'Pain and Gain'
Michael Bay's flashy crime comedy follow Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson as two bodybuilders who devise a plan to kidnap and extort a millionaire. The hijinks are violent and wacky — but the inspiration for the story, Florida-based accountant Mark Schiller, isn't laughing. He told the LA Times "I fail to see anything funny in being tortured for a month. They tried to kill me."
Jack Black gives the performance of his career as the lovable titular character Bernie Tiede in Richard Linklater's dark 2012 comedy. While the actor walked away with a Golden Globe nom for his work, the real Bernie is currently serving a 30-year sentence for the murder of his longtime friend Marjorie Nugent.
While not based on a specific event, writer/director Chris Morris' debut film takes the all-too-real concept of a sleeper cell and explores it with the a carefully balanced blend of comedy and drama. Jihadis are people too. Four Lions biting satire goes to great lengths to prove it.
'30 Minutes or Less'
The Jesse Eisenberg/Aziz Ansari comedy drops the duo in a race against time, with Eisenberg's pizza delivery guy forced into a bank robbery when two criminals strap a bomb to his chest. High concept… but not that high. Because it actually happened. In 2003, a pizza delivery guy named Brian Wells was put in the same situation. Unfortunately, it didn't conclude with Hollywood's picture perfect ending.
Trace the Oscar-winning film back far enough and you get to a grisly impetus. Before the movie, Chicago was a 1975 stage musical. Before that, a 1927 silent film, which was adapted from a 1926 play. The play found inspiration in Beulah Annan, who murdered her lover Harry Kalstedt by shooting him in the back. "Roxie Hart" must have just rolled off the tongue.
Few directors laugh in the face of controversy quite like Uwe Boll. To ensure that his video game adaptation Postal went down in history books as one of the more horrific pieces of comedy ever to see release, Boll opened with a scene that used 9/11 as the punchline. Two terrorists are seen piloting a plane, arguing over whether they will actually get the virgins they've been promised. You can see where this one goes.
'Arsenic and Old Lace'
Joseph Kesselring play Arsenic and Old Lace, and later Frank Capra's film version starring Cary Grant, is one of the funniest stories of all time. Thank Amy Archer-Gilligan who was convicted of five murders, but is estimated to be behind nearly 100. Her weapon of choice? Guess.
'War of the Buttons'
Imagine a film about the onset of the Holocaust in Nazi-occupied France with the vibe of Heavyweights. That's the 2012 remake of the classic War of the Buttons. While the German forces pervade the French village, good-natured preteens band together with jokes, pranks, and schemes to save their targeted Jewish classmate from the nefarious officers. If The Little Rascals spoke French, you wouldn’t be able to tell the two films apart.
'Operation Dumbo Drop'
Believe it. In 1968 John Scott Gantt, captain with the 5th Special Forces, flew a pair of elephants cross-country to a remote mountain village by helicopter so that they could drag lumber through rough terrain. The adaptation is a light-hearted Disney movie, but don't forget: this was all playing against the backdrop of the Vietnam war.
Walt Disney Pictures
This may come down to political preferences, but there's little doubt how director Oliver Stone saw Bush's eight-year run as President of the United States. The director lampoons the former Commander-in-chief and his infamous staff as they steering the country in a direction that he sees as both dark and comical.