6 Ridiculous Details Wisely Cut From Movie Adaptations
Hey, have you ever tried watching Game of Thrones with hard-core fans of the books? Did you notice how enraged they get with all of the little (and often arbitrary) changes the producers made? Whether the original was a beloved novel or popular comic, Hollywood seems to take a perverse kind of pleasure in butchering it. But in the name of fairness, we should take a moment to celebrate all those times they got it right. Here are some bizarrely dark scenes that got left on the cutting room floor:
Die Hard: John McClane And Al Turn Into Psychopaths
Die Hard tells the story of wisecracking New York police detective John McClane justice-murdering his way through a group of sophisticated European master thieves and their king, Hans Gruber. They take the headquarters of the Nakatomi corporation hostage, intending to crack the building's hidden safe and make off with a fortune in untraceable bearer bonds. McClane shoots them all until they knock it off, rescues his wife from the clutches of the villainous Gruber, and staggers out of the building as a triumphant hero.
But They Cut ...
Part of Die Hard's appeal is how perfectly its villains embodied the essence of sleazy-slick 1980s greed. They're basically a bunch of Gordon Gekkos, masquerading as freedom fighters in order to cover their billion dollar heist. However, in Roderick Thorp's Nothing Lasts Forever, which Die Hard was based on (what, you didn't know Die Hard was a novel first?), Gruber and co. really are gun-toting political activists. And they're also sort of the good guys.
"Who said we were terrorists? No, seriously, you're rewriting history."
The book opens with the John McClane character (Joe Leland in the book), heading to L.A. to visit his daughter Stephanie for Christmas. But when a group of terrorists, headed by Anton "Little Tony The Red" Gruber, seize the Klaxon Oil Building, where Stephanie works, a shoe-less Leland has to fight them to save her. However, it turns out that Klaxon Oil is secretly making millions of dollars illegally selling arms to the fascist Chilean government, and Gruber plans to steal documents to expose them before cracking their safe and literally throwing their blood money out the damn window. Also, Stephanie is a coked-out space cadet in a relationship with Ellis, whom you may remember from Die Hard as the most legendary douchebag in film history.
But hey, so what if the book had a little more moral complexity than the film -- what else would you expect? But everything finally goes batshit at the book's climax. Gruber falls out of the window holding onto Stephanie's bracelet, which is pretty much exactly what happens in the movie. However, unlike the movie, both Gruber and Stephanie plummet to their deaths.
"Stephanie originally killed Dumbledooooooore!"
Watching his daughter die in front of him drives Leland totally bonkers, and he starts wandering the building "crying like a child" and ruthlessly killing the rest of Gruber's fellow activists, including loads of women. When he comes across a young terrorist in her early 20s with "rosy cheeks", Leland " this bitch in the forehead" and continues on his way.
Oh, and remember the scene in the movie where Karl, Hans Gruber's second in command, suddenly reappears after his apparent death and tries to kill John McClane, only to be shot by Al Powell?
"It's Al over now."
Well, the same scene happens in the book, but instead of triumphing over his fear of drawing his weapon and shooting Karl to save McClane, Al pulls his boss Dwayne Robinson in front of the gunfire, killing him in the process. After spending most of the movie as a saintly, heroic character, we can understand why the filmmakers decided not to have Al Powell suddenly turn into a goddamned sociopath and yank the asinine-yet-comedic Dwayne T. Robinson into a storm of life-ending bullets.
Cheaper By The Dozen: The Dad Dies Of A Heart Attack
2003's Cheaper by the Dozen features Steve Martin as a man who refuses to stop fucking his wife. The couple have 12 children, which results in a kaleidoscope of hijinks all related to the struggles of trying to share a house with 13 other human beings, such as "Boy, we sure do have a lot of kids!" and "Holy shit, look at all these children!" There is also a scene wherein the kids stuff Ashton Kutcher's underwear full of meat and try to get their dog to bite his ass off, which we think should've placed it solidly in the running for Best Picture of 2003.
It lost to The Return of the King, where the Fellowship stuffs Kutcher's
britches full of meat and sends him to meet some orcs.
But They Cut ...
Because Hollywood ran out of original ideas in the 2000s, Cheaper by the Dozen was actually a loose remake of a movie from 1950, and an even looser adaption of an autobiography written by two of the children in 1948. In the Cheaper by the Dozen book, Steve Martin's character was an industrial efficiency expert who believed that his methodology for factory management could be applied to everyday life, specifically raising his kids. This notably, and creepily, included having four of his children's tonsils removed in a makeshift assembly line in their own home. He then dies suddenly of a heart attack at age 55, which admittedly is the more realistic outcome of a middle-aged man trying to raise 12 goddamned children.
He named his middle kids "Neglect," "Resentment," "Bitter" and "Whatshisface."
Since having Steve Martin leave a widow with 12 kids would have kind of torpedoed the wacky tone of the movie, the ending was changed to Martin deciding to change jobs to spend more time with his kids. This also would've dramatically changed the tone of Cheaper by the Dozen 2 from "continuation of lighthearted family antics" to "unofficial sequel to Ghost Dad."
The Natural: Roy Hobbs Strikes Out And Is Disgraced
In The Natural, the greatest baseball movie not featuring Kevin Costner, middle-aged rookie Roy Hobbs, played by Robert Redford, is offered a bribe to throw the biggest game of the season. Hobbs refuses and instead hits a homerun to win his team the pennant, which is pretty much the opposite of what he was asked to do. It all turns out for the best, and everyone lives happily ever after, except for those people who were incinerated when Hobbs' homerun ball hit the overhead lights and everything exploded.
