4. Going Back For The Watch – Pulp Fiction

Bruce Willis as Butch in Pulp Fiction holding a watch

Before the swarm of angry Tarantino fans begin their blood feast, it’s probably worth explaining that this is in no way a comment on the quality of Pulp Fiction. It’s a brilliantly-written, nuanced, fascinating piece of cinema, and it’s entirely deserving of all the love it gets. Put down the pitchforks.

Though the characters of Pulp Fiction are all corrupt and guilty to some degree of making bad decisions, perhaps the stupidest of them all is Butch (Bruce Willis). Winning the fight he was paid to throw is a little stupid, as it upsets Marsellus Wallace, but he does it for financial gain, and this ultimately works out as he intended, so it’s not that dumb. However, after doing so, he realizes that he’s forgotten his prized possession – his father’s watch – and returns home to fetch it knowing that he’s risking his life to do so.

This one is dumb from either perspective: either Butch was stupid to have left behind something so important knowing he would need to make a quick getaway, or he’s dumb for going back knowing Marsellus would most likely be waiting for him. Given that the watch’s importance is established in Butch’s childhood, it’s pretty dumb to leave behind something so irreplaceable, and even dumber to risk your life to go back for it.