8 More Unrealistic Versions Of Movies That Really Happened
Movies -- or cinematic LIES, as experts really should be calling them -- are a great way to escape the awfulness of the real world for a couple of mindless fantasy-filled hours. But as it turns out, some movies are such filthy liars that they even lied about being fictional. Meaning, some of the stupidest shit you've seen up on the screen has absolutely happened in real life. For example ...
Japan Created Its Own, Even Weirder Version Of The Truman Show
The Truman Show is about Jim Carrey not knowing that his life is being secretly filmed, and somehow becoming a huge reality TV star without acting like a jerk-faced shit-waffle. You know, typical Hollywood make-believe.
Or at least, that's what studio executives have been telling Jim Carrey his whole career.
Obviously, the most implausible part of the whole thing is that a TV network would be allowed to essentially hold a guy hostage under false pretenses. There are laws against that, no matter what wacky part of the world you happen to be in. Even Japan.
Uh ... right? JAPAN?
In 1998, Japanese comedian Nasubi was told he was trying out for a potential new reality show for which he would be locked in a room and not let out until he made $10,000 by entering sweepstakes contests via mail (at the time, sweepstakes were kind of a fad in Japan). It was also how he was supposed to feed and clothe himself -- by winning contests for food. Oh yeah, and he was naked at the beginning.
"Rule #1: No fashioning a cock smock out of that pillow case."
He had been told that there were cameras that would tape his adventure, and then later they might possibly be turned into a show. What they didn't tell him was that, in fact, each week a highlight reel from the live feed aired on national television, and it got almost double the ratings Game Of Thrones gets today. That's 16 million people watching the oblivious and usually nude Nasubi chow down on dog food (the only thing he could win in the beginning), and slowly approaching a mental breakdown from the isolation. Note: Nasubi says he never signed a contract agreeing to this.
After 335 days of this torture, when Nasubi finally earned the $10,000, the producers took him on a trip to South Korea ... where they told him that he had to go inside another, identical isolation room and earn his airfare back to Japan through sweepstakes. Having been completely mentally broken, Nasubi agreed to it and earned the money back home. There he was greeted by ... another motherloving room. As he dejectedly got naked, probably hoping to use his clothes as a noose, the walls of the room fell down and Nasubi realized he was in a TV studio, in front of a live audience.
This was immediately preceded by some asshole waking him up with party crackers.
The producers then told him "Congratulations! Oh, and BTW, we've been secretly filming your life for the last year!" Today, Nasubi holds the Guinness World Record for "longest time survived on competition winnings," as well as "most people not brutally murdered when it would have been totally justified."
Isaac Osei's Life Is Oddly Similar To The Plot Of Coming To America
In Coming To America, Eddie Murphy plays an African prince who travels to the U.S. and takes a menial job while looking for a modern, independent, smart woman to marry. In the end, he marries Shari Headley, who will hopefully be cool with her husband ruling over a kingdom that has sex slaves.
"The Royal Penis is clean, Your Highness." -- actual dialogue
Isaac Osei is the owner of a New York taxi company who's also a member of Ghana's royal family. He isn't a king or anything like that, but as chief of the Akwamu people, he has the power to settle judicial matters in five Ghanaian towns. He also has access to a royal palace and wears a solid gold crown. So ... yeah, he's a king. He's totally a fucking king.
Look at him just king-ing all over the place.
Born as one of 19 children to a presumably very tired mother, Isaac was second in line to become chief after his older brother. Not really wanting to dedicate his life to a career in "waiting until my brother dies," he decided to make his own fortune by moving to the States, where he became a taxi driver and eventually opened his own restaurant. Roughly at the same time that Coming To America was released, Osei met his soon-to-be-wife when she stopped to eat at his establishment, and they started their own taxi company together, got married, and had kids.
"I asked her if she wanted fries with that, and it snowballed from there."
That's when his brother, the chief, died. Deciding to honor tradition, Osei became the new chief, and he now splits his time between being carried around in one of those curtained boxes for royalty in Ghana and getting yelled at by drunks in New York. No, we also have no idea why.
Romanian Gangsters Have Been Robbing Trucks Fast & Furious-Style For Years
In the first FATFur movie, Vin Diesel decides that blocking the road and pointing a gun at truck drivers to rob them is just too damn easy. Naturally, to make their crimes more interesting, he and his gang start jumping out of their cars onto the moving trucks to hijack their precious cargo of 19-inch TV/VCR combos, because holy shit is this movie old.
Believe it or not, these exact types of crimes have been pretty common in Europe for the last few years, in the grand tradition of Europe taking the worst parts of American pop culture and going crazy over them. Only here, instead of Germany getting a national boner over David Hasselhoff, it's Romanian gangs robbing trucks by jumping onto them from moving vehicles.
