As that old song goes, whatever will be will be. The future is not ours to see. Que Sera, Sera, and all that. But what about those who are not content to wait until the future rolls around to see what it holds for them? What about the people who are just so excited – or perhaps just so apprehensive – for what lies ahead that they absolutely must know what to expect right now?
Many of the most impatient members of society find themselves visiting supposed psychics in order to find out what the future holds for them. There are some people who spend hundreds of dollars every year, maybe even thousands, going from tarot card readers to palm readers in an attempt to learn what they are bound for (other than bankruptcy).
Of course, we live in a logical world and the general consensus is that nobody can predict the future. Most of us agree that so-called fortune tellers offer nothing more than a brief and often expensive escape from reality.
But there seems to be one group of people who can defy everything we believe to be true about the universe. They regularly challenge the teachings of scientists by correctly predicting the future again and again and again and again. No, I’m not talking about gypsies. I’m talking about screenwriters.
Screenwriters boast a better hit/miss ratio in their predictions than most self-proclaimed fortune tellers, correctly predicting the future without ever meaning to.
Here are 15 movies you didn’t know accurately predicted the future.
15. Back To The Future II
When people talk about Back To The Future II and the predictions it made about where our society was heading, they mostly focus on all the stuff that didn’t come true. The movie featured people riding around on hoverboards and traveling to work in flying cards, neither of which have been invented yet (no matter what you call those electric skateboards).
However, the film’s writers did make a number of accurate predictions which have pretty much gone under the radar. For example, video conferencing pops up a couple of times throughout the movie, showing people talking to friends and business colleagues on the other side of the world via video link.
The second installment of Back To The Future also predicted the Chicago Cubs would finally win a world series, bringing an end to their century of failures. The Cubs did indeed break the curse in 2016, just one year later than the writers of Back To The Future II predicted.
The 1997 film Face/Off sees terrorist Castor Troy (played by Nicholas Cage) swap faces with FBI agent Sean Archer (played by John Travolta). Okay, it’s a little more complicated than that, but we’re not here to run down the plot of the movie. All you need to know is that Face/Off prominently features a face transplant.
Two decades ago, a face transplant seemed like an absurd idea. Critics lambasted the movie for being too unrealistic, so they must have felt pretty stupid when the world’s first face transplant took place in 2005. The operation was a partial transplant, the beneficiary of which was Isabelle Dinoire, who suffered serious damage to her original face when she was mauled by her dog.
In 1988, Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger got together to star in Twins, which ended up giving them the biggest payday of their respective acting careers. The movie, which has received mixed reviews, focuses on the relationship of DeVito and Schwarzenegger, a pair of twins conceived through artificial insemination. DeVito and Schwarzenegger’s characters were carried by one woman but fathered by six different men who contributed their DNA to the genetic experiment.
Since the release of Twins, there has been a significant increase in artificial insemination, with over five billion babies having been conceived using IVF. The continued media coverage of IVF and similar practices has resulted in a change of attitude towards artificial insemination. While decades ago it was seen as going against nature and the will of God, it is now an accepted way for couples who may have trouble conceiving to raise a family of their own. So, we guess it can be argued that Twins is one of the most important sociopolitical movies of the past fifty years.
In the late 1980s, there were few bigger names in American comedy than pop music parodist “Weird Al” Yankovic. Yankovic experienced massive success with song parodies such as “Eat It” and “Like A Surgeon”, so it surprised nobody when it was announced he would be making a feature length film for Orion Pictures.
The movie, UHF, follows Yankovic as he assumes the role of George Newman, a down and out eccentric who comes into control of a small television station. The film is basically 100 minutes of Weird Al satirizing the television of the time and, even though it tanked at the box office, the White and Nerdy singer actually made a couple of accurate predictions as to where pop culture was heading.
For example, halfway through the film, audiences are treated to a trailer for Gandhi II. The fictional movie sees Gandhi abandon his passive-aggressive ways in favor of kung fu, steak, and women. While such a movie has not yet been made, there have been rumors about a remake of the classic Gandhi for years now. It likely won’t feature the fast-paced car chases of Weird Al’s creation, but it looks like Gandhi II is a matter of when and not if.
