Harsher in Hindsight/Film

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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Leland: 1993. World Trade Center bombing, remember? During the trial, one of the bombers claimed the CIA had advanced knowledge. The diplomat who issued the terrorists' visas was CIA. It's not unthinkable that they paved the way for the bombing, purely to justify a budget increase.
Mitch: You're telling me that you're going to fake some terrorist thing, just to scare some money out of Congress?
Leland: Well, unfortunately, Mr. Hennessey, I have no idea how to fake killing four thousand people, so we're just going to have to do it for real. Blame it on the Muslims, naturally. Then I get my funding.

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  • The China Syndrome, which deals with a near-meltdown at a U.S. nuclear power plant, was released to theaters on March 16, 1979 and was a success. Then, twelve days later, a partial meltdown took place at the Three Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania. Of course, no one perished in that situation, but it got massive amounts of news coverage, remained in the forefront of America's mind, and contributed mightily to The China Syndrome being an even bigger hit -- though producer/star Michael Douglas noted that they actually scaled back its release somewhat because of this trope.
  • Woody Allen's film Radio Days includes a scene involving a little girl falling down a well, and the nationwide media sensation it causes. The film was released in January 1987; in October of that year, 18-month-old Jessica McClure fell down a well in Texas, causing - yes - a nationwide media sensation. Only the fact that McClure was successfully rescued keeps this from being even Harsher than it is. (In Allen's film, the little girl dies before rescuers can reach her...which was also the case with three-year-old Kathy Fiscus, whose own 1949 well accident was the basis for the movie incident.)
    • Kathy Fiscus was kind of a Real Life example of this trope: Her father, a California water company employee, was in Sacramento on the day of his daughter's fatal fall, speaking to the state legislature about tighter regulations on the permanent sealing of abandoned wells.
    • Woody Allen starred in (though, unusually, didn't write or direct) the 1976 film The Front. He plays a "front" in the TV industry under Joe McCarthy--someone who pretends to be a scriptwriter when the real scriptwriter is blacklisted. When the Woody Allen character refuses to defy the House Un-American Activities Committee, his girlfriend is deeply offended (I forget if she breaks up with him), but she says that she still respects him as an artist. In the movie, the irony is that he isn't the real artist. But when he began an affair with Soon-Yi, then married her, many people were saying that they still respected him as an artist.
  • Bollywood film Main Hoon Na is a double offender: first, it shows a group of terrorists shooting up an Indian television studio. Later in the film, the terrorists take the students and faculty of a school hostage in a gymnasium rigged with bombs. The Beslan School Siege in Chechnya would happen a few months after the film was released, and the terrorist attacks on Mumbai would happen a few years later.
  • Love Actually: Liam Neeson's character's storyline is just gut-wrenching as of his wife's death.
    • On a lesser note, this PBS Kids ident used from 1999 to 2004 shows various scenes of inspirational moments with well-known celebrities like Levar Burton, Jamie Lee Curtis, and others. Of note is Neeson himself, who is sitting alone with his son looking out a window and joyfully laughing with each other. It becomes a bit more heartbreaking as of the last year.
    • Also makes at least one scene in Batman Begins uncomfortable viewing:
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Ducard: I wasn't always here in the mountains. I once had a wife...my great love...and she, too, was...taken from me...

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    • What's really disturbing about that scene is that it immediately follows the scene of him training Bruce on the snow-covered, icy mountain...and his wife died in a skiing accident.
    • Neeson and Richardson's last performance together are voiceovers (narrator and letter writer, respectively) in a documentary about Mt. Everest.
      • Neeson played a number of widowers before the death of his wife that is downright disturbing/heartbreaking now.
    • Then there's his role in The Grey which was released after the incident. Many attribute his especially powerful and emotional performance in this film to the fact that he suffered the same thing in real life.
  • In the movie Jack, the title character, a ten year old boy who ages 4 times too fast (played by Robin Williams) suffers an angina attack. Robin Williams had heart surgery to replace an aortic valve, which isn't the same thing, but the sight of him clutching his chest in pain is pretty cringe-worthy.
