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Idiot Plot / Live-Action Films

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    Intentional examples 
  • Lampshaded in Angels & Demons:
    Langdon: Oh, jeez. You guys don't even read your own history, do you?
  • Arguably the whole point of Bill & Ted, with the protagonists being the exact kind of well-meaning idiots who would manage to turn a fairly simple endeavor into a ridiculously over-complicated adventure through spacetime, mostly because they take an insanely long time to really grasp the implications about having access to a time machine.
  • Burn After Reading is one of the few examples of an Idiot Plot done deliberately. And thus, it manages to be hilarious and entertaining rather than annoying, like most straight examples.
  • Actually, this is a pretty standard feature of The Coen Brothers movies. But most of them are acting in-character, as such it works. Some even manage to subvert it, like in The Big Lebowski: Walter figured out the whole plot from the beginning.
  • The Comic Strip Presents: The Supergrass would have been about 15 minutes long had the police actually bothered to investigate Dennis and find that there was no truth to his claims of being a drug dealer. It's the Comic Strip, after all.
  • Dumb and Dumber is one of the few movies that invokes this intentionally (it's in the title) and does it well.
  • Played intentionally and lampshaded in Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay.
    • Nothing would have happened if Kumar had the patience to wait until their plane touched down in Amsterdam, where weed is 100 percent legal, to start lighting up. And that's just the beginning. Similar to the original, the severity of their situation is only heightened by the stupidity (and, often, racism) of all the people around them.
    • Further Lampshaded in the Choose Your Own Adventure-esque feature on the DVD ("Dude Change the Movie") where if you have Kumar instead choose to not smoke on the plane the entire movie plot is discarded. (Instead you get Harold and Kumar Go to Amsterdam which is, tonally, very different from Guantanamo Bay.)
  • Lampshaded in Aliens.
    Ripley: "Did IQs just drop sharply while I was away?"
  • Done deliberately in Fargo, which surprise surprise is a Coen Brothers movie. The only major character not shown to be a greedy moron is Marge Gunderson, the detective investigating the whole disaster, whose role is entirely reactive. The core plot has Jerry, a greedy car salesman, hires two pretty criminals, a weaselly little shit and a callous killer, to kidnap his wife in order to split the ransom, in a plan that he very clearly did not think all the way through. The crooks then kill three people because Carl Showalter forgot to switch the getaway car's dealer plates out and got pulled over, leading to the death of the state trooper who stops them, and two witnesses who saw them. From there, things really start to implode.
  • Galaxy Quest is a fairly well-justified example, between the Thermians, who Cannot Tell Fiction from Reality, and the human cast, who are hopelessly out of their depth and take a fair bit of time to figure out that reality is now running on their old show's conventions.
    Guy: Did you guys ever watch the show?!
  • Idiocracy. Perfectly justified, of course, since the plot of the movie is almost literally "It's the future, and everyone is an idiot." The only non-idiot is the ridiculously average Joe, who is out of his depth and unused to leadership. The one big subversion is that on realizing how much smarter he is than them, they immediately put him in charge.
  • Played for laughs in Mystery Team.
  • Mars Attacks! Although a lot of the scenes are filmed in the style of a straight drama, this parody's plot is run by every possible stupid decision that could be made in the event of an alien invasion.
  • Pretty much a given with Mom and Dad Save the World since Spengo is described as "a planet of idiots".
  • Pain and Gain is constructed entirely around the fact that the main characters' scheme is so stupid that no one believes the Asshole Victim could possibly be telling the truth.
  • Oculus gives us an interesting scenario: there is an evil mirror that alters the perception of anyone within a certain radius, and had caused the protagonists Kaylie and Tim a lot of trouble when they were younger, when it drove their parents insane and framed Tim for their deaths. Tim resolves to get it over with and destroy the mirror, while Kaylie desires to clear their names first. They have multiple cameras and an anchor to go off within a time. The simple solution would be letting the anchor drop and destroy the mirror, but then the mirror cannot be provoked in order to prove that it is an Artifact of Doom without bait.
    • Which doesn't exactly stop the film from veering off into unintentional Idiot Plot territory at times. A lot of the film's events are made possible only by the characters getting distracted by the mirror; furthermore it's established that the only way to truly stop the mirror (to destroy it with the anchor) is to cover it up, as covering it will distract it. Even with the distractions in mind, not once do the characters even attempt to do this.
    • Furthermore, in its video for this movie, CinemaSins pointed out that they should have given up as soon as they got the first evidence: it showed that the illusions were only visible to them, and as a result, the recordings they did got were videos of them performing random actions that they wouldn't remember, but ultimately prove nothing to anyone.
  • Road Trip is a classic example of an Idiot Plot not just done on purpose, but played for laughs. The plot starts when a man in college, who is dating a girl at a college on the other side of a country, decides to make a videotape to send to her, to show how much he misses her. Later, he cheats on her with one of his hot female friends, which also ends up getting videotaped. One of his dorm-mates mails the wrong tape to her, and he and his buddies have no choice but to make a road trip to Boston, where his girlfriend lives, to intercept it. And that's just the tip of the iceberg; it's a miracle they even make it to Boston at all because every single decision that is made is absolutely terrible and results in some side-splitting laughs. Heightening the comedic effect is that the story ends up being a "Shaggy Dog" Story in the end- the tape itself ended up getting taped over by Tom Green's character, who did so when he was high out of his mid. And adding a kicker, the story is told by Tom Green's character, making him the most Unreliable Narrator on earth, as several people call out the leaps of logic in his story as he tells it to them.
  • Requiem for a Dream is a rare example of an intentional idiot plot being Played for Drama. All of the main characters are in the throes of serious drug addictions and rapidly losing touch with reality, which predictably leads them to make a lot of disturbingly irrational decisions.
  • The entire humour of The Three Stooges. The titular trio are the dumbest in the lot, but everyone else makes that a low, low bar to go under.

    Film #-F 
  • 28 Days Later:
    • Monkeys infected with a deadly and highly contagious virus, that makes them super aggressive and can spread by the slightest scratch or bite are held in steel frame cages? Check! A scientist discovers activists trying to release the monkeys, and tries to get them to stop by cryptically telling them the monkeys are infected with "Rage" and leaving it at that? Check! Said activists see said scientists getting all panicked about it, but don't bother finding out what he is so afraid of? Check, check, and double check!
    • Jim walks into an abandoned gas station, alone, because "we don't have any cheeseburgers." His companion Selena reminds him that they have plenty of food, but by God he wants those cheeseburgers. Surprise surprise, Jim finds a zombie in the store and has to fight it off on his own. At this point, everyone is holding the idiot ball. Jim is risking not only his own life, but everyone else's as well. What happens if he gets turned? Meanwhile, Selena, instead of restraining him or telling him he can't go in, shrugs her shoulders and walks away. This particular episode is egregious because it doesn't even drive the plot, only some minor dialogue later in the story. A soldier tells Jim that there's no way he could have gotten this far without killing someone. Well, he could have if he and his buddies weren't all holding the idiot ball.
  • 28 Weeks Later:
    • The basic premise of trying to repopulate Britain a mere 28 weeks after the virus was released. This is the most dangerous disease in human history, the island should have been quarantined for years if not centuries and probably given a nice burning just to insure that the virus was no longer a potential threat.
    • The so called "shelter", where people are crammed in at the first sign of trouble without first checking whether the zombie that started the trouble is inside or not! And then demonstrate how the doors to this impenetrable shelter can be breached by zombies and panicked humans alike from inside — had no-one in the military heard the saying "don't put all your eggs in the same basket"?
    • That's not even the start of it. For no reason whatsoever, they turn off the lights which not only lowers visibility and harder to see the (so far) lone infected coming, but greatly panics the civilians before it even shows up. Wouldn't it have been easier/safer to tell everyone to stay in their rooms? And what's more, the infection started because a man tried to see his wife (who was an asymptomatic carrier of the virus) and was able to enter the room. The room was completely unguarded, despite the military being well aware that she had the virus. And, despite it supposed to be a quarantine room, it was possible to just walk out of it instead of needing someone on the outside to open the door after insuring that whomever wanted out wasn't infected.
    • There's also when, after everyone in that shed gets infected, the soldiers have gotten orders to shoot everyone in sight. A somewhat reasonable precaution after discovering that there were asymptomatic carriers, but the kill zone was poorly illuminated and the snipers were using slow-firing guns that they had to aim rather than having machine guns that would have been useful against crowds of fast-moving infected. To say nothing of how one or two well-placed explosives, incendiaries, or claymores put there in anticipation of such a scenario could have dealt with the bulk of the infected with seconds if they weren't operating entirely on Hollywood Tactics.
  • In 365 Days, one has to wonder why Massimo didn't just date Laura normally, instead of going straight to kidnapping. He could've easily courted Laura by 'coincidentally' bumping into her and establishing a connection, and subsequently won her over the old-fashioned way with dates, gifts etc. Considering Laura's current boyfriend is far from Prince Charming and she does eventually fall for Massimo once she 'gets over' the whole kidnapping thing, she'd probably have been a lot more receptive to Massimo from the get-go if he hadn't held her against her will, which would've saved them both a lot of trouble.
  • 99 Homes starts off as a down-on-their-luck story about a struggling homeowner being evicted from his house, but then quickly escalates into a suspense thriller motivated by a series of choices so idiotic, that it culminates in a series of events that make no logical sense. After Dennis Nash (Andrew Garfield) is evicted from his home by a predatory banker named Rick (Michael Shannon), he gets into a fight while trying to get his tools back from Rick's house, and Rick, impressed by his passion, hires him to work on foreclosed homes. Dennis concocts a plan to use his earnings from this job to buy back the family home. The problem? He wants to get out of their roach motel immediately, but he can't as not enough time has passed. So rather than at least putting his family in an apartment and coming clean to them about being hired to victimize struggling home owners in the same fashion he was, Dennis makes possibly the stupidest and most impulsive decision one in this situation can, by just hiding it from them and moves them into basically a palace, selling the old family home instead. Worse, he and Rick are then sued by a former friend of his- the friend being someone Rick is trying to evict. So Rick, angry that said lawsuit puts a Real Estate deal in jeopardy, tries to force Dennis to deliver a fraudulent document to said tenant to override it and evict him. The problem is, Rick has officers he works with, and Dennis could very easily stop the whole situation by just telling the officers that Rick is conspiring to commit fraud. Only he chooses to wait until the actual eviction, and said eviction has turned into a Mexican stand-off to speak up about the fraud. And the ending heavily implies that Dennis' stupidity will land him in jail... all because he was too impatient to wait the amount of time required to buy back his family home.
  • Adrift concerns six people who sail a luxury yacht into the middle of nowhere and decide to go swimming. It would have been nice if one of them had remembered to lower the boarding ladder first. The one hydrophobic woman who didn't want to go swimming gets thrown overboard by her 'friend' trying to cure her fear of water. So now we have six people trapped in the water and an infant alone on board. Believe it or not the stupidity level increases from there.
  • Everything in Aliens relating to the ruptured cooling system and the resulting nuclear melt-down.
    1. After Ripley gets the Smart Ball and asks about the pulse rifle ammunition, which is explosive, there is apparently never any alternative ammunition available that *isn't* explosive, despite modern ammunition coming in different varieties especially for different scenarios where collateral damage could be an issue.
    2. Lt. Gorman tells the Marines the 'bare minimum' about not firing their guns and switching to flame units only, without explaining any of the consequences. Of course, this is in character with his demonstrated inexperience and by the book attitude.
    3. Sgt. Apone, however, asks very few questions, which is 'not' necessarily in character, as he's otherwise shown as competent. Sergeants are supposed to advise their Lieutenants, especially when they are new. You'd think he'd try to get a private conversation in, if nothing else.
    4. As a result, the Marines spend little time switching to weapons or strategies based upon this new information. The group fans out in a large scattered pattern, which coupled with the fact that this is a hostage rescue mission, makes flamethrowers an absolutely insane plan. Hicks switches to a shotgun, an appropriate weapon for the scenario, but he's the only one. Several other Marines lie about disarming their weapons.
    5. So, the action begins, the group is spread out and easily picked off, and friendly fire (literally) occurs with the flamethrowers. Other marines open fire and rupture the cooling system.
    6. The dropship the marines laned in takes off immediately after they depart, but some time after that it lands again and just sits there with its back door open. This allows the xenomorphs to easily kill both of the pilots and destroy the ship, leaving the marines stranded
    7. Sometime later, the survivors discover the fact that the station is going to self-destruct in about four hours and a reasonably intelligent plan is made to bring a dropship down. However, there are no discussions about escape routes or timetables for evacuation, especially considering they realize there's little spare time to escape once the dropship arrives.
    8. With only a couple hours until the whole area is destroyed in a nuclear explosion, Ripley and Newt lay down and take a nap, away from the rest of the group.
    9. The aliens approach, and the group welds the doors together and bunkers up, not once mentioning the fact that the station is going to be destroyed in less than an hour, and they need to be leaving NOW.
    • What's curious is that there really doesn't seem to be a need to have the explosion at all from a story perspective, except to be similar to the first film. They've already discussed nuking the area from orbit (which cleans up loose ends), and the additional tension/timeline isn't needed as they mention they have little chance of surviving more than a few hours against the aliens anyway.
    • Also, why is there no crew running the ship while the marines go down to the planet? They literally take every one with them, leaving it completely empty. The incomptence of the marines is at least justified in that the Weyland-Yutani corp wants the mission to fail so that infected marines will transport alien embrios back to Earth for them, but that becomes an idiot plot in and of itself.
