Plot Watch: Just Die Already!

Hollywood's gone terminal, as evidenced by the relentless parade of recent films that revive a tired plotline: If you were told you had only a few weeks left to live, what would you do with them? Bette Davis originated the bit circa 1939 in Dark Victory; 1970's Love Story drove another nail into the cinematic coffin. Decades and innumerable versions later, we say, let the played-out gimmick rest in peace.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

HENRY POOLE IS HERE, 2008

The victim: Luke Wilson

The sob story: Terminally ill businessman ditches his fiancée to spend his final six weeks watching bad TV.

Indulgences: Twinkies-and-vodka benders; religion, after seeing Jesus in a stain on the side of his house following Twinkies-and-vodka bender.

Moral: It's never too late to find faith.

Spoiler alert!: He lives. (Yay?)

THE BUCKET LIST, 2007

The victims: Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman

Most Popular

The sob story: Terminally ill billionaire and blue-collar mechanic blow through fantasy to-do lists.

Indulgences: Race cars; skydiving; babes.

Moral: People from different races and socioeconomic classes can be friends.

Spoiler alert!: Until they die.

LAST HOLIDAY, 2006

The victim: Queen Latifah

The sob story: Terminally ill salesclerk jets off to Europe after a CAT scan reveals that she's got three weeks to live.

Indulgences: Ski vacations; lavish makeovers; gourmet meals; make-out sessions with LL Cool J.

Moral: You can't take it with you.

Spoiler alert!: Paging LL—she lives!

A WALK TO REMEMBER, 2002

The victim: Mandy Moore

The sob story: Terminally ill minister's daughter falls for the coolest guy in school.

Indulgences: Temporary tattoos; illicit joyrides across state lines; marriage to the cool guy.

Moral: Not all underage marriages end in divorce.

Spoiler alert!: She dies. —Sarah Z. Wexler

More from Marie Claire:
Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton
Culture
Share
A New Season of 'American Crime Story' Will Take on the Monica Lewinsky Scandal
GIF
Culture
Share
20 Valentine's Gifts for Your Ride-or-Die Work Wives
We imagine these are replicas of the genuine articles with extremely extravagant names. But all you need to know is that they're sparkly and abundant and that you will want to steal every drop earring that gets a split second of screen time. 
Culture
Share
5 Reasons 'Victoria' Should Be Your New Aesthetic
GIF
Culture
Share
This 'Game of Thrones' Spoiler About Arya Stark Changes the Game
Culture
Share
100 Years of the British Royal Family
GIF
Culture
Share
A Nail-Art Printer, a Skin-Diagnosing Mirror, and 8 Other New Products That Would Make Life *So* Much Better
Culture
Share
"I Think About My Son Every Day": Trayvon Martin's Mother on Life Five Years Later
Culture
Share
Police Said They Couldn't Find the Men Who Gang-Raped This Woman While Her 2-Year-Old Watched. Then Another Woman Was Raped.
Culture
Share
Celebrities and Politicians Pay Tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. on Social Media
Culture
Share
Apparently, There Are Three Types of Selfie-Takers—Which Are You?