7 Completely Unrealistic Movie Plots (That Came True)
Sci-fi visionaries like Jules Verne and Gene Roddenberry get all sorts of credit for predicting the future via fiction. But you know who doesn't get credit? Weekend at Bernie's.
As it turns out, lots of movies turn out to be prophetic, seeing even the most ridiculous plot points turn into real headlines months or years later.
While Idiocracy is often cited as the under-appreciated Mike Judge film that is most likely to come true, Office Space already has. After performing poorly at the box office, Office Space became a massive hit on DVD, inspiring many a wage-slave to rip their apron off and tell their boss to kindly go fuck himself.
The films protagonist, played by Ron Livingstone, takes office rebellion a little further than that and decides to rip off the company he works for. His scam involves stealing fractions of pennies from financial transactions that would usually automatically be rounded up to the nearest whole dollar. The idea is that the company would never miss such small amounts but that over a long period of time the pennies would add up.
The Real Life Event
Michael Largent, a 22-year-old who had presumably never seen the second half of Office Space where the scheme goes to shit, decided that this sounded like a pretty neat idea. In 2007, Largent used an automated script to open up 58,000 accounts with online brokerage firms. Once the account was opened, the firm would send micro deposits of a few cents to verify that it had opened properly. Soon Largent had gained $50,000 as well as the attention of the FBI.
Jennifer Aniston is only vaguely relevant to this story, but is also incredibly attractive.
Largent was bad at choosing source material. He stole the idea for his criminal conspiracy from a comedy about a failed crime, and opened his accounts under the names of cartoon characters including Hank Hill and Rusty Shackelford. He was eventually caught when the Patriot Act required the brokerage firms to take a closer look at the identity of their customers, and they presumably noticed one of them was named Spongebob.
Largent later said "that he needed the money to pay off debts" and stated that this was "one way to earn money," proving that he was unskilled at generating aliases and defining the word "earn". Instead of following the plot of a carefree comedy, Largent wound up spending his best years imitating the darker, more prison-rape themed scenes from Shawshank Redemption. Speaking of which...
Starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, Shawshank Redemption tells the story of Andy Dufresne, an innocent man in jail who splits his time between filling out the guard's tax forms and getting gang raped; his only solace being that all the horror is narrated by the soothing disembodied voice of Morgan Freeman.
One night, a depressed Robbins retreats into his jail cell with a length of rope, leaving Morgan Freeman's voice to worry that Robbins is going to hang himself. The next day, the prison warden opens up the cell, finds it empty, smashes the place up and looks behind a poster of Raquel Welsh to find--SPOILER WARNING--Gwyneth Paltrow's severed head.
Oh, wait, sorry. He discovers a hole in the wall through which Robbins has escaped. Robbins has in fact spent his decades in jail meticulously chiseling himself an escape route in preparation for one day becoming a heavy handed metaphor for the human spirit.
The Real Life Event
On December 15, 2007, the cells of Otis Blunt and Jose Espinosa were opened at New Jersey's Union County Jail and found to be curiously lacking in Otis Blunt and Jose Espinosa. What the cells did have were two posters of what the newspapers called "bikini clad woman".
The prison guards looked behind the posters and discovered a hole linking the cells to each other and another hole in the external wall, linking the cells to the outside world.
The two inmates had spent the previous weeks chiseling away at the wall with a length of wire. They then crawled into one cell, covered the holes with the posters and piled blankets under their bed sheets to make it look like they were sleeping, an idea so rudimentary, they had to steal it from a Baby Sitter's Club novel.
They then escaped through the hole, climbed a fence and parted ways, one of them going to Mexico City, as in every jail break film ever, the other going to hide in a nearby basement, as in being a fucking idiot.
Not that it mattered; the guy in the basement was caught a month later, the criminal in Mexico the day after that, presumably while sanding his boat on the beach.
They were brought before a judge and charged with third-degree escape, to which they hilariously pleaded not-guilty. We don't know if they were convicted or not, but we expect the prosecution's evidence was along the lines of: "Here is the defendant in Mexico City, here is an empty fucking jail cell. The prosecution rests."