  • Just about everything that happens in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 only seems to happen because its main characters are dumber than a bag of bricks.
    • This goes back before the entire storyline even starts. In the opening scene, Peter Parker's father decides to kill the experimental spiders because he's worried that anyone who gets bitten by one of them will become a monster and he'll be personally responsible. Yet for some reason he doesn't kill all of then, because come 20 minutes into TASM 1, a good portion of them are still alive and Peter gets bitten by one. You could argue that that alone should make this entry one for the entire TASM series, but as explained later, this idiocy is more responsible for this film than its predecessor.
    • Speaking of TASM 1, the stupidity that fuels this film starts as early as the last 5 minutes of that one. As Gwen Stacy's dad lay dying, he makes Peter promise him that he'll stay away from Gwen, out of fear she will be killed because of him. Peter initially complies... But breaks this promise 2 minutes later. Cut to this film, Peter has not only broken that promise but utterly annihilated it. He's constantly hanging with Gwen and she finally does what her father would have wanted and breaks up with him... only to get back with him 20 minutes later. As expected, she dies because of this. More on that later.
    • Max, a disgruntled Oscorp employee, is made to stay late in the office on his birthday and fix an electrical issue. He does this by climbing directly above a tank of electrical eels without any protection, and slips and falls into the tank, thus getting electrocuted and becoming Electro. And his stupidity doesn't stop there. When he wakes up, he's hungry for power, so rather than going to a nearby power generator or transformer, he for some reason goes to Times Square and causes a huge scene, and this only gets resolved because Peter was a mile or so away and noticed blue explodey lights.
    • Harry Osborn is dying of a genetic disease that his father has (despite being some 40 years younger than him) and decides to reunite with Peter Parker so he can lure him into taking some of Spider-Man's blood, as it has allegedly has properties that can cure the disease. When Peter, as Spider-Man, rightfully declines, he goes on some tirade against Spider-Man and Oscorp and uses Electro to take hostages at his own company so he can get a sample of the spider venom that has these properties. Going back to the first example, in a storyline parallel to this, Peter Parker finds a video where his father reveals that a sample of his own blood was used for the experimental spiders' venom... yet for some reason he left (at least) one sample intact. Harry finds this sample and injects it into his bloodstream, completely ignoring Spider-Man's advice that it may not comply with his DNA and causing his body to rapidly deteriorate, and crawls towards the Green Goblin suit, as it has properties that will help him survive this. So this makes two villains whose origin was their own stupidity... In the same film.
    • Then for some reason, in the midst of a bunch of chaos involving Spider-Man and Electro's fight, Gwen Stacy completely ignores Spider-Man's advice to stay put where she is, steals a police car and drives it to the electrical grid to attempt to help Spider-Man defeat Electro (never mind that she could have gotten killed by the sheer amount of high voltage electricity being generated). Then for some reason, she feels the need to follow him to this clock tower where a fight between him and the newly transformed Green Goblin occurs. Her own recklessness results in her falling to her death from the shattered clock gears. Bonus stupidity points go to Peter Parker too, who decides to, for some reason, not sling a web to save her until she's fallen a considerable distance.
  • An American Werewolf in London: If David and Jack had just stayed on the road as they were told to do, instead of deciding to travel across the moors at night, they wouldn't have been attacked by the werewolf and the rest of the plot wouldn't have happened.
    • It is reasonable to assume, however, that the werewolf would still have attacked them at some point, regardless of whether or not they were on the road. Later in the film, the werewolf attacks its victims all throughout London with little concern for what area it's in (or knowledge, even - given that David is a foreigner). However, it was still very careless for David and Jack to wander aimlessly in the dark, making loud noises, after hearing the wolf howl several times.
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron is entirely premised on the idea that neither Tony Stark nor supposedly moral and competent Omnidisciplinary Scientist Bruce Banner have even the slightest care for the most basic safety protocols. Let us count the ways:
    • First of all, Bruce agrees to an insane and potentially dangerous idea proposed by a man obviously suffering from various undiagnosed mental disorders (including PTSD) despite himself having suffered enormously from a Mad Scientist Super Soldier project. You'd think that he of all people would be highly skeptical, instead of letting Tony browbeat him into helping after barely two minutes of protest. Had Bruce not agreed to the experiment then Tony never would have gotten anywhere.
    • Instead of sealing off Loki's scepter they conducted multiple unsupervised experiments with completely unknown and highly unpredictable alien technology
    • They leave the experiment ongoing when they leave the room for several hours to get drunk at a victory party, rather than shutting it off or at least posting someone else in case something happens.
    • But even after all of the above violations, all Tony would have had to do to prevent the plot from happening is do his dangerous alien AI experiments on an isolated network that isn't connected to his weapons systems or the internet. Instead, he inexplicably allows network connections to both, which results in Ultron escaping. For the uninformed, he would have basically had to go out of his way to make that possible.
    • One example not by them: apparently the governments of the Marvel Cinematic Universe store their nuclear codes on the Internet, and have built the Internet in such a way that it only goes through one node. The problems with both of these things should be obvious.
  • The entire plot of Back to the Future Part II is kept in motion only because the characters make idiotic decisions, don't notice obvious stuff, or just plain act like idiots, in contrast to the first film, which had a rather sophisticated plot. In the film's beginning, Doc decides to take Jennifer & Marty to the future to help out their kids instead of simply telling them to raise their children better so they'll have a better outcome. Furthermore, Doc brings Jennifer with him to the future, then immediately knocks her out, which eventually wears off, when the obvious thing would have been to leave her behind to begin with. When they arrive in 2015, Doc and Marty don't keep Jennifer locked in the DeLorean so she won't see her older self and cause a Reality-Breaking Paradox (Locking the DeLorean would also have the benefit of preventing Biff from stealing it, which would abort the second half of the movie). When the police find Jennifer, Doc's plan is to let them take Jennifer to her future self's home and get her there - thus risking the Paradox even further - rather than have Marty pose as HIS future self to claim Jennifer, which the cops surely would have believed since a thumbprint scan would have identified him has Martin McFly Sr. Later on, when Marty is chasing after young!Biff in his car, Biff doesn't notice the person talking loudly in the back of his car in a walkie-talkie to Doc. Then, when 1955!Doc & 1985!Doc are in the same vicinity, 1955!Doc doesn't recognize that 1985!Doc is him from the future even though he just watched a video of him introducing the time-traveling DeLorean a few days ago. We could go on and on.note 
    • Also, Doc is a scientist and a thorough researcher, as evidenced by him breaking into libraries to do full rundowns of both his own life and that of Marty's dad. If Doc has looked up Marty's parents and children, he'd obviously also research Marty himself. In doing so, he'd have likely discovered that Marty's insistence on not being called chicken causes him to crash his 4x4 while racing Needles at a red light. The accident ruins his hand and finances, and his macho chest-thumping eventually leads his family to either resent him or become a short-fused pushover themselves. Doc could've simply told him when and where it would occur so he could avoid racing Needles, or at least avoid hitting the Rolls Royce. The plot of the second and third movies therefore could have shown us the consequences of Marty disregarding or misinterpreting Doc's warning, and Marty could still have his growth into handling conflicts as an adult.
  • Batman Returns:
    • The creation of Catwoman is predicated on Selina Kyle outright telling her cruel and shady boss that she had figured out his secret password and accessed his secret files where she discovered that his planned power plant would be a power capacitor that would suck and stockpile power from Gotham City.
    • Max Schreck decides that the best way to get his power plant built is to get people behind the Penguin to become the mayor after he makes himself a hero to the public in what is frankly an obviously staged rescue scene. Planning to sell a deformed guy who was abandoned and lived in the sewers all his life with no real indication of any kind of formal education whatsoever with a predilection for resorting to violence in anger (when he savagely bites the nose of one of the image advisors) as well as being sexually perverted (when he outright and obviously gropes a young woman when placing a campaign button on her sweater during a public conference) who literally just showed up as a candidate for public office. And on top of all that, the masses of Gotham somehow actually buy into it all. One could argue however, that they try lampshading this a bit by playing it as a form of social satire.
      • Really, Shreck would have saved everyone a lot of trouble if he had run for mayor himself. He's more beloved than anyone else in Gotham, including Batman, so he'd likely have won in a landslide. Plus, nobody would have ever have to have known that it was his own power plant he authorized; the only two notable people he told were the current mayor (his political opponent, and thus not a credible accuser) and a secretary whom everyone assumes is stupid. Of course, the Penguin would have still tried to blow up the city anyway...
    • And to top it all off, the big capacitor-pretending-to-be-a-power-plant idea is idiotic. Is the city supposed to not notice when that the power shortages when the plant is online? Or, if it charges during the night, and discharges during afternoon peak power demand, why not just present it as a power storage device to allow more efficient power generation? And what on earth do you do with a power storage device once it's built, if not use it to supply power to something? Do you just stand around and admire it?
  • Battlefield Earth. The only reason the humans manage to win is that every single Psychlo comes across as too stupid to dress themselves. The movie itself lampshades this somewhat by stating that Earth is a terrible place to be posted, thus implying that only the most incompetent or idiotic Psychlos are stationed there. Though even if you do, there should be someone at least marginally competent in charge, so that the other idiots don't let a bunch of rebels blow up your homeworld. It's entirely possible that actually was the policy; Terl has to blackmail his boss to get his stupid and disastrous plan approved.
  • Tim Burton's Beetlejuice.
    • The entire series of escalating problems encountered by the main characters (almost culminating in their destruction) stems from their inability to comprehend the Handbook for the Recently Deceased which was provided to them, and failing to heed the advice of their caseworker. Clearly the handbook itself was not incomprehensible, because every character in the movie except the Maitlands seemed able to understand and make use of the book's contents. The running gag was "this thing reads like stereo instructions." Adam quotes one part of the Handbook, "Geographical and temporal perimeters: Functional perimeters vary from manifestation to manifestation."note (slaps book shut in disgust, spraying dust in his face) Lampshaded (and arguably justified, since it was the reason he picked them) by the title character, whose first scene has him reviewing the obituaries, seeing the Maitlands, and saying, "What have we got here? The Maitlands, huh? Cute couple. Look nice and stupid, too." Truer words were never spoken.note 
      • Sure, that handbook was full of needlessly wordy jargon - but the Maitlands could have at least tried to comprehend it. It's not like they have much else to do with their free time.
    • Everybody here's a Turn of the Millennium troper who can confidently use and troubleshoot computers and text editing software at the basic level at the very least. Remember The '80s joke about how only geniuses could program VCRs? The Maitlands were Country Mice — a small-town architect and a housewife. The Deetzes were yuppies — and so were the caseworker and her fellow afterlife bureaucrats!
    • No matter how dense the handbook may seem to them, why are the Maitlands having trouble figuring out how to harass the new residents when they've known from the beginning of their haunting that they can move objects in the house?
  • In Best Laid Plans, the entire plot is moronic, but the viewer doesn't learn this until near the end. It starts with a deadbeat kid (Nick) learning that he's inheriting nothing from his dad (he'd expected to get a tidy sum of money so he could move away and start a new life). Nick meets a girl (Reese Witherspoon). They hit it off and become a couple. A co-worker asks Nick to help him rip off a drug dealer. Nick would get $10,000 just for driving. Nick agrees, they pull off the job, but end up getting caught by the drug dealer who demands Nick pay him $15,000 in return. Nick then plots to steal a valuable artifact from a house where his friend is house-sitting. To keep his friend from reporting the theft, he sets up a scenario where his girlfriend has to sleep with his friend and she threatens to charge him with rape. The friend panics and cuffs the girlfriend to a pool table and calls Nick. Nick pretends to kill his girlfriend and puts her in the trunk of his car. The drug dealers steal his car, then let him walk home where they're waiting for him, so the reason for stealing the car is beyond human understanding. When they ask him for the money, he finds out it was all a scam because there are peanut shells on the floor and his supposedly-dead friend eats peanuts. He realizes they weren't drug dealers after all. They were college graduates who set up the elaborate scam to pay off their student loans. Aside from the other intricacies of the plot, four guys committing numerous felonies and faking the death of Nick's co-worker hardly seems worthwhile when the payoff is only $3,750 each, which would only make a small dent in most student loans. Plus, their reasoning was overly optimistic. They had thought he had inherited some money, but then assumed he would turn right around and pay the $15,000 on demand.
    • They thought Nick was rich enough that he could cough up $15,000 without a second thought, and yet their initial lure is to do something as plainly dangerous as ripping off drug dealers for even less money than that. Hint: if someone is willing to risk their life for $10,000, it's probably a lot of money for them.
  • Fritz Lang's last film in America, Beyond a Reasonable Doubt. Tom and Austin, a writer and an anti-death penalty activist, concoct a plan in which they will frame Tom for a previously committed murder, get Tom convicted and sentenced to death, and then reveal that Tom is innocent in order to expose the death penalty for an injustice. How much idiocy are we looking at here? For starters, there's the whole idea of suggesting the justice system and the death penalty are flawed after you deliberately manipulate them for your desired outcome. Second, there's the inconvenient fact that you'd still be in a hell of a lot of legal trouble for your obstruction-of-justice shenanigans (although the movie ignores this and suggests Tom will just be let go with a pardon). But finally, there's the small matter of Tom having actually committed that murder. Tom, who was guilty but had gotten away with it, created a complicated scheme to frame himself, just because.