11. Modern Times
In the 1930s, the world was making all sorts of technological advances. Workers were being made redundant at an alarming rate and being replaced by cheaper, more efficient machines. People all over America were seeing their livelihoods vanish right before their eyes, including Charlie Chaplin.
By 1936, Chaplin was considered by many to be a relic of a bygone era. Silent films had pretty much died out by this point and Chaplin was the last film star resisting the pull of talkies. Rather than caving to the pressure of the public and releasing a talking feature, Chaplin produced Modern Times, a silent film that said more than any motion picture of its day.
Modern Times was a warning about where the world was heading and what would happen if employers continued to value profit over their workers. Of course, few people listened to The Tramp’s advice and factory owners continued to replace their manpower with machines, leading, as Chaplin had predicted, to the ruination of millions of families across the world.
10. Total Recall
The threat of jobs being lost to machines was not exclusive to the 1930s. In fact, it is today a greater cause for concern than ever before, with dozens of jobs once considered safe now at risk of being lost to modern technology.
Uber drivers could be next in line to see their hours cut as the revolutionary transport company has been openly testing self-driving cars over the past couple of months. Uber still has a long way to go – one of its self-driving cars was involved in a collision only last month – but the kinks are bound to be worked out eventually and thousands of jobs lost.
While flying cars have been featured in pretty much every sci-fi film of all time, few have predicted self-driving ones. The 1990 thriller Total Recall is one of only a handful of movies to include self-driving cars. It should be noted that Total Recall stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, who you may remember from the aforementioned Twins. Is this a coincidence or does Arnie know something we don’t?
“I’m dating a girl who does homework,” says Woody Allen’s character to his buddy as they sit in a restaurant in New York in the 1979 classic Manhattan.
Manhattan sees writer and director Allen assume the role of Isaac Mortimer Davis, a professionally and sexually frustrated comedy writer trying to find happiness in the borough of Manhattan. Davis becomes romantically involved with two women, one the mistress of his best friend, the other a 17-year-old high school student.
While this seemed like a comical situation when it was played out upon the screen, the public was not laughing in 1992 when it was discovered Allen had been cheating on long-time partner Mia Farrow with her adopted daughter.
Although Allen’s new love, Soon-Yi Previn, was of legal age at the time their sexual relationship began, she was studying in college meaning that Allen was, as he had predicted over a decade prior, dating a girl who did homework.
8. The Truman Show
The Truman Show is one of the finest films of the 1990s. Starring Jim Carrey in one of his most memorable roles, the film introduces us to Truman Burbank, a well-meaning family man who has no idea his entire life is being manipulated by television producers and broadcast to millions of homes throughout America. The public is obsessed with Burbank’s life, with some watching the show all day, every day so as not to miss a minute of his eccentric antics.
The Truman Show was released in 1998 when reality television was still in its infancy. There were a couple of reality TV shows around at the time, but nothing like what we have now. This movie predicted the rise of reality television and the reality television star. The fictional television watchers of The Truman Show were as invested in the life of Truman Burbank as millions of real people are in the life of Kim Kardashian.
7. Blade Runner
The movie Blade Runner was released in 1982 and takes place in the Los Angeles of 2019, a year that at the time seemed like an eternity away. Of course, we are now just two years removed from 2019, and you can be sure they’ll pass in the blink of an eye. While the world isn’t quite as the writers of Blade Runner had predicted it would be, there are a few similarities between our world now and the fictional world of the movie.
Blade Runner was one of the very first sci-fi films to show characters making video calls. On top of that, it predicted the rise of the digital billboard. When this movie was released, advertisements were still limited to boring old pieces of cardboard which were haphazardly hung over highways and city sidewalks. Even in Times Square, the Mecca of advertising, billboards were composed of paper and cardboard. Now, however, it is impossible to visit New York or London or Tokyo without seeing dozens of digital billboards lined up one after another, looking like they were taken right off the set of Blade Runner.
6. I Am Legend
I Am Legend is another movie which features billboard related predictions. Unlike Blade Runner, however, the billboard prophecies of I Am Legend are pretty specific. Eerily so.
