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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?


The sound bite "Mr Myer?!" that the math teacher Mr Kerber (Vincent Schiavelli) says to Lane Myer (John Cusack) in the classroom when he chooses him as the fourth student to put their formula for figuring out the mathematic equation on the chalkboard, is used in a small part as a sound bite in the Pre-Jackass movies CKY. See more »


Lane has blood on his lower lip after getting beat up by the basketball team; in a shot immediately following there's not a cut on his lip. See more »


Charles De Mar: And dying when you're not really sick is really sick, you know. Really!
See more »

Crazy Credits

As the credits roll, Badger's home-built space shuttle launches through the roof of the garage and soars into the night sky. See more »


Spoofed in Totally Awesome (2006) See more »


Like To Get To Know You Well
Written and Performed by Howard Jones
Courtesy of Elektra Records
by arrangement with Warner Special Products
(P) 1985 WEA Records Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

Suicide Is A Question You Don't Wanna Answer
15 August 2008 | by (Fraggle Rock) – See all my reviews

Savage Steve Holland's sensational 'Better Off Dead...' is another one of my favourite teen films. I had seen this movie decades ago but didn't catch the name. I've been looking for the nameless film for years and only recently I found out the title and got it immediately.

Ah, the nostalgic 80s when kids knew how to be young rather than spend their days on the cellphone or behind the computer. The film delightfully spoofs those teen angst movies that were so popular at the time. Lane's ex-girlfriend giving him an excuse that she dumped him for someone better looking and more popular, Lanes failed suicide attempts, Lanes cartoons are among some of the most amusing sequences.

Holland gives the film a unique treatment. 'Better Off Dead...' has an innovative quality that makes it one of a kind. It includes the adorable claymated romantic Hamburgers, cartoons, a stalking paperboy, a ski competition on one leg, a little brother who's a silent genius and an international language. Holland put a lot of heart in the writing and some of the lines had me rolling on the floor laughing.

The acting is splendid. The character Lane seems tailor-made for John Cusack. I've always thought of Cusack as an underrated actor and 'Better Off Dead...' is one of the few movies that does justice to his talents (even though this is perhaps one of his first roles). A vivacious Diane Franklin is supercute and she has the loveliest smile. The chemistry between her and Cusack is undeniable and both have excellent comic timing. David Ogden Stiers and Kim Darby are hilarious as the nutty parents. Curtis Armstrong provides some morbidly funny moments.

To say it in one sentence, 'Better Off Dead...' is one of the rarest examples of teen movies at its best. It already is a classic and while many of us watch it for nostalgic reasons, others may like it simply for the heart and humour.

13 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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