April 11, 2004

Curious, George: Based on a True Story. Are there any comprehensive resources for learning the whole truth about movies based on real events?

As we watched The Hurricane last night, my lady friend and I wondered aloud to each other how much of the story was true and which bits were embellished. We had voiced these concerns also during Monster and other BOTS movies. (Based On True Story) Obviously, we can go and look up these true stories (indeed, perhaps this is the intent in some cases); but it would be so nice to find a website that collects such information in one handy place. If it doesn't exist, shouldn't it? Perhaps someone could create a Wiki for such a purpose?

  • A great idea! We'll start with Fargo. That's the easiest.
  • IMDb usually lists, under "Trivia", ways in which true stories differ from the real truth. For example, here's the trivia for The Hurricane.
  • Can't wait for the 9/11 docu-drama coming up! History re-written before your very eyes--after we learn the real truth straight from our TV sets, we'll be rushing the booths to vote for our HERO, the Prezidunt.
  • Oh, God. No kidding, BlueHorse. We saw an ad for this yesterday and just about puked.
  • Okay, I've started it up. Everyone please check out A Somewhat True Story, a wiki designed to centralize all this info. Would it be totally crass for me to post a new link to MoFi advertising this project's existence?
  • You just did, scartol. Link it in your profile, and no doubt monkeys will find their way.
  • scartol, I suggest moving the *contribution guidelines* to a separate page of its own.
  • This is a great idea, scartol! You could visit movie-mistakes.com, but along with historical nit-picking, there are annoying pop-ups and a lot of stuff about spotting film crews or camera equipment in certain scenes. Not always what you're looking for. Of course, someone wrote a book about the topic: link here.
  • This won't be too helpful, but Frank Abagnale wrote a great introduction to the movie tie-in version of Catch Me If You Can in which he clears the record (for the idle bookstore reader like myself) on how Spielberg altered the story. Unfortunately, the above link's 'browse contents' feature goes to the previous pressing which doesn't have that new introduction. But if you enjoyed the movie I recommend checking it out next time you hit up the big B&N. There is also this site, which exposes Hollywood's seedy exploitation of physics. It even has its own rating system.
  • To add to shotsy's link about Catch Me If You Can, there's a little page by Frank Abagnale himself about the film and book at his company website, Abagnale & Associates (would you believe forgery and ciminal consultants?).