The Genius: Dr Frankenstein
The Awesome: Oh, you know, just reanimating dead flesh and creating your own walking rag doll. Dr Frankenstein belongs to his own special breed of scientist – he’s young and smart, and wants to do things with his miiiiiind .
Which is why he flouts the law, pinching body parts and stitching them together a whole new human. A human that he’ll give the gift of life thanks to the power of science.
Stupidest Moment: Underestimating the monster, which escapes into the night after strangling Frankenstein’s assistant. Parental responsibility’s lost on him.
Home Alone (1990)
The Genius: Kevin McCallister
The Awesome: Most kids left home alone and facing the threat of invading jewellery-grabbing thieves would promptly wet themselves then run screaming to the nearest police station.
Not young Kev, who goes cave-child on the robbers’ asses (“this is my house and I have to protect it!”), laying out a complex series of traps to fudge the thieves’ attempts at looting the house. Pivotally, Kev is smart enough not to get flummoxed by his own complicated tricks.
Stupidest Moment: Getting lost again in sequel Home Alone 2: Lost In New York . Seriously, how careless can one family really be?
Wall Street (1987)
The Genius: Gordon Gekko
The Awesome: Cautious crooks keep their ambitions small, never forging a long-term plan and living for the quick fix.
The smartest crooks, though, turn their crimes into a craft – like Gordon Gekko, who may mostly stick to the law, but isn’t above an under-the-table deal. He doesn’t care who he screws over, so long as he’s making millions out of it.
Stupidest Moment: Going behind young stockbroker Bud’s back, and underestimating Bud’s ability to play dirty. Filthy dirty.
The Genius: Jigsaw
The Awesome: Some are born with the power to do good, some with the power to do evil. But few engage the latter with such whipsmart, deliciously sinister propensity for design as Jigsaw.
Revelling in sadistic games, Jigsaw creates devilishly clever death traps for his victims – and watches them doom themselves.
Stupidest Moment: Attempting suicide and failing. There are cries for help, and then there are moments of just plain idiocy.
The Fly (1986)
The Genius: Seth Brundle
The Awesome: Not only does Brundle figure out how to create a man-sized teleportation device, the ruddy thing even actually works (poor inside-out monkey test notwithstanding).
He’s also awesome because when his genes get spliced with those of a fly, Brundle boasts the ability to walk on ceilings and snap grown men’s arms in half. Woah.
Stupidest Moment: Not double-checking that his teleportation device didn't have a fly in it. Or a moth. Imagine if it had been a moth, he'd probably still be butting his head against the Bat signal as we write this.
The Genius: Dr Manhattan
The Awesome: He’s ripped for a start, possessing a six pack and pecs that would have even height-of-his-fame Arnie gurning in jealousy.
But more than that, Dr Manhattan is basically a god – a physicist who transforms into an insanely powerful being after getting trapped inside an Intrinsic Field Subtractor. Blowing things up, slowing time down, travelling to the moon, creating multiple clones – there’s nothing this guy can’t do.
Stupidest Moment: Growing tired of humanity – like some kind of holier than thou tabloid celebrity.
The Genius: Charlie Gordon
The Awesome: Artificial intelligence takes on a whole new meaning with Charlie, who suffers from a mental disability that means he finds it difficult, sometimes impossible, to learn like other people.
After undergoing an experimental procedure, however, his intelligence receives a massive boost, and he finds himself growing in smarts by the day. Sadly, it’s not to last.
Stupidest Moment: Becoming sexually aware and attacking teacher Alice in a fit of passion.
The Pursuit Of Happyness (2006)
The Genius: Chris Gardner
The Awesome: First Gardner solves a Rubik’s Cube in mere minutes (ours from 1983 is still sat unsolved, gathering dust).
Then Gardner refuses to give up even when he’s made homeless, taking care of his young son while attempting to better himself – and eventually proving himself so smart that he lands a job as a stockbroker and makes millions.
Stupidest Moment: Initially turning down an unpaid internship – doesn’t he know those positions generally lead to big-money jobs?
Harry Potter (2001-2011)
The Genius: Hermione Granger
The Awesome: There are witches, and then there’s Hermione Granger. Born into a Muggle (non-magical, if you’ve been living under a rock) family, Hermione is nonetheless the most gifted magic practitioner in her class. Hell, her entire year.
She’s streets ahead of the competition – which is as alienating as it rewarding.
Stupidest Moment: Not just coming out and ruddy telling Ron how she feels about him – bloody teenagers.
Indiana Jones (1981 1989)
The Genius: Professor Henry Walton ‘Indiana’ Jones Jr
The Awesome: Most heroes have an inbuilt self-preservation unit that means even if their shares in grey cells aren’t that high, they still manage to get themselves out of scrapes and scraps.
Not Indiana Jones, who is a hero AND a professor of archaeology. Proving that those who can , teach, Jones applies his vast knowledge about the world to his epic adventures, meaning he’s just about the coolest hero ever.
Stupidest Moment: Something to do with nuked fridges and crystal skulls. We have memory blockers preventing us recalling exactly what that has to do with anything, but something tells us it was all pretty awful.
Altered States (1980)
The Genius: Edward Jessup
The Awesome: Abnormal psychology professor Jessup is ridiculously smart, which also makes him ridiculously curious.
Researching different states of consciousness in his quest for answers about our existence in the universe, he takes various substances and finds himself undergoing startling transformations. We like the caveman one best.
Stupidest Moment: Throwing himself into his experiments without any concern for his wellbeing, or the wife he’d be making a widow of if something went horribly wrong.
Honey I Shrunk The Kids (1989)
The Genius: Wayne Szalinski
The Awesome: Adorably dopy but undeniably brainy, goofmeister Wayne invents a machine that can shrink any object down to a miniscule size.
