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.
The Siege is an action thriller from 1998 about terrorist strikes in New York that end up with Brooklyn under martial law. Back in 1998, there was a backlash from the Arab community because they thought it made them look like terrorists. Three years later and it can honestly be said that "At least they were wrong about martial law and the internment of American Muslims (though a lot of Muslims and people who could be mistaken for Muslims were harassed and discriminated for a time because of 9/11)."
In fact, FOX itself marketed the movie as being "Eerily prescient of the 9/11 attacks and their aftermath" in the back copy 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 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.
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 1979 Disaster Film flop Meteor had a spaceship called the Challenger exploding and the Twin Towers destroyed near the end.
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 L.A., 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.
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.)
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.
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.
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).
This is also a Real Life example - the helicopter was deliberately flown by the towers, and one of the agents taunted the bomber: "Look, still there," prompting this response.
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.
Xtro II: The Second Encounter is a So Bad, It's Good Canadian ripoff of Aliens. 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.
In the trailers for Patriot Games, Admiral Greer is shown saying "There's never been a terrorist attack on American soil.". It got cut because the producers realized it sounded too much like an invitation or a dare. But only a year later came the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, then there was the 1995 Oklahoma City bombings, and finally, the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
''Godzilla (1998)(aka the first western one, set in NYC) had the destruction that Godzilla leaves behind being described by a reporter as "the worst act to hit New York since the World Trade Centre bombing". ...You know, the 1993 one...Yeah.
The animated series also features the towers frequently, including a future where they've been badly damaged by monsters.
"Who's been playing dominoes with the World Trade Center?"
In the 2007 film Breach, which depicts the final days of the investigation into notorious FBI spy Robert Hanssen, Agent Burroughs reveals to the heretofore clueless Agent O'Neill that Hanssen is a traitor who has been selling military and government secrets to the Russians for years. Among these secrets includes the Continuity of Government Program, which details where the President, Vice President, etc would be taken in the event of a nuclear or terrorist attack. Hanssen was arrested in February 2001 and pleaded guilty in July 2001. Within a few months, the 9/11 attack took place. The realization that one of our archenemies (even at best, US-Russian relations have been chilly) had such pertinent information (even if changes were no doubt instantly made once the leak was discovered) is terrifying.
In the first ten minutes of Armageddon, New York City is decimated by a meteorite shower, complete with a shot of the Twin Towers with huge gaping holes in them. And the middle of this scene, there's a cabbie that screams something with each impact: "Look at that! Whoa! We're at war! Saddam Hussein's bombing us?" Oh, the innocent irony of 90s catastrophe films.
In Skyfall, the villain Silva and two of his henchmen burst into a hearing at Parliament and open fire in an attempt to kill M. This became much more unsettling in October 2014, when a gunman who was enraged at Canada's participation in the war against the Islamic State murdered a soldier at Ottawa's National War Memorial, then rushed across the street into Parliament and opened fire down the main hall. At the time, the three major Canadian political parties were holding caucus meetings. Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in one of the rooms the attacker ran by while trading shots with police.
The Great Outdoors: In one scene Dan Aykroyd makes a joke to John Candy about people dying of heart attacks; John Candy himself died of a heart attack in 1994. Also the scene where Candy is on water skis screaming "I'm gonna die!" becomes harder to watch in light of his unfortunate passing just a few years later.
In Stripes, Candy's character Dewey "Ox" Oxberger explains that he joined the Army as a way to lose weight and avoid having heart attacks.
Hot Tub Time Machine: This Adam's quote: "One little change has a ripple effect and it effects everything else. Like a butterfly floats its wings and Tokyo explodes or there's a tsunami, in like, you know, somewhere".
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.
According to the PBS documentary Meltdown at Three Mile Island, Mike Gray, The China Syndrome's screenwriter and a reporter at the scene during the TMI incident stated that reporters that weren't familiar with the inner workings of a nuclear power plant used the movie as sort of a briefing film.
