When we see movies, we tend to take the phrase "based on a true story" with a healthy amount of skepticism, because a lot of them turn out to be complete bullshit. However, some movies are inspired by true events that are so unrealistic, the filmmakers don't even bother telling us they actually happened, because we'd never believe them if they did. Did you know ...
#6. 50 First Dates -- A Real Woman Has Drew Barrymore's Bizarre Form of Amnesia
50 First Dates has a setup that seems exactly as realistic as, say, Liar Liar. Drew Barrymore plays a woman who, due to an accident, is afflicted with a wacky form of amnesia, so whenever she goes to sleep, all her recent memories are erased. Each day she wakes up thinking it's the day of her accident, leading to a series of contrived comedy misunderstandings.
Yes, despite the fact that she has to spend every single day rediscovering the fact that she is married to Adam Sandler, this movie is supposedly a comedy.
Drew's expression suggests otherwise.
The True Story
There actually is a real-life woman with an ultra-rare form of anterograde amnesia, and as a result, for nearly 20 years Michelle Philpots has been completely unable to form new memories. She has to use a deck of Post-it notes just to get through her day-to-day life.
She is presumably also tattooed with cryptic sentence fragments and out for revenge.
Philpots was in a bad motorcycle accident in 1985 and an equally severe car accident in 1990, and her resulting injuries did enough cumulative brain damage that she started suffering from seizures and was diagnosed with epilepsy. By 1994, Philpots had completely lost the ability to retain any short-term memories, and she now has no recollection of anything that has happened for the past two decades. Which means that she starts off every single day believing it is still 1994.
Philpots is also married, so much like in 50 First Dates, her husband has to remind her of their union every time she wakes up by showing her their wedding album. Luckily, the two had already been dating for several years before Philpots' amnesia developed, so unlike Drew Barrymore, she isn't waking up every morning next to a total stranger (who is also Adam Sandler).
#5. Heat -- Neil McCauley Actually Had Coffee With the Cop Pursuing Him
The 1995 Tom Sizemore charity film Heat starred Robert De Niro as master thief Neil McCauley and Al Pacino as Vincent Hanna, a guy who yells a lot about his television set. Hanna also happens to be a police detective relentlessly pursuing McCauley, and right before shooting the shit out of LA with assault rifles, they get together in a diner to shoot the shit over a cup of coffee.
Foreplay for a machine gun orgy.
It's a cool scene -- the good guy and the bad guy sizing each other up during a tense but cordial public meeting -- but there's no way anything like that would ever happen in real life, right? A bank robber wouldn't sit down in a Denny's to talk shop with the cop who is trying to throw him in jail for the rest of his life, when anything said can directly lead to an arrest (and testimony) down the line. That's something a stupid person would do.
The True Story
Believe it or not, the coffee shop scene in Heat is entirely based on reality.
You see, De Niro's character in the film is based on a real guy named Neil McCauley, a career criminal with an extensive history of robbery. The man did seven years in freaking Alcatraz with an Alfalfa cowlick, so you know he's hardcore.
Either that, or these are stills from the gritty reboot of Our Gang.
As McCauley continued to pull off big scores with his crew of fellow thieves, he was being pursued by a Chicago police officer named Chuck Adamson. And while pursuing McCauley, Adamson really did sit down to have a cup of coffee with him, over which they discussed their opposing lifestyles and made thinly veiled verbal threats. Even though the two men were brutal enemies who would not hesitate to shoot life-ending bullets into each other's faces, they also shared a mutual respect not unlike Magneto and Professor Charles Xavier.
Also, just like in the movie, the real-life McCauley did indeed abort a heist mid-operation after catching on that the cops were watching, and Adamson was forced to kill him after a robbery, a chase, and an epic shootout. However, it is unclear whether they held hands after their ultimate bro-down like their big screen counterparts.
We think McCauley made out better than De Niro, because Little Fockers is a fate worse than death.
Adamson later went into television production and became friends with Michael Mann, the guy who directed Heat. Mann wound up borrowing a lot of details from Adamson's career of chasing McCauley for his crime epic, including modeling the character of Vincent Hanna after Adamson, presumably asking Al Pacino to embrace Adamson's nuances and subtleties with the howlingly bug-eyed restraint he is known for.
#4. The Blob -- Based on an Actual Police Report
The 1958 sci-fi horror classic The Blob is about a rural Pennsylvania town being terrorized by the titular Blob, a giant gelatinous breast implant from outer space that keeps growing bigger and bigger the more people it consumes. It is also notable for starring Steve McQueen as a high school student, despite the fact that he is clearly almost 30 years old in the film.
"Once the school gave me my own parking spot, I thought 'Why lose a good thing?'"
The True Story
Believe it or not, The Blob is based on an incident in the 1950s when Philadelphia policemen stumbled upon a quivering purple lump that had crash landed in a nearby field, as if Grimace had suddenly been stricken with bubblegut in the middle of a hang gliding trip. According to the responding officers, the mass was like a giant glowing jelly ball, and it left a sticky residue when touched, because of course the first thing you would do when encountering a mysterious Plutonian blob is shove your hands into it.
The two cops wanted witnesses to corroborate what they were seeing, so they radioed for two fellow officers to come take a look at it, if for no other reason than to prove they hadn't just been pranked by a couple of hopheads and alkies with 50 jars of Smuckers and absolutely nothing better to do. The blob quickly began to fall apart, and within half an hour had completely dissolved, leaving behind no trace that it had ever existed. Regardless of how ridiculous the story may seem, an official government report was made of the incident, although that likely had more to do with the Cold War than a fear of extraterrestrial preserves.
"Space jelly, eh? Those crafty Russkies."
Who knows what it actually was -- maybe some passing pedestrian dropped a Jell-O mold and, before the officers could come back to the scene, some passing animal came and ate it. Or maybe the guy just made the whole thing up.
Either way, years later a man named Irvine H. Millgate (who at one point in his life had the very unique job title of "Head of Visual Aids for the Boy Scouts of America") needed to come up with a premise for a low-budget monster movie, but instead of pulling something completely out of his ass, he remembered the 1950 Philadelphia incident and used it as inspiration to assist him in pulling something completely out of his ass. The Blob became an unlikely hit, so if that purple blob creature actually returns to Earth someday, we assume the first thing it's going to do is sue for unpaid royalties (and then get shot by Tom Cruise).