it might draw the wraiths to it. What an Idiot!.
      • It makes sense if you consider that they're thinking in terms of conventional battle, in which lighting the fire would be a bad idea and putting it out a good one. They simply fail to take into account that the Wraiths don't exist or interact with their environment in conventional ways.
      • Additionally, at no point in the movie prior to this had it been shown that the Ringwraiths were afraid of fire. Frodo and Co. had only just learned of their existence and had no reason to suspect they would be vulnerable to anything in particular. The true Idiot Ball goes to Aragorn, who does know this and should have warned the hobbits that it could be used to repel them. (It is arguable that Aragorn's sheer badassery in combat is what chases them away, rather than just the fire.)

    Crime Movies 
  • In Pulp Fiction, Butch's storyline requires a number of idiot balls. Butch decides to risk going back to his apartment to get his watch, a precious family heirloom, despite the fact that he knows people are out to kill him. When it gets to his apartment, no-one seems to be there, so he decides to hang out and cook some Pop-Tarts rather than thank the gods for his good fortune and flee immediately. It turns out that Wallace and Vincent were waiting for Butch at his apartment, but Wallace decided to go get some snacks and had to leave his MAC-11 machine pistol behind. Vincent meanwhile went to use the restroom, leaving Wallace's gun sitting out in plain sight. Vincent had already shown several previous instances of stupidity.
  • Fracture (2007) - The fact that there'll be a 'fracture' in the villain's otherwise great plan is well foreshadowed not only with the title, but also with a rather complicated prop. Will it be the planting of a gun? Or an unexpected friend to the DA judge? Maybe the DA will take justice in his own hands...? Well... he just admits everything upfront in a BBG monologue, not suspecting that the man of law might be wearing a wire. Can't blame him though - the cash was on some kind of digital sound recorder, maybe like the one built into his cell phone.
    • It's worse than that. As he points out himself, the villain still would have gotten away with it because one can't be tried twice for the same offense in the American legal system. If only he hadn't forgotten that the first time he was charged with ATTEMPTED murder, meaning when his victim died it was possible to try him with murder, a different crime.
  • Justified in noir film Where Danger Lives to explain why the hero runs off with The Vamp: he has a bad concussion and isn't thinking straight.
  • The police drama Blitz is a pretty intense and tight movie about tracking a vengeful cop-killing lunatic, but at one point it hits a scene that would have completely derailed the entire movie if a single character had not acted like a moronic sheep. An informant is moments away from telling a reporter the name of the killer, but he first decides to go count the money he's being paid in the bathroom of the pub where they're meeting. The killer, however, knows he's there and follows him into the bathroom. The killer confronts the informant, who quivers in panicked fright, until the killer calmly and almost casually pulls him into a bathroom stall and drowns him. If the informant had instead bolted for the door leading back into the crowded, public pub where at least a dozen people were located and started screaming for help at the top of his lungs, he likely not only would have survived but the killer would have been caught either in the pub or immediately afterward once his name became public knowledge.
  • In Lethal Weapon 2, Riggs does the "idiot ball" thing with his girlfriend du jour, Rika. Paraphrased here:
    Riggs:: "Wow, good thing we escaped your evil employers who just tried to kill us, Miss Van den Haas. Now let's drop you off at your apartment, where they know you live, without any police protection!"
    *hands Idiot Ball to her*
    Rika: "Hey, great idea, Officer Riggs!"
  • Downplayed in Thursday. With just a few moment to arm himself, the hero grabs a frying pan, and then recalls that he has a handgun in the fridge (it's a long story). Granted, he had a very stressful day, and in the end he made do with the pan as well.