    • Not quite. We learn that the killed woman was the protagonist's wife, whom he killed off to marry another woman. For the moment, he got away with it; however, a statute of limitations on murder never expires, a marriage tends to leave some paper trail behind, and his wife likely had family, friends etc. who knew the protagonist. He could be arrested and sentenced even many years later; however, by being tried, sentenced and pardoned, he's now scot-free: no matter what, he can't be retried due to double jeopardy.
  • The main plot of Bio-Dome occured when the slacker protagonists Bud and Doyle go into the titular Bio-Dome to take a piss and get locked inside with the scientists, which is set to be sealed for one year. When the project leader asks the head scientist Dr. Noah Faulkner to let them out, Noah says that he can't open the doors, claiming that the experiment will be compromised. Other scientists are telling him that it's a bad idea to keep Bud and Doyle inside. Noah could've simply opened the doors of the Bio-Dome and let Bud and Doyle out and start the countdown over again, as only a few minutes have been passed at best, but Noah decided to let Bud and Doyle stay inside, believing that the Bio-Dome's system will adapt to them. Dr. Faulkner is soon proven wrong, as Bud and Doyle destroyed everything that the Bio-Dome tried to accomplish over the course of the film.
  • Fernando Meirelles' Blindness, a film adaptation of José Saramago's novel, has a brilliant premise but doesn't make much sense. It is an Idiot Plot because the politicians in the novel and the sequel Seeing ARE idiots. Fortunately, no real politician would act like them.
    • Oh, and the filmmakers are of the belief that not only do people stop caring about hygiene when they go blind but they will be reduced to crawling around and acting like animals.
    • It should be noted that, in ALL of those aspects, Meirelles was merely being faithful to José Saramago's novel, and Saramago's point is exactly that society is a very fragile structure and can easily collapse into chaos. Moore's character is exactly an anti-heroine, and a big plot point is exactly how hard it is for her to accept her role and her responsibility. Also, nowhere is it implied that the blindness is caused by a virus. Basically, the "stupidity" described in this item are, at least according to Saramago, only human nature. Not that this excuses the movie for not fixing this.
  • The Book of Henry's entire narrative hinges on Henry, supposedly a Child Prodigy Wise Beyond Their Years, observing a man regularly abusing his daughter from his window and then deciding that the best course of action would not be to wait out with a camera, take some pictures, and report the man to the police, but instead to illegally obtain a rifle and then shoot him at long range and dump the body in a river.
  • Bride Wars. The entire plot is driven by everyone involved being petty, self-absorbed, vindictive, and above all stupid. Granted, it's a decent satire of wedding preparation insanity...
    • In his review, Film Brain notes that the entire reason for the movie — that the two women want to have their weddings on the same day, at the same hotel—is pointless, since the times of the wedding are still different. They could still both have their weddings on that day and at that place. The only handwave we get is the weak excuse that they don't want to have weddings on the same day. Somehow, just putting on a brave face and dealing with that isn't less difficult and more mature than completely trashing and ruining their lives and each other's lives.
  • The premise of The Cell is "a psychologist helps the police and enters into a Serial Killer's mind to discover clues in order to locate his latest victim and save her before it is too late", which is eventually proved to be totally useless, as the case would have been cracked by the police without the psychologist's help if they just correctly done their job. The manufacturer logo's clue (which serves to locate where the victim is held) that the inspector eventually finds during his own mental travel into the killer's mind near the end of the movie? It's a replica of one that was in the killer's basement the whole time (yes, the basement of the house in which he was arrested). It even appears onscreen during the scene when police are searching through the house, during the arrest sequence!
  • Chain Letter:
    • It's about a Serial Killer who sends a chain letter to teenagers and kills them if they don't send it to five others because he was tortured by insurgents for having a government-issued cell phone. If the creators were trying to send a message that technology is bad, they did it in a fucked up way.
    • Also why does he only target teens? Don't adults use cell phones and computers too? And shouldn't he be targeting government officials, not harmless teenagers who had nothing to do with his torture?
  • In its last third or so, Kevin Smith's Chasing Amy rapidly becomes an Idiot Plot. By the end of the film, only two characters remain sympathetic: Banky, who started off as an idiot and becomes slightly less of one; and Hooper, who spends most of the film pointing out the idiocy of others.
  • The 2007 Christmas movie Christmas in Wonderland would be a 10-minute short film had everyone not been idiots. The family go to West Edmonton Mall to do some shopping, the dad lets the kids go, one brother leaves the younger kids alone to chase a girl at the Water Park, the two young kids find a bag of counterfeit money, not knowing it's counterfeit, spend tons of it, dad tries to use an expired card at Zellers, the two goons chase the kids around the mall for the money... and it gets worse as the movie goes on.
  • The Cloverfield Paradox: The movie is about a mission to find a new energy source after fossil fuels run dry on earth. The premise hinges on the fact that nobody ever wanted or sought out a way to use renewable energy sources. Even if there is a reason why it might be unusable, the movie never explains it.
  • Con Air:
    • It starts off with an Army Ranger meeting his wife in a bar, and her getting hit on by a drunk guy who later tries to beat him up in the parking lot, along with two friends. The drunk guy had to rip off the lead's ribbons—several rows of 'em—before starting the fight. Poe, of course, rips 'em a new one, culminating in the first guy pulling a knife, whereupon Poe gives him a strike to the head that accidentally kills him. Cut to the courthouse, where his lawyer advises him to plead out so he can get a reduced sentence. The judge disagrees, citing the fact that Poe should be held to a higher standard because he's... an Army Ranger. (Which should have given him a trial in a military court to begin with.) Given that he was wearing a uniform before the fight, and the assailants tried to rape his wife and kill him, he should've gotten off with self-defense. The lawyer doesn't even have him dress in a spare uniform—or even rent a suit—at the trial. This is all done so that the hero can be on a plane full of felonious scumbags without being a felonious scumbag himself. The rest of the film can be excused by Rule of Cool.
    • His wife implies that he was a hellraiser before he joined the army ("You were almost 'that guy' again"), Poe's wife runs before the knife comes out, and the guys' friends take the knife with them as they flee. This might make a self-defense claim risky... if there hadn't been dozens of witnesses in the bar to prove that the other guy started it earlier in the evening. The Idiot Ball was bouncing off every character in that courtroom.
    • Could be a case of Realityis Unrealistic. Stand your ground laws came into existence in the US after a black man, in self-defense shot dead one of two racists who ambushed him while he was minding his own business. While that man was acquitted, it was not until after he lost his job, his home, (along with all of his possessions after he was evicted and his possessions were stolen from road-side, while he was unable to make bail), and suffered numerous other hardships. Yet that case was even more clear cut than the setup for Nicholas Cage's character. When a person's death goes to court, sometimes justification counts for very little.
  • Body Horror film Contracted apparently takes place in a world that never invented the hospital. The film starts out with a man in a morgue screwing a corpse with a biohazard toe tag. Said man then rapes the main character at party. Afterwards, our main character begins bleeding from every orifice, starts losing teeth and fingernails, sheds giant clumps of hair, has Tainted Veins, blood-red eyes, and other blatant symptoms. At no point does anyone say that this is clearly someone who should go to the emergency room. The highlight is the doctor she goes to see with all these symptoms, who identifies that she has a serious, rapidly progressing unknown disease - who then shrugs and declares he can't do anything until the tests come back, so she should just go home and avoid other people.
  • Creepshow
    • A fine example of this trope not being bad is the Creepshow segment "The Lonely Death of Jordy Verril." Everything that goes wrong in that segment is a direct consequence of Jordy being an ignorant idiot, which is how he's characterized from the first frame.
    • In the Creepshow III segment "The Professor's Wife" two students mistake their teacher's wife for a robot, kill her and take her apart, only to figure out she was human afterwards. Apparently, according to the professor, they were at the top of their class.
  • Cyberbully (2011) is this trope, as the entire plot consists of the main character creating an account on a social media site, then becoming depressed and suicidal because some kids from school make fun of her on it. She could just ignore their posts, or delete her account like her mother tells her to several times, or just block the bullies, but she doesn't.
  • Christopher Coppola's Deadfall is a complete mess. It starts with a sensible plot, but is then filled with plot twists that made it hard to understand; the only thing that saved it is Michael Biehn and especially Nicolas Cage, who is completely out of control throughout the entire movie.
  • Dennis The Menace Strikes Again:
    • Mr. Wilson being constantly swindled by a pair of very obvious conmen played by Brian Doyle-Murray and Carrot Top. At one point we see a long montage of these same conmen conning Mr. Wilson many times in a row in different disguises. While it's pretty believable that Carrot Top's disguises would fool him, Brian Doyle-Murray has a very distinctive voice.
    • Margaret tries to win Dennis's heart by pretending to like bugs. Rather than actually getting real bugs, she makes obviously fake giant bugs, and Dennis and all his friends except Gina fall for it. Later, they get back at Margaret by dressing Ruff up as a very obviously fake giant bug and she actually falls for it and gets scared.
  • The Descent is a cult British horror film about six women who go spelunking in the Appalachians. They get lost after a cave-in behind them and only then does Juno, the adrenaline junkie of the group, admit that she took them to a completely uncharted cave system instead of the safe and fully-explored cave system that they originally planned to visit. Therefore, they cannot be sure there are any other exits out of the caves (nevermind where they are if they do) and outside rescue is impossible because the search parties will be looking in entirely the wrong cave. It goes without saying that these are actual hazards of the activity in real life and going down into unexplored caves is something you should never do unless you are a professional speleologist.
  • Die Hard 2: While most of the stupid things done can be waved off as people not knowing how many precautions Stuart has taken and being overly cautious, his scheme wouldn't have been possible if it wasn't for three things that should never have happened.
    • First, the security detail on Esperanza's prisoner transport consisted of one green private. If there had been a second guard, Esperanza would have been subdued before he could have killed that private, and even if they'd just brought along a minor functionary to sign paperwork, the pilots could have been warned about the takeover attempt and prevented it.
    • Second, the prisoner transport was being sent to Dulles, a civilian airport which is difficult to secure even under ideal circumstances, much less during the crowded conditions of the Christmas travel season, rather than Andrews AFB, a nearby military airport.
    • Third, every pilot flying into Dulles forgetting an FAA regulation stating that any airfield, civilian or military, that is capable of accepting an aircraft in distress must do so. Even though the nearest alternate airfield (Reagan National) was stated to have shut down due to the weather, any aircraft with enough fuel to fly in circles for two hours has enough fuel to fly to another airport. Here's what would have happened if this scheme had been attempted in real life: Within half an hour or Dulles Control warning all the airplanes about the runway being shut down (And even if Dulles couldn't use their radio, there were still three other airports in the immediate area whose communications Stuart had not compromised, any of which could easily relay any further messages), every one of those planes would be lining up outside of BWI or Andrews AFB asking for landing clearance, depriving Stuart of any hostages. Then Dulles Control would announce that they are shutting down (Probably blaming the weather to avoid a panic) and asking all civilians and employees not essential to flight control operations to leave. Once they all left, they'd have the government bring in whatever firepower was necessary to regain control of the airport.
  • Dolphin Tale starts off as a movie with a reasonable and believable plot, but evolves into a story where the climax makes no real sense, being resolved in the end by a series of events that made no logical sense. A race is planned for a disabled guy to be pitted against a state champ. In the end, the disabled guy lets the dolphin take his place, but this makes no sense because the race was planned prior to having any idea that the dolphin could swim with the prosthetic tail or that it would even cooperate. This was all done as a fund-raiser where the charity fund is out of money, spending what looks like enough money to fund the organization for a long time, money that could have been spent on funding and paying bills rather than trying to raise funds. The main event of the fund-raiser is to watch a disabled guy race a state champ. In the end, despite having the fund-raising event that was a huge success and the dolphin participating in the race, this still isn't enough, so the man who was trying take over the property in the first place steps up and resolves the problem within seconds by promising to fund the charity for 20 years. End of problem.
  • Drop Dead Fred seemed to move along only because Elizabeth was clearly insane, and not a single character called her out on it until halfway through the movie. Some of them even went out of their way to enable it!
  • EuroTrip: the protagonist receives a mildly suggestive e-mail from a penpal suggesting an in-person meeting. Mistaking it as a gay come-on, he drunkenly fires off an angry rejection, only to realize in the morning that his penpal is actually an attractive woman who he would love to have a "physical" meeting with, but when he attempts to apologize, finds that she's blocked his email account. Because there's no other way of getting a hold of someone once they've blocked your email account, he sets off to Europe to apologize in person. Since the whole thing is just an Excuse Plot to get the characters on a series of wacky European adventures, the viewer is advised to just go with it.
    • Though it could be somewhat justified if you go with the idea that he wanted to meet her in person to prove himself to her. If you want to apologise to somebody, simply setting up a new email account to get around the block doesn't quite have the same impact as travelling across the world to meet them in person.
  • Evil Dead (2013)'s plot is set in motion when a group of unidentified people in the opening scene who have the cursed book Naturum Demonto in their possession leave said book in plain sight on a table in the basement of a cabin they've broken into. Just to be clear, they know exact what the Demonto is and what it's capable of, yet not only do they leave it for the owners of the cabin to find, they go through the trouble of wrapping it in barbed wire, calling even more attention to it. No explanation is ever given for why these people are somehow smart enough to understand the book's power yet stupid enough to honestly think that putting barbed wire on it would actually discourage anyone from just grabbing some wire cutters (which they apparently also left in the cabin) and reading it anyway. As a double-whammy, the reason the actual main characters come to the cabin is just as stupid; they're forcing their friend Mia to stay there as part of her latest attempt to kick her cocaine habit, even though an unpleasant environment away from any medical care is the absolute worst place for Mia to be, and no matter how many times she makes very good points about the cabin being a bad idea, the others just won't let her leave.
