#2. The Hockey Team Based on Slap Shot Ends Up Living Slap Shot's Plot
The 1977 hockey movie Slap Shot starring Paul Newman (best known for his fantastic salsa) told the story of a ramshackle minor league hockey team, the Charlestown Chiefs. When Newman's player/coach character, Reggie Dunlop, learns that the team will soon fold due to the town's problems, he hatches a crazy plan: He plants a false story that the Chiefs are soon packing up and moving south. It inspires the team to the playoffs and an eventual championship, which they win by playing what Dunlop calls "old-time hockey."
In old times, the South bought men and watched them bleed.
The Charlestown Chiefs were based on the semi-legendary Johnstown Jets of Pennsylvania -- in fact, the movie was shot in Johnstown, with many real Jets players pretending to bust heads in the same arena where they'd busted real ones. In a sad coincidence, the Johnstown Jets folded the year the movie came out ... but that's not what this entry is about.
You see, 11 years after Slap Shot debuted, another real hockey team was founded in the same city as a tribute to the film: the Johnstown Chiefs. They played in the same arena as the other Chiefs, used the same colors on their jerseys, and remained connected to the movie world by appearing in Van Damme's Sudden Death (playing the Pittsburgh Penguins).
Not to be confused with Rock Hopper, Van Damme's upcoming penguin 3D family film.
Another thing they had in common with their celluloid counterparts: they lost a lot. Team owner/coach Neil Smith tried to keep the team engaged with the locals' love for old-time hockey, but the losses kept piling up, and the finances kept falling into the red. In 2010, a rumor came up claiming that the Chiefs were moving south. If it was a ruse by Smith to boost the team's morale, it backfired, because they lost their final game and moved 500 miles south to Greenville, South Carolina. Yeah, that's the difference between real life and sports movies, we suppose.
To recap, the Johnstown Chiefs hockey team, which was based on a movie hockey team that falsely stated it was moving south and was itself based on a real Johnstown minor league hockey team that folded the year the movie came out, ended up moving south for real, due to the same problems shown in the movie. Man, someone should make a movie out of that.
#1. The Dog from K-9 Busts Drug Lords, Gets Shot in Fiction and Real Life
Of the two major motion pictures in the man/dog buddy cop subgenre to come out in 1989, K-9 (the non-Tom Hanks one) has the amazing distinction of being the earliest by three months while also managing to look like the cheap ripoff.
It even starred a shoddy John Belushi knockoff.
In the film, Jim Belushi plays a San Diego cop who's got a bunch of underworld drug dealers out for his blood, so naturally they partner him up with a drug-sniffing German shepherd to watch his back. The unlikely pair get off to a bad start (the dog poops on Belushi's carpet, Belushi sleeps with the dog's wife, etc.), but during the final act of the film, the canine officer takes a bullet for his human partner, saving his life.
The dog lives, J-Bloosh is unharmed, and the movie ends -- or at least it did for Belushi, because the dog continued living pretty much the same plot in real life. K-9's most talented actor was a true police K-9 before he went after the glitz and glory of Hollywood. His name was Koton, which sounds like a maxi-pad for she-robots, but he was actually kinda badass. A member of the Kansas City Police Department, Koton had a pretty remarkable career before and after his Tinseltown stint. In 1991, two years after K-9 was released, Koton packed up his duffel bag, called it quits in the movie industry, and returned to active police duty. All told, he racked up 24 felony arrests.
That's 168 in dog stats.
Just like in the movie, Koton helped bust big-shot drug dealers: In October of '91, he found 10 kilos of cocaine, worth approximately $1.2 million. Koton did not have much of a chance to revel in this success, because he's a dog, and dogs forget things almost instantly, and also because tragedy struck a month later. Once again, he was shot in the line of duty -- however, because this is the real world and heroic officers don't always pull off miraculous recoveries, Koton sadly did not make it. But hey, at least he didn't have to appear in the sequels.
Related Reading: There are some questions movie plots never bother to answer: like how do all those heroines have perfectly blowdried hair? Real life occasionally outdoes horror movies. Case in point: the 20,000 bees that invaded this poor woman's house. For a look at some movie plots that could have been solved via text message, click here.