    Action Movies (Non-Sci-Fi) 
  • Every James Bond villain, by explaining the whole plot to Bond, and then putting him in an easily-escapable trap with an inept guard. (Naturally, this is lampshaded in Austin Powers, where Scott says "Why don't you just shoot him?" And Dr. Evil doesn't explain, but simply cuts him off by going "SHHH!" every time, saying "I've got a whole bag of 'SHHH!' right here!")
    • In Skyfall, Q connects Silva's unsecured computer directly to MI6's mainframe without any sort of precautions to decrypt it. Any reasonably tech-savvy person could tell you that that is an incredibly stupid thing to do, opening up your own system to all sorts of nasty things such as viruses. Indeed, Q's act allows a program embedded in the computer to hack into MI6 and release Silva from his cell.
  • In the film Cobra, the final confrontation between the titular police officer and the villain (a serial killer named the Night Stalker) begins by the villain pointing out that cops have to play by the rules even when dealing with a man as evil as him and as such couldn't just gun him down. Now this would be a perfectly logical and interesting argument if Cobra hadn't gunned down at least two dozen men in a car chase five minutes beforehand. Not only this, but he's well aware from the news that Cobra is trigger happy and is famous for solving problems with his gun. Why he thought a man with the body count of at least thirty would care if he shot a serial killer guilty of molesting a child in cold blood is, perhaps, best left to himself.
  • King Leonidas in 300 brusquely rejects Ephialtes's offer to join his army because his deformity would cause a weakness in the ranks. Leonidas apparently doesn't realize that pissing off a man who knows your position's only weakness isn't such a smart idea. He also never thinks to suggest that Ephialtes fight with the other Greeks, who are mere "brawlers." It's also worth noting that the Spartans only fight a single battle in formation before breaking up into single-man wrecking crews anyway. There are several possible justifications for this. The first is that Spartans despised deformity, and it is true to Spartan culture for Leonidas to reject him out of hand. It also may be a case of Delios being an Unreliable Narrator who embellishes the truth to make a better story. The real life Ephialtes was a regular man who was simply greedy.
    • It was explained better in the original comic. There, after Leonidas rejects him, Ephialtes throws himself off a cliff to his death, but, unbeknownst to Leonidas (who thinks him dead), he survives, and is hungry for vengeance against the spartans.
  • Almost all the villains in the Indiana Jones series get a dose of this trope. In Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade:
    • Walter Donovan readily accepts the first grail Dr. Elsa Schneider hands him. After he drinks from it, he quickly ages to death.
    • Elsa herself succumbs when she tries taking the grail despite multiple warnings. Before she knows it, the temple has collapsed and she's hanging above an abyss. She then uses Indiana hold to reach for the grail, but her hand proves too slippery, causing her to fall to her death.
  • In Die Hard one must wonder why Tony takes the detonators, one of the crucial elements to the terrorist's plans, along with him when he goes in alone to hunt McClane. Why he didn't leave them with Hans, or why the otherwise intelligent Hans didn't demand he leave them behind, is a mystery, and of course McClane gets his hands on them and almost foils their entire scheme because of it.
  • The Hunger Games: The Career tributes fail to spot a deadly threat that Rue notices from further distance and all go to sleep in the same turn without a sentry, in a kill or be killed scenario. This is quickly exploited against them.
  • Sandman / Flint Marko from Spider-Man 3, after being foiled by ol' Web Head, decides that he'll never be able to get the money he needs to help his daughter as long as the web slinger is around and decides to take him out. Considering he can fly and regular police and military can't stand a chance against him, it never occurs to him to just cross the Hudson and hit a bank in Jersey City, where Spider-Man doesn't fight crime. That's also not considering the legal applications of his abilities that would have been far more lucrative than robbing banks (see his entry under Cut Lex Luthor a Check).
  • Late in Terminator 2: Judgment Day the T-1000 decides to torture Sarah Connor to force her to call to John, blatantly neglecting its ability to just kill her, mimic her voice and appearance, and do it itself. It's an especially glaring example as mimicking a voice to fool a target is something even the more dated T-800 is capable of and uses to its advantage several times, and the T-1000 just does it itself when it fails to coerce Sarah. According to supplementary materials the T-1000 behaves this way since it's been programmed to be cruel and sadistic to prevent it from developing those pesky human emotions (rather than the read-only mode switch the T-800 utilizes), and thus it prioritized the cruel option rather than the pragmatic one.
  • Apparently the T-X from Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines has a sub-routine that makes it clutch the ball several times. Most notably when it's imitating Scott (Kate's fiance) and she is running toward it. What does it do? Turns back to the form Kate already knows is a killing machine well ahead of time, giving Kate ample time and distance to be rescued. Though it may be a case of Artificial Stupidity, neither the obsolete T-800 or the T-1000 made moves like this, and the T-X is allegedly far more intelligent and advanced.
  • A very glaring one in Terminator Salvation where the Resistance's plot involves sending a stolen shutdown signal to all of Skynet's machines, from their mobile HQ, which needs to be continuous to work. Signals can be traced with current and even rudimentary technology, something anyone with even a feint understanding of signal broadcasting should have known, and pretty much anyone with common sense should have suspected was a possibility. Worse still when it's tested on an HK with a signal strong enough to be received but not strong enough to actually shut it down, the HK detects it and begins homing right in on them until they increase the power enough to shut it off. Of course, nothing is made of this possibility, it turns out the signal was just a Honeypot Trap by Skynet, and take a wild guess what happens to everyone on the sub.
  • Selina Kyle accessing the protected files of Max Schreck in Batman Returns. Okay, even if your boss isn't a murderous sociopath, even if you have a Benevolent Boss, on what planet is breaking into private and confidential files a good move? You'd be lucky if you were just fired and not criminally charged for such a dumb move.
  • Late in Batman & Robin, Poison Ivy lures Robin to her lair, and both of them have different goals during this meeting. Poison Ivy wants to finally get Robin alone and kill him with her Kiss of Death and Robin wants to find out what she and Freeze are planning and learn for sure if she really loves him. They both however grab onto the ball and make very bad decisions after they finally share a kiss.
    • Robin: After his kiss with Ivy, Ivy reveals her true colors and taunts him, believing he will soon die. Robin however reveals he has outsmarted Ivy and has worn rubber lips to protect himself just in case, and reveals this by taking them off while sitting right next to her. He could have kept them on in secret and tackled Ivy when she wouldn't see it coming, but instead took away his only defense from her while their faces are still only a few inches apart.
    • Poison Ivy: She is shocked that Robin tricked her into revealing her plan and survived her kiss, but after he takes off his rubber lips instead of grabbing him and forcing a second kiss on him to ensure his death she angrily shoves him off of her throne and into the pond so her vines will drone him. Then instead of staying to make sure he drowns, she leaps from her throne and tries to leave, stopping only to taunt Robin by waving him goodbye and saying "see ya!" She treats the situation more like she's breaking up with Robin over a bad kiss instead of trying to kill him for knowing too much.

