15 Movies That Thought They Were Smart But Totally Weren't

Show some self-awareness, please!

The Matrix Reloaded The Architect.jpg
Warner Bros.

When it comes to annoying things in movies, there really aren't many things more infuriating than a movie which thinks it's really clever when it actually isn't as smart as all that. That kind of thing really is enough to throw even the most patient viewer into a full-on all caps rage.

Of course, the genre which is most associated with this problem is art-house cinema and while there are a fair few independent/art-house films which have this problem (you'll see a few very shortly), they're certainly not the only type of movie this issue applies to.

Many genre flicks, Oscar-Bait movies and Hollywood blockbusters fall into this trap too. Many such films completely mishandle their themes and social commentary, while others (usually big-budget blockbusters) deliver supposedly twisty and subversive plots which actually don't make the slightest bit of sense.

The issue of a movie thinking it's smarter than it actually is has been a major downside to many a movie and these following fifteen films are particularly annoying examples of that. Not all of them are bad movies, but with all of them a bit more self-awareness would've gone down a treat...

15. Signs

The Matrix Reloaded The Architect.jpg
Touchstone Pictures

Unlike The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, M. Night Shyamalan's previous two films, Signs isn't particularly clever at all. Signs does subvert expectations, but it never seems to be aware of just how silly it truly is and it proves that subversion alone doesn't make a movie smart; the twists actually have to make sense. Unfortunately, Signs collapses as soon as you apply Any sort of logic to it.

There are two big twists in this alien invasion thriller. Firstly, protagonist Graham Hess (a near career-worst Mel Gibson) lost his wife six months earlier and he was able to speak with her before she died. Her final words were "swing away"; she was telling Graham to say this to his former baseball-player brother Merrill (Joaquin Phoenix).

Graham, during the film's finale, realises that his wife's death was actually a divine intervention and that these words were intended to inspire him to tell Merrill to use his baseball bat on an alien attacking the house. Err...

Why did a woman have to die to inspire someone to use a blunt object against an attacker? There simply isn't any logic here.

The second twist is that the aliens are susceptible to water... so why did they invade a planet that's 70% water?! These aliens are meant to be the film's scary villains, but because they're evidently so stupid it's impossible to be scared by them.

Clearly, Shyamalan didn't quite think this through.


Film Studies graduate, aspiring screenwriter and all-around nerd who, despite being a pretentious cinephile who loves art-house movies, also loves modern blockbusters and would rather watch superhero movies than classic Hollywood films. Once met Tommy Wiseau.