Sometimes films give you a chance to mourn your favorite characters when they meet their demise. Sometimes they allow characters to die with honor, or make the ultimate sacrifice, offering up their life for a worthy cause…..Other times they just kill them. And it’s not always pretty. What follows is the first volume of what will probably be several lists chronicling the most humiliating deaths ever suffered in film. Whether they are main characters or faceless thugs in an action movie, these are the movie deaths that make you want to say, “…..That ain’t right man.” Trust me when I say…there’s a lot of them.
1. Tommy from Trainspotting
Cause of Death: Toxo-plasmosis due to overexposure….to Kitten poop.
Tommy is the inspiration for this article. You can’t see the fate that befalls poor Tommy and not feel a twinge of humanity. The poor guy has enough problems in his life, before he loses his girlfriend. In an effort to win her back he buys her an adorable little kitten. When she refuses, Tommy is left to care for the cat himself. Unfortunately, Tommy is a junkie, and stays so wasted that he never cleans up after the poor kitten, who is now using every available space of the tiny flat to relieve itself. In his weakened state, Tommy probably never even knows why he’s feeling sick before he leaves this world. So not cool.
2. Random Hotel Room Thug in Quantum of Solace
Cause of Death: Not being nearly as awesome as James Bond.
James Bond has always been a bad dude, but never has he seemed tougher than with ol’ iron-jaw Daniel Craig sporting the tux. Craig has brought a new level of brutality to the customary Bond action, and never is that more apparent than with his encounter in (yet another) European hotel. He enters a room looking for a contact but is instead met with a thug whose name we never learn. I expected it to be a duel similar to the infamous “pen fight” in Bourne…instead, Bond makes maybe two or three moves before effortlessly turning the thug over his knee and injecting him with something he won’t wake up from. It’s so quick and brutal you have to wonder if the man’s final thoughts were, “Wait…what’s happening?!” What makes it more humiliating is that Bond seems to still be searching the room for clues with his eyes while he is “fighting” the thug. He didn’t even consider him a worthy enough adversary to watch him die. That ain’t right, Bond.
3. The Mom from Kick-Ass
Cause of Death: Aneurysm….at the breakfast table.
There’s something a bit off in the parental relationships in Kick-Ass. You have Big Daddy teaching Hit Girl how to be a weapon of mass murder. Mark Strong bankrolls his son’s turn as “Red Mist” the superhero/villain. And then you have Kick-Ass himself, whose mom drops dead of an anuerysm right at the breakfast table. It’s given no fanfare, just a thud as her face drops into her cereal bowl. What makes it even worse is the passing of time that is marked by the husband picking up a box of the same exact cereal she died eating and asking his son if they changed the picture on the box. REALLY?! Maybe it’s just me, but there would be no more of that cereal, we’d get a new table to eat at, and I might consider removing cereal from my list of acceptable breakfast meals…..Actually no, I couldn’t do that. I love Fruity Pebbles too much.
4. Brendan Gleeson in 28 Days Later
Cause of Death: Exactly way too specific wrong place at exactly way too specific wrong time.
Think about the world that the characters of the 28 Days series are living in: other countries sit in safety while their entire country is overrun with crazed, not really dead but not really alive killers, desperate for a chance to literally eat them up. Yet there are survivors, either holed up wherever they can find shelter and food, or roaming the countryside as discreetly as possible, looking for a safe place to land. At the helm of one of these roaming bands is Brendan Gleeson. They have survived countless horrifying situations by the skin of their teeth, all in search of an army base rumored to be a safe haven. Finally when they feel they are near the end of their journey, they come upon a small abandoned set of buildings and vehicles. Gleeson, while exploring the ruins, hears a bird screech above him and glances up, just as a drop of infected blood is falling. It of course lands perfectly in his eye, setting him on an immediate path of transformation with barely enough time to tell his daughter to stay away from him. It’s a tragic moment and one that leaves you feeling a bit empty inside.