Mike Gray: At one of the major New York dailies the managing editor stood up on his desk and shouted "Who here has seeen The China Syndrome?" Three guys raised their hands. He said "You, you, you, you're goin' to Harrisburg."
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.)
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.
Jerry Nelson's performance as the Ghost of Christmas Present (who rapidly ages, then fades away into thin air as Christmas ends) in The Muppet Christmas Carol is more than a bit unsettling when you compare it to Nelson's actual decline in health, and eventual death in 2012. The same goes for his character Robin the Frog's frequent cough as the sickly Tiny Tim — Nelson died of emphysema.
Magnum Force: There is a scene where a pimp kills one of his prostitutes in the back of a cab by forcing a bottle of Drano (drain cleaner) down her throat. Two years later, the Hi-Fi murders happened in Ogden, Utah, when a group of armed robbers robbed an electronics store, force-fed their hostages Drano, then shot them.
The scene in Les Misérables where young Gavroche gets shot at point-blank range is somewhat sad to begin with, but may be uncomfortable to watch in the 2012 movie adaptation if you know that it was released merely 11 days after Adam Lanza killed twenty children, six adults, and himself in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
Also makes at least one scene in Batman Begins uncomfortable viewing:
Ducard: I wasn't always here in the mountains. I once had a wife...my great love...and she, too, was...taken from me...
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 Mount Everest.
Neeson played a number of widowers before the death of his wife that now, would be considered disturbing/heartbreaking.
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.
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 & 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 Jeep Swenson, the wrestler who played Bane, died shortly after the movie of a heart attack.
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 died 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." Despite that there would be a murderer with that name years later, the writers maintain that it was complete coincidence — and it was. Demolition Man was released in 1993. Scott Peterson was convicted of murdering his pregnant wife 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 beaten to death in prison the year after the movie was released, prompting some broadcasts of the movie to cut the line.
The same film has a mention of a President Schwarzenegger. Although this one probably qualifies as Hilarious in Hindsight, you have to wonder about time traveller involvement during the film.
Oliver Reed was an alcoholic, and he drank himself to death on the set of Gladiator. This casts an uncomfortable reflection on some works in his filmography:
In Paranoiac, Reed's character has a drinking problem.
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. With Columbine and Virginia Tech making the news, it comes off as youth in trouble.
It doesn't help that the protagonist is played by Malcolm McDowell (Alex DeLarge from A Clockwork Orange, which also had teenagers committing horrific crimes, such as rape and murder)
StandByMe, the death of River Phoenix in real life in contrast with that of his character is hard to miss, especially when he disappears when walking away. It's also notable that he was initially cast in Brad Pitt's role in ARiverRunsThroughIt, which is doubly startling considering his first name is in the title.
The idea of "normal" high school students killing each other was considered to be comedy in and of itself back in the 1980s. Now, it's not.
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 Bill Clinton was impeached for lying under oath about his sexual escapades with Monica Lewinsky, 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.
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:
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...
Two years later, Leslie Howard was shot down over neutral waters by the Nazis. On the flip side of this trope, the Nazis did lose in real life two years after that.
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 andCrowning 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.
Ditto Money Train, in which it becomes increasingly apparent just how unhinged his character is.
One of the DVD promotional posters for the 2009 horror movie Deadline depicts lead actress Brittany Murphylaying 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.
And then there's Across The Hall, in which her character is unfaithful to her husband and ends up getting killed for it. As this was the last movie she made that was released before her actual demise, it can't be a fun watch.
The movie Marooned (likely known better to MST3K 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.
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 death (All Dogs Go to Heaven). She passed on a year before the film was released.
Speaking of The Land Before Time, the direct-to-video film Journey Through the Mists is about Grandpa Longneck having a terminal illness and the children going off to find a cure. Kenneth Mars would die of prostate cancer in 2011.
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 also 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.
