Best family movie stupidity of all time

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Big (1988)

Big picture

Stupidity: After Josh runs away from home after being turned into an adult, nothing seems to be done about his "disappearance." The only indication that he is missing is his picture on the back of a milk carton. There's no flyers about him missing. No mention of his disappearance in any newspapers or TV news about his mom saying that he's been "abducted" by a stranger. Even when Josh writes a letter home, he uses the actual address of where he's staying, but no cops turn up at his door after his mom receives the letter.

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Star Wars picture

Stupidity: The Death Star comes equipped with a powerful tractor beam capable of capturing a ship the size and agility of the Millennium Falcon. Why don't they use it against the rebel fighters attacking them at the end of the film? Okay, Obi-Wan Kenobi turned it off earlier but I find it hard to believe that someone who has never before visited the largest, most complex space station in the Universe and who was previously unaware of its very existence can disable a fundamental security system but the people who designed, built and run the whole thing can't work out how to switch it back on. They should have no problems with this, considering the fact that Obi-Wan didn't damage it.


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Suggested correction: Obi Wan disrupted the battle at a critical time causing much confusion. We could chalk this oversight up to "Fog of War" - that in the heat of battle it's normal for commanders to overlook obvious things and seem to act stupidly. It would also be reasonable to assume that the fighters were too close for the tractor beam emitter to target them.

This scenario would require every single person on the Death Star who was involved in the maintenance of vital defence systems not noticing that one of them had been switched off! Not ONE person noticed? Obi Wan did not disable the tractor beam during "the heat of battle." There was a considerable time lapse between his switching off the tractor beam and the climactic final battle, during which time it would have been switched back on. When the Millenium Falcon leavs the Death Star Han Solo remarks that he hopes that "old man" succeeded in disabling the tractor beam, implying that those on the Death Star would be trying to use it. Even then, they didn't notice it had been switched off? Not sabotaged, not disabled, switched off.

Good point. This was definitely stupidity on the part of the Death Star crew, but not stupid as a plot point. It does happen in combat regularly. In 1987 the USS Stark was hit by 2 Iraqi Exocet missiles after challenging a single fighter. The ships' Close-in Weapons System should have easily shot the missiles down, but the investigation showed that no-one had noticed that the system had not been turned on.

They didn't use the tractor beam when the gang was escaping in the Falcon because they WANTED them to get away. The Empire placed a tracking beacon onboard so as to be able to find the hidden Rebel Base. As to how the Falcon was snagged originally: yes, they had just exited hyperspace, but they were not relatively fast; they were preoccupied with the TIE fighter (incapable of light speed) and the small moon right up to the point they were trapped in the tractor beam (and realizing "that's no moon!"


Suggested correction: The Falcon was travelling towards the Death Star when it was caught in the tractor beam. The tractor beam was properly turned back on by the time it travelled to Yavin. The rebel fighters are too small and quick to be held in a tractor beam and there are so many of them so it would be near impossible to trap enough to make a difference.

As I have already pointed out, assigning technical limitations to a wholly fictional piece of technology is absurd. As to "flying towards the Death Star" - the X and Y wing fighters are shown doing just that. As for being too quick, the Millenium Falcon is decelerating from superluminal speeds when it is captured in the tractor beam. That's pretty bloody fast in anyone's books.

The key phrase here is "fictional piece of technology", there is no way to understand how it works. Any explanations is pure conjecture.

ctown28 Premium member

It's flat out stated by General Dodonna in the battle briefing that the Death Star's defenses are based around repelling attacks by capital ships, not fighters. The targeting may not be exact enough.


Actually, claiming a fictional piece of equipment can't behave the way you think it should is somewhat silly. The previous explanation that the tractor beam's limitations were the reason for not using it during the battle makes perfect sense.

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Home Alone picture

Stupidity: When a cop goes to Kevin's house after being requested by police, he simply knocks on the door and after a few seconds walks away assuming no ones home. Had he actually bothered to announce himself as a cop, Kevin would have opened the door and he would have been found safe.

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Suggested correction: Some people just aren't good at their job or are too lazy. The cop didn't like the idea of being sent on a possible fake call and didn't put in the extra effort. Or he was simply waiting for someone to ask who it was before identifying himself. Plus the cop would have had no idea Kevin was hiding and not answering the door because he was scared nor that saying he was the police would get him to answer the door, he could have simply thought a kid left alone would answer the door to anyone.


