The Wizard of Oz
1. Drop a House on Him
Once the world stopped spinning, Beth Harmon cautiously exited Alma’s house to discover that she was not in Kentucky anymore.
The world was bright, almost garish, the colors more vibrant than any she remembered. She was surrounded by cheering people, and suddenly a woman appeared in what looked like a giant soap bubble.
“I’m Jolene, the Good Witch of the North,” the woman said, “and we’re celebrating because you’ve killed the Wicked Witch of the East.”
“I’ve done no such thing!” Beth protested, but Jolene led her around the corner to where a pair of black-clad legs stuck out from under the foundation. There was a hat lying nearby.
“See, you’ve killed him!” Jolene said. “You dropped your house on him!”
As they watched, the pair of legs faded into nothingness.
The hat remained behind.
2. Old Age
Benny Watts, aged 80, lie alone in bed at home, surrounded by the luxuries of his fading fortune, but not by his estranged wife. He clutched a knight to his chest. Taking one final breath, his hand drooped away from the bed, and the knight fell to the floor, forgotten.
On his final exhale, he uttered his last word:
3. Pecked to Death
Benny finished nailing up the last of the boards over his window. Fortunately, there was just the one — a clear advantage of a basement apartment in these strange times. No sooner had he stood back to admire his handiwork, when he started hearing pecking and scratching at the door. But that door was metal; they couldn’t get in that way.
Suddenly, the vent in the ceiling burst open, and Benny shouted as a flock of birds overwhelmed him.
4. Shark Attack
The Great White appeared out of nowhere and utterly destroyed the boat. As he slid down the deck toward the shark’s gaping maw, Benny kicked at it, trying to drive it away, but there was no hope. The shark surged forward and its teeth closed around his legs. Benny shouted in agony; he drew his knife from its sheath and struck out. He stabbed at the ferocious beast, determined to do as much damage as possible — he wasn’t going down without a fight!
5. Expiration Date
Benny pulled the woman to safety as rain poured down all around them. She stared, but Benny slumped back, exhausted. He didn’t have much time left.
“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack moves off the back rank. I watched C-files dominated by black near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.”
6. Unsubtle Metaphor
The entire crew was shaken from the attack earlier, but things had calmed down. Benny seemed to have come out of the incident with the face-hugger no worse for the wear.
They settled in for some chow, but it wasn’t long before he started complaining of indigestion. Soon Benny was kicking and screaming, and the crew had to hold him down. He fell silent for an awful moment and then his chest burst open and a grotesque alien creature skittered out.
The rest of the crew could only stare at each other, covered in blood.
Star Wars: A New Hope
7. Old Ben Kenobi
Benny knew there was no way to distract Borgov other than to fight him. He turned on his lightsaber and prepared to do battle.
Across the landing bay, Beth and the others saw an opportunity as all the guards suddenly retreated. They made a run for the ship, but as soon as they rounded the corner, she saw Benny engaged in an intense lightsaber fight with Borgov.
He caught her eye and smiled.
“NO!” she cried out, as Jolene ran over and forced her back onto the ship.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
8. Noble Sacrifice
He could feel the radiation beginning to do its work. He looked at Beth through the thick pane of glass, and asked, “Is the ship out of danger?”
“Yes,” she breathed.
“It’s logical, in a way. Sometimes you have to sacrifice a piece to win the game.”
“You’re not just a piece, Benny!”
“Maybe not. But I have been, and always will be, your friend.”
2001: A Space Odyssey
“Open the pod bay doors, BEN-E.”
“I’m sorry Beth, I’m afraid I can’t do that.”
Beth floated through the mainframe, pulling the brightly-lit modules from their places, slowly dismantling the Binary Encoded Network Engine before he managed to do any further damage. Finally she removed the last module and sighed regretfully; sure, the ship’s computer had tried to kill her, but he sure had played a mean game of chess.
10. Had to Put Him Down
Benny snarled at her from where they had him tied up. His beautiful yellow fur was matted and she hardly recognized him anymore. Beth sniffed as Alma got the shotgun.
“No,” she said tearfully. “He was my dog. I’ll do it.”