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 following quote, that is less a Harsher in Hindsight moment and more a freakish case of an enforced actor moment.
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 hardcore 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!
Also, his younger brother died of a drug overdose in 2004.
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:
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?
Which is more ironic is up to debate: the aforementioned rise of "international terrorism" as described in many films of the period, or that in the decades after the Cold War, United States military spending instead remained sky high (the US accounts for two-fifths of all worldwide military spending, though with under-reporting particularly in regards to the Iraq War, it may be closer to half).
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 this line: "Most people never have to face the fact that at the right time and the right place, they're capable of ANYTHING." when confronted. note (For those who aren't aware, Roman Polanski himself was accused of sexually abusing an underage girl and fled to France to avoid going to jail for it.)
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 Roman Polanski's history and know both about the sexual abuse accusations and his wife being murdered by the Charles Manson family.
Rosemary's Baby also paints a startling picture of the destruction and perversion of the classic American dream family, which is eerie given that Polanski's wife was murdered while carrying his child only fourteen months later.
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.
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.
Possibly even more depressing is Marty being forced to give up the job he loved because of his hands not working properly. In case you did not know, Michael J. Fox has Parkinsons which has forced him to pretty much retire from acting.
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.
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.
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.
When it was announced that Natalie Portman was 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. One must imagine that Portman must have had fresh memories of playing a new mother whose baby has died, and it must've crossed her mind when she discovered she was pregnant.note Luckily, the child survived the pregnancy and birth.
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.
Postlethwaite's final film was a film called Killing Bono, which as you may have guessed is about people trying to kill the lead singer of U2. Though Postlethwaite's death wasn't a murder, it's still somewhat harsh that his final film was one about death.
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.
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.
Christopher Reeve starred in a TV movie called "Above Suspicion". His character faked having his legs disabled so he could murder his wife while standing so he would be ... well. Just six days after the film's release, Reeve suffered a horse riding accident that left him paralyzed below the neck for the rest of his life.
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 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 the 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 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 whichtimeline 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.
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 Friday the 13th (1980) and Friday the 13th Part 2 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 and retired from acting for 20 years as a result (she only agreed to come back for part 2 on the condition that her character was killed off).
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).
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.
At the beginning of Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, John Connor is living "off the grid" as a homeless drifter, breaks into a veterinary practice to steal painkillers for an injury and is found by the owner who knew him as kid and claims he "just...disappeared". Fast forward to 2012 where Connor's actor Nick Stahl was reported missing several times, purposefully avoiding carrying a cell phone to avoid being found in order to buy drugs.
It gets worse: The shooter identified himself as The Joker. Plus, in the Tim Burton Batman movies, the guy who'd go on to become the Joker killed Batman's parents as they were leaving a movie theater.
The Joker's line towards the end of The Dark Knight when he says "You know, I think you and I will be doing this forever". Well...
Similarly, the opening of Scream 2 features two people getting murdered in front of a movie audience with the audience thinking it's All Part of the Show. When the first shots were fired in the real-life shooting, the audience thought that was supposed to be happening in the film.
Then there is Operation Kino from Inglourious Basterds (made only slightly better by the fact that Nazis were being killed in the theater).
The "Occupy" movement began late in The Dark Knight Rises's production, making it a bit uncomfortable that the whole second half is about the 99% of Gotham rioting, and the police heroically cracking down on them.
The Vatican plot of The Godfather Part III becomes this, now that we know all the shady business deals involving the Papacy depicted in the movie doesn't even come close to the horrible things the Catholic Church has covered up in real life.
Or the numerous scandals involving the Vatican Bank since then.
Same goes for the scene in God Bless America where Frank shoots people at a movie theater for annoying him.
Any time Mel Gibson acted opposite a Jewish actor before his anti-Semitism came out.
The film Daylight which revolves around people being trapped in the Holland Tunnel by a flood, became a lot more uncomfortable to watch when Hurricane Sandy caused rampant flooding in many places in New York and New Jersey, including the Holland Tunnel.