  • They Shoot Horses, Don't They? culminates with Jane Fonda's character begging to be shot dead and put her out of her misery. In 1978 Gig Young, who won an Oscar for his role in the same film but never got the career boost he had been hoping for from it, shot and killed his wife before turning the gun on himself.
  • Batman and Robin just got a lot harder to watch now that Michael Gough has died of old age and illness, it used to be the one decent part, but now watching all those bed-ridden, dying Alfred scenes is really too much.
    • Not to mention the guy who Bane who looked insanely juiced died shortly after the movie of a heart attack
  • The Siege is an action thriller from 1998 about terrorist strikes in New York that end up with martial law. Back in 1998, there was a backlash from the Arab community because they thought it made them look like terrorists. Fast forward to September 11, 2001.
    • In fact, FOX itself marketed the movie as being "Eerily prescient of the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath" in the backcopy of the blu-ray DVD edition.
  • Wrong is Right seemed like an over-the-top political satire about the links between war, government, and the media in 1982. Now the number of coincidences with events in Iraq is staggering.
  • The Formula One documentary film Senna plays out as a huge collection of mentions of crashes, Senna being in a crash, Senna talking about crashes and safety issues within Formula One (Senna's death being the major turning point for safety within Formula One). There are very few scenes without a nod to the fact he dies on the racetrack. One of the very first scenes is an interview with his family when he began racing saying how they prayed to God their son would never get injured on the racetrack...
  • Demolition Man, while looking up the parole hearings, the name listed before Simon Phoenix is Peterson, Scott. The writers maintain that it was complete coincidence.
    • Of course it was. Demolition Man was released in 1993. Scott Peterson was convicted in 2005.
    • A later scene has Phoenix looking up the names of the cryoprison inmates. He comes across Jeffrey Dahmer's name and shouts "Jeffrey Dahmer? I LOVE that guy!". Dahmer was murdered in prison the year after the movie was released, prompting some broadcasts of the movie to omit the latter line.
    • The same film has a mention of President Schwarzenegger. Although this one probably qualifies as Hilarious in Hindsight, you have to wonder about time traveller involvement during the film.
  • In Paranoiac, Oliver Reed's character has a drinking problem. In Curse of the Werewolf, he works at a winery, and there are several scenes of him getting drunk with his coworker. In Captain Clegg, he smugglers liqueur. Reed had an alcohol problem all his life, and drank himself to death on the set of Gladiator.
  • The anti-nuclear drama Fail-Safe was intentionally very serious and gloomy, but the events of 9/11 make the ending worse, in which a pilot is ordered to drop a nuclear bomb destroying New York City. In retrospect it makes 9/11 conspiracy theories look trivial.
  • The 1979 Disaster Film flop Meteor had a spaceship called the Challenger exploding.
    • And the Twin Towers destroyed near the end.
  • In The Towering Inferno, it's hard not to listen to Steve McQueen's last lines as the fire chief and not find them eerily prophetic in a post-9/11 world.
  • The final scene of if...., a surrealist counterculture comedy from 1968, centers on the protagonist and his fellow misfits getting revenge on their hated school by going on a shooting spree. At the time of its release, this scene was intended to be the surreal culmination of the protagonist's revolutionary ideals. In the post-Columbine era...not so much.
    • Nor does it help that the protagonist is played by A Clockwork Orange star Malcolm McDowell. In A Clockwork Orange, McDowell's character Alex leads a gang of teen hoodlums in acts of violence (i.e. assault, rape, murder). After the film's release, it was reported that teen gangs had been copycatting the film's on-screen crimes.
  • In Heathers, the idea of "normal" high school students killing each other was also considered to be comedy in and of itself.
    • One of the many memorable put-downs from the film was "Did you have a brain tumor for breakfast?" by Heather #1. Kim Walker, the actress who played Heather #1, died of a brain tumor in 2001.
    • Another voiceover line was "Dear God, please don't let this happen to me, 'cause I don't think I could handle suicide." The actor, Jeremy Applegate, committed suicide in 2000.
  • Wag the Dog concerns a sleazy President of the US who starts an entirely fake war in the Balkans to divert attention from a sex scandal. Shortly after it was released, President Clinton was impeached for lying under oath about his sexual escapades, and then went to war in the Balkans.