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Three Kings featured Ice Cube, Mark Wahlberg and George Clooney before they were bankable movie stars, and the guy that directed Being John Malkovich before he never acted in another film ever again. Somehow they came together to make Three Kings one of the best war movie of the past 15 years.
It tells the tale of U.S. soldiers who stumble upon a map to a fortune in Kuwaiti gold. Still hungry for some action after the boring-as-far-as-wars-go Operation Desert Storm, they head out on a rogue mission to steal that shit.
The film hardly had the makings of prophecy. The screenplay was dashed off in seven days when John Ridley, a former writer for the TV show Martin, decided to see how quickly he could write and sell a script. Oh, and the Iraq War was already over when the film was released in 1999, and it's not like we were going to have another one of those, right?
The Real Life Event
Fortunately for the movie's chances at achieving Cracked.com immortality, and unfortunately for thousands of Iraqi citizens, America re-invaded Iraq in 2003, and after a few weeks, easily took Baghdad. A few days later, in a baathist cache in Baghdad the Third Infantry Division stumbled upon a cement shed filled with metal boxes. Inside each metal box was $4 million in cash, over $320 million in total.
In a situation like this you might expect the soldiers to steal the money. Instead, the brave troops alerted their major, locked the money away and went back to protecting Freedom and spreading Democracy. For about half an hour, and then they started frantically searching the area for money that they hadn't yet reported.
That night Staff Sergeant Matt Novak, First Sergeant Eric Wilson and Specialist Jamal Mann broke into a similar looking building and, sure enough, found it stocked with 50 metal boxes bursting with $200 million in hundred dollar bills. They stuffed some of the cash in their pockets and hid the boxes in a canal and a palm tree to recover later. Their plan was flawless, except that the palm tree wasn't the most inconspicuous place to hide the money. As the major who found it said: "Well my God! You walked right across the street, you know, 20 feet away, in this palm tree, and there's a wad of cash stuck in the fork of a tree, you know."
Ha, seriously! It's almost as if the soldiers hadn't planned an end game, accomplishing the first step of their plan, and assuming everything else would just fall into place...
The China Syndrome
The China Syndrome is the story of journalists who discover safety concerns at a nuclear power plant. The film starred Michael Douglas, an Oscar winner who went on to provide hope to old dudes everywhere by having sex with Catherine Zeta Jones, and Jane Fonda who went on to provide us with orgasm postponing mental images by having sex with Ted Turner.
In the film, after witnessing a near meltdown, Douglas and Fonda convince Jack "anxious but lovable" Lemmon to the blow the whistle and expose the risks of nuclear power to the world.
But seriously, though, let's get a preemptive "Cheers" for disproportionately attractive spouses.
The Real Life Event
Upon The China Syndrome's release in 1979, the nuclear power industry criticized the film as an irresponsible act of fear-mongering. As if to prove that they were the authorities on irresponsible acts that incite fear, just 12 days after the film's release, a poorly built Nuclear Power station scared the shit out of the state of Pennsylvania.
In the early hours of March 28th, 1979, alarm bells began going off in the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant. Nuclear technicians ran around panicking, the reactor began to overheat and the media began masturbating.
Sure enough, within a few hours high radiation levels were being found and an evacuation of the nearby area was quickly ordered.
It was later discovered that very little radiation had in fact leaked out and that nobody was at risk of turning into mutants. But America has never let an absence of any real threat ruin a good panic and the nation spent most of 1979 freaking the hell out about the dangers of nuclear power. The effects were devastating for the mental health of the local community, but it was all aces for Hollywood. The China Syndrome, capitalized on the similarities between the two events and swept up at the box office.
Jane Fonda went on to become an ardent anti-nuclear protester; to the extent that nuclear physicist Edward Teller blamed her for causing his heart attack, saying: "You might say that I was the only one whose health was affected by that reactor near Harrisburg. No, that would be wrong. It was not the reactor. It was Jane Fonda. Reactors are not dangerous."
Jane Fonda, you may now officially add your name to the list of people indirectly harmed by Three Mile Island, because you just got burned!
Weekend at Bernie's
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 Lone Gunmen
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.