Permanent Record

It appears to have been made to be shown in high-school classes as a warning against suicide. Alan Boyce is David, a music student with everything going for him: talent, acceptance into an elite music school, popularity, two girlfriends (Jennifer Rubin and Pamela Gidley), loving parents (Kathy Baker and Barry Corbin), and a rock band with his best buddy Chris (Keanu Reeves). But he throws it all away; he jumps off a cliff during a party, and everyone assumes it was an accident until Chris discovers the truth. The second half of the movie is basically everyone dealing with David’s suicide and asking the big “why?” (Points to the film for not definitively answering it; we get hints along the way, though.) This isn’t much more than a conscientious TV-movie drama, with a rather maudlin climax, but the performances are solid (including Keanu’s, surprisingly), and Gen-Xers who caught it back in ’88 probably have a soft spot for it. Music buff alert: Joe Strummer did the incidental score, and Lou Reed has a cameo near the beginning.

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