    • The coincidence was much talked about at the time, and is often claimed in the press and in books as an example of this trope, but for several reasons, it is not. Clinton had been dealing with sex scandals since before he was elected President (Gennifer Flowers, anyone?), and America had been expected to intervene in the war in the Balkans for years. Also, the film is an adaptation of a book, American Hero by Larry Beinhart, which was written several years earlier and the President in the book is mentioned to be George H. W. Bush.
      • Anyone who had been listening to or watching the news at the time knew we'd been gearing up for action in the Balkans for months.
    • Watching it after 9/11 makes it even harsher, with the idea of terrorists from some backwater country that "hate freedom" and want to "destroy our way of life". Even more so is the idea claiming that the (non-existent) Albanian terrorists want to infiltrate the US via Canada to any Canadian familiar with changes to the border traffic after 9/11 and numerous false accusations from the US of terrorists coming into their country from Canada.
  • The 1991 film Grand Canyon includes a scene where a white driver, whose car has broken down in the streets of Los Angeles, is "rescued" from a gang of young black teenagers by a black tow-truck driver. Many a journalist drew parallels when the Los Angeles Riots began than a year later with the Reginald Denny Incident. White truck driver (Reginald Denny) was driven to safety by an unarmed black civilian (Bobby Green Jr - himself a truck driver), after being brutally beaten by a group of young black men at the corner of Florence and Normandy.
  • Escape from New York begins with terrorists hijacking an airplane and flying it into a building in Manhattan near the World Trade Center; later, Snake Plissken lands a glider on the WTC's roof.
    • Later, in Escape From LA, Snake meets a woman who reveals that she was persecuted and ultimately rejected from society for being a Muslim. Sadly, Truth in Television for many Muslims today.
  • Pimpernel Smith, a 1941 updating of The Scarlet Pimpernel, ends soberly, with its Adventurer Archaeologist hero facing execution by the Nazis for helping refugees to escape. From a shadow, Leslie Howard delivers the final speech as Smith, before vanishing into the darkness, baffling his captors forever:
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General von Graum: Why do I talk to you? You are a dead man.
Smith: May a dead man say a few words to you for your enlightenment? You will never rule the world, because you are doomed. All of you who have demoralized and corrupted a nation are doomed. Tonight you will take the first step along a dark road from which there is no turning back. You will have to go on and on, from one madness to another, leaving behind you a wilderness of misery and hatred. And still you will have to go on, because you will find no horizon, and see no dawn, until at last you are lost and destroyed. You are doomed, captain of murderers. And one day, sooner or later, you will remember my words...

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    • Two years later, Leslie Howard was shot down over neutral waters by the Nazis.
    • Raoul Wallenberg, who saved tens of thousands of Jewish refugees from concentration camps, cited the film as one of his inspirations - making the speech a rare simultaneous crossing of this trope and Crowning Moment of Awesome.
      • According to declassified Russian documents, Raoul Wallenberg had been detained by NKVD and then killed on Stalin's (or possibly Beria's) orders because he knew about atrocities committed by USSR during the war.
  • In the film In Cold Blood, Robert Blake played real-life convicted murderer Perry Smith. In 2001, he became a real-life murder suspect...
    • His role in Lost Highway is now even creepier than originally intended for the same reason.
  • This Die Hard poster. The Angry Video Game Nerd even comments on it.
    • Some people have said that they can't see the 9/11 similarities in it.
    • Alternatively, looking at the first three movies is kind of eerie when put together: A tall tower blowing up, airplanes, and New York being the target of terrorist bombings.
    • In Die Hard with a Vengeance, one of the cops makes an offhand reference to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and how inconvenient it was. Ouch.
  • One of the DVD promotional posters for the 2009 horror movie Deadline depicts lead actress Brittany Murphy laying dead in a bathtub with her hand over the edge. In light of Murphy's death (in which she was found laying dead in her shower), the posters were hastily recalled.
    • Try listening to Tai describe her "near-death experience" in Clueless. Yikes.
  • The movie Marooned (likely known better to Mystery Science Theater 3000 viewers as Space Travelers), was about an Apollo mission going awry after its engines failed. The film was released four months after the Apollo 11 moon landing. Apollo 13 commander Jim Lovell reported that he had taken his wife, Marilyn, to see Marooned. This added to her worries in the weeks leading up to the launch of the Apollo 13, and we all know how that turned out.