Sometimes, the robbers send out a decoy vehicle in front of the target to slow it down, but in the end, it all comes down to a couple of people driving behind the truck at night, one guy going out onto the hood, opening the back doors, and jumping in. Then they are free to pass the loot to their partners as they fly down the highway, in some cases swiping close to $45,000 in goods.
Enough to buy 45 million TV/VCR combos today.
The Romanian gangs have taken this act on tour from their home country to the UK, Ireland, and Germany, eventually inspiring the maneuver's popular name: the Romanian rollover. Personally, we're calling it the "Drivers In Europe Don't Care What's Happening To Other Cars" Maneuver.
And speaking of awesome Hollywood stunts that should never ever ever ever be imitated in real life ...
A Real Bus Jumped Over A Suspension Bridge Like In Speed
In Speed, a bus carrying Keanu Reeves is forced to keep going at breakneck speed because there are explosives on board rigged to blow if it drops below 50 mph. In the most ridiculous scene generated by this ridiculous premise, the bus is forced to jump an incomplete stretch of freeway and land at full speed. It's the physics equivalent of a rhino doing a backflip.
Hell, even the actors in the movie are like, "Really?"
In 1952, Albert Gunston was driving a bus across London's Tower Bridge when he realized that the bridge in front of him was falling up. As in, the bridge was suddenly rising and parting because a ship was passing underneath it, only someone (that stupid wanker Dave, probably) forgot to signal that to the cars. Deciding that he didn't have enough time to brake, Gunton did the only / most badass thing that he could: He sped up.
The gap between the two bridge pieces was only about three feet wide, but it was rapidly widening, and in the heat of the moment it must have looked like three goddamned miles. Needless to say, Gunton made the jump, which resulted in only minor injuries to his passengers. For this reckless stunt, Gunton was fined 10 pounds, which ... Hold on, no, that's wrong. He was awarded 10 pounds for bravery, because the 1950s were a different time, kids.
William McGovern Was A Real (Slightly Better) Indiana Jones
The Indiana Jones trilogy plus one shitty bonus movie tells the story of a university professor who almost never shows up to class, but when he does, he probably brings with him an Ark-full of exciting firsthand anecdotes about ancient treasures and Nazi murders. All four movies read like a frustrated undergrad's fanfiction written during an especially boring lecture. In the third film, we even get Indiana's gruff father snidely pointing out that all his adventuring is not befitting an academic.
"Yeah, well, neither is starring in League Of Extraordinary Gentleman."
Dr. William McGovern (1897-1964) was a celebrated professor of political science at Northwestern University, known for his distinctive winter fur cap and being way cooler than you.
His PhD was apparently in making sweet love to the camera.
By age 30, he had two doctorates (one from a Buddhist monastery in Kyoto), spoke anywhere between 12 and 17 languages, and had spent time exploring the shit out of our planet in ways that should have gotten him killed several times over. During one trip, he snuck into a forbidden city in Tibet by painting his skin brown and squirting lemon juice in his eyes to change their color. He was eventually discovered, but only because he fessed up about the ruse to the city officials. When a mob of monks became enraged by his presence ("Did you not see the word 'Forbidden' on the sign, dick?"), they swarmed his building and started hurling rocks. At which point McGovern slipped out the back, circled around, blended in with the mob and started chucking stones alongside them.
Even the real Indiana Jones didn't think of that shit.
While trekking through the Amazon during another expedition, he shot a 28-foot-long anaconda that was attacking his boat, after presumably punching it in the dick. He then lived among Amazonian tribes and participated in their sacred rituals, ingesting hallucinogens and banishing evil spirits (that's what the rituals were about, but we're going to just assume he had to fight some real evil spirits at some point).
Now, it's true he never murdered Nazis, but he still fought the Axis in his own way by becoming President Roosevelt's expert on Japan. FDR read his reports each morning over breakfast.
The Guy Behind Nutella Was A Real Willy Wonka
In Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, the reclusive founder of a candy company invites a group of children to tour his secret factory, and possibly murders most of them. Before that happens, though, they explore the strange insides of the high-security building, and learn something about hard work, imagination, magic, and the importance of slave labor in cutting down on production costs.
Oom-pa loom-pa Dooba-di-do, we should un-ion-ize on you
Michele Ferrero was the head of Ferrero SpA, the company that makes Tic Tacs, Kinder Eggs, Ferrero Rochers, and other amazing candies your mom said were too expensive as she put the off-brand versions in the cart. Ferrero grew his father's small-time pastry business into a billion-dollar company using the recipe for what would become known as Nutella, which still remains a closely-guarded secret. That's where the Wonka comparisons really start to take shape.
No top hat and tails, sadly.
See, Ferrero wasn't just a secretive recluse. Like Wonka, he was also paranoid about spies. He never gave interviews, and always wore giant sunglasses so that his enemies wouldn't steal his secrets through his eyes, probably. He fortified his chocolate factory as if it was Fort Knox, and would sooner let a stranger give him a prostate exam than let them see how his candy was made. Except for one time.