  • Executive Decision: Hassan's plan is mostly pointless. He already got the gas bomb on the plane and on the way to US. He didn't need to orchestrate Jaffa's arrest, the first bombing or the hijacking. Most of the other terrorists didn't even know the bomb was there. He could have simply sent the bomb on a regular flight and then taken responsibility after millions died. Even if the bomb needed adjustments on the fly, Demou would be the one doing it and he was already successfully hidden among the passengers. The hijacking merely alerted the americans to the situation and increased the likelihood of the flight being shot down. The only reason Hassan could have wanted the direct control of the plane would be to divert the flight to the ideal location for detonation, but if Grant was right about the gas's effectiveness, even that was unnecessary.
  • Face/Off:
    • Keep a dangerous terrorist lunatic like Castor Troy in a coma in a hospital that three people know about under no security whatsoever while Sean Archer pretends to be him in a super-secret high security prison. Oh, and leave Archer's face in the hospital so that Castor can take on his face if he comes out of his coma. And don't tell Archer's boss Victor Lazarro, his FBI co-workers, or warden Walton at the prison, or even Archer's own wife, about the plan so all Castor has to do to make sure no one knows (except Archer, who has Castor's face, so no one will believe him) is kill Archer's handler, the surgeon who did the operation, and an FBI agent who had knowledge of the face switch; no good reason is ever given as to why the operation has to conducted with zero official oversight (hell, we don't even get a bad reason). And Castor has an outgoing phone in his room, allowing him to call anyone if he wakes up.
    • This is not even to mention that the entire plot of the movie relies on nobody noticing that Archer or Castor have switched faces in a process that apparently leaves zero scarring. Just their faces. There is a scene wherein Castor sleeps with Eve, Archer's wife of about, let's say fifteen or twenty years, and she flat-out does not notice that her husband's body is completely different. She's been with him for as many as twenty years, she has NO IDEA A SWITCHEROO HAS BEEN MADE, having apparently only paid attention to her husband's face, and absolutely zero to the fact that Nicolas Cage and John Travolta have completely and utterly different body builds.
      • Then again, you notice that Archer undergoes an abdominoplasty when he becomes Castor, given that he had chest hair grown to match Castor's. It's possible Castor got the same thing when he became Archer.
      • But then the crew who did the original swap for Archer would have HAD to put Castor under anesthesia to perform the face and muscle surgeries. They would have to be utterly idiotic to not just keep him forcefully asleep while they called up their higher-ups and let them know that this incredibly dangerous terrorist under their care just woke up and demanded to be grafted the face of a trusted FBI agent to impersonate him and can you pick him up please before he gets loose? Sure Mister Troy, if you would just put your gun down for a second while the sleepy drugs take hold...
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them only manages to form a plot when Newt Scamander knowingly brings a magic suitcase full of illegal magical creatures (which may be dangerous and in danger even if they are friendly seeing as most people would panic at the sight of them) into a city of muggles during a politically charged period. He even knows the suitcase is broken but makes no effort to fix it—despite having a magic wand and a repairing spell being very simple, as shown by other films in the franchise—resulting in creatures escaping even before it is opened by an unsuspecting Jacob. His idiocy and arrogance (which is worse?) is only emphasised by the final scene where said suitcase is still broken but held shut with a simple piece of string. Even after all the trouble caused by him over the course of the film he still didn't take the time to fix it properly.
  • Fantastic Four (2015):
    • Reed and Ben have been working on a teleportation device since they were children and apparently performed a successful test with it when they were only about 11 or so. Instead of telling anybody about their groundbreaking achievement, they sit on it for several years to work on it some more. This may be understandable, but then what do they do with it once they feel that they've fine tuned it enough? They enter it into a high school science fair.
    • When they demonstrate the functioning teleportation device at the high school science fair, the judges actually disqualify them on the grounds that the working teleportation device that they created in their garage was only science fiction and "magic", and not real science. They're only saved from having wasted their time by Dr. Storm, an actual high-ranking government scientist, being at the fair for no explained reason and picking up their device as the key to a problem they'd been trying to solve.
    • The way the crew get their superpowers really sets a record for sheer stupidity in superhero origin stories:
      • Once the matter transporter was completed and tested, Reed, Johnny and Victor decide, while drunk, to send themselves to the alternate dimension the machine is connected to literally just so they could have the glory of doing it before the NASA astronauts do.
      • They then also call Ben, a completely untrained civilian, and tell him about this plan, and he is happy to go along with them.
      • They don't even think to call Susan, who is a trained scientist like them, to join them even as mission control, just in case things go wrong, which does happen, and in a big way.
      • Once they get to the alternate dimension, they walk around like idiots touching glowing green, radioactive-looking things, which inevitably blows up in their faces and mutate them, and also seemingly gets Victor killed.
    • After Reed escapes military custody, the entire US government, with all its resources at its disposal, are totally unable to figure out where he might be hiding. Susan finds his location by simply using the places he was spotted in to narrow down a search area, which is about the most basic tracking technique in the book.
    • When Victor suddenly returns through the machine a long time later as Doom, he wakes up and goes on a killing spree to try to get back to the alternate dimension. Everyone tries to stop him from doing this even after it's made clear he's gone insane from being stuck in the other dimension without any company and is now a nigh-unstoppable killing machine, and there being no clear downside to just allowing him to just seal himself back off in the other dimension.
  • Flightplan (2005) takes this trope to new heights considering that if the main character and all the other adults on the plane had just listened to the kids that saw her daughter in the beginning, it would have compromised the Big Bad's entire kidnapping scheme in the first couple of scenes. This film just shows how terrible the Just a Kid and Not Now, Kiddo tropes truly are.
  • Fright Night (1985) features a boy who tells everyone that his new neighbor Jerry is a vampire. Including the vampire's henchman. He is then surprised when it appears nobody believes him, and further surprised when said vampire tries to kill him. Vampire Jerry, for his part, is stupid enough to get stabbed through the hand by a sharpened No. 2 pencil.
  • The three protagonists of Frozen (2010) (not the Disney movie, a live-action film from a couple years earlier) are this trope, over and over again. Parker doesn't know a thing about how to ski, yet she acts all Damsel Scrappy and ruins her boyfriend's and his best friend's skiing weekend and sets in motion a catastrophic chain of events that ends up with the deaths of both men. Not that they're entirely blameless either; they decide to bribe a ski lift controller for a last ride. When the resort is about to close for five days. With a snowstorm approaching. They deserved everything they've got. Dan is to blame too, for having brought his shrill girlfriend along when she clearly should've stayed elsewhere.
  • When viewed together, F/X: Murder by Illusion and F/X 2, make it look like the police and the mob are both groups of bumbling fools who work together to create personal wealth and they're no match for one movie special effects expert who manages to outsmart them both.

    Film G-L 
  • The Gallows. In 1993, a school puts on a play called The Gallows, which ends in someone's death by the gallows pole. For some reason, the twonk who set up the gallows pole couldn't even be bothered to set up a safety harness to the noose, so this results in the prop breaking and the actor's actual death by hanging on the gallows pole. Skip ahead 20 years later and apparently, because it all went well the last time, the school decides to put the play on again. It doesn't get better from there.
  • God's Not Dead is about a Hollywood Atheist forcing his philosophy students to sign paper that reads "God is dead" or else they will fail his class. The movie hand waves the main character not dropping the class, but completely ignores one pretty glaring error. Apparently the dean of the college is unaware this is going on, because if he did, he would throw that teacher out of the university, or at the very least have a talk with him to tell him to knock it off. But this is never even brought up, and none of the 80 students or any of their friends they told, or any teachers aware of this, bothered to let the dean know that such blatant discrimination was occurring on campus.
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters' plot only happens because almost none of the human characters seem to have a single clue what they're doing. While it may not bother those who are Just Here for Godzilla, it still sticks out like a sore thumb:
    • The whole movie's plot begins when MONARCH, the organization devoted to researching the titans, allows a woman with very clear PTSD (and possible other undiagnosed mental disorders) create a device that can replicate sonar frequencies to communicate with Titans. In one scene, her husband tells MONARCH that the idea behind the device was to keep whales away from the shoreline, "not to play god with your little creatures".
    • MONARCH is so confident that his works that they trust said woman to use it on Mothra when she first works up... only, they're using said device for the first time. Naturally, this leads to her using the wrong frequency and almost allowing Mothra to go on a murderous rampage. It's by sheer dumb luck that her daughter manages to fiddle with some knobs and find the right frequency.
    • MONARCH is also so stubbornly confident in its alleged ability to communicate that they also misguidedly think it's reason enough to ignore the US government's advice to let the military kill the titans. They believe that the Titans provide a balance to nature when the reality is that only Godzilla himself seemed to be interested in "restoring balance", all while making it very clear the extent of his indifference towards humans.
    • Next, because they also apparently do not have a defense department, a group of eco-terrorists raid their Chinese base and force Mothra out into the world, and all so easily allow them to be framed for allowing several attacks to happen.
    • When both the military and MONARCH get wind of the very Obviously Evil head of the terrorist group, Alan Jonah (come on, he's played by friggin' Charles Dance), and decide to track him, they get themselves in several situations where they have very clear shots at him and don't take the shot. Several soldiers are shown going up against the groups of 5 or 6 and manage to get outnumbered every time. In one particular instance, they're monitoring a situation in which Emma Russell and her family get held at gunpoint by said group, and their refusal to gun the mercenaries down leads to King Ghidorah being woken up!
    • All of this results in cataclysmic destruction of several cities, Emma herself dead, more monsters (including a freaking wooly mammoth) awakening all because the US government were too stubborn to throw MONARCH's top people in jail and Alan Jonah gets away too, not to mention gets his hands on Ghidorah's lost head.
  • The Grey: The entire plot is started by Liam Neeson's character; in defiance of any survival guide such as this one, he decides the group should start walking away from the crash site just because there are wolves nearby. This is also in spite of the fact that the crash site has shelter, fuel, and materials to make weapons with.
  • Hellboy II: The Golden Army:
    • This movie is rife with these. Beside the usual "I'm pregnant but I won't tell him as to maximize the angst" plot, the heroes rapidly capture one of the McGuffin the Big Bad needs to awake the titular Golden Army. Now, they realize that they have no particular need for that item or the Golden Army, but rather than destroying it by giving it to the one team member who can melt anything, they leave it with Abe's Satellite Love Interest, who told them explicitly that she acts as a magic homing beacon for the Big Bad. Guess what happens?
    • There's also the fact that Nuala seems completely unaware of the fact that she ought to actually warn the Investigation team about stuff. She just stands there with her mouth hanging open when her brother drops the Forest God seed, not telling then to keep it from water until it's two inches from a drain. She then oh-so-casually tells Abe that her very dangerous, psychotic, human-hating, murderous brother will be able to find their hide-out because they are mentally linked and thus he knows everything that she knows. Apparently this wasn't worth mentioning before bringing her there, so they could find some way to hide her without her figuring out where it is? Or that she only thinks to hide the map and crown piece when her brother is right at the door, breaking in? Or Abe deciding to get drunk and sing love songs after being told that Nuala's brother would be showing up for blood instead of warning the team?
    • Nuala herself could end the movie at literally any time. When we are first introduced to her and her brother, it is determined that her brother must die for the good of the world. Since they are linked, this would kill Nuala as well. She is actually asked if she is okay with this, and agrees to die. But the brother attacks, and she flees, and the entire rest of the movie happens. Then at the end, she stabs herself, killing them both. Since she was resigned to die from the very beginning in order to stop her brother from going on a rampage, why did she wait until he had already gone on a rampage?!
    • The Big Bad isn't immune either. He correctly guessed that his twin sister hid the MacGuffin in a book of her favourite color (because, again, she's an idiot), has wounded a drunken Hellboy whose girlfriend is now craddling Hellboy instead of fighting the Big Bad, and none of the Red Shirt human agents have ever proven to be a threat to him. Instead of going through the few dozen books of the right color, he decides to take his twin sister hostage (who, remember, he is incapable of harming without suffering the same injuries himself, and thus makes for a terrible hostage), as well leave Hellboy with his deadly wound, unless they do a Hostage for MacGuffin. Although he has no intention of handing over either and plans to Kill 'Em All once he has his Golden Army activated, he holds the hostage exchange in a location where the protagonist actually have to pass the repentant creator of the Golden Army and a being who actually can heal Hellboy, just to get to the hostage exchange.
    • And then there are Hellboy's human superiors who decide that, knowing the Big Bad has two pieces of a doomsday weapon, that they don't know where the final piece is but do know that the Big Bad has the last person who had it hostage, and that the Big Bad had effortlessly slaughter his way into their base before and that the only one who even slowed him down was now wounded... they decide that they got the Big Bad right where they want him, and that they can just sit back and wait.
