Your favorite Idiot Plots (open spoilers)

You know, stories where the action can proceed only by having characters act like total gibbering idiots. IMHO, this is really just an example of lazy writing - they need to move from Point A to Point B, and instead of coming up with a creative way of doing so that conforms somewhat with realistic human motivations and thought processes, writers just have a character do something entirely too stupid to believe. Actually, one monumentally stupid decision is usually forgivable - it’s when every plot turn depends on monumental stupidity that it gets really laughable.

Case in point: 28 Weeks Later. I know this got a lot of good reviews, but I hated it. I couldn’t engage with any of the characters because everyone we’re introduced to does such stupid stuff they deserve what they get!

Let’s see if I can list the high points of Idiot Plotting here:

1.) Having watched their country entirely destroyed by the Rage virus, and most of their countrymen wiped out, a brother (12) and sister (14-ish) return to England, where they hear how their mother was killed in the disaster, and are stringently warned not to go outside the “green zone,” due to feral dog packs, rotting bodies and attendant non-Rage disease, and the possibility of Rage infection, as well as other dangers. The next morning, they decide to sneak out of the green zone, rifle a putrefying corpse for scooter keys, and jaunt to their old home to get a picture of their mother. :smack:

2.) The American forces are so tetchy they have snipers everywhere and helicopter patrols, and so on. A sniper spots the kids sneaking out, immediately reports it . . . and as far as we can tell no one does anything for a good half hour, with troops finally showing up after the kids have explored their old house and found their mother alive.

3.) They bring mom & kids back to the green zone, and hold them in quarantine - finally a somewhat good choice - but evidently in some building complex that also houses lots of civilians - so much for intelligence. Doctor sees a huge bite mark on Mom’s arm, and that she has a bloody eye, and then proceeds to examine her and take a blood sample, while wearing less protection against contagion than my dentist does for a cleaning.

4.) Having found that she’s Typhoid Alice, and can infect people with saliva or blood, they promptly leave her all alone in her locked exam room, with no guards, video surveillance, or personnel of any kind around. Did I mention that due to his being some kind of caretaker, the dad apparently has access to even the most high security military areas? And that after waltzing in to give the wife a smooch, and getting all Rage-y, he retains the smarts to swipe his way back out and gain access to anywhere he wants to go?

5.) In response to this, the military doesn’t lock down the building, but tries to evacuate all civilians, then after packing them tightly together ensures panic by shutting off all the lights. When the shit really hits the fan, the plan is for snipers to differentiate between fleeing, panicked people, and running, loony infected.

After that, the “plot” is pretty much set up, and you get the standard run and chase sequences, so grotesque levels of stupidity aren’t really required. I also admit I stopped paying too much attention, because who cares what happens to these nimrods?

So what’s your favorite Idiot Plot, and are you still able to get into or enjoy such a story?

The ultimate in idiot plots. :smiley:

Haven’t watched it in at least a decade, though.

How dare you!

:mad: :wink:

Well, not * total * gibbering idiots, but how about “The Birds”? You know, the one in which 5 oz songbirds and 2 pound seagulls peck people to death?

Well, I’ve tried to imagine myself in that scenario, and it usually ends up with me wearing safety goggles, gloves, and a couple of layers of heavy clothing going forth with a tennis racquet and laying down the smackdown on the avian menace. OK, I understand that sea gulls have pretty intimidating beaks, and I might end up looking a bit bloody afterwards, but there’s gonna be a * lot * of feathered asskicking going on in the meantime.

Alien is the most obvious example.

In a different way, Gattaca is worse. The entire society is completely idiotic.

Love the movie as I do (and this has been discussed in several threads already), the nonsensical McGuffin of the letters of transit in Casablanca makes the whole plot kinda idiotic.

And all of those secessionist firebreathers at the beginning of Gone with the Wind thinking they can so easily beat the U.S., they cheer when Ft. Sumter is fired upon. :smack: Just what were they smokin’, anyway?

Oh, and about a million teenagers leaving their friends to go into dark rooms alone when a killer’s on the loose in about ten million slasher movies.

Your forgetting about the crows (and maybe a few ravens). They did most of the damage in the movie. Also, while individually they may not seem like much of a threat, the crows (and gulls) far outnumbered the people and thus had a considerable advantage. And I’m not even mentioning the fact that a crow’s beak and claws are especially sharp.

I could never watch Remmington Steele. A hotshot female detective makes up a male partner and then some guy comes in claiming to be her male partner, and she can’t find out anything about him.

What was her orofession again?

Star Crystal – Cheapie Alien ripoff* in which they conquer the creature by converting it to Christianity!!!

I don’t care if you’re a a hard-core believer or not, but if you have any common sense this will strike you as an outrageous copout.

  • I agree with Reality Chuck about Alien, and liked it better in the original It! The Terror from Beyond Spasce

Unfortunately, that was pretty accurate. Southerners honestly believed, or at least loudly claimed to believe, that they could kill ten Yankees apiece. They didn’t quite “get” that machinists, mechanics, and even clerks were just as tough as farm boys. In fact, often tougher due to better disease resistance. It was stupid, but it was real.

