Back in 1980, soul band Odyssey memorably sang ‘If You’re Looking for Way Out‘:
Of course suicide is a very serious matter. People generally commit suicide, or attempt suicide, because they are simply unable to cope with life and with their emotions. Overwhelming negative feelings such as anger or depression have become too much for them to bear, making suicide seem like the only feasible option. It is a tragic thing that happens all too often, and is extremely traumatic for the victim’s friends and family. In the land of fiction, whether gruesome and brutal or romantic and painless, it’s a huge source of drama. Right? Well, usually.
Although suicide is not normally a subject for levity, there are in fact plenty of movies that use what some folks deem ‘self-murder’ as a hook.
Here’s a selection of some of the best – and worst
THE END (1978): Burt Reynolds directed himself in this black comedy (lets face it, it’s got to be, with the subject matter).
Sidekick Dom Deluise (aka Captain Chaos from the Cannonball Run movies) and Reynolds then-squeeze Sally Field also star:
PARTING SHOTS (1998): Mediocre director and annoying car insurance salesman Michael Winner’s final movie, stuffed with celeb pals and a leaden lead performance by non-actor, the gravel-voiced singer Chris Rea (Fool If You Think It’s Over).
JOKE: If Chris Rea joined Dire Straits, what would the super-group be called?
Answer: Chris Straits
BULWORTH (1998): From the same year, Warren Beatty’s disillusioned Senator Jay Billington Bulworth hires a hitman to kill him, but then discovers love, a new gangsta image and political redemption. Oops.
GHOSTS CAN’T DO IT (1989): Bo Derek and Anthony Quinn as a married couple (ugh). Just to increase the upchuck factor, Donald Trump even cameos as himself.
Generally regarded as one of the worst pictures of all time:
BUDDY BUDDY (1981). The great Billy Wilder’s final picture, of which he said: “If I met all my old pictures in a crowd, personified, there are some that would make me happy and proud, and I would embrace them … but Buddy Buddy I’d try to ignore.”
And to close this brief amuse bouche, Finnish auteur Aki Kaurismäki’s English language comedy, starring Truffaut regular Jean-Pierre Léaud (Joe Strummer puts in an appearance as well).
I HIRED A CONTRACT KILLER (1990)