  • In High-School USA, few people do anything that makes any sense. Beau Middleton, the antagonist, is given incredible leverage over all the teachers in the school when his parents put him in charge of deciding which of the school's teachers will get money from them. Jay-Jay Manners, the protagonist, is portrayed as a good guy, but he's constantly initiating trouble with the bad guy by doing things that would reasonably upset someone, like crashing his party and hitting on his girlfriend on more than one occasion, but this is shown as being okay because he's the good guy. Jay-Jay gets in a fight with Beau and to settle things, comes up with the idea to have a car race against Beau, betting him $4,000 in the process. Beau knows Jay-Jay doesn't have any money, but agrees to the bet anyway, despite assuming all the risk if he loses. Jay-Jay steals his friend's new Trans-Am and takes it out for a joyride, but his friend ends up wrecking the car. Then, they hatch a crazy scheme to steal a bus and use the engine from the bus in Jay-Jay's car. Why they didn't bother to steal another car is anyone's quess. Of course, Jay-Jay wins the race, but spends the winnings on tuxedoes for his friends so they can attend the prom. Jay-Jay gets the girl in the end and Beau's once fiercely-loyal friends abandon him because he lost the race and the teachers suddenly lose interest in the money they were trying to win.
  • Home Alone: The movie happens because Heather miscounted heads, rather than doing a roll call of all her siblings and cousins, that Mitch Murphy goes completely unnoticed when he rifles through their things before wishing them goodbye, and that Kevin is so heavy a sleeper that he missed the hustle and bustle. Lampshaded by Kate when she asks, "What kind of a mother am I?" about forgetting her youngest son. She also could have rented a car the minute she was on American soil to drive home, the way she does later. Meanwhile, Kevin assumes his family didn't rent taxis and vanished into thin air, rather than realizing they left him at home.
  • Home Alone 2: Lost In New York: Kevin has been found by the two bandits who want him dead, so he makes a break for the hotel he's been staying at to get his stuff and head home. He gets grabbed by the Concierge who thinks he stole his credit card and threatens to call the police on him... so he runs away. He never once considers that A: The card isn't stolen, it's his dad's and B: His family is looking for him. Getting grabbed by the cops would give him a free ticket back home to his parents and the entire third act of the movie wouldn't have happened.
    • Possibly justified in that while he definitely has the smarts to plan things out like an entire battle plan of death traps, Kevin is still a kid who can't think rationally in the heat of the moment when danger confronts him rather than vice versa. Remember, in the first movie he knew from the second act on the bandits wanted to rob his house, but he wouldn't tell the police note  because he feared they would send him to prison for shoplifting a toothbrush that he didn't mean to shoplift.
    • Note that in the novelization of the movie, it is mentioned that one of the commercials Kevin sees on the TV at the very beginning of the movie (when he sees the ad for the Plaza Hotel) is a public safety notice about the police cracking down on credit card thieves, regardless of age. Then they reference back to that when the Concierge confronts Kevin in the hotel.
    • Speaking of the Concierge, he wants to detain a kid until the police arrive and said kid comes running up to him begging for help and crying that he's being chased by criminals. Does he tell the kid "Hurry inside and we'll call the police to protect you!" so said kid sits inside, happily munching a cookie thinking he's now safe, while the cops are actually en route to arrest him for the stolen credit card? Nope, he decides to Curry it up and threaten how he knows the card is stolen and that he's going to have the kid arrested. Cue wacky hijinks in the hotel and an extra half hour or so of movie!
  • The plot of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and its sequels would have never happened if Wayne Szalinski wasn't such an Absent-Minded Professor and actually understood completely the risks of his shrinking machine, which was still a prototype. Ironically, in the first film, it wasn't actually Wayne's fault that caused the events to occur later in the film, it was the next door neighbors' son who unwittingly was responsible for said events to happen.
  • The Easter Bunny could have avoided much conflict in Hop if he told E.B. that he can both take up his legacy and be a drummer because the Easter Bunny only has to work one day a year.
  • Not that anyone was counting on it to be the apex of cinematic genius or anything, but The Human Centipede starts with two stupid girls happily accepting the hospitality of a doctor who's so creepy he might as well have slugs in his veins instead of blood. Even if they couldn't see that he's obviously evil, as horror protagonists are wont to do, the artwork in his living room would be a huge red flag to a non-moron.
  • The entire conflict of I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry could have been solved by Chuck and Larry telling the insurance investigator they were bisexual and in an open relationship.
  • The backstory to Interstellar. So you have this blight that's destroying the world's crops. In response, the remaining world governments keep growing the same crops the blight is preying on instead of trying different crops, grow everything outdoors instead of building greenhouses that could be quarantined (which is later shown to work, albeit in the form of spaceships), force the people who might cure the blight to farm instead, and deny one of humanity's most awesome moments in an effort to keep morale up.
    • It's worth noting that the film portrays all of these horrendously bad decisions as horrendously bad decisions.
  • Into the Blue hinges almost entirely on the main character, Jared, being nosebleed-inducingly dumb at every possible turn. Why does he drive his girlfriend away by refusing to tell her that her life is in danger because of his dumb deals with the gangsters? Why doesn't he try to tell the gangsters why there's been a delay in the plan instead of getting into a firefight without a weapon? Why does he leave his girlfriend tied up at the mercy of the gangsters to dive in the water WITH his hands tied behind his back? Why does he destroy the drugs when they're the only thing the gangsters are interested in? Why does he randomly tell them all they need to know about the giant treasure?
  • Both John Wick films are more or less based on Bullying a Dragon to the extreme, with the villains seemingly going out of their way to cheese off a guy who is, by all appearances, a One-Man Army and The Dreaded among even professional assassins. The first film's instigator at least had the excuse of not having heard of Wick, but the second film's antagonist knew full well how absurdly talented he was, and was counting on Wick's skills being enough to kill his sister, but not to kill him.
  • Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom:
    • The entire story relies on Claire spontaneously trusting a sudden business partner for InGen in wanting to "rescue" the dinosaurs with no profit incentive, despite the fact InGen has repeatedly shown extremely underhanded and morally corrupt decisions for profit in previous movies. Sure enough, she's being used, and is left to die on the island while the dinosaurs are captured to be sold on the black market.
    • The mercenaries leaving the protagonists to die on Isla Nublar in the volcanic eruption instead of just shooting them and being done with it. It's not like there would be any evidence of their deaths either way. Instead, they merely gloat about how everyone will think their deaths were incidental and let them walk free, allowing them to sneak aboard the escape boat and make it back alive.
    • The second half of the film could've easily been avoided if Lockwood had simply called the police once he was informed about his assistant undermining his decisions and selling the dinosaurs on the black market. Instead, he calls Mills up to his room, alone, and demands he call the police and turn himself in. Mills has nothing to gain and everything to lose if he turns himself in, so instead, with no witnesses around, he kills the feeble and elderly Lockwood. This also raises the question of why Claire or Owen didn't immediately call the police once they broke free of their cells.
    • The repeated attempts to weaponize dinosaurs with the Indoraptor. The movie fails to demonstrate how it's any more effective than a drone or just a regular gun, considering you need a gun-shaped laser pointer to even get it to attack a chosen target. But everyone within the film treats it like the pinnacle of military hardware that there needs to be more of despite the fact all they've seen is that it wants to murder them on sight. It ends up being the Hoist By Your Own Petard giver when it slaughters most of the people who were trying to sell it once it inevitably escapes.
  • Roger Ebert's review of Key Exchange quotes almost word-for-word the textbook definition the term: "The movie comes dangerously close to exhibiting an Idiot Plot, defined as a plot that would be over in five minutes if everyone in it were not an idiot."
    • Not to mention Ebert's page quote on the Idiot Plot main page on Narrow Margin.
  • Killing American Style would have been a much shorter film if most of the characters had an ounce of intelligence. The most glaring moments would have to be the villain sending the protagonist out unsupervised to do errands for him under threat of his family getting executed and the protagonist never asking the police for help. This happens two times. However, the main plot would have never happened if the police officers driving the prison bus carrying the main villain hadn't stopped to help a seemingly innocuous bystander and get killed for their efforts without effectively defending themselves.
  • Kingsman: The Golden Circle could have been completely avoided had Eggsy actually acted like the elite superspy he was trained to be. In the opening minutes of the film, he leaves Charlie's robotic arm unsupervised in his car rather than confiscate it despite barely surviving an assassination attempt. This allows Charlie to control the arm remotely to hack the Kingsman network and bring down the whole organization, kicking off the plot. But there are also numerous other moments that start unnecessary subplots:
    • Eggsy needs to engage in sexual relations with another woman to plant a tracker on her, and yet feels the need to call Tilde to get her permission, endangering a mission in which hundreds or even thousands of people have already died for. All this succeeds in doing is getting Tilde to break up with him and he plants the tracker anyways. This seems to be a contrivance to put Tilde in enough emotional distress to unknowingly take some of Poppy's tainted drugs.
    • Eggsy for some reason taking only one sample of the antidote when he was surrounded by crates of the stuff, and then getting it broken when he takes the antidote out of its protective case for absolutely no reason, forcing him to assault Poppy's hideout directly which leads to Merlin's death.
  • Knowing, and that's the charitable way of describing the actions of the entities who are either Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, angels, or possibly both. Riddle me this: You're a Random not-quite-Omnipotent Being, and you know that The End of the World as We Know It is going to happen to Earth fifty years from now. Do you:
    • A: Write a letter explaining what's going to happen and when, apologize for not being able to do anything to prevent it, and give humanity blueprints for an FTL drive or Deflector Shields or some other technology that might help us save ourselves, or...
    • B: Leave us a bunch of cryptic clues in the mind of a seventh-grader, driving the poor girl insane in the process, and then turning up a matter of hours before the shit hits the fan to grab a handful of children for some sort of Adam and Eve Plot?
    • Guess which option describes the plot of this film. And no, the obvious Alternate Character Interpretation and its side-order of Fridge Horror does not appear to have been intentional on the part of the director.
  • Looper could pretty much be called, "In the Future, Nobody is Smart".
    • The film's very basic premise is fueled by the mob killing off their members by sending them back in time 30 years and having them shot out in a field in the middle of nowhere (where cars pass by a lot), in the open, and the corpses are dumped in an incinerator.
    • Said mob members are murdered by their younger selves (which unsurprisingly leads to them often being reluctant to kill, thus giving their future selves a chance to escape) instead of just having some other mob member do it.
    • Guns used to close loops are kept out in the open, and confirmation of dead bodies is done in a public store.
    • Both Old Joe and Young Joe seem to be having a stupidity contest throughout the whole movie, the main example being with Young Joe that he refuses to kill his older self for some reason only the film's writer would know. Old Joe's motives are worse: Old Joe explains that he's planning to hunt down and kill the kid who'll become the Rainmaker so that Joe's wife won't end up getting killed by the Rainmaker's thugs; Young Joe points out that if he really wanted to save his wife, he'd take steps to ensure that he never met the woman in the first place. After all, she died as collateral damage to his own kidnapping and execution, which Old Joe knew was going to happen for the last thirty years. But instead of just showing Young Joe his wife's photo and sparing her, Old Joe refuses to listen to any kind of reason, a course of action that leads him to murder a child and attempt to murder two others in his attempt to stop the Rainmaker.
    • In his attempt to defend Sarah and Cid from his older self, Young Joe opens fire on him with a blunderbuss... when he's still too far away to hit him. Worse still, before he can get within range, Kid Blue shows up and attacks him, giving Old Joe the time to flee the scene and attack Cid. Had Joe just dropped the gun and charged him- after all, Old Joe probably wouldn't have shot his younger self- he might have been able to finish him off before Kid Blue showed up, thus ensuring that Young Joe didn't have to perform a Heroic Sacrifice in order to save Sarah's life and prevent Old Joe from accidentally turning Cid into the Rainmaker.
    • Come to think of it, Kid Blue also plays a part in enabling the plot through sheer stupidity: his attempt to save face by capturing Old Joe and bringing him back to Abe's lair results in Joe killing every single mobster in the building, including Abe. For good measure, Joe also learns the exact location of the future Rainmaker from the base- something he might never have figured out thanks to Young Joe ripping the map of possible locations in half.
    • Everything involving Emily Blunt's character is pure idiocy. She takes in a dangerous assassin to her house and allows him to stay. That's right, an assassin who the cops are looking for. And she is also housing a young kid that has telekinetic powers, who ends up being who Old Joe goes after. Of course, she tells nobody that her kid has rather violent tendencies and allows him to get away with them.
    • The entire point of looping is because 30 years in the future, guns are too easy to track so the mob can't use them to kill people. The whole reason that Old Joe is on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge? His wife was killed. By a member of the mob. Who shot her with a gun.
  • The Lost Boys: You'd think that Lucy would suspect something's up with her son Mike after he becomes a vampire, but instead, she's too busy blaming his brother Sam for a few mishaps that occur.

    Film M-R 
  • Mamma Mia!: The plot of the original stage musical was an Excuse Plot to form a musical entirely out of pre-existing ABBA songs, and that carried over to the film as well.
    • Movie reviewer Eric D Snider felt that the film version had an Idiot Plot. Sophie invites all three of her possible fathers to her wedding, believing she'll just know which one is actually her dad when she sees him. And then when they individually figure it out and each tell Sophie that they're giving her away, she just goes with it. That whole idiot plot could easily have been solved by a DNA test.
    • Of course, Sophie eventually figures out that it was a pretty dumb plan and her fiancée gets really upset with her for it, so yeah. One has to wonder why Donna didn't start to suspect Sophie having any hand in it though, especially considering that it was her wedding coming up at conveniently the same time all three men did and she gave an outburst about how sucky it is for a child to grow up without a father.
    • And then there's the fact that the entirety of Donna's angst over Sam is simply because he has to wait the whole damn movie to finally say two words: "I'm divorced."
