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Better Off Dead... (1985)

A teenager has to deal with his girlfriend dumping him among family crises, homicidal paper boys, and a rival skier.
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jenny Meyer
Demian Slade ...
Johnny Gasparini
Scooter Stevens ...
Badger Meyer
Mrs. Smith
Ricky Smith (as Daniel Schneider)
Yee Sook Ree
Brian Imada ...
Chen Ree
Chuck Mitchell ...
Beth Truss
Aaron Dozier ...
Frank Burt Avalon ...
Roy's Ski Buddy #1


The teenager Lane Meyer has a crush on his girlfriend Beth Truss. When Beth dumps him to stay with the successful skier Roy Stalin, Lane is depressed and decides to commit suicide. However he gives up and tries to improve his skill of skier to ski the dangerous K12 slope to impress Beth. Meanwhile his neighbor Mrs. Smith receives the exchange French student Monique Junot and her fat son Ricky Smith considers Monique his girlfriend; however, Monique has an unrequited crush on Lane that does not note her. When Lane stumbles upon Monique in a high-school party, he befriends her. The upset Lane challenges Roy in a competition on the K12 slope but then he regrets. However Monique is a great mechanic and skier, and fix Lane's Camaro and teaches him how to ski the K12 slope. What will happen to Lane? Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


I have been going to this high school for seven years... I'm no dummy. See more »


Comedy | Romance


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

11 October 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Better Off Dead  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Some movie posters for this film featured a long blurb that read: "You've blown up your neighbor's mom. Your seven-year-old brother has better luck with women than you do. Your girlfriend has a new boyfriend. Relax, you're never...BETTER OFF DEAD". See more »


Lane trips on the skates and accidentally pulls Chris' cheerleader outfit down around her ankles, exposing her underwear-clad body to the cafeteria. In the next shot that shows the outfit, it is away from her body, closer to lane, not near her feet. If Lane had actually pulled the outfit out from under her skate-clad feet, she would have tripped. See more »


Lane Myer: [indicating to Mrs. Smith's accident] Gee, I'm really sorry your mom blew up, Ricky, guess she won't be able to eat any spicy foods for awhile.
See more »

Crazy Credits

When Lane and Monique are at Dodgers Stadium sitting on his Camaro, the camera pulls away to a long shot. The paperboy (I want my two dollars!) can be seen riding across the baseball field towards them. See more »


Referenced in Mike & Mike: Episode dated 1 June 2015 (2015) See more »


Here Comes Santa Claus
Written by Gene Autry and Oakley Haldeman
Performed by The Carpenters
Produced by Richard Carpenter
Courtesy of A&M Records
See more »

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User Reviews

A teenager with a death wish.
22 September 2008 | by (the Mad Hatter's tea party.) – See all my reviews

Eighties teen films, I love 'em. I never tire of this brand of entertainment that's a true product of it pop-culture times. There's something about this wonderful era. Everything about the humour had a natural build up, and even during the hits or misses it stayed consistently amusing without resorting to gross-outs. 'Better off Dead' fits that buck. Here's another cherished coming of age story through the eyes of a troubled teenager dealing with a dumped relationship and the embarrassments that seem to follow through the painful years of high school and everyday life. Wallowing in self-pity, eventually it comes to identifying self-confidence over what isn't the impossible. What am I going to type that someone hasn't already. Nothing. The plot is secondary to the oddball episodic set-pieces and comic characters, where the flow is unpredictable and original like out of some daydreaming teenager's imagination. John Cusack (a pin-up boy for these roles) has that likable, down-to-earth awe which fits. Surrounding him is a fantastically hearty support cast in David Ogden Stiers, Kim Darby, Diane Franklin, Demian Slade, Amanda Wyss, Curtis Armstrong, Dan Schneider and Laura Waterbury. Director Savage Steve Holland throws caution to the wind with his animatedly interesting style, but manages to make sure everything still comes together without really trying. Well it looks so. Visual gags also have a powerful note like the night-time chase sequence involving a persistent paperboy after his 2 dollars and the drag racing scenes with a pair of Asians. Even the ski scenes are well shot. An upbeat soundtrack pounds out the catchy, nostalgic tunes and cements an provocatively charming sincereness. It's hard to pass up this self-knowing, off-kilter teenage comedy/romance winner.

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