  • The scenes of Grace Kelly's character driving recklessly around southern France in order to freak out Cary Grant in Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief take on a different feel once one realizes that they were filmed in the same vicinity as the site of Grace's fatal 1982 car accident.
  • A lot of In the Loop, focusing as it does on the political dishonesty that was the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq. Especially when combined with the film's penchant for Cringe Comedy. There's nothing wrong with dark satire, but a particularly striking example from the deleted scenes is Toby asking for directions in Washington DC from a confused young boy, who proves to be of no help. Toby tells him, "Don't come crying to me when you get called up because I didn't stop this shit!" Toby is a Dirty Coward and there's nothing heroic about the character or the line. It just makes you wince.
    • To be fair that was the intention- In The Loop is a comedy but it's also a very angry film, based on a Real Life bunch of Dirty Cowards and written by a team of British writers who were ashamed of their own government's involvement in the war.
  • This trope was experienced by the guy who played Michael Oher in the film The Blind Side. He was at risk of being evicted from his home at the time, and in the film, his character's grandmother has been evicted from her home.
  • Any time that Ducky or Anne Marie is in danger. Both were voiced by Judith Barsi. Judith Barsi was murdered by her father.
    • But probably the worst of all is Jaws the Revenge, where her character's father is almost responsible for her death, due to neglecting to warn his family that a shark is in the area.
    • Also Judith's last film was about heaven (All Dogs Go to Heaven). She goes there a year before the film is released.
  • There's two of these moments in one scene in the 2001 dark comedy The Royal Tenenbaums where Ritchie Tenenbaum attempts suicide by slitting his wrists with razorblades. The character of Ritchie is played by Luke Wilson, whose brother Owen (who not only plays Eli Cash in the movie, but also co-wrote the film) attempted to kill himself in late 2007 in a similar manner. Furthermore, this scene is soundtracked by "Needle in the Hay", a 1995 song by alternative folk musician Elliott Smith. Two years after the film was released, Smith succeeded in killing himself (although with a knife, not with a razor blade).
  • This trope makes Wedding Crashers somewhat difficult to watch now, as part of the Black Comedy of the second half is that Owen Wilson's character is contemplating suicide. Owen Wilson was hospitalized in 2007 for attempted suicide.
  • As a movie of historic interest, Pearl Harbor went into the cinemas in May 2001 in the US and elsewhere not later than in summer of said year, conveniently even sixty years after the actual event. Of course, nobody could even remotely suspect that a comparable event would happen in the course of same year.
  • The last thing the 2000 film Battlefield Earth needs is another aspect for people to treat it with derision. But after the real-life tragedy that took place the following year, when one watches the movie (for some unfathomable reason), one may find the hero's journey depicted there as a path to terrorism. (The hero's land is taken by a technologically superior civilization because of its resources; the hero educates himself on the aliens and their technology and formulates plans to take the alien civilization down; the hero attacks, crashing aircraft and sending in suicide bombers.)
  • In Traffic, Michael Douglas' character has a daughter who has problems with drugs. Then you learn that his eldest son, Cameron, has just been sentenced to five years in prison for selling drugs. Meep.
    • And even more freaky once you watch Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps and stumbles upon the fllowing quote, that is less a Harsher in Hindsight moment and more a freakish case of an enforced actor moment.
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Winnie, he was my only son. I tried everything. I put him in the 12-step-deal...I never told you, I borrowed money from harcore guys. Tens of thousands of dollars which I didn't have. I gave it to the best therapist I could find. I even tried to pay off one scumbag dealer not to sell to my boy! [..] Rudy was a victim, you know! Like, he had cancer. You cannot blame me, and you gotta stop blaming yourself!

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  • In the 1961 film Splendor in the Grass, Deanie (Natalie Wood) tries to drown herself, but she's rescued. Natalie Wood died in 1981, when she fell off her yacht (named Splendor) and drowned.
  • In the 1995 film Canadian Bacon there is a deeply ironic scene where the National Security Advisor Smiley, (Kevin Pollack), General Panzer (Rip Torn) and the President (Alan Alda) are discussing the gutted military budget of the US since the end of the Cold War:
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Smiley of State: We were thinking, what could be a bigger threat than aliens invading from space?
