Weekend at Bernie's documents the experiences of two friends lugging their dead boss around in an effort to convince people he isn't dead.
While not the most nuanced comedy ever made, it did appeal to many juvenile, possibly stoned mental-adolescents of the type that read, write for, edit and own Cracked.com. It also apparently appealed to two New Yorkers trying to make a quick buck from a deceased friend.
The Real Life Event
In January 2008, two men were charged with larceny and improper-burial. Improper-burial is a vague description of a crime, but it's a little more concise than taking-your-naked-dead-friend-dressing-him-in-clothes-wheeling-him-down-the-street-in-a-chair-leaving-him-on-the-sidewalk-and-trying-to-cash-his-social-security-check.
This is what pensioners David Daloia and James O'Hare did to their friend, Virgilio Cintron. At least, so alleged the prosecution, on the evidence of witnesses and policemen, one of whom said Cintron was unresponsive, flopped around unsteadily in the chair and appeared to show early signs of rigor mortis. The same policeman had the pair arrested after they failed to get the $355 Social Security check cashed. Daloia and O'Hare, on the other hand, claimed they were simply helping their sickly friend, whose landlord was trying to evict him, presumably for being dead.
"I thought he was alive. Was it stupid? Yeah. But trying to cash a check when he was dead would be even stupider. I'm not that dumb" said Daloia, despite all evidence to the contrary.
The two men were later found not-guilty because the prosecution couldn't prove exactly when Virgilio had died, and because the jury probably imagined the whole scheme being perpetrated by the irascible Andrew McCarthy and Jonathan Silverman.
Heat is a 1995 heist movie, directed by Michael Mann and starring Robert De Niro and Al Pacino back when both actors still... well, acted. De Niro plays a tight-lipped loner who bottles up his aggression and scrunches up his face a lot. Also, he leads a criminal gang that robs banks and armored cars. Pacino plays a cop who over EMPHASIZES words at RANDOM while leading the task force out to stop De Niro.
Here is a funny CAPTION.
The film climaxes with a shootout in a busy street outside a bank, between the body-armored, assault rifle wielding criminals and the police. While Mann shoots the scene with his trademark realism, it features the same over the top violence as the most far-fetched 80s action flicks.
The Real Life Event
During 1995 and 1996, Emil Matasareanu and Larry Eugene Phillips, Jr. robbed an armored car and two banks in California. Deciding to go for the hat trick, they kitted themselves out in combat fatigues, ski masks and homemade body armor and set off one February morning in 1997 to rob a Hollywood branch of the Bank of America.
Unfortunately for the two effeminately named robbers, the third time was less than lucky, and they got involved in one of the most prolonged and violent shootouts in American history.
Philips and Matasareanu were spotted going into the bank by a patrol car. The officer found something suspicious about the numerous assault rifles and 9mm handguns the two men were carrying and alerted police headquarters to a "possible" bank robbery.
After leaving the bank with over $300,000, the criminals walked into a barrage of cops and began what would become known as the North Hollywood Shootout. Seventeen people would be injured (read: shot with an assault rifle) in the ensuing firefight. The police shotguns and handguns could not penetrate the criminal's body armor, allowing Philips and Matasareanu to stand without cover, firing armor piercing bullets at the police. And then the SWAT teams arrived and things really kicked off.
After sustaining 11 gunshot wounds, Philips shot himself in the head. Matasareanu held out a little longer but ,after taking his 27th bullet gave up, was arrested and died on the way to the hospital.
A number of lessons were learned from the event, specifically the need for police to carry heavier weaponry, but more importantly, the lesson that if you're considering a life of crime, robbing any more than two banks and an armored car is probably pushing your luck.
The TV Show
If there's one thing TV executives like doing it's raping a dead horse. Thus the creators of the X-Files decided to focus a spin-off, The Lone Gunmen, on the conspiracy theorist geeks that provided the comic relief in the original series.
In the March 2001 pilot episode of the show, the writers set out to create an over-the-top conspiracy theory and instead eerily predicted the future. In the episode, the main characters investigate and unravel a plot by rogue elements in the government to hijack a plane... and fly it into the World Trade Center.
Yep. Six months before 9/11.
At one point, one of the characters says "bring down a fully loaded 727 into the middle of New York City and you'll find a dozen tinpot dictators all over the world just clamoring to take responsibility, and begging to be smart-bombed."
The climax of the episode shows some painful to watch scenes of an electronically hijacked plane flying closer and closer to the World Trade Center, before the pilot gains control at the last minute and pulls away to safety. They presumably cut the scene where he lands the plane on the Hudson wearing a Steelers-Cardinals Super Bowl T-shirt and a "Change '08" baseball cap, while simultaneously selling a shitload of Lehman Brothers stock.
The Real Life Event
The Lone Gunman foreshadowing the events of September 11th might seem like just a creepy coincidence... but only if you're a helpless pawn in the Neocon, mass media conspiracy!
Shortly after September 11th, rumors began circulating on the Internet that the show was a warning of the attacks. Legitimate website Rumourmillnews.com points out that the Lone Gunmen aired on Fox, that Rupert Murdoch owns Fox and that Rupert Murdoch is a JEW! PropagandaMatrix meanwhile concludes that "Ladies and Gentlemen, this is either someone somewhere within the establishment trying to desperately get out a warning or it is more likely an evil Government operation." We're through the looking glass here people.
The show's writers have argued at length that they were not involved in a conspiracy, instead focusing on their ability to channel a general climate of fear and paranoia. Conspiracy deniers not busy blowing smoke up their own asses have pointed out that when the government is planning a sprawling conspiracy, hack TV writers are usually pretty low on their list of people to brief.
Of course, that's just what they'd want us to think.
Now check out the complete opposite in 6 Movies Based on a True Story (That Are Also Full of Shit) and 7 Movies Based on a True Story (That Are Complete Bullshit).
And visit Cracked.com's Top Picks see some videos that the participants probably wish weren't real.