Sometimes you just have to scratch your chin and wonder. Does life imitate fiction?
Well, they do in these movies. Here are some absurd movie premises that actually happened!
The 1977 hockey movie Slap Shot starring Paul Newman (best known for his fantastic salsa) told the story of a ramshackle minor league hockey team, the Charlestown Chiefs. When Newman’s player/coach character, Reggie Dunlop, learns that the team will soon fold due to the town’s problems, he hatches a crazy plan: He plants a false story that the Chiefs are soon packing up and moving south. It inspires the team to the playoffs and an eventual championship, which they win by playing what Dunlop calls “old-time hockey.”
You see, 11 years after Slap Shot debuted, another real hockey team was founded in the same city as a tribute to the film: the Johnstown Chiefs. They played in the same arena as the other Chiefs, used the same colors on their jerseys, and remained connected to the movie world by appearing in Van Damme’s Sudden Death (playing the Pittsburgh Penguins).
Another thing they had in common with their celluloid counterparts: they lost a lot. Team owner/coach Neil Smith tried to keep the team engaged with the locals’ love for old-time hockey, but the losses kept piling up, and the finances kept falling into the red. In 2010, a rumor came up claiming that the Chiefs were moving south. If it was a ruse by Smith to boost the team’s morale, it backfired, because they lost their final game and moved 500 miles south to Greenville, South Carolina. Yeah, that’s the difference between real life and sports movies, we suppose.
To recap, the Johnstown Chiefs hockey team, which was based on a movie hockey team that falsely stated it was moving south and was itself based on a real Johnstown minor league hockey team that folded the year the movie came out, ended up moving south for real, due to the same problems shown in the movie. Man, someone should make a movie out of that.
Then we have this tearjerker:
In the film K-9, Jim Belushi plays a San Diego cop who’s got a bunch of underworld drug dealers out for his blood, so naturally they partner him up with a drug-sniffing German shepherd to watch his back. The unlikely pair get off to a bad start (the dog poops on Belushi’s carpet, Belushi sleeps with the dog’s wife, etc.), but during the final act of the film, the canine officer takes a bullet for his human partner, saving his life.
The dog lives, J-Bloosh is unharmed, and the movie ends — or at least it did for Belushi, because the dog continued living pretty much the same plot in real life. K-9’s most talented actor was a true police K-9 before he went after the glitz and glory of Hollywood. His name was Koton.
Just like in the movie, Koton helped bust big-shot drug dealers: In October of ’91, he found 10 kilos of cocaine, worth approximately $1.2 million. Koton did not have much of a chance to revel in this success, because he’s a dog, and dogs forget things almost instantly, and also because tragedy struck a month later. Once again, he was shot in the line of duty — however, because this is the real world and heroic officers don’t always pull off miraculous recoveries, Koton sadly did not make it. But hey, at least he didn’t have to appear in the sequels.