The movies are packed with slick Ocean's Eleven-style heists and evil geniuses pulling off the perfect crime. These are not those guys. This is a list of the most inept and useless criminals to grace the silver screen – they should have just stayed on the straight and narrow.
1. Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction
To be fair none of the reprobates in Quentin Tarantino's multi-narrative cult favourite are exactly criminal masterminds, but special mention goes to John Travolta's Vincent Vega, who accidentally shoots Marvin in the face, nearly kills his boss's missus by leaving his drugs around then gets killed on the toilet because he's left his gun on the kitchen counter.
2. Harry Lyme and Marv Merchants in Home Alone
It's well established that – IRL – Harry and Marv (aka the 'Wet Bandits') would have died multiple times over at the hands of Macaulay Culkin/Kevin's booby traps. But even putting that aside, surely after the first bowling ball to the groin anyone the obvious choice would be to return to their MO of breaking into houses that have actually been left empty over Christmas.
Thanks to a toxic cocktail of pride and stupidity, they throw out a pretty good idea in order to match wits with a child – and lose.
(And on another note, when they run into Kevin in the sequel, how is it possible that they don't just run away screaming?)
3. Robert Lewis in A Life Less Ordinary
Ewan McGregor plays the janitor who turns kidnapper in Danny Boyle's dark romance. It's a love story, which is just as well since he's terrible at the kidnapping business – his 'hostage' Cameron Diaz frees herself immediately, he fails to collect any ransom and ends up getting shot when it turns out she's not a very good criminal either.
But it's ok, it was all in the name of romance.
4. Clarence Worley in True Romance
And talking of romance, what could be more romantic than deciding to kill your new wife's former pimp because a vision of Elvis told you to, then accidentally stealing his drugs and attempting to broker a deal to sell them on, which turns out to be a sting resulting in massive loss of life? We'll have to ask Christian Slater about that one.
5. HI McDunnough in Raising Arizona
Nicolas Cage is a crap career criminal in one of the warmest of the Coen brothers movies. So crap is he, in fact, that he meets and falls in love with the police officer (Holly Hunter) who takes his mugshots because he gets caught robbing convenience stores so often.
So when they decide to steal a baby and raise it as their own, it's pretty obvious it's not going to end well. A good hearted knockabout, and one of Nic Cage's finest.
6. Jerry Lundegaard in Fargo
The Coens have a great line in crap crims – a mention then for William H Macy's desperate Jerry, who has fallen badly into debt and decides to orchestrate the kidnapping of his wife to extort money from his father-in-law. Jerry hires two other inept criminals to carry out the phoney kidnapping, who get stopped by the police for having the wrong tags, execute the police officer and two bystanders and wind up killing both Jerry's wife and his father in law, and getting killed themselves. Jerry is easily tracked down by the cops and is caught trying to flee. Good work, Jer.
7. Doctor Evil in Austin Powers
Austin Powers' arch nemesis is crap at being a supervillain partly because he's been frozen since 1967. His evil schemes include holding the world to ransom for $1million dollars, creating a hole in the ozone layer and making a scandal of Prince Charles' marriage.
His greatest desire is to own sharks with lasers attached to their heads, and this at least he does achieve by the third film.
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