Best mystery movie stupidity of all time

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Double Jeopardy picture

Stupidity: Ashley Judd finally tracks her husband down and what does she do? She doesn't try to capture him to prove her innocence, she doesn't notify the police, she doesn't take his picture and send it to every police dept in the US, she doesn't even follow him to find out where her son is. Instead all she does is ask for her kid back. What was she going to do even if she got him back? She is still on the run from the law, with little money and resources and she doesn't even know if her kid even remembers her.

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Suggested correction: As you said, she's on the run from the law. Why would she call the cops and risk going back to prison and losing her son again? Even if her husband was alive, she has no way of knowing what will happen to her. This was her best shot (especially in her mind) to getting her son back, thinking her husband would rather give up the boy's location rather than die; whereas height keep the boy's location a secret if all he was facing was possible jail time, if that.

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Flowers in the Attic picture

Stupidity: When Cathy, Chris and Carrie go into their late grandfather's room, they discover a copy of the grandfather's will that states that if it was ever discovered that Corrine had children, she would lose everything. Had they taken the will to their mom's wedding and showed it to her fiance, they would have been able to expose the scam much quicker. Instead, they take the dead mouse Fred with them and show it to everybody. What good would a dead mouse do when a will has more leverage?

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Suggested correction: We never see them put the will away. It's possible one of them had it in their pocket during the wedding scene, but they just never showed it because A. Showing the will would have given motive for their mother to want to kill them, but not have proved that these children were hers, and B. The dead mouse is a more visceral, hate-fueled move that matches Kristy's anger.

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Scream picture

Stupidity: In the scene where Billy, Stu and Sidney are in the kitchen (when Sidney finds out they are the real killers), they begin to stab each other as a part of the plan to fool the police into thinking they were almost killed by Sidney's father, whom they were going to frame for the murders. They were planning on killing Sidney and her father, so it makes absolutely no sense that they begin stabbing each other BEFORE killing Sidney and her father, especially since Sidney would be at more of an advantage of outrunning them should she have the opportunity to since they have both been stabbed multiple times.


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Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark picture

Stupidity: When Ruth catches Chuck fishing for turds in their toilet, he yells at her and asks for privacy and then slams the bathroom door shut. He should have closed the bathroom door in the first place if he didn't want anybody to see what he was doing. It's not like anybody would think he was weird for going into the bathroom and immediately closing the door.

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Scream 4 picture

Stupidity: Jill wasn't thinking too clearly when she plans her story. She only wiped the fingerprints off the gun but they would be all over the tape on Trevor's body. Then she wipes off the knife yet touches it again to slide it across the floor. She was thinking that Trevor and Charlie were going to be thought of as the killers but their fingerprints weren't on either of the weapons.

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I Know What You Did Last Summer picture

Stupidity: When the teens are about dump Ben Willis off the pier, he regains consciousness and snatches Helen's crown. Despite knowing he's alive with strength to spare, they nonetheless drop him in the water and continually refer to him as "dead."


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A Nightmare on Elm Street picture

Stupidity: When the parents knew Freddy was doing the killing then why didn't they watch him like a neighborhood watch so they could catch him trying it again, and thus avoid the legal technicality which threw out of the first case? It seems idiotic they broke the law to punish this lawbreaker.


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Suggested correction: The parents believed Freddy would not face justice for his crimes. They were unwilling to allow him the opportunity to kill another child, and believing the justice system had failed them they took the law into their own hands. They completely got away with their vigilante justice. The only bad thing that happened was Freddy was brought back as a vengeful demon with superpowers. There is no way the parents could have known this would happen.


It is still a stupidity. Even if they wanted him to suffer, they would try to avoid legal problems at all costs. It is good that they wanted to prevent him from killing another child but they still shouldn't act so hastily.

Stupidity entries are not meant to be stupid acts by characters. They're for minor plot holes. Without in-film evidence why the acts would be a plot hole, there is no stupidity mistake. And assuming what characters would or would not do does not make a valid mistake (not to mention revenge killings do happen in real life and in movies a lot).


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Flightplan picture

Stupidity: Considering he is an Air Marshal and a psychopathic hijacker, someone like Carson should have never turned his back on Kyle while he was closing the airplane door as he would be and is easily incapacitated by Kyle.

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Along Came a Spider picture

Stupidity: You'd think that Jezzie would have been a little smarter as a secret service agent. You know, like once they acquire Megan, to delete all the incriminating evidence sitting back on an unattended computer. Aside from the fact she also used quite a stupid password, a single password isn't very secure at all. And then the content, displayed instantly when you get in, might as well say things like "hey look, we know what the kidnapper looks like" and "wow, here's the boat he's in too" and "wow, a cabin for sale. Why don't we go hang out there with all the evidence." Come on....they might as well have left a trail of breadcrumbs, because they sure were asking to get caught.