You better run faster than that when the police show up.
But They Cut ...
Bernard Malamud was apparently in a super bad mood when he wrote his novel, The Natural. Either that or someone named Roy Hobbs had dinged his Altima. First of all, in Malamud's story, Hobbs actually accepts the bribe. It isn't until he finds out, in the middle of the game, that he's going to be a father that he changes his mind and tries to win. Now possessed with the singular desire to be an honorable man and do right by his family, Hobbs strikes the hell out, and his team loses.
Not only that, but a journalist eventually discovers that he was paid to throw the game, which means that on top of everything else, Hobbs is going to be banned from the game and have all his records wiped out.
Hear that, Peggy? You're going to be a virgin again!
Malamud's original novel was written as a King Arthur allegory, where a noble hero is eventually undone by his own misdeeds. However, the movie came out in the early 1980s, a decade in which nobody was interested in feeling bad about themselves, so they changed the ending to pretty much the exact opposite of what Malamud had written. After seeing the movie, the author supposedly said, "At last, I'm an American writer." Considering that his later novels touched on such cheery subjects like the hard lives of American immigrants and anti-Semitism in Tsarist Russia, we're going to say that comment probably wasn't a compliment.
Fast Times At Ridgemont High: Jeff Spicoli Is Kind Of A Dick
Before it was a GIF of Phoebe Cates taking her top off, Fast Times at Ridgemont High was actually a movie about a bunch of high school kids from various backgrounds and cliques in the early 1980s, including Jeff Spicoli, a slacker, surfer dude who engages in hilarious behavior like ordering pizza in class and swearing at his elderly English teacher. Spicoli is played in the film by a "pre-tying Madonna to a chair and beating the shit out of her" Sean Penn, who brought a dopey, endearing lovability to the character, making him virtually every fan's favorite part of the movie outside of Phoebe Cates' nude scene.
"I silently judged when you reinheld."
But They Cut ...
The movie was based on an investigative novel of the same name by Cameron Crowe, who at age 22 posed as a high school student ( seriously) to get a closer look at the lives of teenagers and find out what they are really like. His shocking conclusion: Teenagers are assholes.
That's perfectly encapsulated by one scene that didn't make it into the movie: The father and sister of a student named Louis Crowley are killed in a car accident. That's tragic and upsetting enough, but then the dopey, loveable Jeff Spicoli bursts into Crowley's journalism class with a newspaper featuring coverage of the accident. "Look at these bitchin' photos of the crash," Spicoli shouts, before following it up with: "You can see the people inside and everything."
The class is understandably horrified, and Crowley begins to cry. After this incident, nobody speaks to Spicoli for a month, although honestly he probably didn't notice, what with being stoned literally all of the time.
Up in the Air: A Twist Ending Reveals The Protagonist Is Terminally Ill
From acclaimed director Son of the Guy Who Made Ghostbusters, Up in the Air tells the story of frequent-flyer businessman Ryan Bingham, who leads a hollow and lonely life because he doesn't realize that he looks like George Clooney.
But then his life changes completely when he discovers mirrors.
By the end of the movie, Ryan is still alone, but he realizes that there's more to life than work, and decides to start his life anew.
But They Cut ...
In Walter Kirn's original novel, Bingham has actually submitted a letter of resignation to his company and is on a quest to earn as many frequent-flier miles as he can before his boss discovers his resignation and cancels his company credit card. Then we discover at the end of the story that Bingham is terminally ill, and he plans to donate all of his miles to children's hospitals. Having successfully Shyamalaned the hell out of us, Kirn ends his novel by having Bingham get on a plane bound for the Mayo Clinic for treatment.
"But it's not face cancer, right?"
Director Jason Reitman did reference the book slightly when Clooney's character mishears a flight attendant asking another passenger "Would you like the can, sir?" as "Would you like the cancer?" However, other than that, Reitman claims he never even considered going with the twist ending, possibly because the recent release of The Happening had just provoked legislation to make adding a twist ending to your film a capital offense.
National Lampoon's Vacation: Clark Griswold Goes To Prison
National Lampoon's Vacation is the 1983 comedy classic that tells the story of the Griswold's nightmarish, cross-country journey to Walley World, a clear stand-in for Disneyland, only without the measles outbreaks and communal underwear. When the park turns out to be closed, an exasperated Clark uses a BB gun to force their way in for a day of family fun. The police are called, but Mr. Walley (the film's version of Walt Disney) ends up not pressing charges because of some bullshit about the importance of family.
"'Griswold' ... that's not a Jewish name, is it?"
But They Cut ...
In Vacation '58, the original short story by John Hughes that inspired the movie, the Griswolds actually visit Disneyland (Disney didn't want their theme park to be featured in the film adaptation because, among other things, Disneyland is open 365 days a year). When they arrive to find Disneyland closed, Clark forces his way inside with an actual revolver, and proceeds to shoot Walt Disney in the thigh.
"It may be a small world, but I bet that son-of-a-bitch wishes the hospital was closer."
The story ends with Clark Griswold getting arrested for "attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, illegal use of a firearm, and two violations of the Beverly Hills noise code." The rest of the family abandons him to prison and heads back home on a plane. Luckily, the movie changed all of that so we didn't have to see a version of Christmas Vacation where Clark cooks up toilet eggnog while listening to a Lindsay Buckingham song.
For more missing scenes, check out 6 Deleted Scenes That Totally Change Classic Movies and 6 Crucial Movie Scenes That Never Made It Out of the Script.
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