4A Made-for-TV Movie Predicts Christopher Reeve's Paralysis
In May of 1995, a mediocre movie called Above Suspicion quietly premiered on HBO and then slipped into obscurity. It featured Christopher Reeve as a police officer who suffers from severe depression and encourages his wife and his brother to murder him in order to collect the insurance. So what could trigger that kind of depression? Well, that's the eerie part:
Christopher Reeve in a dressing gown?
Reeve's character is shot in the spine and confined to a wheelchair for the majority of the movie. Now this film was released on May 25. If for some reason you haven't committed the chronology of Christopher Reeve's life to memory, May 27 was the day he was paralyzed in a horseback riding accident. The movie where he plays a paraplegic was released just two days before his accident landed him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
In retrospect, his kryptonite back brace was a poor choice in riding attire.
Despite the movie never being in any danger of winning awards or even showing up in theaters, Reeve took the role seriously, preparing by spending a couple of days at a spinal cord trauma unit and learning what it's like to live life in a wheelchair. He even did interviews promoting the movie, stating, "A couple of days at the spinal cord trauma unit and you can see how easily it can happen."
Then, of course, it did happen almost immediately, though in the film, the big reveal is that Reeve was only pretending to be paralyzed to build an elaborate trap for his wife and brother, who were cheating on him behind his back. A pretty morally reprehensible move, even in the context of sibling adultery. Apparently karma thought so, too, but had a hard time differentiating between characters and the actors playing them.
We always thought it was weird giving his horse a gun.
3Wag the Dog Predicts a Sex Scandal and a Convenient Bombing
There should be a name for that very specific genre of movie that accidentally satirizes a news story before it even happens. People tend to think The China Syndrome was playing off of the fears of nuclear power in the wake of the Three Mile Island incident, but the movie actually came out two weeks before. We previous pointed out how Starship Troopers plays like a parody of the War on Terror, even though it came out four years before 9/11. Which brings us to Wag the Dog.
Which came out three weeks before Dustin Hoffman was invented.
In Wag the Dog, the president of the United States gets caught trying to sleep with a Girl Scout, so in order to distract the public and the media from the scandal, a political publicist (Robert De Niro) hires a Hollywood producer to stage a fake war with Albania. Thus the term "wag the dog" -- instead of a dog wagging its tail, the tail wags the dog (or, instead of the news media covering politicians, politicians tell the news media what to say).
You might remember him from several episodes of Saturday Night Live.
See, the film was released in December of 1997, right smack in the middle of Bill Clinton's two-term presidency, and already you know exactly where this is headed. Just a month after the film came out, Bill Clinton tripped and spilled some of his ejaculate on an intern's dress, inciting a massive sex scandal that would eventually lead to his impeachment. But that's just a sex scandal; politicians are constantly caught humping stuff, that doesn't mean the creators of Wag the Dog were psychic, right? It's not like he started a war just to get it out of the headlines ...
"It's not war, it's a hurried-up peace solution."
Well, it was August 17, 1998 when Clinton admitted to the world what he had done. Then, three days later, he announced the bombings of six terrorist compounds in Afghanistan, along with a factory in Sudan that was believed to be housing chemical weapons. The out-of-nowhere military action pushed the sex scandal out of the news, in the way that only a war can. This is why so many pundits screamed that this was a Wag the Dog action.
Please note that we're going with "coincidence" here rather than the much scarier "He got the idea from the movie."
He saved all his inspiration that year from Deep Impact.