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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

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Demian Slade ...
Scooter Stevens ...
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Ricky Smith (as Daniel Schneider)
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Brian Imada ...
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Aaron Dozier ...
Frank Burt Avalon ...
Roy's Ski Buddy #1
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Teenage life has never been darker...or funnier... 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  »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$56,371, 25 August 1985, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$10,297,601

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,297,601, 31 December 1985
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First of two collaborations of actor John Cusack and writer-director Savage Steve Holland. The second movie was One Crazy Summer (1986) the following year. See more »

Goofs

Charles DeMar (Curtis Armstrong) says to Lane Meyer (John Cusack) at the end of the algebra class, "if you make that run girls will get sterile just looking at you". Sterile is a male trait. Women can become infertile, but it's men who can get sterile. Charles isn't very bright (he remarked that he had been going to high school for seven and a half years), so a mistake like this on his part is not out of character. See more »

Quotes

Mrs. Smith: Do you have Christmas in France?
[squeezing Monique's cheeks]
Mrs. Smith: Chrisss-maaas! Christmas!
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 »

Connections

Spoofs Paper Moon (1973) See more »

Soundtracks

Arrested By You
Music by Rupert Hine
Lyrics by Torrence Merdur
Performed by Rupert Hine
Produced by Rupert Hine
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A teenager with a death wish.
22 September 2008 | by 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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