  • Marry Me: Hmmm, let's see. The mother told her not to tell about seeing the husband with another girl, why exactly? And then, for some equally stupid reason, she's not to tell about another man proposing to her, to fill the room with awkward tension with her refusing both men without giving either a decent reason. Nobody bothers to ask Immy if she even wants to be passed off to yet another foster parent (she obviously doesn't) until after it's already done, and while we're at it, apparently it's okay to get a background check on the relatively innocent guy Luke (compared to someone who leaves a girl to go take pictures of frogs) but not the foster parents in question.
  • Mary Poppins Returns: Michael Banks is about to lose his house because he got behind on the payments on a loan against it. He had to take it out when his wife died which is understandable. He and his sister Jane ultimately decide that he's going to cash out his shares in the bank to pay the loan off even though he wanted to save it for his kids. What's idiotic is that he didn't put the certificate of shares somewhere safe where he'd know where it is in case of an emergency. What's even more idiotic is that he used the certificate to doodle and tossed it aside without a second glance. He even picks it up and looks right at it at one point when he and Jane are looking for it without knowing what it is.
  • The Matrix: The bloody conflict between the evil empire of machines that has conquered the Earth and "enslaved" the human race and the valiant human resistance ends after several centuries (and two sequels), when the evil machines basically say: "Fine, everyone who wants, can be released from the gruesome bonds of a relatively comfortable existence in the virtual replica of a normal world we've built for you and go live free in the squalor of a human anthill deep within the bowels of a dead planet that we still control, by the way." No, absolutely nothing was stopping them from doing it from the very start.
  • Minority Report: OK, so your top Pre-Crime cop is going to commit a murder. Naturally, he needs to be arrested. But, revoke his access to the police station, holding cells and all other high security areas? Never. He goes back in once, much later, and his wife follows suit even later.
    • The reason that said Pre-Crime cop is going to commit a murder turns out to be an elaborate set up by the Big Bad, because the cop asked a mildly curious question about a old crime the Big Bad wanted to keep covered up. Yet when the Big Bad has narrowly avoided turning this into a Revealing Cover Up, he slips up with a I Never Said It Was Poison to the cop's wife. And although the wife immediately tells the Big Bad this, he does absolutely nothing to stop her from acting on this far more detailed and dangerous information and, well, see the above.
  • Muppets Most Wanted: In this film, Kermit has his identity stolen by a criminal frog named Constantine and sent to a Russian gulag. You'd think that since Constantine, while he DOES look like Kermit (there are differences, but they're admittedly subtle), does not act or sound anything like Kermit, the other Muppets wouldn't believe for a second that he is Kermit, or at least be suspicious. Instead, they all fall for it, with the exception of Animal - even Fozzie, Kermit's best friend, is fooled.
  • Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005): It was already pointed out by Cracked that since the agency knew that the titular couple were Happily Married, they should have done something like bomb the house or poison their water, rather than hoping that one is disloyal and competent enough to kill the other.
  • The Narrow Margin 1990 remake, simply titled Narrow Margin, is the first time Roger Ebert gave an example of the Idiot Plot. The review even has Ebert starting a new trope, Da Chief.
  • The Negotiator: What's the smartest thing to do when you've been laughably inexpertly framed for a crime that a 1st year law student could get you off scot-free from? Go nuts and take hostages, then watch as the situation escalates quicker than you can say "Oh yeah, that was a dumb thing to do!" When all the evidence against you is circumstantial, when the only thing linking you to a crime scene is a gun registered to you that could be (and, obviously, was) stolen, when you're a "hero" of such good standing that everyone who isn't part of the frame-up would stand as a character witness for you, when the only possible motive you could have hinges on some paperwork in your house that's mysteriously devoid of any fingerprints and left lying where anyone can find it despite it apparently being absolutely damning, and when that paperwork would only take a phonecall to the bank to be proven to be bull (you can't set up a bank account without being present in person, and none of the conspirators could pass for Samuel L Jackson even in really bad light)... Lean back and let your attorney do the work. Worse still is that not one person in the film makes even a passing remark as to what a sucky job the bad guys have done of framing Mr Jackson's character, they all just go with it. But no, the man decides the best way to prove he's not a criminal is committing some crimes.
    • Still, with entire police department (obviously including some mole close to the very top) seemingly against you, not willing to take chances and rely on the honesty of the court and jury might be an understandable, if imperfect, decision.
  • The Neverending Story II: The Next Chapter.
    • Bastian has an item that will grant an unlimited number of his wishes. No further commentary is really needed here, but for the sake of it, we'll go a bit further: He spends the first half or so of the movie being inexplicably reluctant to make any wishes at all despite repeatedly being confronted with deadly situations and surviving at the last second through other means. At one point he accidentally creates an incredibly destructive dragon, and then has to spend a chunk of time hunting it down and lucking into it being blown up instead of just wishing it became nice or any number of similar solutions. He then discovers that any time he makes a wish, an evil witch uses a machine to steal one of his memories. His wishes are now limited by the number of memories he has left. It never occurs to him to simply wish for all his memories back, and for the machine to explode, and the witch to vanish, or any big picture solution at all until he's down to his last wish.
    • It's worse than that. Bastian easily gets a confession out of the villain that she's the one responsible for all the bad things going on (after seeing the monsters guard her castle). Her and her bird-boy lackey (who makes no attempt to pretend he's not working for the villain) have been urging Bastian at every opportunity to make wishes. Bastian, who has held out pretty well until now, starts making wishes like crazy, because it never seems to occur to him that doing what the bad guys want you to do is a bad idea. He also starts getting really chummy with the villain, doing what she says, despite the fact she's supposed to be HIS prisoner and even believing Atreyu is plotting against him (despite the fact he knows and should trust Atreyu far better), because the villain says so. What's incredibly sad about all of this is that Bastian is supposed to be a very well-read kid (in the first film he rattles off a list of classics he's read... at ten years old) so you'd think he'd be a bit more Genre Savvy.
    • At one point when Bastian and Atreyu are attacked by one of Xayide's giant bug monster things, Bastian wishes for, of all things, a spray paint can to use as a weapon! While it does work (he sprays it in the monster's eyes), why he didn't just wish for an M-16 or the like is anyone's guess.
    • Then there's also this part: Bastian is trying to climb up to the top of a tower. Problem: He's outside and the walls are too smooth to grab on to. So he decides to wish for steps in the wall on which he could climb (not very stupid). At about the half way point, the steps stop and Bastian can't get higher unless there are more. While a normal person would just wish for there to be enough steps to make it to the top, Bastian does something that takes more time and was much more harmful to him. He wishes for more steps. INDIVIDUALLY. That's right, he makes 20 or so wishes that are the exact same thing, "I wish there was another step! And another! ..." Even if Bastian DIDN'T know that he was losing his memories at that point, he still wasted valuable time and wishes doing something a five-year-old would have been able to do more competently.
    • The villain Xayide also acts like an idiot. She can summon giant killer robot monster-things, teleport anywhere at will, and who knows what else. She could just zap to Bastian's location, surround him with monsters, kill him and take Auryn for herself. Of course, she does no such thing.
  • The Neverending Story III is guilty of pretty much exactly the same sins, only replacing the instances of Bastian making pointless, ill-placed, or frivolous wishes with him making almost no wishes in the entire movie (despite the machine being long gone). He even leaves the Auryn lying around to be stolen.
  • Night of the Lepus: "We have to stop this insurgence of rabbits, so let's inject one with a serum I know absolutely nothing about. That should do the trick!"
    • Even better: The little daughter of one of the scientists had been begging for one specific test rabbit as a pet. "My little girl has been running around unsupervised in the test animal room. She still wants a rabbit, but not the same one. Let's give it to her!" note 
  • No Country for Old Men: The movie should have been over in about 10 minutes were it not following this trope in spades. Llewelyn is initially shown to be a somewhat crafty and aware veteran, but makes two horribly stupid mistakes that serve no purpose other than moving the plot forward.
    1. After successfully taking the money from the botched drug deal with no witnesses, he returns to the scene of the crime probably at least six hours later to bring a bottle of water to a man on the verge of death. Not only was it incredibly risky, it seems somewhat pointless because the man would likely have been dead anyways. This idea is so bad that even the character admits he's about to do the stupidest thing he's ever done. You can practically hear him say, "but if I don't do it, how else is this movie supposed to go on?"
    2. After going on the run with the bag full of money, he doesn't look in the bag and find the transponder for several DAYS, as he wonders why he got found. So, he never decided to count the money, see if there is anything else in the bag like guns, drugs, etc. Once again, had he simply looked in the bag from the start, the movie would have been over.
    • Aside from Llewelyn, everyone who deals with Chigurh loses 50 IQ points. After pulling him over and handcuffing him, a deputy simply holds an entire phone conversation with his back to the man and gets strangled. The Sheriff realizes that this hired contract is running around killing people and going after Moss, and instead of contacting federal authorities, other law enforcement officials, etc... he basically does nothing and just retires. Also, an idiot ball to anyone who works with Chigurh as he apparently is quite willing to off any employers or associates if it strikes his fancy.
  • The Nun:
    • First and foremost, the main characters note that something very bad and wrong is happening the moment they set foot in the abbey. Instead of returning to Vatican with enough enough evidence to call in an army of exorcists, the two of them decided to delve investigate further.
    • It's a horror film, there's only two of you in the big abbey to investigate, so how would you best investigate? Why, Let's Split Up, Gang! to cover more ground, of course!
    • It's late night, and you hear something going in the castle grounds. Instead of informing your partner, you decide to investigate it yourself, unarmed and practically unprepared.
    • The original nuns inhabiting the abbey tried to contain the demon themselves for years (at least five) before it finally escaped. Years where they could have sent a request for assistance from Vatican to nip the problem in the bud.
  • The ending of Ocean's 11. How stupid could the team have to be to put the money in a coffin and not make sure that it wasn't cremated? If the coffin in question was a regular burial coffin, and not the flimsy version used for cremation, then we either have a classic case of poor research, or a legendarily stupid operator at the crematorium (the other reason is that the film couldn't show a gang of criminals getting away with it).
  • The Odd Life of Timothy Green was this and more. Here's a couple reasons why:
    • The Framing Story overall: an adoption agency listens to a couple tell a fantastical story, and never seem to confirm its truth or check for the sanity of the speakers.
    • A couple finds they can't have children, but never consider adoption until the end of the movie.
    • When a child magically appears in the backyard they decide to take him in, rather than call the police to see if he's someone else's kid or a runaway.
    • When finding out he's being bullied, they let him to go a party at the bully's house alone so he can "fight his own battles."
    • Timothy accidentally kicks a girl in the head, and his parents fear she'll try to get revenge. When finding out she instead befriended him, they fear and hate her... for forgiving their kid?
    • The coach lets Timothy on the soccer team, despite intending to never use him.
    • The couple's lesson from all this is that if they were to do it again, they would "make better mistakes?". The agency thus lets them having a kid, despite hearing a testimony of complete irresponsibility.
  • The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure: The entire movie centers around the titular Oogieloves trying to reclaim five magical balloons they've lost, having to travel to them and complete odd tasks to get them back. Near the end of the film, they lose the balloons again and blow kisses to call them back. There's no explanation for why they didn't do this before. Plausibly there could be a range limit, but there were many times when the balloons were just a few yards away and so could've been called to.

    Additionally, these balloons are for a friend's (a sentient pillow??) birthday party, but said pillow turns out to have the mental capacity of a baby. While they do explain why the protagonists' can't just buy him more balloons (apparently they're the last five magical ones anywhere), no reason is said for why they can't just get him something else since, to be frank, he's not going to notice the difference.
  • Orphan:
    • The only one in the movie who wasn't a complete idiot was the mother. Esther breaks her own arm in a vise to frame her, and the doctors somehow believe that the mother was able to do it one-handed. Daniel (her son) decides not to reveal Esther's violence until he has evidence, even though the mother had already asked him about it and would believe him anyway. But Maxine (the deaf daughter) swept the medal podium at the Too Dumb to Live Olympics. Maxine watches Esther break a young girl's leg and murder a nun, but covers for her out of fear. Okay, I'll buy it, even adults can be cowed by threats. But then Esther tries to murder Maxine herself twice, tries to murder Daniel at his treehouse (Maxine at least intervenes), and then succeeds (in certain cuts of the movie) in murdering Daniel at the hospital — Maxine never tells a single adult.
    • Throw in the fact that Esther was a little creeper right from the start. Maybe the family really did want a slightly different child, but surely there were less morbid ones at the orphanage?
    • The worst offender is the dad. The man is completely oblivious to Esther's troubling behavior, assumes his wife is lying or paranoid any time she says anything about Esther. You could add in the psychiatrist who just assumes that the mom's still a drunken harpy, but she's a Hollywood psychiatrist and they're always assumed to be incompetent. But no - the dad, ignoring the behavior of a strange, creepy child while assuming the worst out of the traumatized woman who bore his children is the biggest idiot in this idiot plot.
  • The spread of the disease in Outbreak is only made possible by repeated instances of utter stupidity on the part of several characters, many of whom are supposed to be qualified professionals. An outbreak of a virulent disease is discovered in Africa. A biotech company illegally transports an infected monkey back to United States. Then, an employee steals what he knows to be an intended test animal to sell in the black market. When he fails to find a buyer, he sets the monkey free in the wild. As if this wasn't enough, a lab technician who was working with the blood of one of those infected by the monkey manages to break a vial and infect himself.
    • These are all things that do actually happen in real life. Just not usually all at the same time.