Even if he thought it was a fake call, he still should have identified himself. By doing this, he could have confirmed that Kevin was indeed left alone.

And the script could have been written a 100 different ways to prevent Kevin from being left home alone, but that doesn't mean there's a plot hole or movie mistake.


Creating series of silly explanations for obvious mistakes/plotholes never resolves them. He should have identified himself regardless of the circumstances.


Perhaps the officer's failure to identify himself (as well as other deficiencies in the way he responded to the call) would more accurately be classified as a "character mistake"? This may result in fewer criticisms (corrections) while not negating the "stupidity."


Maybe it should be. Because he acted much too unprofessionally for a police officer.

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The Little Mermaid picture

Stupidity: Apparently, Ariel forgets how to write when she gets human legs. Ariel was able to sign a scroll underwater, but she apparently cannot do so to inform prince Eric of her identity.

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Suggested correction: We see Ariel sign in English, but most likely they have an entirely different alphabet and language from our own.

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Mrs. Doubtfire picture

Stupidity: Mrs. Doubtfire used the bathroom without first locking the door, enabling Chris (or anyone else) to walk in on her. A man who is dressed as a woman and doesn't want anyone to find out would make sure the bathroom door was closed and LOCKED. (01:07:09)


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Suggested correction: Daniel is in his own house, and he may be used to using the bathroom without locking the door. Besides, he probably only thought he was going to be in there for a short time.

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The Polar Express picture

Stupidity: The Engineer and Fireman of the Polar Express train crew should have known better than to not bend back the the metallic prongs of the cotter pin, which would have prevented the cotter pin from coming loose and causing all those problems in the driving of the train.


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Suggested correction: As you yourself stated, the whole thing is likely a dream, where "normal" reality doesn't apply. In the "real world", the train would never be able to do any of the things that it does in the film.

wizard_of_gore Premium member

Dream or not, it is still a stupidity of the train crew to not secure a pin that could work itself free of the controls of the locomotive.


Dreams are often unrealistic. There is no mistake.

The entry doesn't say anything about the entire trip to the North Pole being a dream.

Agreed. It was never stated that it was a dream considering that Hero Boy lost the sleigh bell only to find it Christmas morning with a note from Santa. And to add, Steamer said that cotter pin was sheared off which caused it to come loose.

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Mulan picture

Stupidity: Bori Khan is a skilled archer and a man without honor. He's not fighting fair, and cares just to win, as established and explicitly said. He shoots an arrow at Mulan, the Witch gets in the arrow's way sacrificing herself to protect her...and for no reason whatsoever he does not shoot anymore, giving the chance for the two girls to share their very special dramatic moment together, but creating a colossal plot contrivance. It is a know movie cliche for the fight to 'pause' around the main character, but here we have a sniper who desists completely (he won't shoot anymore) for absolutely no reason. (01:29:00)

Sammo Premium member

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How to Train Your Dragon picture

Stupidity: During one of the test drives, the hook that Hiccup uses to fasten himself to Toothless gets bent, so he takes Toothless to the blacksmith to cut the line. There are two ways he could have easily avoided this: He could just unhook the saddle, take that to the blacksmith and cut himself loose, or he could just untie the leather strap. What he does here is needlessly risky and just there for his awkward conversation with Astrid.


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Toy Story 2 picture

Stupidity: Al is supposed to be a super serious toy collector and seller, but he handles valuable toys without cleaning the cheese puff dust off his hands.


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Suggested correction: It's also established someone is coming over to clean said toys, dust included, and when he does the handling, he's just been sharply awakened by the TV therefore is off-kilter.


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Stowaway picture

Stupidity: When Zoe and Davis climbs to the Kingfisher rocket, to get Oxygen, there's no safety lines attached to them or any equipment. Their experience taken into account, this would never ever happen. (01:18:42 - 01:35:18)


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Aladdin picture

Stupidity: When Jasmine finds out that Prince Ali is actually the boy she met in the marketplace, she seems to completely forget about Jafar telling her he had been executed. She never asks why he's alive, nor does she even bother to confront Jafar about his treachery.