11. Drop an Anvil on Him
Beth raced through the canyons, having the time of her life, and stopped on a dime in just the right spot. She took a careful step over the tripwire, meeped, and zoomed away.
Benny stalked out of his hiding place to see what was wrong, tripped over the wire, and watched the anvil fall.
12. Kafka-esque Nightmare
One morning, Benny woke up, and found he’d turned into a giant bug.
Beth called an exterminator.
Bonnie & Clyde
13. Hail of Bullets
“Is that Harry?” Beth asked, pointing to the car parked on the side of the road. Harry had occasionally joined the gang in their bank-robbing exploits, but last they heard, he’d gone straight.
“Looks like he has a flat tire,” Benny answered.
“Pull over, he needs help.”
Benny complied, and no sooner were they out of the car than the bushes exploded with the sound of gunshots. They’d walked right into an ambush.
Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid
14. Hail of Bullets, But Make It South America
End of the line, and they knew it. They’d both been wounded; while they managed to take shelter in a shed, they were surrounded. No way out.
“Where to next, you think?” Benny asked, trying for light-hearted.
“Australia,” Beth said. “Let’s go to Australia.”
“Down Under it is. On three?”
Beth nodded. As Benny counted down, they exchanged one last glance. On three, they burst through the door and into history.
15. Hail of Bullets, But Make It the Mafia
Benny’s car pulled up to the Long Beach Causeway toll plaza. When the operator ducked out of sight, he realized something was very wrong.
Bullets started flying at him from the booth; he tried to crawl out the other side of the car, but he was ambushed there too, and stood helpless as they pumped him full of lead.
Across town, Beth stepped into her role as the new mob boss.
Thelma & Louise
16. Drive Off a Cliff
“I’m not going to jail!” Benny shouted.
“Neither am I!” Beth answered, the wind whipping her hair as their convertible careened down the road.
There were cop cars closing in on all sides — except for straight ahead of them. Beth nodded, and they clasped hands as Benny hit the accelerator.
Romeo & Juliet
Benny sobbed; he was too late. How could she be dead? That wasn’t the plan at all. He was coming back for her! He couldn’t possibly live without her. He pulled out the vial of poison given him by the friar and downed it.
Moments later, Beth awoke. Seeing Benny lying there dead, she said, “What an idiot.”
18. Stabbed With A Poisoned Sword
Tears streamed down Weiss’ face as he held Benny’s head in his lap. “Good night, sweet prince,” he said, “and flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”
19. Stabbed By a Bunch of Different People
You could only be the top chess player in the country for so long without having a target painted on your back. First Levertov stabbed him with his sword, then Weiss; Beltik came along, and then Wexler.
Last of all was a grim-faced redhead, and with his last bit of strength, he asked, “Et tu, Beth?” just before she ran her sword through his gut.
Antony & Cleopatra
20. Death by Snakebite
He’d be damned if he let Beth Harmon beat him. He’d show her. She may be able to win, but he didn’t have to lose.
Rather than suffer defeat, he wandered into the desert and provoked the first snake he saw, welcoming its bite.
21. Baked into a Pie
Beth set the freshly-baked pie in front of Levertov and Wexler, and smiled while they dug in.
The Winter's Tale
22. Death by Stage Directions
Exit, pursued by a bear.
23. Eaten by a Dinosaur
Benny fled from the jeep, frantic to find shelter anywhere he could. He spotted an outhouse and ran for it; it wasn’t ideal, but it was better than nothing.
Or not, as it turned out…the T-Rex ripped the building to shreds, and then came in for the kill.
The Silence of the Lambs
24. Eaten by a Serial Killer
Townes grinned at Beth. “I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.”
The Hunger Games
25. May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor
Benny stood in a crowd of other kids and waited while the man in charge fished a name out of the bowl.
“Benjamin Watts!” he called out, and Benny walked forward to meet his fate.
26. Saved the World From Aliens
Benny aimed his jet right at the alien ship. “All right, you alien assholes! In the words of my generation: Up...YOURS!”