Uh, the tour. Not the prostate thing.
In 2011, he finally allowed four journalists to tour his factory. They described the place as like a "high-security jail," and keep in mind that they weren't allowed inside the even secret-er tasting rooms, where Ferrero could reportedly spend the better part of the day taste-testing new candies. Now, we're certainly not saying the guy's factory was secretly full of dead children (the guy is himself is dead now, but would certainly still find a way to sue us). We're just saying that if it was, nobody would probably ever know.
The Real Les Miserables Took Place In 19th-Century London
Set aside the fact that the political uprising part of the plot is historical fact, the characters in Les Miserables are rather fanciful. After all, it is primarily the story of a 19th-century proto-Hulk named Jean Valjean, who spent nearly 20 years in prison for stealing bread, and Inspector Javert, an insane Terminator who pursued Valjean for years after he got out of jail. Javert's devotion to his own ultra-strict concept of justice causes him to weirdly obsess over this one petty thief, to the point of singing multiple songs about it. In the real world, if there's a detective who vows to spend the rest of their days chasing down one lone nonviolent offender, we're thinking that guy doesn't have a heavy enough caseload. Or maybe there's some filing to be done?
"What if I gave you a refund for X-Men Origins: Wolverine?"
Jerome Caminada was a detective in 19th-century Manchester who quickly rose through the ranks of the British police force by actually solving crimes instead of grabbing random guys off the street and beating them until they confessed. He was famous for using deductive reasoning, patience, and even elaborate disguises to crack "impossible" cases. Today, he's considered one of the possible inspirations for Sherlock Holmes. But it was his nearly two-decade rivalry with Bob Horridge that had made him a real-life Javert.
You know, sans musical numbers ... we think ... maybe.
After Inspector Caminada had Horridge jailed for seven years for stealing a watch, something snapped inside Bob, and he decided he'd never set foot in a prison again. In a short time, Horridge (known for his impressive strength) became a master of the getaway, sometimes evading up to 30 officers at once by running across rooftops or diving into polluted rivers.
Like Javert, it seems the thought of this guy being free to keep stealing small items was too much for Caminada to bear. He and Horridge would play a game of cat and mouse that would span 17 freaking years, from 1870 to 1887.
Which at the time was the average lifespan.
Over time, a weird kind of respect developed between the two, as they realized they were so similar to each other. For example, both of them grew up in the slums. But just like Javert, Caminada basically masturbated to statues of Lady Justice, so although he did kind of respect Horridge, he still pistol-whipped and arrested him after running into him on the street one day. Bob Horridge spent the rest of his life trying not to run out of words that rhyme with "jail."
The Nazis Created A Super Soldier Serum
From Captain America to ridiculous direct-to-TV films, fictional Nazis seem obsessed with the idea of chemically overclocking their soldiers so they can take over the world. And OK, Nazis did conduct a bunch of mad science bio-experiments, but that was on cattle, not humans. Otherwise, they wouldn't have lost the war, right?
The only reason the U.S. wasn't forced to develop its own super soldier program was that the Nazis started work on their own Ubermensch Formula too late into WWII. Shortly before the Third Reich was defeated, they had a plan to feed their soldiers a pill codenamed D-IX, which would substantially increase their strength, pain tolerance, and stamina. It was made up of cocaine, amphetamines, and morphine.
Ironically, the aftereffects probably would have left them looking something like this.
Okay, so maybe that's less a super soldier serum and more what the Rolling Stones used to call an after-dinner mint. But you want to know what's really crazy? It fucking worked, at least in the short term. In tests, German soldiers who took D-IX could easily march 55 miles without resting while wearing 45 lbs worth of gear. Would it have turned the tide of the war if the Nazis had gotten the drug into mass production? Maybe, but holy shit would things have turned ugly once supply lines were cut and the withdrawal symptoms hit. A bunch of strung-out Nazis literally fighting for their next fix? You want to write an alternate-history WWII story, start with that.
Stuart Alden is a co-author of the post you just read and has a cool website here: stuartalden.com.
Deep inside us all -- behind our political leanings, our moral codes, and our private biases -- there is a cause so colossally stupid that we surprise ourselves with how much we care. Whether it's toilet paper position, fedoras on men, or Oxford commas, we each harbor a preference so powerful we can't help but proselytize to the world. In this episode of the Cracked podcast, guest host Soren Bowie is joined by Cody Johnston, Michael Swaim, and comedian Annie Lederman to discuss the most trivial things we will argue about until the day we die. Get your tickets here!
For more times real life was way better than Hollywood, check out 5 Real Bank Heists Ripped Right Out Of The Movies and 5 Real Prison Escapes That Shouldn't Have Been Possible.
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