Movies, like other art-forms, are misunderstood by the very people who consume it. The audience – who should know better, they’ve been watching them all their lives. They routinely disparage genre pictures as “unrealistic,” a set piece as impossible, or historical films as historically (in)accurate.* To paraphrase Werner Herzog, the filmmaker does not set out to adapt the Manhattan telephone directory, they pick a name and tell a story.
Though we champion Homer’s Illiad, and rack our brains to decipher how much of it was “based on real life events” we ridicule the work of our contemporary authors for their wildly flawed attempts to represent reality and, to add insult to injury, deem it “escapist.” Escapist suggests the audience does not invest themselves emotionally in an experience and I can tell you that every time Indiana Jones runs from that boulder, I’m invested. Heavily.
To those who say life is stranger than fiction, I say it cuts both ways. The cinema can be as strange and wonderful a place as the world we live in. If only because the people who make motion-picture are of this world. Case in point, here are six movie-scenarios that “actually happened,” from the fine people at cracked.com. Most of the examples are of events occurring after a film’s release and some, (un)surprisingly, served as inspiration for the motion picture in question.
*Braveheart, for example, is set in 13th century Scotland but is actually depicting a romanticized version of the American Revolutionary War. Now do you understand why it won Best Picture? (and, yes!, The Patriot is a remake).