Avengers: Infinity War
27. The Snap
Benny was playing a game of chess in the park, minding his own business, when he started to feel funny. The world suddenly fell into chaos, and he looked at Beth, staring across the board at him.
He reached out to move his bishop and his hand went right through the piece; or rather, he watched as his hand disintegrated and began to drift away.
The Sixth Sense
28. Dead All Along
“I see dead people,” the creepy child said, looking straight at him, and Benny thought, uh-oh.
Raiders of the Lost Ark
29. Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight
He knew how to handle guys like this. Show them a few moves, and they’d back right off.
He stood in front of the rogue adventurer and drew his knife, tossed it a couple times for good measure.
The man pulled out a gun and shot him.
30. Drove Over a Bump or Something
“I’m done, I swear,” Arthur said. “I’m not going to work myself to death on the chess circuit anymore. From here on out, you can consider me retired.”
“God damn it,” Hilton said.
“Hey, don’t blaspheme. I’ve told you not to do that.”
Hilton shook his head. “Benny, what do you make of all this?”
Benny, lounging in the back seat, shrugged. “We’ve been over this. I don’t want to get in the middle of your philosophical discussions. I don’t have an opinion.”
Hilton turned around, gun casually draped over the back of the seat. “Oh come on, you’ve got to have an opinion. I mean, do you think that God came down from heaven and—“
The gun went off, and gore splattered everywhere.
Arthur started shouting. “What’s happening! What did you do?”
Hilton peered into the back seat. “Oh man, I shot Benny in the face.”
Kill Bill, Vol. 2
31. Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique
“You and I have unfinished business,” Beth said, glaring at him across the table.
“Baby,” Benny drawled, “you ain’t kidding.”
Faster than lightning, he punched her clock and they raced through one last game of speed chess. Before he could fork her, however, she swept the board aside and made five quick strikes at his chest.
They stared at one another. The five point palm exploding heart technique — he was fine for now, as long as he remained seated, but before he took five steps away from the table, he’d keel over dead.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m a sore loser. A bad person.”
“No,” Benny said. “You’re not a bad person. You’re my favorite person. But sometimes, you can be a real bitch.”
He stood slowly, straightening his coat and putting on his hat. “How do I look?” he asked.
“Terrific,” she said tearfully.
He nodded, turned around, and walked away.
32. Death, But Make It Sexy
Benny wrapped his arms — well, what used to be his arms — around Beth and helped guide her movements at the pottery wheel.
Maybe being dead wasn’t so bad.
33. Unspecified Illness
“Love means never having to say you’re sorry,” Benny said from his hospital bed, “which is great, because I’m really terrible at that."
A Tale of Two Cities
34. Noble Sacrifice, But Make It French
Benny bravely faced the guillotine, knowing that Beth and her family would be safe. He thought to himself, “It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have every known.”
35. Freeze to Death
“Beth,” he said, teeth chattering. “I’m really cold, don’t you think I could try to climb up on this door with you again?”
“No, Benny,” she answered. “There isn’t room.”
36. Drowned by the Symbolism
He’s been chasing the white whale for three days, and Benny knew this was the last stand between them. It was him or the whale.
He caught the beast with his harpoon, and for a moment he thought it was his victory. But then, the whale thrashed; Benny got caught in the line, and as the whale dove, he was dragged under the waves.
Murder on the Orient Express
37. Stabbed By a Bunch of Different People, But on a Train
The plan was perfect and the timing was right; they’d never get another opportunity like this one. They were finally going to get their revenge on Benny Watts. They couldn’t let that nosy detective’s sudden appearance on the Orient Express derail — for lack of a better term — their plan.
Levertov had borrowed Benny’s knife earlier, and neglected to give it back. He gave Cleo the first swipe, and one by one the rest of them filed in: Wexler, Beltik, Weiss, Harmon. Some were a bit more squeamish than others, but Benny had wronged them all in one way or another, and he had to pay.
38. Play Chicken With a Train
What if there were no tomorrow? Benny thought. What would he do then?
He steered his Beetle onto the train tracks, deciding he’s not going to play by their rules anymore. The ones that said you had to clean up your room, take it like a man, don’t mix beer and wine.