General Panzer: Ooh boy! Scare the shit out of everyone. Even me, sir!
U.S. President: Jesus, is this the best you could come up with? What about, ya know, international terrorism?
General Panzer: Well, sir, we're not going to re-open missile factories just to fight some creeps running around in exploding rental cars, are we, sir?

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  • Roman Polanski's film Repulsion, about a woman who has passionate fantasies of being raped every night seems a lot darker after what would happen a few years later.
    • Another Polanski example is Chinatown. Noah Cross raped his daughter and gives [1] when confronted.
    • Rosemarys Baby. What felt like a film that dealt implicitly and thoughtfully with the issues of spousal rape and forced impregnation is a little harder to peg down once you're familiar with Polanski's history.
  • The 1996 film Executive Decision deals with a Middle Eastern terrorist group who, after pulling off a bombing in London, hijack a plane with which they plan to attack Washington DC. "Ouch" doesn't start to describe how much harsher the movie is today.
  • In the Swedish movie Indrivaren of the Wallander franchise, the character Patrik gets killed towards the end. The fact that the actor playing Patrik, Emil Forselius, committed suicide before the movie even premiered makes the scene in the morgue with Patrik's dead body particularly difficult to watch.
    • In the Yellow Bird Swedish TV adaptation, during the final episode of the 2005-2006 season, The Secret, Stefan kills himself as a result of disturbing events that happened in his childhood. As if that wasn't heart-wrenching enough, the actress who played Linda (Johanna Sällström) committed suicide the next year.
  • It's sobering seeing Heath Ledger's character hanging from a bridge in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. In his last film.
  • Yet another "New York City blowing up" one is The Peacemaker, in which Nicole Kidman and George Clooney have to find a terrorist who is carrying a nuke in his backpack and plans to blow up the United Nations building. In fact, the terrorist is there as a delegate, replacing a dead representative from his country.
  • In Back to The Future Part II, a copy of USA Today has this in the top right hand corner: "Washington prepares for Queen Diana's visit". Granted, she would not have been Queen, but ow.
    • Not queen regnant, but still a queen. Of course, this assumes Elizabeth II isn't around in 2015. At this rate, she just might be.
    • It also assumes that in the event of Elizabeth II not still being Queen in 2015, Prince Charles won't step aside in favour of Prince William becoming King, which might also happen.
  • An innocuous editing dissolve in the 1992 film Unlawful Entry suddenly became very sinister.
  • King Vidor's silent classic The Crowd involves a man whose life descends into joblessness and alcoholism, climaxing in his near-suicide. The lead actor in the film, James Murray, fell into joblessness and alcoholism himself during the Depression, and in 1936 died after falling from a pier into New York's Hudson River and drowning.
  • The Virginity Hit is a comedy about a guy whose friends secretly tape him and his girlfriend making out and the ensuing hilarity that follows after said video is released on YouTube. In Real Life, a guy gets caught on webcam making out with another guy and after it's shown on the web he jumps off a bridge -- the fourth gay teen to kill himself in a month. While the movie itself hasn't come out yet, its commercial that played every other break has disappeared.
  • In the Bruceploitation film The Clones of Bruce Lee, one of the Bruce clones is investigating a director who uses his work to cover his gold smuggling. The director gets suspicious and eventually decides to eliminate Bruce by staging a weapons malfunction during filming...which is exactly the way Bruce's son Brandon died while filming The Crow.
    • Not only that, but the villains in the finished version of Game of Death used the exact same trick to try and kill Billy Lo. Eek.
  • The 1997 HBO made-for-TV movie "Path To Paradise" featured a fictionalized account of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Most notably, the film discusses accusations that U.S. intelligence forces knew about terrorist cells operating in the country and never did anything about it until after the attempted bombing. At the end of the film, the "organizer" of the bombings is escorted back to New York City to stand trial for his crimes, and as he is flown past the Twin Towers, he says, "Next time, we'll bring them both down." For obvious reasons, it hasn't been broadcast in the U.S. HBO channel since 2001 (although it has aired on HBO Canada, and has been released on DVD).