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Ad Astra picture

Stupidity: When Roy finally gets to the Lima project in the shuttle but can't dock, he just lets it drift away - he could have at least tethered it to the station to use it for his return trip.

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Suggested correction: There is no way to know the reason why he did this. It's plausible, or even likely, that the pod was out of fuel. Not only that, but it could not dock with Lima because it was damaged, so it's likely that the damage played into the decision as well.


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Scream 2 picture

Stupidity: Ghostface ambushes Sidney and her friend with the two detectives protecting her while in the car. Ghostface busts out of the driver window, and slashes the throat of the driver detective and then assaults his partner, kicking the crap out of him. Ghostface is obviously going with the intent to kill and has a weapon. He just killed one of the detectives and threw the other in the street in front of the car. When Ghostface jumps in the car to take off, the living detective, beaten, jumps up with his gun trained on Ghostface. But rather than do anything smart, he just yells at the killer, the cop killer, to freeze and get out of the running car that he's standing in front of. He just saw the guy kill his own partner and knows he is intending to kill the girls in the back. His gun is pointed at Ghostface who is about to drive over him, but he just yells at him instead of shooting.

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Heat picture

Stupidity: In the opening robbery, killing the third guard made no sense. Even if they didn't kill anyone, they'd still already committed a serious crime, that would result in lengthy prison time if caught. It makes no sense that they have no problem leaving witnesses when they're guilty of armed robbery, but don't want to when they're guilty of murder. If they didn't kill the third guard, their chances of getting caught would've been the same as if they didn't kill anyone.


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Suggested correction: Leaving an eyewitness for an armored car heist is certainly risky, but leaving an eyewitness for an execution style double homicide is totally different. California had the death penalty at the time this film was set.


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Knives Out picture

Stupidity: Spoiler. The protagonist is a trained and competent nurse, paired with one of the greatest murder mystery writers. Neither finds strange in the slightest that after jabbing his vein with a dose of drugs 30 times the norm he is absolutely fine, not just conscious but even able to concoct on the spot a convoluted plot, speaking normally and quite at length, no trouble at all. He should be dead "in 10 minutes" sure, but it's not a time bomb. You'd think one would not be so blasé about slitting their own throat and the other would have to notice how amazingly unaffected and lucid the other appears to be minutes later. Not to mention that his plan would have never worked with the toxicology report, which should be routine in a suicide case also to assess the mental state of the person who left no note or anything behind.

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Suggested correction: It is explained that the drug overdose will kill Harlan in 10 minutes based on the dosage. The implication is that Harlan's heart will stop, not that he will become gradually and obviously sick over those 10 minutes. Regardless, based on what they believe will happen, even if they did notice that Harlan wasn't getting sick they wouldn't have the time to test that theory. The fact that neither Marta nor Harlan thought about a potential toxicology report is a pretty major part of the plot, and it is perfectly reasonable given the circumstances. The plot was hatched on the spot within a few minutes and there are several holes in the plan that drive the story throughout the film. Although a brilliant man and a great writer, Harlan simply didn't think of everything.


She explicitly says "You'll feel symptoms in 5" and when he shuts her up putting a hand on her mouth she says "We have 6 minutes."Then his daughter interrupts them and more time is wasted. By the time when he begins his convoluted explanation of the big plan he should have already been disoriented, sweaty and the whole gamut leading to his respiratory failure. And he goes on for minutes after that. It's very true, it moves the plot along, but by what they say themselves (which is from I understand not medically accurate and contradicted also by what happens later in the movie with the second death) they should have realised that time has passed with nothing happening. You could even say it's Rian Johnson's intentional deconstruction of the artificial nature of the whoddunit contrivances! But also, just saying, one of those "Stupid actions and decisions people take in movies, which no-one would ever do in real life."

Sammo Premium member

Even taking that into account, what you are saying is Harlan should have said "Hmm, a few minutes have passed and I haven't felt any symptoms, so I'm not actually poisoned. Carry on then, false alarm." It moves the plot along because Harlan isn't willing to risk Marta getting in trouble for poisoning him and they have less than 10 minutes to act. This would count as a stupidity entry if Harlan didn't care about who took the blame for killing him, but obviously he does. Remember, stupidity entries are not for poor decisions by characters, they are for minor plot holes. This being "an act no-one would ever do in real life" is kind of the entire point of the movie. Nobody believes Harlan would do this because, well nobody cares about their nurse that much. But he does.