Julie Andrews appeared in a film called That's Life! in which she played a character who may have throat cancer; she even tells a friend that she might never sing again. Over a decade later, she lost her beloved singing voice due to a botched throat surgery. What makes it even harder to watch is that at the end she learns that she doesn't have the cancer.
The first trailer for Gangster Squad was released May 9, 2012 and it featured characters shooting through a screen at moviegoers in a theater. After the Aurora, Colorado shooting at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises, the trailer was pulled and the film was reshot to lose this sequence, which delayed its planned fall release to the winter of 2013.
The Jack Reacher movie opened with The Dragon sniping five innocent people. With the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut going by, the movie was forced to cancel its red carpet premiere.
Akira Kurosawa's 1990 film Dreams has one segment where a nuclear power plant near Mount Fuji explodes, causing the citizens of Japan to flee. The film then cuts to a scene with two men, a woman, and her two children alone near the sea. The older man explains to the others that everyone else drowned themselves in the ocean. This is very harsh in hindsight after a tsunami in 2011 destroyed some nuclear power plants.
A deleted sequence from Bruce Almighty that appears on the DVD has God confronting Bruce over the latter answering people's prayers with easy solutions to their problems — for example, engineering events so an an old woman struggling with bills can take a tumble at a grocery store and successfully sue it. God explains that they could have achieved personal growth had they been left to their own devices; in the case of the old woman, she might have reconciled with an estranged sister had she been "reduced" to asking for help. God then shows Bruce an example of a person who triumphed without a Deus ex Machina: Lance Armstrong. This movie was made in 2003, when the cyclist was regarded as a hero for dealing with cancer as he won Tour de France after Tour de France, but in 2012 it was confirmed that he had been using performance-enhancing drugs all along. It's definitely for the best that this sequence didn't make it into the movie.
The movie Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, didn't fare too good with Armstrong's cameo giving an inspirational boost to the main character about never giving up.
In Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, Bruce Lee is depicted battling his family demon to protect his son Brandon. Brandon Lee would die from an accidental gun discharge during the making of The Crow a few months prior to this film's release. Making this worse is the fact that Brandon turned down the opportunity to play his father, opting to do The Crow instead.
The Crow itself also provides an example. It's really hard to watch behind-the-scenes interviews of Brandon Lee in which he's talking so reflexively about his character coming back from the dead, complete with lines like how "we should live life to the fullest, because it could end at any moment".
We Need to Talk About Kevin, a 2011 psychological drama, centered around a young perpetrator of a school massacre in an upper class Connecticut suburb and his mother. In an extended flashback, Kevin's mother grows increasingly concerned about her son's psychopathic tendencies, but appears to be in denial and refuses to get professional help for Kevin. She even encourages Kevin's use of what ultimately turns out to be the murder weapon, believing it simply to be a recreational hobby for him. Ultimately, Kevin murders members of his own family just before committing the school massacre. A little over a year later, in Newtown, Connecticut, 20 year old Adam Lanza shoots to death 6 teachers and 20 students at Sandy Hook Elementary School, shortly after having shot to death his mother Nancy Lanza using her own guns. According to reports, Nancy had long been worried about her son's mental state, but she refused to get psychological treatment for him. Nancy would even take Adam target shooting with the guns he ultimately used in the mass shooting. The only major difference between this and the film is that Adam Lanza ultimately committed suicide and shot his mother, whereas in the movie Kevin survives (and is imprisoned) and he kills his father and sister, not his mother.
After Richard Griffiths died of heart problems in 2013, suddenly Uncle Vernon's Hair-Trigger Temper in relation to anything having to do with magic in Harry Potter (both the books and the movies) becomes a major health hazard.
1994's Blown Away centers around a mad bomber who targets the city of Boston. On April 15, 2013, a bomb explosion at the finish line of the 117th Boston Marathon killed three people and injured hundreds more. The worst part is, the finish line is at Copley Square - one of the bombing sites in the movie.
