From the movie Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

If you have not seen the movie, here's a short summary to give you come context:

John Connor in the middle of the night breaks into a pet pharmacy to steal a bunch of pills because he's suffering emotional breakdowns or something like that. But the person who works there by pure chance also arrives at work a few moments later. She catches him and is about to call the cops. John Connor has a paintball gun on him. He whips it out and points at her with it, but messes up for a second which gives the pharmacy worker a chance to wrest it from his hands and fire a few rounds, but Conner is unharmed because the gun is obviously not real. Despite all that, she manages to kick his butt into a big cage for animals and lock him up in there. And then she says this:

Next time bring a clue, not a paintball gun.

I have no idea what she's saying.

Post scriptum:

I might not be one hundred percent accurate in my description, but that's the basic idea of what was going on in the scene.

  • Thanks for taking the time to add the context and summary - makes answering these questions a lot easier for all concerned!
    – Damien H
    Sep 9, 2015 at 5:17

1 Answer 1


That doesn't make too much sense to me (a native speaker) either. Here's what I think it means:

People say "get a clue" to say that someone should learn more about a situation - usually, but not always, social. I think this is playing off of that expression and trying to say: "instead of bringing a paintball gun, you should have brought [in your mind] the knowledge of how to deal with these situations". She's telling him that he didn't prepare enough and calling him stupid.

  • 3
    'Get a clue' can also mean 'be more intelligent generally', rather than suggesting that John should have prepared better. She's calling him stupid for undertaking the attempted theft. If he'd brought his intelligence and common sense along, instead of a paintball gun, he wouldn't be in the cage.
    – Damien H
    Sep 9, 2015 at 5:16

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