    Comedy Movies 
  • Dante in Clerks holds it by wanting to get back together with his cheating ex (Caitlin) even though his current one (Veronica) really cares about him and she SHOWS it. Jay, Silent Bob and Randal call him out on this dumb move. Jay says he's often seen Veronica do nice things for Dante like changing a flat for his car (earlier you see her bringing Dante lasagna to work just because and prevent him getting mauled by an angry mob) and says she's a keeper. Silent Bob tells Dante that "There's a million fine-looking women in the world. But they don't all bring you lasagna at work. Most of 'em just cheat on you.". Randal calls him out during an epic "The Reason You Suck" Speech. Dante lets go of it a bit too late however and Veronica dumps him anyway.
  • Played for Laughs in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Ron Burgundy jumps into a pit full of hostile bears to "save" his girlfriend, then realizes he has no plan and immediately regrets the decision.
  • Duncan in one scene in Mystery Team. Though nowhere near the "boy genius" he claims to be, he is still shown as being competent and the smartest of the group... except for the scene where he drank dog urine to disinfect his HAND.
  • In The Santa Clause 3, Jack Frost appears to be a walking Idiot Ball. Anyone he interacts with seems to lose at least 50 IQ points, making it absurdly easy for him to manipulate his way into a takeover.
  • Mrs. Doubtfire: While Daniel Hillard is posing as multiple nannies on the phone in response to his ex wife's nanny ad, she should've caught on to his scheme considering she was aware of his voice acting talent and the fact that so many bizarre nannies were calling.
  • In Home Alone 2: Lost In New York the Concierge misses a golden opportunity to capture Kevin when the kid runs up to him begging for help because he was being chased by criminals. Had the man played along and offered to call the police claiming he wanted to protect Kevin, the kid would have happily sat there and munched a cookie while the cops arrived rather than running amok through the hotel thinking he's going to be arrested.
  • In Robin Hood: Men in Tights, when Robin learns that there's going to be an archery tournament at Prince John's festival, he decides that he absolutely has to compete. This despite the fact that he didn't learn about the tournament until after he was told that the festival was a trap. Not only is Robin grabbing the Idiot Ball here, everyone else present can tell that he's doing so.
  • In Ernest Scared Stupid, for whatever insane reason Old Lady Hackmore tells Ernest, who is the only person who can release Trantor the troll, the exact steps to do so. Even if Ernest wasn't also going to clutch the ball and go do exactly that trying to prove it's not real, even if she had every reason in the world to think Ernest wouldn't do it, why on God's green Earth did she tell Ernest how to do it at all? It's not like she gained anything from it or he (or really anyone) needed to know how to do it for any reason.