  • Oz: The Great and Powerful - The whole movie requires Theodora/Wicked Witch of the West (and a bunch of other people) to be dumber than a box of rocks for it to work.
    • Theodora falls in love with Oz based on the prophecy that he is to save the Land of Oz. In 5 minutes. Evanora tricking Theodora into thinking that Oz is in love with Glinda shouldn't even work if Theodora has any faith in the prophecy at all: how does she know that getting in Glinda's bed isn't his master plan to save the Land of Oz? Now, the argument can be made that Evanora tricks Theodora into thinking that this person is not THE Oz who will save Ozland. However, this creates a Voodoo Shark in and of itself - if the guy is the guy in the prophecy, then he will come through, and not fall for the Wicked Witch, Theodora still has a shot. No reason to get pissed. If he's not the guy in the prophecy, then a rich, powerful, attractive, princess of Ozland avoided being scammed by a flim flam artist with no powers. And the problem here is? They try to make it look like Theodora is constantly unloved, and no man would want her because of her temper, and that she's so much uglier than Glinda, however they fail miserably.
    • Oz learns that magic in Ozland is real, powerful, and dangerous. However, when he sees the royal treasury, he decides to go kill the Wicked Witch. He doesn't ask for weaponry, stats on the witch, supplies, or anything - basically making this a suicide mission - Oz knows he has zero powers. It's understandable that he wouldn't ask for help from Evanora, since he's lying straight to her face, however he doesn't even do basic research on the insanely powerful witch he has been sent to kill. Even worse, he doesn't tell Theodora that he's leaving, which right there would have prevented 3/4ths of the movie.
    • When Theodora eats the apple and becomes the Wicked Witch of the West (WWW from here on out), she immediately becomes powerful enough to singlehandedly kick the ass of everyone in Ozland. At the same time. She straight up ignores the Evil Overlord List, and lets everyone live until later.
    • When Glinda attacks WWW and WWEast, the bad witches respond by sending their troops out into a field behind the castle that puts them to sleep. Unlike Dorothy and her companions in the 1939 film, both WWs KNOW the poppy field is out there and what it can do - it's right behind the freaking castle THEY LIVE IN. This is like running after an enemy through a mine field that you yourself put up and forgot about. They try to hand wave this by covering the poppy field in fog, but it fails, because once again, the field is right behind the castle THEY LIVE IN! This is the equivalent of forgetting where your front yard is because it is covered in snow.
    • When fighting Hologram Oz, it never occurs to WWW to attack at the base of the cloud he appears in, where the highly conspicuous wagon was not 30 seconds earlier. Indeed, the only reason Oz's plan works is because the WWW chooses to forget about her powers, and how much of them she has, and throw single fireballs at a time, as opposed to scouring the entire plaza in flame, or using telekinesis to drop stuff on him, or doing a super speed blitz, or anything other than firing single fireball shots, and floating in place like a dumbass.
  • Paranormal Activity; basically the whole reason the demon keeps getting stronger is Micah, who is practically suicidal with stupidity. When an expert on the occult tells him to not aggravate a supernatural and malevolent demon, what does he do? He taunts it constantly. His perpetual skepticism about the demon flies in the face of ON CAMERA, concrete evidence that yes, it exists. He's so stupid it's a relief when the demon finally murders him.
  • Passengers (2016) expects us to buy that there are no emergency procedures whatsoever for a passenger to awake the crew to prevent exactly the situation we see in this film from happening. And no spare parts to fix malfunctioning stasis pods. And no maintenance crew to do the same. And sending a high ranking officer about two weeks from death on the space mission.
  • The Predator, a film where a combination of Idiot Ball, Poor Communication Kills and Contrived Coincidence combine to make otherwise-capable soldiers, government employees and scientists look like drooling morons in the face of an alien threat:
    • A rogue Predator (Yautja) flees from its own race in order to deliver a "gift" to the human race, in the form of an item that will help them combat a heat wave that will render Earth inhospitable. How does it accomplish this? It jettisons the gift midway through being chased by another Yautja just before it crashes on Earth. When it arrives, the first humans that encounter it (a covert U.S. Special Forces team) are methodically picked off and strung up, with the Yautja planning to skin at least one of them alive. The only reason he doesn't is because he's impeded by the lone surviving soldier, who steals several pieces of technology and knocks him out before fleeing. The Yautja is captured by the CIA, strapped to a table with minimal restraints and security, and not given any additional sedatives to keep it docile. It wakes up, and instead of attempting to communicate with the humans who have captured it, proceeds to massacre nearly everyone inside the base where it was kept before going on a rampage to find its missing technology. When it does, it very nearly kills the original soldier who encountered it, still not explaining or communicating what it's doing on the planet, before it's ripped out through a window and is bludgeoned to death by the Super Predator.
    • The CIA operator, Traeger, initially hires Dr. Casey Brackett to research and provide more context to the alien lifeform they've discovered, and orders her to chase (with a tranquilizer rifle, no less) when the creature escapes and massacres his men. However, he performs a roundabout and attempts to execute her multiple times... in-between capturing her and revealing significant chunks of backstory/giving her more context as to why the Yautja showed up on Earth to begin with. Late in the film, he arms himself with a Predator smart-targeting system that matches his head movement... and turns his head the wrong way before activating it, blowing his own head off (in a blink-and-you-miss-it scene) in the process.
    • Autism, particularly the Idiot Savant archetype, is theorized as being "humanity's next evolution" by Brackett, and it is suggested that the Super Predator wants to kidnap Rory precisely because of this fact. That Rory, a nine-year-old child, is later placed solely in charge of decoding alien language in a secret government facility during The Stinger is the cherry on top.
  • Everything about Prometheus. This short video sums it all up. Arguably it was because the writers were trying to evoke Alien. In Alien, though, the characters were Space Truckers who were understandably out of their depth dealing with an alien killing machine, so their less-than-intelligent responses made sense. Here, however, the characters are supposed to be scientists and other highly trained professionals, yet still act like Space Truckers (to give some idea, it became one of the regular gags used by the guys at CinemaSins: "the Prometheus School of Running Away From Things").
    • One of the stupidest moments is when the guy who controls the drones that mapped the cave complex gets bored and decides to go back to the ship. And gets lost. The guy. Who made the map for the place. GETS LOST. They could have had any other character do this instead, and it would have made way more sense.
  • The film Rage (alternatively titled Tokarev), starring Nicolas Cage, is one big idiot plot. Seventeen years before the main plot, the main character Paul Maguire, stole, along with his buddies, a large sum of money and a Russian Tokarev gun in a heist, during which the current Russian mafia boss' brother dies. This allows him and his buddies to retire. Unfortunately, his daughter Caitlin is kidnapped and killed, and they found it was done with a Tokarev gun. Rather than see whether it was done with the gun that he stole, Paul assumes immediately that it was the Russian mafia looking for vengeance, and starts an all-out war against them. The truth is that the boss does not know anything, but thanks to the actions of Paul and his buddies he learns the truth and then he starts to look for vengeance. It is then revealed that Caitlin was killed by accident by her boyfriend when they were toying with said gun, but by that time many people were killed (though many of them fall into the category of Asshole Victim), including Paul and his buddies. It could have all been avoided if Paul had looked at the gun he owned in the first place.
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes: The apes are believable geniuses. The humans... not so much. A team of supposed expert biologists fail to notice for the past 9 months that one of their chimp test subjects is pregnant. The protagonist scientist, when seeing his miracle drug only works for a few years before the body rejects it, focuses on making a stronger version that brute-force-overpowers the human immune system, instead of one that suppresses it like with organ transplants. His boss starts mass-scale production and selling of the version 2.0 drug even though it hasn't finished testing. A fellow scientist accidentally exposed to the prototype drug in full view of his colleagues is left alone rather than quarantined until they're sure there's no ill effects. The result? Worldwide pandemic and near-extinction of humanity. Also a jerk neighbor left his car unlocked with the keys in the ignition.
  • The Room. William Shakespeare could have been describing the film when he wrote "It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
    Mike Nelson: They must be having a dumb contest. It's the only explanation.
  • RoboCop 2: While they probably just wanted to make a statement, the members of Cain's criminal gang limit themselves to damage but bring a still fixable Murphy to the police instead of just ending him when they have the chance and no one is stopping them. This plot-demanded idiocy gets worse when Cain is then badly injured by a repaired Murphy, and Faxx (the OCP villain) decides to put his brain into a giant armored robot and doing it in the most traumatic way for Cain (who is also a drug addict, to top it all off). The OCP in the original film was cocky enough to put live ammo in the ED-209, but the villains of this sequel are fixated in making the worst, most back-firing choices possible for no other reason but to service the plot and allow a giant robot fight in the end to happen.
    • To add to the idiocy, the robot body they put Cain's brain in had an otherwise great design - it was as heavily armed as ED-209, but was perfectly agile and capable of precise movements. Was remote control really a less appealing option than entrusting it to an insane sadistic addict?
  • RoboCop 3: So here's the thing about Robocop: his occasional bouts of free will aside, he is compelled to obey four Directives at all times. To serve the public trust, to protect the innocent, to uphold the law, to never arrest an officer of OCP. So why did OCP ever think that he would go along with their plan to wage war against the people of Detroit using mercenaries when such a hostile action breaks three out of four of them? He could literally be the biggest card-carrying villain on Earth and he would still be obliged to oppose them. And this is compounded by the fact that Directive 4 has already shown itself once to be wholly inadequate for the task of stopping Robocop and OCP is now nothing more than a puppet of Kanemitsu Corp who have no emotional attachment to him. Realistically, they should have tried to turn him off long before this film started.
  • The low-budget sci-fi movie R.O.T.O.R. features bad acting, bad dialog, and bad special effects, so having an Idiot Plot is all but expected. To pick but one example of the movie's nonstop cavalcade of idiocy, the antagonist is a runaway Killer Robot whose Weaksauce Weakness is loud noise, such as a boom box playing country music. Yet instead of capturing the robot by wearing earplugs and hiring a nightclub deejay, the protagonists engage it in life-threatening hand-to-hand combat to try and insert a deactivation key into a slot in its torso.

    Film S-Z 
  • Safe Haven is a movie that starts off with Katie, the protagonist, running from the police. It seems like a pretty straight-forward movie. Then, we find out the police aren't after her. One policeman is. He's her husband. She can't do anything about it because in this world, a Boston policeman is a powerful person who can do whatever he wants, even in North Carolina. Katie doesn't even bother calling the police. When she sees a policeman, she thinks he's after her. That's not all. Her best friend turns out to be a ghost.
  • School of Rock: Dewey should have been exposed as a liar from the get-go. At least two Horace Green faculty (including Roz) would have seen Ned when he went into the school for his interview as a potential substitute and recognized the two look nothing alike; his class' parents would have been quite within their rights to suspect Dewey was not a teacher and phone in a complaint to the school about their rock & roll-based assignments; there's no hint that Dewey has any skills besides his music (if so, both Patty and Ned — neither of whom ask any follow-up questions when Dewey tells them he's "temping" — would know as much). When a teacher notices that a rock band is practicing a few doors down from her classroom, Dewey somehow convinces Roz that no, it was just one guy on his guitar.
  • Nobody would have died in Shakma if Sam had properly killed the title animal in the beginning of the movie like he was supposed to. And that's not going into the number of times Poor Communication Kills in this movie.
  • In Sliding Doors, so much trouble could have been avoided if James Hammerton had thought to say to Helen Quilley on their first date 'Oh, by the way I'm separated from my first wife and we're getting a divorce, but don't worry, it's all amicable'.
  • The film version of A Sound of Thunder, which the Agony Booth's recap describes as an "Idiot Plot fractal".
  • The Strangers; if the two leads had a brain cell between them, the movie would've been a lot shorter and NO ONE would've died.
    • Subverted in Ils (aka Them), the French film from which The Strangers cribs its premise. The two leads may be frightened, but they're not idiots, and they do pretty much everything right. It still doesn't save them in the end.
  • Sucker Punch basically only happens because writer and director Zack Snyder thinks the audience will accept that the police wouldn't stop to question someone who is suspected of assault and murder before/after sedating her and letting one of her alleged victims and primary beneficiary drive her away and institutionalize her, or for at least five days afterwards, and for an apparently ethical lobotomist and therapist to not even think of verifying the paperwork on a lobotomy that the latter didn't think was necessary before performing the procedure. And this has apparently happened multiple times without anyone getting suspicious. The movie requires almost everyone in authority to be stupid or as corrupt as the head of the asylum, Blue.
  • Superman
    • Superman II: After Superman gives up his powers to be with Lois, he learns of the presence of three villains from Krypton with all his powers. After he gets his powers back by returning to the Fortress of Solitude, he battles the three villains in the streets of Metropolis. The problem is that Superman's motivation for giving up his powers in the first place was incredibly lame. The holograms of his parents who ordered him to do so are long gone, and making the choice they hoped he wouldn't make is no more respectful than just ignoring them. Meanwhile, their edict that he couldn't "put one above the rest" assumes that he'd never make any friends at all.
    • And then there's Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. Superman decides to destroy all the world's nuclear weapons, and everyone concerned is okay with this. It doesn't get smarter from there.
  • The 2013 French film Stranger by the Lake requires nearly all of its characters being dumber than a bucket of rocks for it to work, but worse, its protagonist is a walking, talking Idiot Ball. The film takes place at a beach that's a popular cruising spot for gay, middle-aged men, where a handsome man goes to cruise. He chooses to have unsafe sex throughout the film despite multiple characters warning him and takes to a guy he is attracted to, but watches said guy drown another man out in the open. Despite this he continues to see him, and even after he slits another character's throat near the end, he's still in love by the end of the film. The detective who visits after the drowning doesn't once think to ask more investigative questions, even when he becomes suspicious of the protagonist.