The Concorde that was used for Airport '79 (and is seen exploding in the end) was the same one that crashed on 25 July 2000 in Paris, taking 109 lives.
Groucho Marx's scene in the 1968 film Skidoo, where he says "it stinks getting old" and how he wants to be young again becomes hard to watch when you find out that he spent the last 5 years (1972 - 1977) of his life going in and out of hospitals in constant pain.
The end of the "real world" prologue in Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away became a lot sadder after the death of a performer in the Cirque show KA from a fall a few months after the film's release: The acrobat the protagonist has a crush on takes a fall, leading to them both getting pulled into the fantasy world. Making matters worse, the KA excerpts that appear in the film include the climactic "Battlefield" sequence, which was where the real life disaster occurred.
The Great Dictator, Charlie Chaplin's 1940 comedy about Adolf Hitler... before the atrocities of the Holocaust were made public. Chaplin reportedly later said that if he had known about the death camps, he would not have made the movie.
The film got hit hard with this again several years later when Chaplin was exiled from the United States for alleged ties to Communism and years of anti-Chaplin hysteria followed within the country. One of the theories about why this happened is that he was accused of Communist sympathies because he made this movie at a time when the United States wasn't formally at war with Germany yet and one of the countries that was at war with Germany, well...
The Three Stooges short You Nazty Spy (which predates The Great Dictator) falls under this trope as well when you consider that the Stooges (and the short's producer/director Jules White) were Jewish.
Towards the end of Men In Black, when Agent Kay gives Jay his neuralizer to wipe out his memories so he can retire, he tells him "I've just been down the gullet of an interstellar cockroach. That's one of a hundred memories I don't want.". This becomes even more poignant in Men In Black III, in which Kay failed to save Jay's father in 1968, and needed to neuralize the memories of the young Jay afterwards.
Star Trek: Nemesis ends hinting at more positive relations between the Federation and the Romulans in the near future. But it never happens because the Romulus of this universe was canonically vaporized by a supernova in Star Trek, giving Nero the impetus to go back in time and screw around with the alternate universe of the Abrams films.
Tony: I didn't expect to see you here... Rhodey: Well, it's me, and I'm here, so get over it and move on!
A newscast in the first film mentions rumors that Tony is suffering from PTSD following his return from Afghanistan and has been bedridden. Come the third film he is suffering from PTSD following The Avengers, and he hasn't been able to sleep due to nightmares.
The entire premise of the Fast & Furious series becomes this after Paul Walker died in November 2013 from a car accident.
What is more heart-wrenching is that for someone who plays a Badass Driver was killed in a car accident in which he was not the driver (his friend drove the car).
In the film Before The Devil Knows You're Dead, Philip Seymour Hoffman's character Andy is a heroin addict. It's bad enough considering that Hoffman himself struggled with heroin addiction, even worse that he died from an overdose in 2014.
Lester: You take drugs? William: No. Lester: Smart kid.
In The Bourne Ultimatum, Black Briar is exposed into the public. The person responsible is later under criminal investigation for it in The Bourne Legacy since after all, those were still classified documents. Cut to 2013 when Edward Snowden, an NSA security agent, exposes PRISM and the entire NSA spying program. And the US wants him to be tried for treason.
Depending on your point of view, this trope or Hilarious in Hindsight will apply: Frozen came out in November 2013 and Elsa accidentally sets an eternal winter storm on Arandelle with horrible conditions. Within weeks of the movie's release, a deep freeze hit many parts of the United States, resulting in subzero temperatures in an area from the Rocky Mountains all the way east to the Atlantic Ocean, with massive blizzards hitting the east coast. A lot of fans jokingly blamed the extraordinarily cold temperatures on Elsa's powers. That, or telling Mother Nature that when Elsa said "the cold never bothered me anyway," it wasn't supposed to be taken as a challenge. Never mind that it was mostly the United States and eastern Canada where 2014's winter was exceptionally cold, whereas it was nothing out of the ordinary in Elsa's native Norway.
