There are many ways to gauge a movie's influence on the world. Maybe it's box office, maybe it's Academy Awards, but sometimes it can be how it inspires people to change their lives and emulate what they see up there on the screen. So perhaps writer-director Ben Affleck should be honored that his 2010 crime thriller "The Town" provoked a group of New York City residents to follow their dreams. Unfortunately, that dream was to rob a bunch of places using techniques they learned from the movie.
The New York Police Department said they've arrested four suspects who are accused of snagging about $217,000 in 62 burglaries across Brooklyn and Queens. The alleged criminals didn't knock off any banks -- they focused on smaller places like delis -- but they apparently needed help to concoct their foolproof escape plan:
Police say the burglars splashed bleach on ATMs and cash drawers to try to destroy DNA evidence.
An NYPD spokesman said Tuesday that the suspects told detectives they'd watched the bad guys in the Ben Affleck-directed film do the same thing.
This is exactly why Affleck made the movie, of course: He wanted to promote theft as a viable career option. It's good to see movies have a positive effect in communities everywhere.
The irony is that this isn't the first time people have misconstrued "The Town's" message for their own purposes. Back in July, it was revealed the Congressional Republicans screened a scene from the movie in which Affleck talks to his partner-in-crime Jeremy Renner about a secret operation. It was meant to get the GOP faithful pumped up for the ongoing debt-ceiling battle, but they cut out a key line of dialogue in which Affleck tells Renner that "we're gonna hurt some people." That was probably wise.
You gotta feel for Affleck. A staunch Democrat, he made a movie about a crook who realizes that he's gotta change his ways, and all it does is inspire criminals and Republicans. When his next film comes out, the poor guy may have to go theater to theater just to make sure nobody gets confused what his message is.
Follow The Projector on Twitter!
Police: NYC crew took tricks from heist film [Associated Press]