As a respected American football legend once said, (and a big hat wearing music icon sings) ‘quitters never win.' In fact, a few cases suggest quite the contrary, in film at least. Through the years, a number of brave souls have decided to stick it to the man and walk out in a blaze of beautiful glory to head on to better things, making you almost wish you could do the same. Here are some of the best ways to go if ever you have a goldfish tank nearby, or have superhuman strength.
Mr. Incredible - The Incredibles
Being sent to the managers office can sometimes end badly, and no one knows this more than Bob Parr in The Incredibles. After giving in briefly to his good nature in a workplace that doesn’t have any, the ex-super and now insurance agent gets a telling off from the top dog for helping out a client.
The scathing critique he received would have been a lot easier to swallow if it hadn’t been for the chance robbery Bob witnessed outside his office, which tips him over the edge. Acting as the final straw to break the superhero’s back, Mr. Incredible sends his boss through the wall…and another…and another, and so on, fulfilling a wish that many have admired, and doing so in a truly super fashion.
Randy The Ram - The Wrestler
As much as a great insight into the world of wrestling Darren Aronofsky’s Oscar-winning film may be, it’s also a heart wrenching take on the fragility of fame and what it can cost for those who lose its grasp. There are a number of scenes that stick out in our look at Randy’s life: the autograph signing, when he receives upsetting news from the doctor, or - the real stinger - when he is noticed in the one place he’d rather not be seen.
After taking a very familiar walk down dim-lit corridors and humming warehouse rooms, the cheers for the Ram are silenced when he steps past the plastic curtains and we find him at a supermarket deli, dishing out egg salad and trying to make the best of a bad situation. That all starts to shatter when Randy is spotted by someone who swears he’s seen him before, and for the one time in the film we see The Wrestler deny who he is because of the level he’s been dragged down to. Tapping out early on his shift and tearing down the aisles in a rage, Randy heads off for one last match, in the job he was born to do.
Interesting note: Turns out that many of the people Rourke served in that scene were real customers, which made it all the more uncomfortable for the actor who begged them not to film it. Thankfully, the whole thing went ahead and paid off massively. See both Rourke and Aronofksy talk about it below.
Eduardo Saverin - The Social Network
It’d be hard to imagine that this is how it all went down when the founding Facebook fathers separated, but that’s not to say Eduardo’s break from The Social Network doesn’t make for one hell of an exit. After trudging through the business developing mud to help his friend and the company he co-founded, all of the effort appears to have been in for naught when Garfield’s Saverin discovers just how little he’ll be a part of the biggest website to ever grace the internet.
The film has spent most of its running time skipping back and forth between the past and the present court battles, but ‘Wardo’s revelation is where the two finally start to meet, and it’s a collision fueled on anger and betrayal. After skimming through the document that will set up a million-dollar dispute, Saverin puts business aside and storms across the floor before snapping Zuckerberg back into reality. Garfield plays it brilliantly, finding the balance of fury towards Timberlake’s Sean Parker and the heartbreak of Eisenberg’s Mark Zuckerberg that shakes his very voice. There are a number of notices that are handed in on this list, but none are as bitter and emotionally brutal as this.
Ron Burgundy - Anchorman
So far this list has highlighted entrants that have willingly parted ways from their places of work, but Ron Burgundy is the first one to be ejected by his after a major error on that pesky teleprompter, courtesy of a bitter Veronica Corningstone, the smelly pirate hooker that she is.
While this in itself is a stern lesson not to trust work colleagues too much lest they turn you into the town’s most hated figure, it can’t be denied that swearing like a trooper for all the world to hear is a memorable way to go. Yes, following in the footsteps of news broadcasting's most iconic moustache might be worth it, as it could give you a chance to step back and rethink a few things, probably after a warm glass of milk and a bear fight.
Captain America - Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Sometimes a company you’ve enjoyed working for might start to head in a direction you’re just not liking. Easing back on customer care, cutting hours or perhaps building three highly weaponized helicarriers to monitor and execute anyone they deem a potential threat. If that’s the case then it might be time to move on to newer pastures. In which case, Steve Rogers’ exit from SHIELD (which is really HYDRA, kind of) in The Winter Solider might be one worth examining.
After kindly advising his colleagues to not make the situation bigger than it is, the man out of time makes himself crystal clear by beating the snot out of any out-of-depth colleague that tries to challenge him. This is one of the best moments in the sequel and reestablished any love for Cap that was waning after The First Avenger and his team-up with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Admittedly, even as a war hero and Super Soldier, it doesn’t stop him from taking the office stationary or, in this case, a vibranium shield. It’s not like he'll be coming back.
Johnny Utah - Point Break
Johnny Utah was an addition to the FBI who showed great signs of promise. Unfortunately, he found the opposing company more appealing. It's a shame really, especially when said company is a band of surfers that moonlight as bank-robbing ex-Presidents, it’s safe to say that occupation was sure to end.
If being part of a bank robbery, aiding and abetting a wanted criminal, and wearing double denim weren’t bad enough, Utah adds the final nail to his career coffin by letting Bodhi ride one last wave, ending his bromance and his career in law enforcement in one foul swoop. You can only imagine how his resignation letter read…
To whom it may concern,
I regret to inform you of my two weeks notice with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, it seems I’ve gained a penchant for surfing and plan to take that up instead. As a sign of my seriousness over this decision I have chucked my badge into the sea in protest.
Take care, bra.
Jerry Maguire - Jerry Maguire
Sometimes at work, you’ll have a moment of inspiration and realize that you don’t need the company, the company needs you. You also need to proofread things before you send one ballsy mission statement out to your colleagues that could get you sacked. Just a side note there, but an important one nonetheless.
After getting the boot from the man upstairs, sports agent Jerry Maguire does some fast-track networking to keep as many clients as he can so as to not completely go down in a huge ball of flame. The scene of Maguire’s final words to the office are a tad on the awkward side, as Cruise displays a level of nutty we wouldn’t see until he encountered a big yellow sofa thirteen years later. Still, it shows that should the time come for anyone to get canned, doing it with your head held high and a fish-filled freeze bag is a decent way to do so.
Wesley - Wanted
If you’re going to go out in a boss-battling, office-storming, tooth-removing style you couldn’t do better than Wesley from Timur Bekmambetov’s Wanted. Back in a time when James McAvoy’s blip was getting closer on the cinematic radar, he made his first blockbusting mark as an office-jockey-turned-assassin in this 2008 brainless bit of fun. After learning of the secret Fraternity and his connection to their world, Wesley kindly takes up the offer to become a bullet-bending sharpshooter, but not before tearing his boss a new one.
Finally snapping under the moaning office overlord that he loathes, Wesley reveals just how little of a sh*t he gives about his job and how much everyone hates his superior. It’s a sharp and detailed rant that would feel good to utter to anyone in the workplace who rubs you up the wrong way and McAvoy does it brilliantly. He also takes this opportune time to crack his co-worker, and ‘friend,’ in the face with a keyboard for sleeping with his girlfriend. Chris Pratt or no, he deserved it.
Rather than go out on a full-blown tirade as some of these wonderful applicants have, I’ll ask what you think. Are any of the above entries exits you’d love to have? Or is there another you have in mind that didn’t make the list? Give them up in the comments below.