How often have you heard someone casually compare their life to a movie, like when they say "That date turned into a scene from Eraserhead" or "This pizza-topping selection is my personal Sophie's Choice"? Of course, we know they're exaggerating -- when someone says their morning commute was "literally like the movie Speed," we mentally translate it to "The driver ran a light," not "A crazed ex-policeman placed a weirdly specific explosive device on the bus and I made out with Keanu Reeves."
However, there are people out there who can honestly say that one day their lives turned into something straight out of a Hollywood writer's deranged imagination ...
#5. Kick-Ass 2 Stuntmen Heroically Save Woman at Comic-Con
Kick-Ass was that movie where a bunch of normal people (and Nicolas Cage) decide to dress up as superheroes and fight crime. The film did well enough to warrant a disappointing sequel that was basically just a regular superhero movie with more F-bombs -- the scrawny protagonist from the first one is now a beefed-up crime fighter, and Hit Girl is pretty much Batman with pigtails.
And Jim Carrey is in it, the mark that a superhero franchise has jumped the shark.
A much more faithful recreation of the spirit of the first movie came not from the actors, but from the stuntmen. While Kick-Ass 2 was being promoted at the annual Comic-Con in San Diego last year, a distraught woman staying at a hotel near the convention stood on her 14th floor balcony and threatened to jump.
While most people tried to help the woman by heroically whipping out their phones and recording her lowest moment, three stuntmen setting up a scaffold for a Kick-Ass 2 party across the street rushed to her rescue like freaking Power Rangers. They ran across a busy highway, scaled a security fence, and convinced a security guard to let them into the building (presumably just by flexing their pecs and ripping their T-shirts).
Each revealing a red S, for "Stuntman."
After racing up to the 14th floor, they entered the woman's room and sneaked up behind her without being noticed. Seeing that she was just seconds away from leaping down onto the largest congregation of nerds in the Western Hemisphere, one of them quickly grabbed her around the waist ...
We blurred her so it looks like they're hugging.
... while the other two expertly placed a harness on her and pulled her back.
The old reverse-bungee maneuver.
It's like something out of, at the very least, a live-action TV drama -- you can practically hear the A-Team theme song while watching the footage. In fact, the rescue was so flawlessly executed that some witnesses mistook it for a publicity stunt, but nope: The woman was upset over a breakup and had been drinking, and these regular guys decided to step the fuck up and save her. Besides, why would the studio promote Kick-Ass 2 with a stunt so heroic and cool that it makes the movie look like shit in comparison?
#4. Suburban Mom Leads Massive Pot Operation, Like in Weeds
In the Showtime series Weeds (aka the show people were calling Breaking Bad a ripoff of when it appeared three years later), Mary-Louise Parker played a soccer mom who, after finding herself husbandless, starts dealing pot to maintain her family. Or at least that's how it started, because as is often the case with these things, the show got more and more fantastic as it went. Nancy's increasingly lavish lifestyle is full of rich, handsome suitors (including the mayor of Tijuana, with whom she lived in a mansion), noisily slurped iced coffees, and an eventual rise to the upper echelon of drug smugglers. Unbelievable, right?
They eventually planned to grow pot on Mars, but the show got canceled in 2012.
Actually, it's not so unbelievable for Andrea Sanderlin of Scarsdale, New York, because she kind of lived it. Both Nancy and Andrea were single moms with three kids (a toddler, a teen, and a 20-something). They both lived in wealthy suburban neighborhoods, and they both worked with babies: Nancy ran a maternity store in Season 4, and Andrea designed baby furniture. Oh, and they both directed an enormous marijuana operation from a large warehouse.
Like in the show, Sanderlin apparently got into pot growing to support her kids and then just kept raking in the bucks. She drove around in a Mercedes SUV (one of three vehicles) and dwelt in a huge Spanish-style mansion (Spansion?), although she apparently dipped into her product more than once, as the house had more bathrooms than it did bedrooms. Sanderlin often pimped a giant-ass diamond ring bought for her by her own Latin lover. At the same time, she posted on weed growers' message boards as Andi68, which is just begging to get a visit from the feds.
Andi69 was a cop offering sex for seedlings.
A few days after the DEA started following her, Sanderlin led them right to her operation, a massive two-room warehouse. The authorities found a sophisticated grow room and seized over 2,800 plants, which we're told would amount to an ungodly amount of nickel bags. In her home, they found $6,000 in cash and books on how to grow marijuana plants and how to launder money.
#3. Better Off Ted and Hewlett-Packard Can't Recognize Black People
The short-lived ABC sitcom Better Off Ted took satirical stabs at the office-working culture (thus breaking new ground for American comedy) by showing the ridiculous ideas implemented by the R&D department at the fictional Veridian Dynamics corporation. For instance, in one episode, Veridian decides to go green and installs some energy-saving measures around the office, like motion detectors that switch the lights off whenever all employees leave the room. It works like a charm, except for one small drawback: It can't detect black people (which, granted, wouldn't be a problem in most sitcoms).
Wait, hold on! There's a black guy! Neatly set down over there.
It turned out that the sensor operated by reflecting light off of human skin, and it only worked if it was shining against the pale, milky flesh of a white person, creating a potential PR nightmare for the company. While most viewers chuckled at the preposterous situation (then promptly stopped watching the show and got it cancelled), Hewlett-Packard apparently said, "Hey, there's an idea."
In a YouTube video posted by two co-workers, they exposed a small glitch in the state-of-the-art webcams HP installed in their computers: When a white employee stood in front of the computer, the webcam would automatically zoom in on her face and follow her as she moved around ...
This seemed cool before we learned that the NSA hacks webcams.
... but, as soon as a black employee sneaked into frame, the camera slipped on its Klan hoodie and staunchly refused to detect his face.
The NSA skips over dark skin. Who knew?
They tried this over and over, with the same baffling result. As the YouTube video went viral and Hewlett-Packard received allegations of digital racism, the company quickly explained that the webcam has difficulty recognizing "contrast" in low-light situations -- such as, you know, a black face on a regular office background. And sure enough, when more foreground light was added in a separate test, the webcam's attitude toward black people became much more open-minded. If nothing else, we learned that, like Veridian Dynamics, HP's webcam division apparently doesn't employ black product testers.