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Film / The Bucket List

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The Bucket List is a 2007 comedy-drama film directed by Rob Reiner and starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman.

Edward Cole (Nicholson) is a hospital magnate who has made his fortune off of charging for hospital stays, but when he ends up in his own hospital with terminal lung cancer and meets Carter Chambers (Freeman), a mechanic in a similar state, they strike up an odd friendship and make a "bucket list" of things to do before they die.

This and Edward's money takes them around the world as their deaths get closer, but as their health declines it gets harder and harder to do what they want. In the end, they find out what's really worth spending their time on.

This film contains examples of:

  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: Roger Ebert complained about the plot putting both men in the same room, since in reality hospitals would put them in separate rooms to make more money. However, if they didn't share a room there would be no plot.
    • Actually part of the script in the beginning. Edward Cole stipulates "2 to a room! No exceptions!"
  • Award-Bait Song: John Mayer's "Say" over the credits.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Well, the movie IS about two men who are about to die, and Carter is the first to go.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Edward first discovers something is wrong when he coughs up blood into a handkerchief.
  • Cessation of Existence: When they first meet, Edward tells Carter that he doesn't believe in any kind of afterlife. By the end of the movie, Carter has convinced him that there is indeed a Heaven (telling him that the stars in the sky are actually holes in Heaven's floor).
  • Close on Title
  • Contemplate Our Navels: Both men spend quite a bit of the movie wondering about the meaning of life and death.
  • Cool Old Guy: Carter and Edward.
  • Deadly Distant Finale: At the end Edward, who lived another few years after that, has his ashes put on a mountaintop (illegally) next to those of Carter.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: Both men decide that if they're going to go, they'll go down swinging.
  • Ending Memorial Service: Carter's funeral.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The two men die. This should be obvious from the title alone.
  • Good Adultery, Bad Adultery: Edward encourages Carter to sleep with an attractive woman because he's only been with his wife and will never have another chance. Subverted, since he doesn't go through with it. Plus, Edward only suggested it to remind Carter how much he misses his wife.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Edward's bitter, cynical, extremely unpleasant to most people he interacts with, and claims to envy people with faith even if he doesn't understand what it's about. Yeah, classic stereotypical example.
  • Hollywood Skydiving: As the MythBusters showed, they would not be able to hear each other as they were diving. But both have a tandem partner, averting a usual cliche.
  • Interclass Friendship: Eventually forms between Edward, a billionaire, and Carter, a working-class blue-collar, once they're put together in the same hospital room.
  • Jeopardy! Intelligence Test: Used to demonstrate Carter's intelligence.
  • Malicious Misnaming: Edward calls his assistant Thomas, even though his name is actually Matthew. He also decides to start calling Carter "Ray", but his seems less to annoy him and more because it sounds better.
  • Meet Cute: Roger Ebert actually refers to this trope by name in his review when talking about how Edward and Carter meet up.
  • Millionaire Playboy: Edward, divorced four times.
  • Mood Whiplash: Unsurprisingly frequent, what with it being a lighthearted comedy-drama based around terminal illness.
    I'm pretty sure he was happy with his final resting place, because he was buried on the mountain. And that was against the law.
  • Noodle Incident: Edward tried to fire Matt once before, for the "Oprah Incident."
  • Out with a Bang: Subverted, Carter is about to make love to his wife when he falls to the floor and starts convulsing, and later dies at the hospital.
  • Papa Wolf: For all his faults Edward was a doting father to his daughter Emily whom he loved dearly. After finding out that her new husband was beating her, he took care of it by hiring someone who did something to the husband that made him leave her forever. So while he saved his daughter it also caused her to angrily cut off contact from him.
  • Posthumous Narration: A twist, in that though the opening narration implies otherwise, Carter is the one who dies first.
  • Running Gag: Edward's love of Kopi Luwak, a coffee that's made from coffee beans that have been digested and pooped out by a civet cat.
  • Scenery Porn: The locales Ed and Carter visit are on a lot of Bucket Lists, and for good reason.
  • Taking You with Me: A comical example as Edward sings "I got a feeling I'm falling" rather than pulling the cord on the parachute, risking killing himself and his tandem partner.
  • Twist Ending: Both men die, but not in the order expected
  • Uncle Pennybags: Edward
  • World's Most Beautiful Woman: One of Edward's points on his list is to kiss the world's most beautiful girl, who turns out to be his granddaughter.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Kind of the whole point.