5. Rod’s Dad in Hot Rod
Cause of Death: “He choked on some pie.”
In keeping with our mom and pop theme, Hot Rod presents us with yet another humiliating parental passing in the form of Rod’s birth Father. It is the death that has defined Rod’s entire life, from childhood to the point we meet him: early (physical, at least) adulthood. He’s a wanna-be stuntman. He’s horrible at it, but that doesn’t faze him. It’s all he’s ever wanted to do since as a child his mother explained his father’s death using a picture his father took at an Evil Knievel press appearance. Rod has believed for years his father died while “testing the stunts” before Evil Kneivel came on to get all the glory. After years of watching her son struggle to live up to her tall tales of his father, Rod’s mother finally tells her son the humiliating truth: his father was a tire salesman who died because…..”He choked on some pie.” There’s absolutely nothing right about that.
6. The Cop at the beginning of No Country For Old Men
Cause of Death: Stupidity, and his own handcuffs.
Okay, I’m going to give this guy the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he just had no clue how dangerous the bowl-cutted one truly is. But to arrest Javier Bardem’s menacing “Old Men” villain, sit him in a pair of handcuffs and then walk several feet away and sit with your back to him is the most abject of stupidity. The ease with which Bardem slips the cuffs around to the front and then creeps up behind the cop would be comical if you didn’t feel so bad for the guy. He never realizes what’s happening until that sharp chain is cutting into his throat from behind.
7. The Wrong Sarah Connors in Terminator
Cause of Death: Their parents named them Sarah Connor.
On the scale of meaningless movie deaths, this has to rank right near the top. When the Governator arrives in our time, he is a machine with one goal in mind: eliminate this whole “John Connor” anomaly once and for all. It’s a brilliant plan really, if there’s no mama Connor, there won’t be a baby Connor who grows up to be a robot-bashing Connor. The only hitch in the plan is: they’re not sure which Sarah Connor is THE Sarah Connor. The Terminator’s already got plenty of Sarah-blood on his hands before Linda Hamilton ever lays eyes on him. So what, did Sarah Connor not go on to have a Facebook page in the future that Skynet could steal photos from? Luckily for the rest of the world, the robots at least knew what city she lived in….good lord imagine the bloodbath.
Editors Note: The Prestige spoilers ahead.
8. 100s of Hugh Jackmans in The Prestige
Cause of Death: not being as good of a magician as Christian Bale.
This one is especially humiliating because it’s a direct result of your opponent simply beating you at your own game. The Prestige can be interpreted many ways, but to me the ‘prestige’ of the film as it were, was the fact that Bale, not Jackman, was the good guy. Jackman is the one racing around the world to go overboard into areas science probably was never meant to go. Bale (and SPOILER: his twin) were boys who had painstakingly committed their entire lives to the goal of perfecting the perfect magic trick. Jackman’s efforts to duplicate culminate in him being drowned during each performance to be replaced by a clone. His original self is long dead before he ever realizes the beautiful simplicity of Bale’s deception. So much pain and suffering just to learn he’s still not as good as his arch-rival.
9. The “Gas Man” in Dumb and Dumber
Cause of Death: Really hot peppers….oh, and rat poison.
Through a series of hilarious coincidences, the “Gas Man” as he believes he has been called by Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, has been led to believe he is in pursuit of two smoothly criminal operators who have somehow learned about his problem with ulcers. What sweet relief he finds when he learns that they are nothing more than a pair of imbeciles who are in WAY over their heads. “Talk about the wrong place, at the wrong time” he chuckles as he takes a bite into a burger they have secretly stuffed with a variation of some of the world’s hottest peppers. As he collapses to the floor he directs them to his bottle of medicine, which of course they confuse with a bottle of rat poison, killing him. What makes it most humiliating is the possibility that in his final moments he may have begun to again question if they could really be that dumb or if they had outsmarted him once again.
10. The Real Ewan McGregor in The Island
Cause of Death: Not being convincing enough as a human being…and wearing a shiny bracelet.
