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Better Off Dead... (1985)

7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 28,560 users  
Reviews: 170 user | 38 critic

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

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Jenny Meyer
...
Johnny Gasparini
Scooter Stevens ...
Badger Meyer
...
...
Mrs. Smith
...
Ricky Smith (as Daniel Schneider)
...
Yee Sook Ree
Brian Imada ...
Chen Ree
Chuck Mitchell ...
Rocko
...
Beth Truss
...
Aaron Dozier ...
Roy Stalin
Frank Burt Avalon ...
Roy's Ski Buddy #1
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Storyline

Lane Meyer is a depressed teen who loses his girlfriend Beth. Her given reason for breaking up is: "Lane, I think it'd be in my best interest if I dated somebody more popular. Better looking. Drives a nicer car." Anyway, poor Lane is left alone and thinks up treacherous ways of killing himself. He finally meets a French beauty called Monique and falls for her. Simultaneously, he must endure his mother's terrible cooking which literally slides off the table and his disgusting next door neighbour Ricky (and his mum) while he prepares for the skiing race of his life - to get his old girlfriend back! Written by Michael Feller <reb@magna.com.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

11 October 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Better Off Dead  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

If you speak French you can easily tell that Monique is played by an actor who's first language is English by her accent, and by errors in genre such as "Le voiture". See more »

Quotes

Yee Sook Ree: Truly a sight to behold. A man beaten. The once great champ, now, a study in moppishness. No longer the victory hungry stallion we've raced so many times before, but a pathetic, washed up, aged ex-champion.
Lane Myer: Alright let's go!
[Crashes]
See more »

Crazy Credits

The last line of the credits reads The film's over... you can go now. See more »

Connections

Referenced in One Crazy Summer (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Mannish Boy
Written by Bo Diddley (as Ellis McDaniel), Melvin London (as Mel London), and Muddy Waters (as McKinley Morganfield)
Performed by Muddy Waters
Courtesy of Blue Sky Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Blurred Realities
15 February 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Ahhhh...an actual dark comedy. I watched this again, to clear my mind of "Wilbur..."

What makes this a cut above is the composition of sight gags -- 'How to build a space shuttle out of household items' is in the foreground, and then the eye pulls back to reveal the mother battling a sea monster in a pot, which frustrates her attempt to cook it...Cusack frets over an impossibly broken binding, and in the same frame the 'paperboy from hell' appears on a weatherized delivery bicycle...it's priceless stuff.

The story is told visually, you see...this has less to do with dialogue (although what there is of it, is classic), than with the idea of the writer's imagination conflated with movie imagination conflated with movie 'reality'. We see Holland seeing Cusack seeing the situations somewhere in between Holland's imagination and the platform of the movie (high school role playing - already a confused reality). At key points, Holland literally invents characters on paper or in stop motion animation to further warp that perception. These realities continually blur with 'real' reality, and the sheer absurdity keeps it seamless.

Some impressive camera work during the skiing portions.

This is capable film-making that can be enjoyed as what it was meant to be.


14 of 16 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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John Cusack hates Better off Dead SpinCT
John Cusack doesn't hate this movie (um, anymore?) kaphawoman
Was this movie written by a child? Dumb and Cheesy. waters-9
Other Definitive 80's Comedies barrerarama
Favorite 80's blond bully - nemesis? ohlou326
who else thought Beth was a bit** JLetofan
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