  • Keep in mind when watching Street Fighter that in the final scene, Jean-Claude Van Damme is beating the crap out of somebody who is dying of cancer.
  • In the first Urban Legend movie, the killer turns out to be Brenda, played by Rebecca Gayheart. Three years later in 2001, Gayheart accidentally killed 9-year-old Jorge Cruz, Jr. when she struck him with her car. To make things harsher, the film actually does have a scene where commits vehicular homicide.
  • Now that it has been announced that Natalie Portman is pregnant with her first child, the trailer for the film The Other Woman which she made just before becoming pregnant becomes startlingly unsettling. In the story, Portman plays a newlywed whose baby dies days after delivery. Everyone wants Portman to have a smooth pregnancy and it's still early days, but one must imagine that Portman must have fresh memories of playing a new mother whose baby has died, and it must've crossed her mind when she discovered she was pregnant.[2]
  • In Inception, Pete Postlethwaite has two scenes as Maurice Fischer, a tycoon character who spends his entire screen time in a hospital bed, and eventually dies. Postlethwaite died six months after the movie's theater release, and almost a month after it was released on DVD and Blu-ray.
    • Even worse, in The Town he plays the villain, and has a Karmic Death in which Ben Affleck shoots him in the nuts. Postlethwaite died from testicular cancer.
  • In Toys (1992), the Big Bad is an American general who wants to create violent videogames in order to trick children into becoming drone pilots (he's rejected, but only after strangling another general who thinks the plan might need some refining). If only he knew trickery would be unnecessary nine years later and all he had to do was finance the video game industry.
    • In Real Life drone pilots do train on video game-esque simulators and prior experience playing games is said to help with the training. Still, this movie was made years before the Murder Simulator term became widepsread.
  • Simon Scuddamore, the actor who portrayed the mentally unstable and heavily bullied Marty in Slaughter High, committed suicide shortly after the film was released.
  • Hereafter features the Boxing Day tsunami wiping out everything, and on the 11th of March 2011 a 8.9 earthquake triggered a tsunami that wiped out the town of Sendai in Japan. The movie's producers eventually decided to donate the film's box office money to tsunami relief.
  • Lemora: A Child's Tale of the Supernatural starred Cheryl Smith as an adolescent with an absent father coming to terms with her budding sexuality, making the transformation from being the target of predatory attention to herself becoming an aggressor. In real life, Smith's father had abandoned the family long before, and she was reputed to have spent part of her teenage years working in Sunset Strip massage parlors.
  • Victor Salva, director of the Monster Clown film Clownhouse, was later convicted of having molested the film's underage male star. After serving prison time, Salva went on to direct Jeepers Creepers, which featured a monster who appears to target teenage boys. The monster is at one point seen identifying a potential victim by rifling through his laundry and sniffing his underwear.
  • The Chuck Norris film Invasion U.S.A. revolves around terrorists invading the US. Needless to say it's a tad uncomfortable to watch after 9/11.
  • The Tailor of Panama is a 2001 film about the eponymous tailor telling tall tales about the Panama canal to an corrupt intelligence agent which ultimately leads to a mistaken U.S. invasion of Panama seeking to reclaim the canal before it is sold to the Chinese. Meanwhile, in real life, "Curveball" was an Iraqi engineer telling tall tales to German intelligence about mobile weapons labs, whose testimony was heavily used to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
  • In a scene in the film Maid in Manhattan, the title character and her coworker enter a suite to clean. The guest walks into the room completely naked and feigns surprise that they're there (the maids had previously been warned that this man likes to expose himself). The ladies laugh it off and leave, clearly unimpressed by what they've seen. The IMF chief's alleged attack on a hotel maid apparently started out almost exactly as this scene in the film. Furthermore, a follow-up article in the New York Times indicated that hotel maids frequent have to deal with this sort of behavior.
  • Any scene in the Jackass movies with Ryan Dunn in a vehicle, mostly because he usually ends up falling out of it. It's not so funny anymore following his death.
  • In January 2011 a documentation "25 Years of Tscernobyl" appeared. Fast forward two months and we have Fukushima.
