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The dozen funniest death scenes in otherwise serious movies (with video)

The dozen funniest death scenes in otherwise serious movies (with video) (photo)

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Sometimes, death is a laughing matter. Here are ten death scenes in movies that are definitely more comic than tragic, even if the film themselves are of a more serious-minded sort. And yes, of course we’ve included the Sam Jackson vs. Shark (Shark wins) in “Deep Blue Sea.”

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Shot in the Closet in “Burn After Reading” (2008)

One of the most unexpected (and shocking) death scenes in the history of cinema, poor Brad Pitt’s demise in the Coen Brothers’ underrated “Burn After Reading” is actually brought on by his “Ocean’s Eleven” pal, George Clooney. Fitness enthusiast Chad Feldheimer (Pitt) sneaks into the house of former CIA analyst Osborne Cox (John Malkovich) in the hopes of finding secret government files he can give to the Russian Embassy in exchange for lots of money and ends up hiding in the closet when Cox’s wife’s lover, Harry Pfarrer (Clooney), unexpectedly shows up. Harry then opens the closet and‚ well, just watch and see. Sure, Burn After Reading can most definitely be considered a comedy (it’s not exactly one of the Coen Brothers’ more “serious” movies), but having one of its main characters suddenly get shot in the head (as hilarious as it is) marked the film taking a turn into much darker and more sinister territory.

The Ballad of White Boy Bob in “Out of Sight” (1998)

George Clooney again, though this time he isn’t the cause of the death in question — or is he? If master criminal Jack Foley (Clooney) hadn’t been at the top of the staircase, then White Boy Bob (Keith Loneker) wouldn’t have had to ascend the staircase, and he wouldn’t have tripped, and‚ well, see for yourself. “Out of Sight” has the distinct honor of being the film that transitioned art house auteur Steven Soderbergh into the realm of big-time, big-budget Hollywood — this sexy crime thriller based on the novel by Elmore Leonard was his first of many collaborations with Clooney. Too bad White Boy Bob couldn’t come along for the ride.

Marvin Doesn’t Have an Opinion — or a Life — in “Pulp Fiction” (1994)

Poor Marvin. Well, at least we went out with someone talking to him about God and miracles, so maybe by default this final religious conversation guaranteed him a place in Heaven after Vincent (John Travolta) accidentally shoots him in the face. This, of course, makes a huge mess in the car, though Vincent and Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) manage to drive this bloody eyesore all the way to Toluca Lake, where they hide out with Jimmy (Quentin Tarantino) and wait for the Wolf (Harvey Keitel) to help them make it seem like this little incident never happened.

Sam Jackson vs. Shark (Shark wins) in “Deep Blue Sea” (1999)

The super-smart, super-fast shark in “Deep Blue Sea” doesn’t have any patience for a passionate Samuel L. Jackson monologue. Well, that’s not true — the beast lets Sam do his thing for a while, spewing forth his trademark authoritative, condescending, alpha-male histrionics as he tells the rest of the cast about his unfortunate avalanche experience, demanding they all get their shit together and concentrate on getting out of their current situation. Once Sam wraps the sermon and actually starts suggesting a specific course of action, though, the shark’s had enough and quickly silences the would-be team leader. Forever.

Wheezy Joe’s Tragic Confusion in “Intolerable Cruelty” (2003)

The Coen Brothers certainly know how to conjure a memorable — and rather hilarious — death scene. One of the more subversive moments in the otherwise completely disposable “Intolerable Cruelty” features the lumbering, asthmatic hit man, Wheezy Joe (Irwin Keyes), getting into a confusing scuffle with divorce attorney Miles Massey (George Clooney) in a dimly-lit house — amidst all of the hurly-burly, poor Joe mistakes his inhaler for a gun, and vice-versa — causing him to spray air in Clooney’s face and, well, you can probably imagine the second part. Nice touch with the broken window, by the way.

Bob the Dead Goon in “Batman” (1989)

Just as the Joker “kinda liked” one particular piece of art in the Gotham Museum and spared it from being defaced, we “kinda liked” the Clown Prince of Crime’s right-hand man, Bob (Tracey Walter). So we were “kinda saddened” when the Joker inexplicably blamed Bob for not being told that Batman had a Batwing and punished his number-one guy for this oversight by calmly and unexpectedly blowing him away with a single shot to the chest. “Gonna need a moment or two alone, boys,” says the Joker afterwards — yeah, so will we.

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.


Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…


A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.