Sadly, Wayne fails to spy this is an opportunity to tap the literal flea market and flog insects high price miniaturised furniture. Fleas need comfort too, you know.
Stupidest Moment: Actually, y’know, shrinking the kids. The fact that his experiments then go on to blow his baby up (not in that way) and then shrink himself shows he doesn’t really learn anything from that mishap.
Rain Man (1988)
The Genius: Raymond Babbitt
The Awesome: The fact that he’s dismissed so readily as an idiot, dullard and freak of nature is the double-barrelled genius/tragedy of Raymond.
He’s autistic, which is also the source of his absolute genius – Babbitt’s really good with numbers, see. Which leads to a memorable game of blackjack at Las Vegas.
Stupidest Moment: Difficult to say. People suffering from autism are obviously not stupid, but certain irregularities in their behaviour could be misinterpreted as such. Best leave this one alone.
The Usual Suspects (1995)
The Genius: Keyzer Söze
The Awesome: When both criminals and cops fear/respect the same person, that’s quite something. And Söze’s the one who manages it, his callous, fearsome intellect becoming the thing of legend.
An underworld figure of mythic proportions, his greatest achievement is fooling everybody around him – and never getting caught. What a dawg.
Stupidest Moment: We’re sure Söze is never stupid. The fake walk's quite funny, though.
The Genius: Max Cohen
The Awesome: Some are good at words. Some are good at sports. Max is good at numbers. Like, really good. The kind of good that makes Stephen Hawking look like an imbecile.
Able to do large calculations in his head and with a computer that can predict stock market happenings, Max is king of the numbers.
Stupidest Moment: Max could very well be a total liar. And lying’s for fools.
Spider-Man 2 (2004)
The Genius: Doc Ock
The Awesome: Formerly known as Dr Otto Octavius, Doc Ock only gets cooler and more awesome after he loses his marbles.
Attempting to create a self-sustaining fusion reaction (yeah, we had to google that one), Ock’s experiment goes horribly awry, killing his wife and fusing his extra mechanical arms to his body. Cue maniacal laughing and a barking mad plan.
Stupidest Moment: Thinking he could beat Spider-Man.
Weird Science (1985)
The Geniuses: Gary Wallace and Wyatt Donnelly
The Awesome: Most men settle for scouring the world for their perfect woman. Not Gary and Wyatt, who have the wherewithal to just create her from scratch.
Using their considerable computing skills and hacking abilities, they hook up their home computer to that of a government machine, using the combined power to transform a Barbie into the woman of their dreams. We tried this once, but all we ended up with was a horribly melted hunk of plastic.
Stupidest Moment: Wyatt may have a cool lady on his arm, but he still gives in to his brother’s bullying.
Good Will Hunting (1997)
The Genius: Will Hunting
The Awesome: Will’s astronomically smart, possessing the sort of intelligence that any professor of mathematics would happily give up his doctorate/house/car/dog for.
He’s also just really nice and down to Earth, and has problems just like us all. The kind of genius who’s just like everybody else. Sort of.
Stupidest Moment: Hiding his talents from those around him. Just be who you are, man.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
The Genius: Spock
The Awesome: What can’t Spock do? He’s got wicked cool pointy ears, a grip on his emotions, the intelligence of 50 men (or thereabouts), plus the ability to mind meld and even cheat death. He also has one of the coolest hand greetings ever.
Beyond that, he’s also been the Lieutenant commander of the USS Enterprise, and is the best bud of Captain Kirk. Now that’s awesome.
Stupidest Moment: Letting everybody believe he was dead at the end of Khan . Talk about messing with people’s emotions.
Back To The Future (1985)
The Genius: Dr Emmett Brown
The Awesome: Just a little thing called time travel. Coming up with the time-inverting flux capacitor, Doc Brown figures out how to unleash the restraints of time. He's then able to travel whenever in the history of the universe he wants. Provided he has some plutonium.
But more than that, Brown also has masses of style – who else would create a time machine using a DeLorean? Now that’s genius.
Stupidest Moment: Emmett’s stupidest moment – slipping and cracking his head on the bathroom sink – is what gave him the idea for the flux capacitor in the first place. Stupidity counts for something, then.
The Genius: Dr. Eleanor Arrowa
The Awesome: Ellie’s so smart and awesome that she works for SETI – that’s right, she’s an alien hunter.
More than that, Ellie’s so well-regarded that when a space ship is built using designs delivered via a message from space, she’s the one who (wo)mans the mission (albeit after one failed attempt).
Stupidest Moment: Expecting people to believe her when she starts ranting about aliens in space at the film’s close, despite all physical proof pointing otherwise.
The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)
The Genius: Dr. Hannibal Lecter
The Awesome: Lecter’s proof that just because you’re smart, it doesn’t mean you’re nice. In fact, it probably means the complete opposite.
A distillation of evil, Lecter’s cutting intellect is only undermined by the cravenness of his actions. But even when he’s hacking and killing, Lecter does it with intelligence – witness the death pose of one unlucky policeman, which Lecter based on a Francis Bacon painting.
Stupidest Moment: He’s pretty much untouchable in Lambs , but come Hannibal , Lecter’s all over Clarice and willing to chop off his own hand to save her.
Sherlock Holmes (2009)
The Genius: Sherlock Holmes
The Awesome: Holmes isn’t just any detective, he’s one with a staggering amount of smarts. And disguises. And an uncanny ability to unite brains and brawn in a spectacularly concussive manner.
Not only is he book smart, he’s street smart, too; note his capacity to correctly read a person’s character by merely observing them. Plus he’s buff as hell.
Stupidest Moment: Falling for the charms of former lover Irene, who chains him naked to her bed and leaves him there.