But many secessionists did react like that at the time — so it doesn’t really count as poor or lazy writing, like the OP is asking for. Those Gone with the Wind characters might very well have been idiots, but they were historically authentic idiots.

Agree with your other points though.

Objections aside, I like how you think. Much like the dorks in zombie movies who go about in tank tops and shorts, when any twit could see that some hardcore biker leather, including gloves, steel-toed boots, hood, and goggles would be called for.

In either case, the monsters may still get you, but at least make an effort!

Re: Casablanca, I never thought about it at all. Now I have to re-watch with that in mind (still a good movie and not a total Idiot Plot though, IMHO).

I just watched an episode of Lost on dvd, where John is left holding a hostile, military-trained man prisoner while Kate and Sayid go into the cellar to try and find the man’s accomplice.

So there’s John, standing over a tied up and apparently unconscious prisoner. He hears a robotic voice announce “your move” from the other room, reminding him that he had been playing a game of chess against a computer before the whole hostage situation went down. So what does he do? He sits down out of sight of the prisoner and plays chess with the computer, giving his rival the perfect opportunity to sneak behind him and take him by surprise.

Yes, he abandoned his post to place chess with a computer. What the hell?!

Right. It’s not an idiot plot if a movie has idiots that do idiotic things that land them in a heap of trouble. It’s only an idiot plot if characters who are presented as normal or even experts, do something that only an idiot would do, and then land in a heap of trouble, and we’re supposed to feel sorry for them.

It’s an idiot plot if when, if only the main character would say, “The ‘girl’ you saw me with was my mom, I had a dentist appointment, I’m in a summer stock production of “Julius Caesar”, and the dog belongs to my neighbor!”, then the movie would be over in 10 minutes. But no, there have to be comical misunderstandings, and behavior that would earn real people a restraining order, and so on, all for another 90 minutes.

If the two love interests would just sit down for a minute and talk to each other like human beings, the movie would be over. Except they’re not allowed to do that, and instead behave like idiots, and we’re not supposed to realize that they’re idiots, instead we’re supposed to believe they’re romantic.

A counterexample would be “My Best Friend’s Wedding”, where Julia Robert’s love interest is marrying someone else, and so in classic rom-com fashion Julia has to break up the impending wedding and get the guy to fall in love with her. And so she does various asshole things, but the twist is that the movie doesn’t ask us to pretend they’re cute romantic things, and at the end Julia Roberts realizes she’s been a major league asshole.

I know, I know. I was kidding. Never mind.

I don’t have a problem with all that so much as a couple of other idiotic scenes. The first is when the children are at school and the birds start to gather. What does the teacer have them do? Go outside and walk down the hill right past them! Later, Tippy Hendron goes up to the attic and opens the door. What does she expect to find in there? Worse, once the birds start attacking her, she just stands there and lets them peck her. Did she forget the way out?

This type of crap happens all the time in Hitchcock movies. What about Rear Window when the killer is advancing toward Jimmy Stewart and is blinded by the flash 3 times? You got a guy in a wheelchair with a broken leg 10 feet in front of you. Cover your eyes and rush him! What’s he gonna do, “shoot” you to death?

How is it that noboday had mentioned “Flightplan” yet? Stupidest plot ever.

Even before somebody said “Lost” I thought of it at the mention of “Gilligan’s Island” (because, I’m sure that’s where they are…you always end up back there no matter how many rafts you build)

I actually love the series, watching it on DVD is like Pringles, I always mean to just watch one, but before I know it, the can is empty. But seriously, those are some dumb people.

Let’s see, many of your fellow castaways have died from wandering alone in the jungle because of accidental shootings, intentional shootings, sentient black clouds, polar bears, etc, but does that stop anybody from prancing off into the woods solo?

I’ve just started on Season 3 and several of our wacky crew are prisoners of the “Others” but none of them has ever screamed at their captors “Who are you people? Why are you doing this?” even when they had the (momentary) drop on them. Probably you wouldn’t get an answer, but it’s just contrary to human nature to omit the question.

It’s complicated.

You wouldn’t understand.

It’s not that simple.


You’ve got a good point. As much as I’ve enjoyed this series, not only do they regularly wander off like teen-meat in a slasher film, it’s often commented on here (and elsewhere) that the good guys never freaking talk to each other! A weekly info-sharing conference would go a long way to solving their problems.

What was so dumb about that? Bad guys kill Jodie Foster’s husband. Jodie flies back to the US on a brand new super duper plane. On the exact same flight the bad guy Marshall and Bad Guy stewardess.

Then, IIRC, jodie and daughter (both flying coach, despite her being the plane’s designer) end up in a totally empty part of the plane. Daughter is then kidnapped along with her passport. 10 yo kids always keep their passports with them.

Daughter, of course, is not on the manifest. I believe there was some sort of explanation as to why this was, but I missed it due to an unexplained fit of giggles.

I think there was a scene were Ms. Foster goes walkabout in one of the plane’s wings, but I could have been hallucinating.

After that, well, I assume that the film continued in it’s pseudo documentary fashion to a believable conclusion. I missed the end due to smashing my head through the front of the TV.