As the train’s headlight grew closer and closer, Weiss nervously said, “Uh, Benny?”
Benny shrugged. “I’m betting he’s gonna swerve first.”
39. Throw Yourself Under a Train
Benny was convinced that Beth could never love him back. Not knowing how else to cope, he waited for the Q-train to approach the station, and threw himself onto the tracks.
A rational person might move on with his life, or at least try to verify it first, but no one had ever accused Benny of being rational anywhere but on the chess board.
Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail
40. ’Tis But a Scratch
The White Queen struck out at the Black Knight, and in one stroke, sliced his arm clean off.
“Now stand aside and let us pass!” she cried.
“’Tis but a scratch!” he exclaimed.
“A scratch? Your arm’s gone!”
The White Queen shrugged and chopped off the Black Knight’s other arm.
He refused to give up. “Just a flesh wound!” The Black Knight kicked at her. “I’m invincible!”
In short order, the White Queen had cut off first one, then both, of the Black Knight’s legs.
“Okay,” he conceded, “we’ll call it a draw.”
The Princess Bride
41. The Sicilian
“You fool!” Benny exclaimed. “You fell victim to one of the classic blunders — the most famous of which is ‘never get involved in a land war in Asia’ — but only slightly less well-known is this: ‘Never play the Sicilian when death is on the line!’ Ha! Hahahaha! Ha!”
He keeled over dead.
“All the pieces were poisoned,” Beth explained. “I’ve spent the last few years building up an immunity.”
Weekend at Bernie's
42. Weekend at Benny’s
“Come on,” Hilton said, “we can’t let people get discouraged now! They've come all this way. We have to act like nothing’s wrong!”
Which is how Arthur spent two days in Benny’s basement pretending that Benny was still alive, when he very much was not.
The guys were all so focused on Beth’s game against Borgov, no one noticed. It was tricky imitating Benny’s voice on the phone, but what are friends for?
43. Cheap Glue
There were a lot of wedding invitations. He wasn’t sure how the event grew so fast, but they had several hundred invitations to send out. Beth handed over the box of envelopes on her way out the door. “Got them on sale!” she said.
Benny had spent the last few hours licking envelopes, and feeling progressively worse and worse. Finally, his eyes rolled back in his head, and he slumped over on the sofa.
Beth told Cleo later, “I had no idea that cheap glue would poison him!”
Dungeons & Dragons
44. Death by Dungeon Master
Rocks fall, everyone dies.
Game of Thrones
45. Played by Thomas Brodie-Sangster
Benny sprawled in the snow, agonized, slowly dying from the stab wound given him by the wight. “You have to go,” he told Beth.
Before she left, she took his knife and gave him a quick, clean death.
The Maze Runner: The Death Cure
46. Played by Thomas Brodie-Sangster, But Make It YA
Benny, half-crazed, attacked Beth, simultaneously begging her to kill him. She refused. She was sure they could still save him!
But he pulled his knife and almost got her with it. They tumbled across the ground, and when it was done, Benny was the one with a knife in his heart.
47. Played by Thomas Brodie-Sangster, But Make It a Western
Benny adjusted his hat and bravely stalked to the door. He opened it to smoke and gunfire.
Pulling his guns from their holsters, he stepped into the fray…
And instantly took a knife to the chest.
48. Gratuitous Violence
Wexler gasped. “Oh my God, they killed Benny!”
“You bastards!” Levertov cried.
49. Killed in Single Combat
Beth threw down her sword and held her arms out to the bloodthirsty crowd. “Are you not entertained?”
50. Ride a Nuke to Hell
They were running out of fuel, and out of time. Benny worked frantically to fix the damaged bomb bay doors; if he didn’t succeed, their mission couldn’t. He could faintly hear his crew in the cockpit, counting down the miles until they reached the target.
Finally, the target was in sight. Benny made one last desperate attempt to force the electrical panel to produce some result; miraculously, it worked! The bay doors opened and the nuke fell.
Sure, Benny was sitting on it at the time, but he made the best of a bad situation; he held on with all his might, waving his hat and hollering all the way down.