I’m not a huge fan of McGregor. He’s not horrible, but I don’t see much special in him outside of a few key performances. But in the Island it’s his character and not himself who falls prey to a lack of believability. We’ve all seen the cartoonish mix-up of “I’m the real one!” “No, I’m the real one!” Ewan’s character finds himself in this very dilemma after a long tussle with his clone. As the security team charged with eliminating the clone arrives on the scene and both men’s hands immediately fly into the air, the shouts of true identity begin. But in all the hubbub the clone reaches up and snaps a bracelet on the real Ewan’s hand; a bracelet used to identify the clones. Before he can even move to take it off he is taken out and the clone continues on, assuming his identity.
11. All the thugs in The 6th Day
Cause of Death(s): Multiple incidents of neck-breaking.
Nobody wants to face down Arnold Schwarzenegger, okay? We all know that. So how would you like to do it multiple times, unsuccessfully? And what if each time you did it, Arnold found a different way to take you underneath his arm and snap your neck like it’s an uncooked spaghetti stick? Each time the “Repet” corporation’s group of cloned defenders, led by Michael Rooker, re-emerged from their birth pods, or whatever they were called, they had to enter the world with the full knowledge that sometime in the next 24 hours they were going to feel the crushing power of the Arnold’s biceps, wrapped firmly around their trachea. The worst case involves the most annoying of the three, trying to approach Arnold outside of a police station. Arnold spins him around, puts him in a headlock then just lifts him and lets him drop, instantly snapping his neck. And he does it without ever taking his eyes off the station’s front doors. That ain’t right.
12. The Football Player at the beginning of The Last Boyscout
Cause of Death: Trying to tackle a running back who really, REALLY wanted to score.
Long before he launched the universal empire that was (is?) Tae-Bo, Billy Blanks was trying to make it as an actor. One of his smaller roles was the troubled football player ‘Billy Cole’ in Bruce Willis’ The Last Boy Scout. Billy is caught up in a gambling ring and, finding himself at the end of his rope, makes one last gasping gamble on the big game. After doping up at halftime he hits the field and as the game nears its end, finds himself with one last chance to win the bet and, accordingly, save his life. He catches a dump-off pass and streaks up the field, only thirty or forty yards from the endzone and the biggest score of his life. That’s when he sees a defender closing in, sure to make the tackle. Billy does what any normal football player would do in that situation, a spin mo-…. no actually he pulls a gun out of….I’m not really sure where, and puts two bullets into the defender’s chest. He scores the touchdown, but I’m pretty sure there was a flag on the play. And no, I’m not making any of this up.
13. Every death in the Jurassic Park series
Cause of Death: John Hammond.
The Jurassic Park series is like a smorgasbord of humiliating death scenes. You have the guy who electrocutes the little lizards just enough for them to swarm him. You have “Newman” dying because he ran into his car door and knocked himself out long enough for a dinosaur to climb over him, into the passenger seat and then wait for him to wake up and get in before eating him. You have the infamous “Gennaro on the toilet” death which is humiliating for oh so many reasons. But the one that sticks out to me the most is the death of hunter Robert Muldoon (Bob Peck). Sure he’s no archaeologist, but it is his job to know how to deal with dinosaurs. He has hunted and conquered every conceivable type of predator. He has worked extensively with these creatures, learning their habits, pontificating about the way they attack and how they are organized. Basically the whole movie builds him up as some sort of super-hardcore hunter and we are chomping at the bit to see him square off with the big mama velociraptor in a duel to the death. Instead, he immediately forgets everything he knows about how they hunt and falls into the easiest trap ever. What’s most humiliating is that he pauses long enough to deliver a catchphrase: “Clever girl”, before immediately being eaten. It’s like in that moment he still thought he was going to take her out.
This is only volume one so I’m sure I’ve missed some of your favorite humiliating moments. Feel free to add your own in the comments!