Some movies just don’t age well. Maybe that’s due to changes in our culture, or advancements in technology, or simply because somewhere along the line, we lost our way and tragically forgot that break dancing can solve anything. And yet other times, an older movie doesn’t hold up because the screenwriters took a wild stab in the dark and hit something. The wrong something.
Lifetime Turned Amanda Knox Into The Devil (And Then She Was Acquitted)
In 2009, Amanda Knox (or “Foxy Knoxy,” according to the always classy British press) was arrested by Italian police for the murder of her roommate. The case generated a flurry of movies and TV specials, all of which came to the same conclusion: We finally had a young white female O.J. Simpson. Hurray!
Knox is portrayed as a conniving femme fatale, while the lead Italian detective is a hardboiled hero working to uncover a grisly crime. Here’s a scene wherein Knox’s boyfriend is finally broken by said detective, and admits he was repeating lies she fed him.
Intercut with this is a shot of one of the key idiosyncrasies used against Knox: a cartwheel she supposedly performed during her interrogation.
Before the trial, that crack detective declares that Amanda is “a very disturbed girl” who “lies without conscience.” Later, he denounces “American TV reporters and bloggers” who have the gall to criticize his pursuit of the truth.
To top it all off, Knox enters the courtroom while smiling and waving like a celebrity. Or as the movie puts it, “Foxy Knoxy swept into court like an invitee to a gala event.” But justice prevails: Knox is found guilty, and the film wraps up with some tasteful text insinuating that her parents were liars too.
But four years after Lifetime won the race to shamelessly cash in on human tragedy, Italy’s highest court acquitted Knox, citing “stunning flaws” in an investigation which, amongst other things, “ignored expert testimony.” That crack lead detective? He thought supernatural elements were involved, that Knox had taken part in a Satanic orgy, and that the case was “spooky” because “it happened on a Thursday night … that’s when the witches held their Sabbath.”
The movie repeatedly references Knox’s “cartwheels” to show how little care she gave to the investigation and paint her as a cruel, frivolous girl. In reality, she did the splits. Which, yes, is also weird thing to do during an interrogation (for anybody but Van Damme), but apparently that was part of a stretching routine she did, because that interview dragged on for 50 hours. In fact, ABC News found at least 15 moments that Lifetime outright fabricated in order to tell a more sensationalist story (including inventing damning witnesses and incriminating actions for Knox). So let that be a lesson to you: If you jump to conclusions and tell lies to support your point, absolutely nothing bad will happen to you, and everybody will forget about it almost immediately.
Robert Blake Played The Conscience Of A Man Who Murdered His Wife
In David Lynch’s 1997 film Lost Highway, Robert “Corpse Face” Blake plays a mysterious man called the Mystery Man, because sometimes you forget to go back through a draft and replace your placeholders.
The Mystery Man is generally considered to be an extension of the protagonist’s psyche, and his purpose is to torment Bill Pullman, whose character killed his wife, and is overall pretty ripe for tormentin’.
So Blake is the terrifying, surreal conscience of a man who killed his spouse … a performance that became all the more haunting when, in 2002, Blake was arrested and charged with murdering his wife, Bonnie Lee Bakley. Blake was eventually acquitted after a contentious trial, but was found liable for her wrongful death in a civil case brought by Bakley’s children.
Feel free to read up on the affair and draw your own conclusions. We’re not gonna pull a Lifetime movie here. We’re just saying that Lost Highway takes on a whole new dimension when you know that its bizarre personification of guilt was played by a real guy stuck in a real unhappy marriage that ended really badly. Although honestly, that kind of recursive meta-commentary is the most Lynchian thing we can imagine.
Lance Armstrong Is The Inspirational Figure In DodgeBall
DodgeBall is a parody of underdog sports movies, so naturally they had to skewer the “distraught protagonist receives an inspirational speech at a key moment” scene. Here, Lance Armstrong warns 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. But I’m sure you have a good reason to quit,” Armstrong says, before adding, “I’m sure this decision won’t haunt you forever.”
In 2004, the joke was that Vaughn’s problems were trivial compared to the sacrifices made by actual athletes. But of course, today we know Armstrong best for his work as the world’s fastest drug mule. The scene’s original intention was to say “Don’t quit, because people who’ve had it way worse than you have overcome greater odds.” But looking back on it today, the implicit advice seems to be “Don’t quit, because no matter how bad it gets, you can do all the drugs and win anyway.”
The Brave Desert Warriors Who Helped James Bond
In the ’80s, you could get any action movie made by pitching it as “a sexy hero shoots a bunch of commies.” Even better if your protagonist teams up with a bunch of inspirational rebels who also hate communism. It’s an anti-commie ensemble!
That’s how we got The Living Daylights. During the climatic battle, Timothy “Your Weird Loser Uncle’s Favorite James Bond” Dalton teams up with the Afghan mujahideen, who help Bond stop a rogue Soviet general’s plans. In return, he assists them with a key victory against the Soviet invaders. They even help Bond put a bomb on an airplane, but let’s move along, as there’s probably nothing to read into in that particular plot point.
In Super Size Me, Jared Fogle Warns Children About His One And Only Vice: Food
Super Size Me is the questionably factual 2004 documentary that shocked the world by informing everyone that fast food is bad for you. Former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle even made an appearance to give an inspirational speech about his struggles with food. It worked well at the time. The movie was about how the food industry was killing us, and Fogle was a healthy success story, having overcome his obesity with a little help from his favorite food — bread that always smells like olives.
Fogle said: “My big thing was never smoking, it was never drinking, obviously I wasn’t doing drugs. My big vice … was food.”
Ah, yes. Food. Jared’s biggest vice. Whenever someone mentions the name “Jared Fogle” today, we immediately think of food, his ultimate undoing. Obviously he wasn’t doing drugs, because he’s Subway’s Jared, the man with one vice. And that vice, again, as we all know, is food.
This was 2004, well before Fogle was sentenced to 15 years in prison for possession of child pornography and paying underage girls for sex. That really changes this scene wherein a mother accompanied by her 14-year-old daughter tells Fogle: “You’re a real inspiration to the kids. I appreciate that.”
But maybe Jared was aware of the irony at the time. Maybe he was daring us to catch him. Why else would he have appeared on VH1’s Best Week Ever back in 2005 … to talk about To Catch A Predator. He marveled: “These guys continue to fall for it. Every single time. There must be like a hundred million episodes of the show, and these guys still come out.”
Please note that he’s criticising how easily those men were caught, not their actions …
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