Movies With Unexpectedly Similar Plots

By: Brian Mangan

In writing for the Read Zone, I often have to resist the temptation to link to other sites and their funny comments unless I have something in particular to add. I think that sites that just copy/paste content are lame (I’m looking at you, buzzfeed).

However, sometimes there is something out there that is simply too good to ignore.

Yesterday on reddit there was a thread called “What’s a tl;dr That Could Apply to Two Completely Different Films?”

A tl;dr, in internet parlance, stands for “too long; didn’t read” and will be posted by people to let the original poster know that their comment/article was too long or complex to read. To combat this, some folks will put a tl;dr after their own comment providing a summary of what the comment said. This is the internet here –  we are not known for our patience.

In any event, the tl;dr summaries that were provided in that thread were so hysterical that I think it merited breaking my own rule to share. Some are thoughtful, some are interesting, and some are just plain funny.  Here are some of the best:

  • The hero discovers what Alan Rickman has been secretly up to, and it ruins Christmas.
  • Die Hard and Love Actually
  • A mom named Sarah protects her son from a guy sent back in time intent on killing her son. The killer is trying to prevent the son from growing up and ruining the future for him. Sarah and her son are being protected from the time traveling killer by the younger version of the killer.
  • Looper and Terminator 2
  • He was dead the whole time.
  • Sixth Sense and Weekend at Bernie’s.
  • Creepy recluse kills a number of strangers with complex allegorical tortures.
  • Se7en and Willy Wonka
  • A wealthy man has an alter ego that only comes out at night.
  • Batman and American Psycho  Bonus: played by the same actor.
  • A man doesn’t remember his past, so he tries to retrace his steps to track down a man, with the only clues being the objects in his pockets, tattoos, and scars.
  • Memento and The Hangover
  • An old bitter man in changing times befriends his young asian neighbor, who helps him overcome his cynicism and dislike of people after the death of his wife.
  • Up and Gran Torino.
  • A young man seems doomed to a life of farm labor, but due to a fortunate series of events and the unexpected death of his caretakers, he runs off with an eccentric old man to save a beautiful woman from the seat of a tyrant’s power, where she is imprisoned and tortured. He demonstrates an uncanny aptitude for the old man’s profession and trains to follow in his footsteps. In a thrilling running battle against overwhelming opposition, the hero barely escapes the enemy fortress with his life, but sadly the old man dies in a direct confrontation with the enemy’s leader. The young man returns with a plan and completely obliterates the enemy fortress in a spectacular explosion, practically singlehanded.
  • Star Wars and Django Unchained.
  • Main character wants to be able to walk and run and use legs. Is given the opportunity to do so but in a different world. Will be ostracized if they choose to stay, but they do anyway.
  • Avatar and The Little Mermaid
  • Sigourney Weaver has been called in because of her knowledge and experience with a dangerous alien species. She must deal with a greedy executive that can only see dollar signs, as well as macho military dudes that don’t want to listen to her and will underestimate the intelligence of the aliens. Also features a badass Latina military member. Directed by James Cameron.
  • Avatar and Aliens
  • Tom Hanks’ flight doesn’t go well.
  • Cast Away/Terminal/Apollo 13
  • (as pointed out by other commenters, other flights were also less than successful for Mr. Hanks: Also Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Toy Story, and Cloud Atlas … one said, If there isn’t a video montage of “Air Safety, with Tom Hanks” there SHOULD be.)
  • Overprotective, single father falls into dangerous situations in search of abducted child.
  • Finding Nemo and Taken
  • (top comment: I have a particular set of gills…)
  • Man leaves homeland to help conquer new found land from the natives, in order to exploit resources. He falls in love with a native woman, and joins her people in defending the primitive natives against the advanced foreign conquerors.
  • Pocahontas and Dances with Wolves and Avatar
Top tl:dr’s, as voted arbitrarily by me :

  • Stole some bread, shit happened, and became a good person.
  • Aladdin and Les Miserables
  • An orphan living with his uncle and aunt is rescued by a wise, bearded mentor/friend who is actually from a rare group of special people. Mentor reveals orphan’s father was one of the best of this kind of special people. Orphan learns the skills and then has an epic battle with the main antagonist who murdered his family.  All of this will be set to an orchestral score composed by John Williams.
  • Star Wars/Harry Potter
  • Two guys go on a mountain and destroy a ring.
  • Lord of the Rings/Brokeback Mountain
  • (top comment: One features an intense gay romance and the other is Brokeback Mountain. )