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Better Off Dead... (1985)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Romance  |  11 October 1985 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 30,890 users  
Reviews: 174 user | 40 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:

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... 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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This wasn't the first time Diane Franklin used a French accent in a film. For part of Second Time Lucky (1984) she played a French nurse in World War I. See more »

Goofs

When Ricky is holding his doll next to Monique on Christmas morning, the doll jumps around between shots. See more »

Quotes

Roy Stalin: You'd make a fine little helper. What's your name?
Charles De Mar: Charles De Mar.
Roy Stalin: Shut up, geek.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits feature a cartoon - the animation style is the same that Lane draws in the cafeteria later on. John Cusack's character in Savage Steve Holland's One Crazy Summer is also an aspiring cartoonist who draws in the same style. See more »

Connections

References ABC's Wide World of Sports (1961) See more »

Soundtracks

A Little Luck
Written by Angie Rubin
Performed by Elizabeth Daily
Produced by Steve Goldstein
Courtesy of A&M Records
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.


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

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