The movie 30 Minutes Or Less is hitting theaters next weekend and while it's sure to be a wacky Danny McBride film filled to the brim with chuckles, did you know that this is a true story and in real life the person was murdered?
The makers of the film couldn't resist such a tasty tale. It's the stuff of Hollywood magic! But so they wouldn't appear like heartless jerks they allegedly claimed that the screenplay was just a coincidence. Yeah right.
Now film descriptions on IMDB do claim that the story is "loosely based" on the story of Brian Wells, a 46-year-old pizza delivery man from Erie, Pennsylvania who was killed when he got involved with a group of sadistic bank robbers in 2003.
Does that ring a bell? It was a highly bizarre crime story that stayed in the headlines for weeks as more unsettling details were discovered. Even as of today, new information is being uncovered in the case know as 'the pizza collar bomb' heist.
According to the reports, Brian Wells had gotten involved with a group of people who wanted to rob a local bank. His innocence or level of involvement had never been fully determined. The plan spiraled out of control as Wells tried to back out of the robbery and was forced at gunpoint to come back and have an explosive clamped around his neck. He then had to accomplish a list of crimes and as he did so, it would buy him more time from being blown up. He ended up botching the bank robbery and was arrested.
While in handcuffs he panicked and begged officers to believe there was an explosive around his neck literally yelling, "My head is a bomb!" By the time a bomb squad arrived, the accomplices detonated the bomb and killed Wells in front of them.
I can certainly understand the desire to make money off of tragedy. It happens all of the time! Call me a fuddy-duddy, but if you're going to write a screenplay knowing damn well what story you were basing it off of, maybe at the very least make it a thriller? A dramatic crime drama?
This situation is the stuff of nightmares and in real life someone was murdered in cold blood. Not only would it be FAR more interesting to build a plot around this simple man who got swept up into a chilling plan that spiraled out of control, it woud humanize and pay some type of respect to the victim.
Movies that involve a story based on a murder should include realistic elements which do not gloss over the greed-fueled cruelty humans display toward one another.
I'm all for fictional, dark humor. I just think it's dumb to cherry pick the elements you want to take from a real life murder and turn it into box office money to stuff into your own pockets.
* I had previously cited FARGO as a movie that was an honest, unflinching portrayal of tragic, real life events. But then I dug a little deeper and found out that the opening sequence was made up by the Cohen Bros. What?!? These movie people and their million dollar imaginations!