  • The 2011 remake of Arthur had Russell Brand playing a funny alcoholic (just like Dudley Moore in the original). Three and a half months later, his friend Amy Winehouse died trying to kick an alcohol addiction. Brand (who himself was a drug, alcohol, and sex addict back when he was only famous in England) is now trying to get Hollywood to help celebrities fight their addictions.
  • The Russian film Stalker became rather famous because in the movie, an incident creates an enclosed Zone which is forbidden for most humans to enter. (And entering the zone has a reputation of being lethally dangerous) Years later, the Chernobyl Accident created a similar Zone and some terms of the movie were even directly used for some aspects of this zone. For example, the illegal entering of this zone is sometimes called "Chernobyl Stalking" as a reference to this movie. The the video game of the same name is also partly inspired by the similarities between this movie and the real world incident.
    • There are even rumors that parts of the movie were filmed in places which became the real zone of alienation and that one scene of the movie even shows the real Chernobyl Nuclear plant. (Although this is proven wrong.)
  • The beginning of Captain America: The First Avenger had Red Skull's forces attacking Tonsberg, Norway, and was implied to have had the town decimated after acquiring the Tesseract. This movie was released the same day as the Oslo bombings in Norway.
  • V for Vendetta: The scene where the first open act of rebellion by the citizens of Britain against the Norsefire Regime (and in the case of the graphic novel, the first step towards total anarchy in Britain) was when the people killed a Norsefire officer in retribution for killing a little girl for spraypainting V onto a Norsefire propaganda poster. This becomes significantly harsher when it comes to light the August 2011 London riots over a police shooting.
  • In Max Keeble's Big Move, Max ends up going to Jenna's milkshake party instead of going to the going away party his friends Megan and Robe prepared for him, which resulted in his friends becoming angered at him. Something similar happens in the subplot in the CSI episode Unleashed, where the Prom King Nominee dates Maria Dioro, a girl suffering from grieving for her dad dying as well as her mom being distant with her, instead of the Prom Queen nominee, causing the latter to spitefully torture her by making a viral video of her allegedly calling herself a whore in cheerleading tryouts, making a website where her face is put on a donkey where it says "I'm A Stupid Bitch", as well as making various hateful posts towards her, which among other factors broke her spirit and mind, thus resorting to her committing suicide while pregnant. In case you're wondering how these are in any way related, both Jenna and Maria Diorio are played by the same actress (Brooke Anne Smith, more specifically).
  • The film Bamboozled depicts a world where blackface is brought into the modern age and is generally accepted by white audiences. Eight years later, Saturday Night Live, despite controversy and criticism, cast Fred Armisen (who is German, Japanese, and Venezuelan) as Barack Obama (who is half-black and half-white). What's worse is that Jordan Peele (from Mad TV and Key and Peele) and Donald Glover (from Community) originally auditioned to be Barack Obama. And to add insult to injury, the newest black cast member the show has -- Jay Pharoah -- has Barack Obama as one of his many popular impressions as seen on his YouTube videos, and Lorne Michaels chose not to switch Armisen out in favor of Pharoah. The fact that actor Tom Hanks not only was present at, but even one of the people participating in a blackface act doesn't help things either.
  • Look Both Ways, directed by Sarah Watt, stars her husband William McInnes as a man who has just been diagnosed with cancer. Six years later, Sarah Watt died of cancer.
  • Xtro II: The Second Encounter is a So Bad It's Good Canadian ripoff of Alien. At one point, a soldier (played by Nicholas Lea) mentions that he "has enough C4 to blow the World Trade Center." Needless to say, it's a line that can make you cringe now.
  • The 1936 film "Things to Come" features a scene in which London is destroyed by bombs. This happens later. In Real Life.
  • When it first came out in 1995, Heat was criticized as being wildly unrealistic for the climactic sequence in which a squad of cops and a team of bank robbers shoot it out with automatic weapons across several blocks of downtown Los Angeles. Then came the North Hollywood shootout two years later...
  • In The Santa Clause 2, when Santa/Scott Calvin learns that Charlie Calvin was now on the naughty list, he initially thinks that the naughty/nice elf was referring to Charlie Sheen, and remarks that he thought he straightened out. Flash forward to 2011, and all of the stuff Charlie Sheen did relating to his drug related problems and...well, his transforming into a real-life version of Charlie Harper, and it becomes a lot harsher about how much Sheen had really "straightened out", not to mention that Charlie Calvin's naughty behavior in that movie, in comparison, was actually far closer to the nice list.