The part I was quoting is the description of the category in the metadata on google, or if you prefer the hover text description just above this very page go by "Something just plain stupid. Not as deal-breaking as a plot hole, but something daft, like running upstairs with a killer behind them, instead of out of the front door." I call "slitting your own throat feeling totally fine after you yourself have been calling the minutes with precision earlier", pretty silly, to say the least. Again, this is all stuff the script itself unnecessarily calls attention on. If he didn't mention twice the time before, if she hadn't said that the symptoms happen after 5 but just "your heart is gonna exploded at the 10 minute mark", then, maybe, I would have simply reported the factual error that this is not how it works. It's the script itself that points out (Harlan himself says it twice) the exact minutes, and the symptoms and how they are gradual.

Sammo Premium member

This still ignores the fact that they don't have time to test the theory. They would have to notice the lack of symptoms, and assume somehow that the lack of symptoms after 5 minutes must mean that Harlan isn't actually poisoned, and stop their plan right then and there. The audience knows that Harlan isn't really poisoned, but we don't find that out until later. I doubt very seriously that anyone watching this film for the first time believed, as you suggest, that Harlan obviously wasn't poisoned because he didn't show any symptoms and it was therefore stupid for him to kill himself. It seems to you to be stupid in hindsight, but I honestly don't believe, based on what the characters knew, that Harlan's action was so egregious that it constitutes a mistake in the script.


We definitely had a very different impression watching it the first time. The thought that this old man could be shot a big dose of morphine in vein and calmly think of perfect murder plans for the next minutes was 200% absurd on first view here. I could say that others thought the same but it's just anecdotical and I respect you having a different take. For the rest, it's again just the script itself drawing attention to it. From the mouth of the same character who nonchalantly slits his own throat feeling still fine. It seems egregiously stupid and contradictory.

Sammo Premium member

But he wasn't shot a big dose of morphine. He got his normal meds, they only think he overdosed.


We don't know that yet. We know that, in their words, he was shot 100 mg instead of 3 (does not matter if true or not, we are fed this information and the characters believe it). Again, the whole scene would have worked if they didn't, themselves, add details. Makes the overdose sound huge, and inserting the 6 minutes mark (which means, barely 1 min till the symptoms show up) before the daughter arrives when more than half of the scene has still to be played, weakens it terribly. Some things are maybe just stupid in hindsight, like the fact that all he needed to do was to write in his own penmanship a suicide note saying he killed himself with an injection once Marta left, but the overdose bit felt absurd on first viewing.

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Ten Little Indians picture

Stupidity: Ilona Bergen's murder happening as shown is laughable; she sees the hand with the syringe coming, slowly, at her, and not only she can't defend herself or avoid it (because, damsels in distress in the 60s, you know), but she does not even scream. There's no way the killer could have been sure, or even take a calculated risk, to murder her in such a way. (00:55:25)

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Ten Little Indians picture

Stupidity: Martino's plan involves walking across the desert for 200 miles, in a raincoat, dress shoes, and nothing to cover his head. That's just silly and probably needed no sabotage from the killer at all, but he realises his compass was broken and his canteen emptied when it's already too late to go back.That's no subtle sabotage, in particular the compass being shattered, glass included. He didn't even perform a rudimentary check on his survival kit. (00:50:00)

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Cloverfield picture

Stupidity: When the Woolworth Building collapses and the gang runs into the convenience store to take cover from the dust, Marlena was last seen behind Hud and with Lily, Rob, and Jason. Switch to everyone running from the dust cloud, Marlena didn't make it into the store. Upon exiting the store, the gang finds Marlena stumbling from nearer to the Woolworth Building meaning she would have had to run toward the dust cloud, through the screaming crowd which was running away from the building.

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Underwater picture

Stupidity: Norah is an experienced engineer and handywoman, still, she doesn't even bother herself for a second to at least TRY to fix the faulty escape pod.


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The Virgin Suicides picture

Stupidity: Dr. Horniker (MD, PhD) advised Mr. And Mrs. Lisbon that Cecilia could use a kind of "outlet outside the codification of school" and should "interact with males her own age." The Lisbons did arrange a party for Cecilia, but the boys who were invited (or came) were somewhat older. Cecilia, at age 13, would be in Jr. High School. Tim and Parkie were 16-17. Chase looked a little younger than the other boys, but none of the boys were really "males her own age." Had the boys been 12-13 or even 14 and Cecilia's older sisters not present, Cecilia may have a better experience - and not jumped to her death during the party. (00:07:35)


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Daphne & Velma picture

Stupidity: During the ghost chase montage, why would Velma look for her glasses with her hand in midair instead than on the ground? No matter how nearsighted you are, the closest wall, or obstacle, is meters away and you'll never find your glasses anywhere but the floor. She does it for a longer time than anyone would. (00:52:40)

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