Evil Toons starts with David Carradine's character hanging himself.
In WarGames, the US military's computers mistakenly assume the USSR is commencing a nuclear assault. On September 26, 1983, just three months following its release, a Soviet early warning station detected 5 inbound ICBMs. Colonel Stanislav Petrov, the man in charge of the station, decided it was a false alarm and did not report it to his superiors. He surmised that no one would launch just five ICBM's as a first strike... they'd launch EVERYTHING.
In 2013, 12 Years a Slave was a film about a tragic true story that received critical acclaim and won some Academy Awards. At the end of April 2014, many people were once again reminded of the film, but not in a good way, after the shocking audio of NBA LA Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, who talked about not wanting black people to attend his games. More shocking, was him also talking about his own Clippers' players (whom are 90 percent black) like they were slaves on his plantation, with statements that sounded similar to many of the lines slaver Epps used in the film to justify his harsh actions. And Sterling said all of this to a black woman whom was his mistress he was angry with.
Groundhog Day: For a story about self-discovery that involves healing old wounds between friends, it's pretty tragic that the friendship between Bill Murray and Harold Ramis got shattered during filming. The fact that they reconciled shortly before Ramis' death makes it slightly better.
In one of the Ma and Pa Kettle films, there's a scene where Pa, desperate for some cash, sees a man get hit by a car and then is compensated for it and decides to allow himself to get hit by a car. He walks across the street with his eyes closed and as luck would have it doesn't get hit, but causes some wrecks. This scene becomes a lot less funny when you realize the actor who played Pa, Percy Kilbride, was killed from a head injury he sustained when he was hit by a car.
In the earliest stages of Godzilla (2014), Toho required Gareth Edwards to have the film take place mainly in Japan. Edwards says that the Fukushima plant leak, which happened after this stipulation was given, made it where the team had to be extra careful in being respectful to the victims of that leak.
In The Blues Brothers, we see the Illinois Nazis holding a rally because "they won their court case". This becomes more upsetting after the Supreme Court ruled that the Westboro Baptist Church's funeral pickets were protected under the First Amendment in 2011.
It's more likely this a reference to this SCOTUS case, which occured 3 years prior to the film.
X-Men: The Last Stand: After watching X-Men: First Class (which revealed that the young Xavier taught Lehnsherr how to achieve greater control over his power by finding the point between rage and serenity—the latter requires a happy memory), Magneto's line of "Charles always wanted to build bridges" as he's moving a large section of the Golden Gate Bridge seems to indicate that he's thinking about his old friend instead of his mother in order to attain serenity. And like his mother, Xavier—whom he loved as a brother—is now dead, so happy memories from their brief friendship in 1962 is all Magneto has left of him.
Xavier brings up Agent Stryker's "son William, whom you were thinking about, which is very nice". Considering how William Stryker treats his own son...
When Charles and Erik attempt to recruit the man who would become Wolverine he turns them down. Had he not done this, he may have found haven and thus avoided his memory wipe at the hands of William Stryker. What's even more tragic is that the only people who could remember that incident at all would be Professor X or Magneto, but who can remember some guy they met 40 years ago briefly in a bar?
The scenes with Charles happily running with Hank and training with Erik. Those would be the last chances he'd ever have to use his legs...
Possibly the biggest Harsher in Hindsight moment is when Hank McCoy finally finishes work on his appearance-changing serum, calling it "the cure".
Now that we know how Erik's mother died and how Charles became a paraplegic, Magneto's contempt towards guns in X-Men makes perfect sense.
It initially seems odd that Charles wouldn't encourage Raven to pursue a formal education (she sardonically responds to Amy's "What do you study?" with "Waitressing"), but when you recall what Mystique had said to Senator Kelly in the first movie ("People like you were the reason I was afraid to go to school as a child"), then it becomes very clear that she and Charles were extremely fearful about the possibility that she might lose control of her power while in class.
