Movies don’t always get it right; in fact, sometimes they get it horribly, terribly wrong.
Some films manage to etch themselves in time forever by still relating to an audience decades later. Although concepts, fads, ideas, and environments are constantly changing over time, some movies manage to preserve their relevance.
Other movies, however, are not so lucky.
1. Lifetime’s TV movie Amanda Knox: Murder On Trial In Italy portrayed Amanda Knox as guilty… and then she was acquitted – Amanda Knox (played by Hayden Panettiere in the Lifetime movie) was arrested by Italian police for the murder of her roommate in 2009. Nicknamed “Foxy Knoxy” by the British press, the fascination over Knox’s case led to tons of movies and TV specials recreating the murder mystery. Several sided with the press, portraying Knox as an evil, manipulative and conniving American who showed no remorse for killing her innocent British roommate. Amanda Knox: Murder On Trial In Italy, which was released in 2011, was no exception; the Lifetime movie portrayed the popular motive that a guilty Knox had killed her British friend in a “bizarre sex game gone wrong.” In the TV movie, Panettiere plays a disturbed American while Vincent Riotta plays the lead Italian detective who is able to see through Knox’s facade. Lifetime even chose to show and reference the “cartwheel” Knox had supposedly performed during her interrogation, successfully painting her as a cold, cruel and uncaring girl. It also turned out to be factually incorrect; she’d actually done the splits (apparently part of a stretching routine) because the interview had dragged on for many hours. This wasn’t the only fabricated scene in the Lifetime movie, either. According to ABC News, at least 15 moments in the TV movie were fabricated, from damning witnesses to false incriminating acts. Throw in the scene where Knox enters the courtroom smiling and waving like a celebrity attending an event commemorating her good work and there’s no denying this Lifetime movie sensationalized the details of Knox’s case.
2. Robert Blake played the conscience of a man who murdered his wife… and then was accused of murdering his wife. In the 1997 film Lost Highway, Robert Blake played “The Mystery Man” who is generally understood as an extension of the protagonist Bill Pullman’s psyche, and whose purpose is to torment Pullman because he killed his wife. Basically, Blake played the nagging conscience of a man who killed his spouse and then was arrested 5 years later for allegedly killing his spouse. On May 4, 2001, Blake took Bakley out for dinner where Bakley was fatally shot in the head while sitting in Blake’s vehicle, which was parked on a side street around the corner. Blake claimed he had returned to the restaurant to collect a gun he’d left at the restaurant and claimed that he had not been present when the shooting took place. The gun Blake claimed he’d left in the restaurant was determined by police not to be the murder weapon. On April 18, 2002, Blake was arrested and charged with Bakley’s murder. His longtime bodyguard, Earle Caldwell, was also arrested and charged with conspiracy in connection with the murder. Two stuntmen had also agreed to testify against Blake, claiming similar stories that the actor had tried to hire them to kill his wife. Blake was eventually acquitted of the murder charge but was found liable for her wrongful death in a civil case brought by Bakley’s children. Lost Highway remains Blake’s last acting role to date.
3. Everything about Cellular – Despite being released in 2004, Cellular starring Chris Evans is already outdated. It’s not entirely their fault; who could have predicted landline phones would become practically obsolete? The majority of American households today don’t use them at all, and the number of people who still do is decreasing quick. The irony of the use of a phone landline in this film is that the movie’s purpose was to play up cellular technology — which ultimately is what’s causing landlines to go extinct, which makes the heroine using a home phone (cord and all) to communicate with the outside world while being held hostage less relatable. Aside from the plot that continues to lose relevance, we haven’t even addressed the fact that the “modern” cell phone Evans uses in the film is a Nokia 6600. If you don’t remember what the Nokia 6600 looked like, it was a small brick with a tiny screen, terrible camera, and no data. This movie never stood a fighting chance.
4. Phone Booth (The title says it all) – Another form of communication going extinct and quickly becoming a nostalgic novelty is the cherished phone booth. This thriller starring Colin Farrell tells the story of a rogue sniper Jack Bauer who delivers his own form of justice to unsuspecting phone booth users after tapping into their conversations and discovering their discretions. The movie was already somewhat outdated during its release in 2002, with the film even acknowledging that the infamous phone booth was the only remaining one in New York City. These days, the concept of this film is pretty much ancient history and we’re curious as to whether future generations will even know what a phone booth is before seeing the movie. Aside from the fact that the movie takes place in a pretty much non-existent box, the concept itself doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Farrell’s character Stu Shepard uses the phone booth to hide his affair from his wife, and the sniper — who by the way previously trapped a pedophile and a major stock market crook in the booth before killing them — thinks Shepard deserves to die for cheating. Sounds like the sniper was getting a little desperate because his motive seems like a stretch.
5. I know Superman is sacred, but we need to address Man of Steel (2013) and Dawn of Justice (2016) – Superman is a classic, so it’s understandable that his most recent movies — Man of Steel and Dawn of Justice — would want to stay true to a major part of Superman’s identity. However, it becomes tricky when part of his identity is becoming completely irrelevant in modern society. When disguised as Clark Kent, Superman works a lowly human occupation at a physical newspaper company; considering physical newspapers are slowly becoming extinct, this occupation is becoming increasingly confusing to recreate, especially if they want to place Superman in the present day. In both the comics and the films, Superman takes a job at The Daily Planet newspaper in order to track crime. If Superman wanted to be up-to-date with breaking news, like a bank robbery or a murder, there is zero chance he would be the first to know just because he works at a newspaper. These days, no one knows that a crime has been committed faster than the internet. Superman, in the age of the internet, wouldn’t need to pretend to be somebody else or work a regular job to track crime. He would just open Twitter.