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Suggested correction: The fact Aladdin was alive only told her Jafar lied about it. When she is brought back by Aladdin to the palace it is still night, not long after that she is confronted by her father and Jafar who has him under a spell. She hardly had time to ask about the treachery, probably thinking to do it in the morning. It is there and then Jafar is exposed by Aladdin. She probably wondered about it, but didn't figure out the implications yet.


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Beauty and the Beast picture

Stupidity: So when Belle finds out that her father is being hauled away to the insane asylum, she is in such a rush to get that she doesn't even change out of the massive yellow dress that would be really uncomfortable to ride a horse in, probably because she is in such a hurry. But earlier in the movie, the Beast shows her his magic book that allows him to teleport anywhere in the world, so why doesn't she just use that?


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Suggested correction: As you've just stated, she is in a hurry. She probably didn't think about using the book.

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Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb picture

Stupidity: When Nick uses the broom to block the guardhouse door and keep Tilly inside, he does it from the wrong side of the door swing making it useless. Still, Tilly cannot open the door.


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The Chipmunk Adventure picture

Stupidity: Given Simon and Jeanette are the two smartest ones of the trios wouldn't they be suspicious of Klaus and Claudia's offer of a race? Yet they raise no objections other than Simon briefly before they take off.


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Superman IV: The Quest for Peace picture

Stupidity: There was no particular reason for Nuclear Man to take Lacy into the space in the first place.

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Jingle All the Way picture

Stupidity: After hearing the question on the radio station to win the Turbo Man doll and a failed attempt at the pay phone to answer it, Howard and Myron end up running two blocks to the station to answer the question. This is really stupid because the prize was going to the first caller with the answer and in the few min it would take to run to the station two blocks away and finally reach the DJ, many calls would have come in and most likely someone would have won already, way before the men arrived there.

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Suggested correction: This isn't a stupidity or a mistake. What else did you expect them to do? Plus, the DJ even later asks if they expected him to actually have a Turbo Doll in the studio, and they both said "yes."


Not only that but, Myron had ripped the phone receiver out so Howard couldn't give the answer to the DJ. Howard and Myron running to the radio station was the only other option they had. At that point, it would only be a matter of if they got to the station in time before somebody could call in with the right answer.

It was a very easy question naming santa's reindeer. Although some people may not quite know them all... most people do. Now if it was a relatively hard question, our two guys probably had a better chance. But all good points made here in all these comments.

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The Spy Next Door picture

Stupidity: When Bob is fighting one of the Russians, Tatiana could have kidnapped Nota but instead stands beside her and watches. (00:52:05)

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Baby's Day Out picture

Stupidity: The whole movie necessarily has to be filled with stupidity (we're talking about a 9 months kid besting 3 adults), but there's one part perhaps not so obvious and that may be related to a mistake about the ransom note. When the bad guys watch the news, it's obvious that their original plan failed, since they cannot retrieve the money at the designed drop zone, the police have been called and they'd need to rethink the whole operation. Yet they make no comment about it and don't seem bothered by that at all.

Sammo Premium member

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Back to the Future Part II picture

Stupidity: In the McFly house in 2015, there is an invention where a thumbprint is needed to get in or out of the house (instead of a doorknob). Although a great invention for the outside so no criminals or such get into the house, but it makes no sense to have it inside to get out, That would not be a factor for safety if any unwanted people were already inside, any different from a simple doorknob to leave.

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Suggested correction: You're over thinking the technology. If there's no doorknob, there has to be some way to open the door. Using your thumb isn't about security, it's just a way to leave.


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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze picture

Stupidity: The Foot Clan knows that April O'Neil is an ally of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Since the Foot Clan hasn't been able to find the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for where they live a easy solution would be for them to go to April and ask where are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. An explanation is never given in the movie for why the Foot Clan never use that easy solution.

Athletic Jason

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Suggested correction: First of all, the Foot Clan at the beginning of the movie is disorganized. Secondly, upon Shredder's return, he plants a Foot soldier named Freddy into April's news crew in order to keep an eye on her and find out where the Turtles are. Then they change tactics when they discover there is still some of the mutagenic ooze around, which they then decide to use to create their own mutants to lure the Turtles out of hiding.

Phaneron Premium member

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