During a chat with his fans on Monday, ESPN sportswriter Bill Simmons wrote, "Somebody needs to make a list of the 'Top 20 movie plots that have now become ridiculous because of what happened to the actor involved in that plot.' I nominate Cracked.com, I enjoy that site."
Never one to turn down a challenge (or an opportunity to write a modular pop-culture countdown), and since it is a pretty good idea for an article, we decided to proudly pick up Mr. Simmons' gauntlet.
We only did 13, though. (We had 20 originally, but a lot of them involved suicides, and it was sort of depressing. So we cut them.)
Plot: Lindsay Lohan plays identical twins separated at birth due to their parents' divorce. When the Lindsays meet by sheer fucking Hollywood coincidence at summer camp, they devise a sickeningly cute plan to reunite their parents by switching places. Yay for fun!
Subsequent Development: Lindsay Lohan became a buhgina-flashing, coke-hoovering, Paris Hilton befriending wreck who'd spread her shit for everyone from Girls Gone Wild mogul Joe Francis to Benicio Del Toro. At that point, you should really just go to the zoo and let a gorilla drill you in the ass and save time.
Why It Ruins the Movie: Unless Lohan has been slutting and snorting her way across the globe as part of a clever plan to fake her way into rehab, hoping her estranged parents would reunite by her bedside at Promises, her recent behavior makes it tough to buy her as a bright-eyed adolescent. It's probably a good thing that the above scenario is highly unlikely, considering mother Dina is just as big a club-whore as her 20-year-old daughter and father Michael has spent more time in prison than with his kids. That brings us to an important question: Can you put a 20-year-old in foster care?
Plot: The president's daughter (Katie Holmes) ditches her security detail and goes off to a California college to lead a normal life. But it turns out her new beau has a secret: He's really a secret service agent sworn to protect her! Oh my goodness!
Subsequent Development: Just a year after this movie's release, and under rather murky circumstances, Katie Holmes was impregnated by, and subsequently betrothed to, one Mr. Tom Cruise.
Why It Ruins the Movie: It's kind of hard to watch Katie Holmes portraying a character who's fighting for her independence from a life of round-the-clock surveillance knowing a mysterious cabal would soon select her as the fertile breeding ground for high-level thetans. "Kate" now has a higher security detail than the last 20 presidents combined, and Tom Cruise regularly combs through her stool for traces of psychiatric residue while trained Scientologist hitmen keep a bead on her with automatic rifles.
Plot: Martha Alston (Ellen DeGeneres) just can't seem to find the right guy. When Whitman Crawford (Bill Pullman) shows up, everyone else seems to think he's Mr. Right, but Ellen sees a dark side that none of her friends recognize. Hilarity ensues as Ellen fights off the sexual advances of a man who' a kleptomaniac, a mickey-slipping psychotic, and-worse yet-Bill Pullman.
Subsequent Development: It turns out that for Ellen, every guy is Mr. Wrong.
Why It Ruins the Movie: The premise hinges on everyone else thinking Ellen's husband is the perfect catch, causing the friends to come off as painfully devoid of gaydar and making Ellen look like an even more uncomfortable leading lady than Nicole Kidman in Eyes Wide Shut. What should be a sugary-sweet comedy becomes a twisted psychological tale of a woman imagining that her boyfriend is a total dick merely because he has one.
Plot: D-Day. A squad of soldiers walk through wave after wave of Nazi bullets, at considerable sacrifice, to find the last surviving Ryan brother and return him home safely, on account of his perfect facial features and flawless golden skin. Sergeant Horvath (Tom Sizemore) is the battalion's husky, businesslike second-in-command who collects soil from various battlegrounds and, presumably, eats it later for a snack.
Subsequent Development: Sizemore has committed more than his fair share of major social blunders since Ryan, including a 2003 conviction for beating the living shit out of Hollywood whore queen Heidi Fleiss; multiple arrests for his crippling addiction to meth; and, of course, an underground porno he directed, produced, and starred in, during which he decided the pinnacle of sexy porno acts would be to squeeze into a spandex bodysuit and toss a football around with half-nude hookers.
Why It Ruins the Movie: Since Saving Private Ryan's release, Sizemore has proved to be the exact opposite of a selfless, disciplined patriot. In contrast, he's proved to be...well, a guy who does a bunch of meth and enjoys a hooker or two. It's pretty tough to picture him doing his duty during WWII when you can see it in his eyes in every frame of film that he'd rather be high-tailing it to Montreal to split a bag of heroin with five homeless women in the bathroom of an adult magazine warehouse.
Plot: Richard Farnsworth plays Alvin Straight in David Lynch's only intelligible film to date (there isn't a dwarf riding a purple unicorn in sight). An elderly man finds out his brother is seriously ill and drives his tractor thousands of miles to make amends with him. He and his tractor are pretty tight, so they don't even haggle over the gas.
Subsequent Development: After being diagnosed with terminal cancer, Richard Farnsworth shot himself a little less than a year after his Oscar-nominated performance for the movie.
Why It Ruins the Movie: You really can't feel all warm and fuzzy when Alvin finally reaches his brother, wondering if he only drove all this way because he couldn't remember where he left his .22. Plus, Farnsworth ruined Misery for us too, as watching his lovable ol' coot sheriff character getting shot in the back by Kathy Bates is now "That's just in poor taste," instead of "Ha ha! Fatty took the dumb sheriff out!"
Plot: Innocent manchild Pee-Wee Herman (Paul Reubens) searches for his stolen bike while simultaneously bringing joy to whomever he meets on a fantastic lesson-learning cross-country adventure.
Subsequent Development: Florida police became intimately acquainted with Reuben's little Pee-Wee when he was caught not-so-innocently playing with it in a porno theater. Afterwards, his house was raided for 15 metric tons of child pornography, which he claimed was art. Because, you know, it was all black and white and stuff.
Why It Ruins the Movie: Did you see that mugshot? This is supposed to be the lovable, mildly retarded manchild in a bowtie who used to talk it up with Jambi every Saturday morning, not a pervert in a raincoat publicly masturbating in a Toys "R" Us.