6. What “the future” looks like in Back To The Future II (1989) – In Back To The Future II, Marty McFly travels to the “future” of October 21, 2015, where he finds hoverboards, self-lacing sneakers and flying cars (a very popular prediction among futuristic movies). However, they also held onto odd out-dated features like phone booths and faxes. Today, one would probably watch this movie and laugh at how inaccurate it is (remember the ridiculous futuristic outfits?). However, you have to give Back To The Future II credit for a couple of eerily accurate predictions; they weren’t far off about video-conferencing, 3-D movies, and flat-screen TVs.
7. Lance Armstrong as the inspirational figure in DodgeBall – DodgeBall decided to incorporate a parody version of the inspirational moment in pretty much every underdog sports movie where a distraught character receives a motivational speech from a much more accomplished and talented athlete. However, it looks like producers went with the wrong athlete when Lance Armstrong was chosen to warn Vince Vaughn about the dangers of quitting. “Once I was thinking about quitting when I was diagnosed with brain, lung, and testicular cancer all at the same time. But with the love and support of my friends and family, I got back on my bike and won the Tour de France five times in a row,” Armstrong says satirically. “But I’m sure you have a good reason to quit.” Considering that Armstrong was involved in a doping scandal of which he vehemently denied taking part in until finally confessing to taking the performance-enhancing drugs in 2013, Armstrong wasn’t the best choice to give any of the Dodgeball characters advice.
8. In Super Size Me, Subway diet advocate Jared Fogle is portrayed as a motivational figure whose only vice is food – In 2004, the documentary Super Size Me shocked the world when it suggested a steady McDonald’s diet is bad for you. Former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle, who lost 200 pounds after sticking to a strict, small portion Subway diet, made an appearance to give a speech about his struggles with food. Many found the speech to be quite moving, and Fogle’s success story and dramatic weight loss was viewed as inspirational. Fogle said: “My big thing was never smoking, it was never drinking, obviously I wasn’t doing drugs. My big vice … was food.” However, this seemingly inspirational man who’d successfully overcome his obesity and become an advocate for “healthy” eating was eventually sentenced to 15 years in prison for possession of child pornography and paying underage girls for sex. A mother even tells Fogle in the movie that “[He’s] a real inspiration to the kids. I appreciate that.” It can’t get more cringe-worthy than that.
9. The whole concept of You’ve Got Mail – Meg Ryan’s character logs onto the internet via America Online, she’s actually excited to get an email, and the movie portrays two strangers who fall in love even though they’d never met in person, seen each other’s face or knew anything about each other as romantic (stalking someone through social media wasn’t a thing at the time). Although the movie actually predicts online dating before it became a popular way to meet people, because of its age the movie still creepily suggests that it’s okay to meet up with someone you met online even if you know nothing about them, an unpopular notion these days.
10. The original The Fast and the Furious and all its ridiculous souped-up cars – There have been so many movies from this franchise it might be a little difficult for you to rack your brain and remember the original. But if you do happen to remember the first one, or are willing to watch it again in all it’s cheesiness, you probably noticed how preposterous it is (and considering the movies bank on sensationalizing, that’s saying something). Aside from the much less dramatic plot since it’s predecessors, the setups of the cars are borderline ridiculous. They had a floppy disc drive in their car and this tech was considered MODERN. One guy’s ride had a PlayStation 2 as if that somehow gave him an advantage in races (never mind the fact that no one uses a PS2 anymore).
11. Jingle All The Way and its outrageous Christmas parade scene – Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad star as two dads fighting each other to get their hands on a Turbo Man action figure for their sons. Now a Christmas classic, it’s easy to skim over the fact that this movie was absolutely insane. Don’t even get me started on the fact that when Schwarzenegger accidentally filled in for Turbo Man in the parade, his suit came with a fully functional jetpack and a bionic hand that could shoot out, punch people and still comes back to him. Then there was the fact that Sinbad was literally willing to risk a child’s life just to steal a Turbo Man doll, or the fact that Schwarzenegger took a moment to compliment the features of his Turbo Man outfit while his son was dangling off the side of a building and could have plummeted to his death (never mind the fact that the crowd actually believed that a child dangling off a building could be part of the parade’s choreography). What about the fact that his son, who almost got himself killed to protect his Turbo Man doll, ended up handing it over to Sinbad like it was no big deal even though he’d just been willing to die for it minutes earlier? Also, these days no one would actually have to fight another parent or travel from store to store (or illegal warehouse to illegal warehouse) in order to get their hands on a toy; they would just order it from Amazon.
12. And last but certainly not least 2012 because it successfully managed to out-date itself with just the title – The entire premise of the movie is based on an end-of-the-world prediction that didn’t come true; the film banked on the controversy and paranoia surrounding the Mayan’s predictions that the world would end in 2012. Released in 2009 on the minuscule chance the Mayans were right and the world really was about to come to an end, anyone who watches the movie now can’t follow the storyline because they already know that it didn’t happen. And because there are so many plot holes in the movie, 2012 stands very little chance of ever becoming a classic. Not even the fact that it stars Jon Cusack can save this film. However, the film itself was a commercial success because there was a popular end-of-the-world phase where many felt fearful or superstitious that a reckoning was soon upon us. Aside from some cool destruction, the film’s characters are irredeemable human beings that you don’t even care to root for. Then there’s the science behind the film; NASA literally called it the most absurd science fiction film of all time. Director Roland Emmerich should have stopped at The Day After Tomorrow, which is a much better title for an end-of-the-world-film considering the day after tomorrow could at least be any time.