    Musical Movies 
  • During the Vulgaria plot in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Jeremy and Jemimah are left alone and instructed to not go outside for any reason, because they would immediately be caught by the Child Catcher and imprisoned. When the thinly-disguised Child Catcher shows up trying to tempt the hungry children outside with delicious treats, Jeremy immediately wants to go outside and get something to eat, but Jemimah reminds him of the danger and says it's probably a trick. A moment later, however, she changes her mind and they both go outside and into the colorful stranger's wagon... only to be surprised that it was actually a trick and they've been imprisoned in a cage. And worst of all, there are no delicious treats inside!
    • And the townsfolk are perfectly happy to shout "No! It's a trap!" from their doors, but apparently can't be bothered to oh, say, pick up the children and/or drag them inside?
      • Children are outlawed - picking up the children and taking them inside would have gotten them arrested, so taking no action beyond a verbal warning (itself possibly risky) is understandable.

    Dance Movies 
  • Every Step Up movie needs some sort of conflict in order to form something resembling a plot. Unfortunately only Revolution's conflict is caused by a massive case of idiot ball. Eddie finds a video which reveals that his best friend's girlfriend, Emily, is secretly the daughter of the man who wants to destroy his neighborhood to build a new hotel. The problem here is that the video, as well as Emily's actions since he met her, also prove that she's on his side and has being doing everything to help stop her father. None of this matters to Eddie who launches a nasty, vindictive plot that effectively destroys his relationship with his best friend, Emily's relationships with her father, his best friend's relationship with Emily, the dance crew's chances at winning $1 million, AND the neighborhood's chance at saving their community. All in one single fell swoop. And all because his best friend kept Emily's identity a secret. Really?! The idiot ball gets passed around to the dance crew who, for some reason, went along with his selfish plans in the first place and then later quickly forgive him despite all the immense damage he's caused. What's worse? His best friend forgives Eddie after he delivers one of the worst half-assed apologies ever.

    Drama Movies 
  • Lily and Zach in The Secret Life of Bees live in the Deep South during the 1960s. You'd think they'd be aware that black men were killed for even looking at white women during that time. They sit together in the black section of the town movie theater and, unsurprisingly, Zach is carted off by the local rednecks. He escapes, but not before the emotionally fragile May, distraught over what happened, commits suicide. Good job kids.
  • In Reste Avec Moi, a elderly man is being beaten to death with a pipe in a case of road rage. The man's adult daughter and a group of big burly men just stand there and gape, leaving the daughter's husband to run over and stop the attack - which results in his losing control and nearly beating the attacker to death (for which he is arrested).

    Other Genres 
  • Many driver's ed films will show drivers making incredibly stupid decisions behind the wheel – everything from age-old safety rule violations such as driving drunk, failing to obey stop signs and speeding to today's danger of using cellular phones and texting while driving. The consequences are played out and while sometimes they end with the offending driver just being scared or at worst shaken up, more often than not the aftermath is not good.
  • At the end of Firefox where the climax is dependent on the fact that Clint Eastwood's character has momentarily forgotten to think in Russian, even though he's been kicking the snot out of everybody for the last fifteen minutes by doing just that.
  • Marlene from The Hand That Rocks the Cradle holds it firmly in her hands when she reveals to Peyton that she knows who she is, prompting Peyton to lure her to her death.
  • The Doctor's Wife in Blindness is the only sighted person in the entire asylum. So what does she do when a blind guy in another ward starts waving a gun that he can't aim, stealing food and possessions, and demanding women? Why, lead a bunch of other women to him and let him rape all of them, herself included.
  • Tank Girl. Tank Girl, Jet Girl, and Sam probably could have gotten clear of Liquid Silver without much trouble after taking the Madam hostage, but instead Tank Girl decides to stop for a musical number and as a result Sam is recaptured by W&P.
  • Michiel de Ruyter: Though highly intelligent, Johan de Witt does not believe rumours of a French army assembling to attack the Netherlands, despite warnings from those closest to him that there are recurring rumours and both the people and the sailors in the navy talk of nothing else.
  • Draft Day: The Browns general manager trades three first round draft picks for a player he doesn't really know, without consulting the head coach or the scouts. Then he researches this player AFTER he makes the trade. He discovers that the player in question has some flaws during this research. If he at least did his research right after the initial trade offer from the Seahawks, he wouldn't have made the trade or would have achieved a much better bargain. No wonder the head coach, the players and the scouts are pissed.
  • In Tulip Fever, the hero as everything squared away for him and the heroine to run off together and only needs to do one last thing—sell a rare tulip bulb to get the money to pay off his debts and fund their passage to The New World. He proceeds to entrust his drunken friend to retrieve the bulb for him. Of course, the man gets wasted and eats the bulb, leaving the hero in financial ruin and unable to go off to start a new life.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) has one that was caused by Sonic's redesign. Sonic gets a sticky bomb stuck to his hand and tries to do everything he can to get it off... except take off his glove. The is because before his redesign, he didn't have gloves on.

Alternative Title(s): Film


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