  • The 2004 Disney Channel Original Movie Stuck in the Suburbs follows the life and times of a teenage girl who accidentally switches cell phones with a celebrity pop singer and proceeds to royally screw with his life for teh lulz. The entire plot hinges on the assumption that a famous musical artist wouldn't cancel his phone service and buy a new device as soon as he discovered the mix-up, or at least get someone who works for him to.
  • The Towering Inferno would have been over (and nowhere near as deadly) if the people just acted with a brain. However, this is a very rare example of this trope being justified - because every stupid action taken by the builders and the survivors ends up with consequences.
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen:
    • The Fallen is either insane, or an imbecile; evidence points to both. First, according to the movie the star-destroying device was designed to harvest energon by destroying stars. So he decides to use it on Earth's Sun, despite the fact that not only will the natives throw everything they can into stopping him, they will be aided by insurgents from his own race. If energon is his goal, why not target it at one of the countless billions of other stars in the galaxy that no one cares about? For that matter, why put such an important device on an inhabited world where there is a risk of the natives tampering with it? The transformers don't need a liveable atmosphere, and even modern humans would be of zero help in building such a device, much less primitive man in the bygone eras when the device was built.
    • If the Fallen simply has a grudge against Earth and/or Humans, the idiocy only ratchets up. First, he is aiming the device at Earth's sun....which will create a supernova that will destroy know...the same planet that not only currently hosts his precious device, but him and his people, since their own homeworld is a lifeless hulk. Not to mention that most of the Fallen's exposure to humans was during their earliest tribal stages which makes his grudge roughly equivalent to the President of the United States launching an ICBM against an ant-hill while he stands six feet away from said ant-hill laughing maniacally. The entire film is driven purely by the Fallen being an insane imbecile, AND all of the decepticons being willing to follow said imbecile through his idiotic objectives.
  • Transporter 3.
    • The villain uses an elaborate setup to force the transporter to do a job, including bracelets Made of Explodium. The villain also has literally hundreds of mooks positioned along the route to keep the pressure up on Frank. The job: Drive a girl across Europe. It's never explained why they need Frank badly enough to justify the fuss about him or even why this big and well-organized crime syndicate needs an external expert for moving a person from A to B.
    • A different idiot plot point revolves around the whole plan to get the girl's father to sign this agreement in exchange for his daughter's return when any contract signed under duress wouldn't hold up in an international court of law. Might as well just forge the signature or forcibly move his hands to sign it for all the legitimacy it would bring.
    • The part where he saves himself from drowning by filling an inflatable dinghy by letting out the air from the car's tires. All the while breathing the same said air himself.
  • Tucker & Dale vs. Evil: Played for Laughs. The movie is a parody of Hillbilly Horror movies from the point of view of the two hillbillies, who are just two normal guys trying to fix up an old house they just bought. A group of terrified college kinds think they're in a horror movie and use horror movie logic to deal with them, thinking that the two are deranged killers holding their friend hostage while the hillbillies and said friend themselves are blissfully unaware of it and spend their time working on the house.
  • Unknown (2011): A GM corn company hired a team of assassins for industrial espionage. They assumed that the head of the project would have a copy of the genome on his laptop, and most likely that it was the only copy. They trick an insane assassin into getting rid of a piece of evidence, when they could easily have done it themselves.
  • Underworld: Evolution features what is intended to be a crack squad of elite troops trained in killing vampires and werewolves. At the climax, they must seek out and destroy a lair of werewolves before they can unleash the Big Bad. They are surprised to find this lair is only accessible from an underwater entrance, but that's fine — they have scuba gear. Oh, wait. They forgot the silver ammo for their werewolf hunt, so if they go in, they're incapable of doing any damage to the enemy before werewolf bites turn them into werewolves. So they go in anyway.
  • Universal Soldier: The Return: After the disastrous events of the first film, the U.S. military not only puts together a second Unisol project with even more dangerous Super Soldiers who are outright Immune to Bullets, but also networks all of them to S.E.T.H., an experimental artificial intelligence who can then easily take control of the base and lock out all human operators. On top of that, when the inevitable happens, it's pointed out that they can't simply bomb the base to stop S.E.T.H. and the Unisols because it's built on top of a massive storage of biological weapons.
  • Most of War for the Planet of the Apes could easily have been completely avoided had Caesar, the main ape, just acted like the leader that he's supposed to be, and his fellow apes had done the same thing. Sadly, its human counterparts aren't much smarter. While it may be somewhat understandable for the human characters, considering the majority are soldiers working for a corrupt colonel, on the Apes' part it's just downright unforgivable.
    • So the apes get word of a desert that could act as a safe haven for them, where humans won't know of their existence. Rather than set off for the desert, they decide to sleep and set off for the desert the next day. This gets a number of apes killed by an army led by a fascist colonel. This also only happens because the apes were sleeping and somehow didn't have people watching the compound, and Caesar only somehow managed to catch the head honcho in the nick of time.
    • The apes then decide to head on a "revenge mission", where half of the apes go to locate the desert and the other half try to find the colonel and kill him. Not too idiotic to start with, but this naturally leads to them getting captured and put in a concentration camp. Caesar also gets captured after the death of a nameless ape he just met causes him to get angry and attempt to kill the Colonel. As a result, he's forced into slave labour. And speaking of which...
    • This has GOT to be the dumbest military ever depicted on film. Let us count the ways:
      • So they own a large concentration camp compound, and their goal is to use the apes for slave labour to build a wall so they can prepare for an attack from another group of humans. But for some reason it doesn't dawn on them to have a big gate built? The little girl whom the plot centers on is able to just walk right in undetected, leading one to wonder what the point of a big wall is if there are no guards to watch it and just a big open "door" exists in the middle.
      • They also somehow aren't aware of the tunnel that sits directly beneath the cells, which allows the apes to escape.
      • And that's not even starting on how it occurs to exactly not a single soldier on that compound that Caesar is a troublemaker and makes a gesture to his fellow apes that indicates an uprising will start later that night. All of them are watching the apes make a "Power to Caesar" gesture and do nothing about it. And even that is ignoring the fact that 90 percent of the guards were inside the compund doing very little guard work. It leads one to question how they were able to capture all these apes if they aren't going to take even just basic small security measures!
      • And we're still not done talking about the "security", or lack of. One particularly amusing scene shows a guard get shit flung at his neck. Rather than shooting his fully loaded assault rifle into the cage to scare the apes, he instead willingly incapacitates himself by going into the cage, asking who did it, then one of the apes hiding in the hole leading to the tunnel yanks him down, knocks him out and steals his keys. This leads to the apes escaping, and and not a single guard on the premises noticing- despite the fact that a good chunk of them are standing right in front of the fucking cage!
    • So now the above-mentioned opposing humans arrive at the compound, and Caesar notices the Colonel drunk in bed, now riddled with the disease that makes him primitive. Understandably, he wants to die. So Caesar now has the pistol. Does he: A) shoot the colonel in the head, or B) give him the gun so he can commit suicide himself. And no, the Fridge Horror laden Alternative Character Interpretation doesn't make this any better, nor does it appear to have been intentional on the part of Matt Reeves, the director.
  • In Welcome to Mooseport, former President of the United States Monroe "Eagle" Cole (Gene Hackman) runs for mayor of a small town solely to protect an asset from his divorce case. A local handyman Harold "Handy Harrison (Ray Romano) runs against him, because he's angry the president approached his girlfriend. The girlfriend, given the option of dating a president instead of a she was about to dump anyway, can't decide. The mayoral campaign becomes a passive-aggressive fight over her. The president's advisors warn him that losing would destroy his legacy, even though he just left the White House with an 85% approval rating. It never occurs to anyone that none of this was worth fighting over. When the race is inevitably Decided by One Vote, both men had promised that they would vote for each other instead of themselves. Cole wins by one vote, then admits that he did vote for himself, and concedes the race. Harrison lies and said he voted for himself also, conceding the race back, because he never really wanted to be mayor anyway.
  • White Christmas: The entire conflict in the romantic arc is a bit of Out-of-Context Eavesdropping that could have been cleared up in ten seconds if either Bob or Betty had thought to ask the other whether they really understood what was going on.
  • Whiplash: The whole film could have easily been over in 10 minutes if Andrew (or any other student in the class for that matter) had gone to head office of Shaffer and reported Fletcher for his physically and verbally abusive ways (he throws a cymbal at his head and even repeatedly uses the word "faggot" and even makes jokes about his mother walking out). But nope, he doesn't... until halfway through the film, and even after that, he goes back and joins his class again.
  • Why Him?:
    • Stephanie knew that Laird had a habit of being foulmouthed and uncouth, and probably would leave a bad impression on her parents despite being a nice guy, so she should have earnestly tried to get him to tone down his antics before throwing her family in like that. That said, she later acknowledges that throwing them in was a bad idea.
    • Ned and Barb should have come right out and told Laird that his boorish attitude was making them extremely uncomfortable, instead of tiptoeing around the issue. Ned could have saved himself a lot of trouble in the long run had he brought this up when Laird asked for permission to marry Stephanie; it probably would have even led to quicker Character Development for both of them.
    • It was incredibly stupid of Ned to have Kevin, who is an amateur hacker at best, try to breach the computer system of a genius who was able to program a sapient AI.
  • The Woman in Black: Harry Potter is a grieving lawyer who travels to a small village to sort through the paperwork of a recently deceased woman who lived in an Old, Dark House. Rather than taking the paperwork back to town, he decides to stay there. He spends most of his time wandering around and looking at creepy things without doing anything at all. Message on the wall written in blood under the wallpaper? Huh, I'll go wander around more. The one thing he tries to do doesn't work. He also doesn't get a lick of paperwork done.
  • The main reason Fritz Lang's Woman in the Moon is remembered for its accurate rocket launch sequence and nothing else is because the rest of its overlong running time is a melodramatic idiot plot. The most glaring example is that the heroes take the villain along on the mission, fully knowing his evil intentions. Yes, he threatened to blow up the ship if he didn't go with them, but did it occur to none of the crew that they could knock him unconscious and leave him behind just before liftoff (or better yet, have him arrested) and go to the moon and he would be helpless to retaliate? The entire third act would've gone much smoother, especially since no villain would have meant no gunfight which means no bullet hole in the oxygen tank which means no depleted oxygen supply which means everyone could have happily gone home with their gold, the end. But no, they had to be idiots.
  • X-Men: The Last Stand:
    • The government hears that Magneto is raising an army to attack the mutant cure laboratory on Alcatraz. In response, they arm the guards there with mutant cure dart weapons in plastic dart rifles, the latter of which is sensible to stop Magneto but the former being Crippling Overspecialization at its finest. This only works because Magneto is equally stupid. They also leave Leech at Alcatraz instead of quietly moving him somewhere else when they know his life is in danger. The loss of life would still be massive, but they would have denied Magneto his prize and made sure he could never find him again.
    • Magneto's plan involves uprooting the Golden Gate Bridge to bring his mutant army to Alcatraz. He could have just as easily dropped the bridge on Alcatraz, removing the need for an army entirely, or flown himself to an unreachable distance and turned the entire island and its large supply of metal (rebar, pipes, etc.) into a deathtrap.
    • Magneto just sends his army in with no plan, using them as fodder to determine the enemy's capabilities. As he demonstrates later, he could just have his A-list destroy everyone in a few moves and they would be powerless to stop him. This essentially serves no purpose but to make Magneto seem unsympathetic.
      • A deleted scene does show Magneto try to get Phoenix to do something. She refuses, telling him, "You're sounding like [Xavier] again". This does not excuse him failing to use his lesser-but-still-ridiculously-powerful elites right off the bat.
    • No one in Magneto's army brings any weapons to the battle, even though they know that the government is using the mutant cure as a weapon. Considering that the guards on Alcatraz, as previously mentioned, were armed only with mutant cure darts, a handful of people with conventional guns could have easily wiped them out. Failing that, if the cured "pawns" had simply grabbed rocks, pieces of pipe, and other improvised weapons and charged the guards they could have, at the very least, distracted them long enough to allow the mutants that still had their powers to get close and take them out. Instead they seem to just completely give up when they lose their powers.
    • Magneto is surprised that the humans are using plastic guns. This from a guy who's not only been held in a plastic prison for quite some time, but has shown the ability to detect metallic signatures from far greater distances and act on them accordingly. He does so in this very film, in fact.
    • The heroes need to stop Phoenix, so Wolverine is sent in to stab her with his claws. If he's in a position to get close enough to do that and you aren't going to make her vaporize his pants, then he should have grabbed some cure darts (which are literally everywhere) and cured her instead of killing her. Still psycho or not, she wouldn't be a threat.
    • Going with the two above, just like Magneto, Phoenix didn't sense that Wolverine was planning to kill her despite being a nigh omnipotent psychic.
  • In Zack and Miri Make a Porno two friends who are Platonic Life-Partners decide to make ends meet by creating a porno. Together. With each other. At no point does anybody wonder if Zack and Miri will be comfortable having sex with each other until the scene has to be filmed, and they naturally get cold feet which adds to an already Troubled Production. And nothing before in the movie indicates that Zack and Miri were sexually adventurous.

Alternative Title(s): Live Action Film


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