There is a now infamous scene in I Am Legend in which a series of digital billboards can be seen in the background. The majority of the billboards advertise generic products. Except for one. If you watch I Am Legend on DVD and pause it at just the right moment, you will see a billboard advertising a movie involving both Superman and Batman, the logo of which sees the S-Shield being engulfed by the Bat Signal. When looking at the image above, you can also see it’s the exact image that was used to promote 2016’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. It is interesting, then, that I Am Legend was released in 2007.
5. Jetsons: The Movie
Who doesn’t love The Jetsons? With multiple series run over multiple decades, that little space age family was a crucial part of Saturday mornings for generations of children. In fact, a new Jetson film has recently been released, giving the characters something of a straight-to-DVD resurrection. But it is the original Jetsons movie that we’re going to be looking at here.
The creatively named Jetsons: The Movie is filled with futuristic drama and features such marvelous inventions as family-sized spaceships and cuddly and friendly robots.
While neither of those things can be bought in 2017 (unless you count Furby), Jetsons: The Movie did accurately predict one piece of future technology: the robot vacuum cleaner. Since the release of this film in 1990, robot vacuum cleaners have become widely available and are extremely popular among those who don’t have the time to clean (or are just too lazy to do so).
4. 2001: A Space Odyssey
2001: A Space Odyssey is generally considered to be the greatest sci-fi film ever made. It is undoubtedly the jewel in Stanley Kubrick’s (inter)stellar body of work and is likely to be remembered long after the technology it predicted has become obsolete.
While 2001 didn’t quite yield the many incredible inventions and customs Kubrick hoped it would, there are a few things that A Space Odyssey got right.
Along with video calls, A Space Odyssey featured a Siri-like artificial intelligence system by the name of HAL 9000. Similar to Siri, Hal 9000 was a dependable little virtual assistant who was happy to help in any way he could. That is, of course, before he turned into a murderous robot with an unquenchable thirst for human blood. Let’s just hope no more of Kubrick’s predictions come to pass.
3. You’ve Got Mail
You’ve Got Mail was released in 1998 and stars Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks as two real-world rivals who form an online relationship, both unaware that their enemy is on the other end of their romantic messages.
In 1998, when the internet was just getting going and Facebook had not yet come into being, the idea of forming a relationship online was comical. How, audiences asked, could you fall in love with somebody without ever even seeing their face?
Now, of course, that happens all the time. Through online dating sites and more mainstream social media platforms, people meet and form unbreakable bonds with internet users on the other side of the world. In fact, internet dating has become so common that one-third of US marriages begin with it.
Idiocracy is considered, at least by those who have seen it, to be one of the finest examples of sociopolitical satire ever recorded on camera. The film is set 500 years in the future, in a world which has abandoned all artistry and integrity in favor of unavoidable advertisements and consumerism. Despite the society’s obsession with turning a profit, the economy is suffering, due, in large part, to the incompetence of President Camacho.
Camacho, played by the hilarious Terry Crews, is totally inept at his job. Prior to taking the office, he was a professional wrestler and still exhibits many of the personality traits which made him so popular inside the ring.
When it was released, Idiocracy could have been viewed as way too unrealistic to be of any sort of use in battling big business and capitalism. One decade later, however, it looks as though the movie hit the nail right on the head.
Donald Trump is in the White House and, much like President Camacho, he has an extensive background in professional wrestling. While he was never an active competitor, Trump has gotten physical at WrestleMania and holds a place in the WWE Hall of Fame.
1. A Trip To The Moon
A Trip To The Moon is both the final and oldest entry on this list. The movie was produced in France in 1902 and originally titled Le Voyage Dans La Lune.
The silent film follows a group of brave astronomers who embark on an expedition to, you guessed it, the moon. They make their journey in what looks to be a giant bullet, not too dissimilar to the rockets that would be introduced by NASA in 1969.
Upon landing on the moon, the astronomers encounter an unpleasant race of alien beings who are determined to capture and kill them. Fortunately, through a series of twists and turns, our heroes make it back to Earth unscathed.
While Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin didn’t meet any space creatures when they landed on the moon – that we know about – this movie is noteworthy for its remarkable accuracy in imagining the vehicle that would ultimately take a man into outer space.