The final scene in X-Men: First Class (in which the young Magneto begins his Start of Darkness by rescuing Emma Frost and giving his nickname for the first time) seems a lot more grim when you realize that most of the people standing in the room with him (save for Mystique) died offscreen between films, and no one besides Erik or Mystique giving a damn about their deaths.
In X-Men, Mystique injected a substance into Cerebro that was either meant to put Xavier into a coma or kill him. Now that old Xavier himself confirms that he and Mystique grew up together, it turns her actions in the first film into a cruel betrayal. Mystique had fallen so low that she had no emotional problem with putting her adoptive brother into a coma and possibly killing him just to further an agenda.
When Erik offers to play chess as a peace offering to Charles during the plane ride to Paris, it's not just because he feels guilty for losing his temper earlier, but he knows that this is his last chance to bond amicably with Charles before carrying out his plan to murder Mystique. If it were successful, Xavier would never forgive him for killing his beloved sister, so Erik believed at the time that he'd lose any hope of reconciling afterwards.
Professor X's line "Experimentation on mutants—it's not unheard of" in X-Men becomes more chilling when you take into account Bolivar Trask's examination and dissection of mutants in this movie. Xavier would be thinking more specifically of Banshee's death and the torture Mystique endured before she managed to escape Trask Industries in the original timeline.
22 Jump Street has Maya referring to Schmidt as "Maya Angelou". This can be a little uncomfortable, considering the real Maya Angelou died shortly before the film was released.
In the DVD Commentary for Man on Fire, director Tony Scott discusses the scene in which Creasy makes a failed attempt to shoot himself. Scott remarks "the toughest thing anyone can do is attempt to take their own life." In 2012, Tony Scott committed suicide by jumping from a bridge.
In Joe, Gary Poulter portrays Wade, a homeless alcoholic and abusive father. To begin with, Poulter was chosen for the part because he was homeless and suffering from alcoholism in real life, but the fact that he was found dead in a shallow body of water months after the film was finished makes his performance difficult to watch... Especially a scene where his character commits suicide by jumping off a bridge.
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.
Since Robin Williams' tragic suicide in August 2014, material in several of his films have now become much tougher to watch:
Dead Poets Society: The scene of Mr. Keating breaking down in tears after he discovers that Neal killed himself has now just become a thousand times worse to watch. It also makes Mr. Keating's speeches about "carpe diem" and seizing the day before it's gone heartbreaking.
In Death to Smoochy, Robin Williams's character is stopped from committing suicide.
In World's Greatest Dad, Robin Williams' character Lance has a son Kyle, who kills himself from asphyxiation. Though in the character's case, it was an accidental death from autoerotic asphyxiation, the similarities still make the film even harder to watch.
Patch Adams sees Williams playing a man attempting suicide. It also has him share several scenes with Philip Seymour Hoffman, who also died of unnatural causes earlier the same year.
In Fathers Day, Williams' character is first seen sticking a gun in his mouth. This is played for laughs. Yeah, not going to seem funny in future, not that anyone was watching it anyway.
Although Hook is a lighter example, it is eerie seeing both Williams and Bob Hoskins share scenes together with the knowledge that they would both be diagnosed with Parkinsons' disease and eventually die in 2014.
Early on in Mrs. Doubtfire, there are scenes of Williams' character struggling with denial and depression. These became a lot tougher to watch after Williams was Driven to Suicide by a struggle with depression.
In the 1989 movie Roger And Me, Michael Moore's first film, Michael discusses the possibility of all the jobs in Flint being lost to prevent General Motors from going bankrupt with a GM spokesman. 20 years later, GM did go bankrupt, and by then almost all the jobs in Flint were gone. This was all explored in Michael Moore's later movie, Capitalism: A Love Story.