  • In the 1972 film Pete 'n' Tillie, Carol Burnett's character's son passes away from an unspecified terminal illness. This is very sad in itself, but it becomes absolutely heart-wrenching when you remember that some 30 years later in 2002, Burnett's daughter Carrie died of cancer.
  • The 1992 comedy horror Evil Toons starts with David Carradine's character hanging himself.
  • The 1990s movie The Siege is still only reluctantly put on TV these days. It doesn't have so much to do with the acting so much as the themes of a terrorist assault on America by Islamic terrorists, necessitating the incarceration of Arabic nationalities and gross invasions of public liberties.
  • In Tron, Sark starts Evil Gloating during the final one-on-one battle with the title character, laughing off his efforts with "You should have joined me. We'd have made a great team!" Now, try watching that after you've seen the sequel knowing that "Rinzler" served the same function for Clu 2.0 as Sark did for Master Control.
    • Oh, hell - the entire first movie falls here after you see the sequel. The cheerful smartass of a protagonist ends up a broken, ruined man trapped by his own creation, which makes his comment about Clu 1.0 being the "toughtest" Program ever made a Funny Aneurysm Moment. He's widowed by 35, drives himself half-insane, is Forced to Watch while the Iso "miracle" is hunted down and destroyed, and fights a Hopeless War for the equivalent of centuries. And no matter which timeline you use, Alan is left to fight alone, powerless and friendless against a crooked executive board, reduced to almost a joke by them. Legacy is somewhat more merciful to him, but not by much.
  • Whitney Houston produced and acted in a remake of Sparkle (not to be confused with Mariah Carey's Glitter), about the toll substance abuse takes on performers. It's implied Houston's death by falling asleep in her tub and drowning was either as a direct result or as a side effect of her drug use.
  • In The Right Stuff, the lines "You know what makes this bird go up? Funding makes this bird go up.", as well as "No bucks, no Buck Rogers.", are much harder-hitting now that NASA is at a standstill after the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011.
  • Space Camp, a family adventure film about a bunch of kids who accidentally take off in a space shuttle, was notoriously hard to promote - because the movie was released a mere five months after the Challenger shuttle disaster. Film critic Roger Ebert stated in his review, "Our thoughts about the space shuttle will never be the same again, and our memories are so painful that Space Camp is doomed even before it begins." Too true.
  • Cars isn't immune-when Lightning McQueen calls Doc Hudson out for not revealing himself as Hudson Hornet, he responds by showing that the racing league gave up on him after a crash. Doc muses, "I had a lot left in me, I just never got a chance to show it." His voice actor, Paul Newman died in 2008, two years after the film's release.
  • Alice Hardy being stalked by serial killers in the first two Friday the 13 th movies is especially hard to watch when you know that in real life the actress Adrienne King had a traumatic experience with a stalker after the first film was released and was forced to quit acting because of it.
  • In 1993, director Juzo Itami made the film Daibyonin, about a director who finds out that he is dying of cancer. Four years later, Itami would pass away. Also in the film, the main character has a failed suicide attempt. Itami's death was ruled a suicide (though some have claimed that his death was the result of a mob hit, as Itami was a target of the Yakuza).
  • In Single White Female, Hedy kills Sam with a stiletto, 22 years before a Houston woman is convicted of killing her boyfriend in a similar matter.
  • In Frozen, Elsa unknowingly creates an eternal winter while creating a home of her own. The idea of a series of snowstorms has been harsh when the United States was the polar vortexes.
  • The Bourne Ultimatum had a character exposed to the public for having classified documents. Fast forward to 2013 where Edward Snowden released information about the NSA spy program.
  • The 2014 film, Sex Tape, focuses on a married couple who films a sex-tape only for it to get leaked to the cloud service for those with a similar device to see. Weeks later icloud service used by many celebrities got hacked into and many pictures from many smartphones, some lewd, were released.
  1.  :Most people never have to face the fact that at the right time and the right place, they're capable of ANYTHING.
  2. Luckily, the child survived the pregnancy and birth.
  3. Like above, Portman herself survived the pregnancy.