Sometimes, predicting the future is more than a dusty tapestry and a crystal ball. Maybe, the future that is soon to come to fruition is in the films that are being produced and have been produced in the past. And maybe, regardless of the level of specificity in their predictions, they predict the future with a quick joke or laugh-out-loud slapstick moment.
Comedy movies are known for gifting some of the most influential and culture-shaking bits; They imprint themselves into American history, with a lot of other films having a very dark theme. There are a few standout films with a bit of a comedic twist that happen to also predict how the world is today.
You’ve Got Mail (1998)
You’ve Got Mail is a 1990s rom-com starring Tom Hanks about an online romance between two business rivals—very enemies-to-lovers chic. They correspond through emails under anonymous usernames. While, in the 90s, meeting people online was fantastical and something for the movies, it has become an all-too-familiar reality in today’s world. The messaging online, consequent days of daydreaming, and finally meeting that person in the flesh after getting to know a majority of who they are behind a blue-light screen.
Additionally, in the movie, an independent bookstore was forced out of business by a shopping mall and larger, chain-stores. Once again, seem familiar? Though the premise of the film reeks of feel-good and lovey-dovey, the predictions reek of quite the opposite.
Back to the Future Part II (1989)
In the sequel to the iconic Back to the Future, Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) must travel from 1995 to 2015 to prevent Marty’s son from completely sabotaging the family’s future. In the 2015 they created, there are some distinct similarities. Holograms, self-tying shoes, videogames reminiscent of Xbox’s Kinect where players use their hands, portable tablets, flat-screen TVs, voice commands (“Hey Alexa?…”), and technology similar to Skype, Facetime, and Zoom are present.
This is by far one of the most scarily accurate predictions of the technological advancements that would be made in the future from a 90s movie. Go ahead and binge the Back to the Future series for laughs, adventures, and some eerily-similar technologies and devices.
The Super Mario Bros. (1993)
In The Super Mario Bros, a movie about the legendary Nintendo videogame icons Mario and Luigi, actually predicted one of America’s most disastrous and dark days 8 years ahead of time. In the film, the Twin Towers are completely decimated, smoking, and broken apart.
Little did the creators know that within a decade, the reality in their video-game-to-real-life movie would come to life. Conspiracy theorists were quickly alarmed when they made the connection, and they’ve looked at the movie differently since then.
Don’t Look Up (2021)
Don’t Look Up was one of Netflix’s best satires to date, with a stellar cast including Meryl Streep, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Jonah Hill, Timotheé Chalamet, and more. The premise of the film surrounds two scientists who discover a ginormous comet that is bound to strike and destroy Earth. They must alert all the high officials to save the world, but greed, capitalism, and brainwashed supporters (similar to the world we live in today) make their job a bit more difficult than it should be. Though the film is not meant to predict the future and only mirror a possible reality if humans fail to get their act together, but more recently a scene played out exactly like in the movie.
In the film, the scientists go on a news show to warn the public of the imminent danger, and the news anchors laugh it off. During the UK’s record heat wave, John Hammond, a meteorologist, tries to warn the public about climate change and the weather while battling the news anchors’ blissful ignorance. Ben Phillips on Twitter made the connection.
Demolition Man (1993)
Demolition Man, an action-comedy starring Sylvester Stallone about a police officer in 2032. The film predicted a world in which two other epidemics (in addition to the AIDS epidemic) had ravished the world entirely to the point where physical contact greetings were completely abolished. Sound a tad bit familiar to the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when the public was advised against close contact?
Videoconferencing software like Zoom was also used in the film, once again ringing true of the infamous year of 2020. While the film was extreme sci-fi elements that go too far, they still were able to predict some crazy epidemiological issues unlike any other film to date.
NEXT: 30 Movies That Predicted the Future in a Weird Way