7.2/10
35,841
186 user 40 critic

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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2,963 ( 59)

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Director: Steven Lisberger
Stars: John Cusack, Robert Loggia, Jerry Stiller
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Cast

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
...
Rocko
...
Beth Truss
...
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  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$56,371 (USA) (25 August 1985)

Gross:

$10,297,601 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Beth shows up at the dance, there is someone behind her wearing Freddy Krueger's sweater. Amanda Wyss played Krueger's first victim in A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984). See more »

Goofs

When the paperboy is chasing Lane and Roy down the mountain you can hear the card in the spokes on his bike making noise. That is not possible. The wheels aren't turning because they are mounted on skis. See more »

Quotes

Lane Myer: Johnny...
Johnny: Four weeks, twenty papers, that's two dollars. Plus tip.
Lane Myer: Gee Johnny, I don't have a dime.
Johnny: Didn't ask for a dime. Two dollars.
Lane Myer: Well... it's funny see... my mom, had to leave early to take my brother to school and my dad to work cuz...
Johnny: ...two dollars... cash.
Lane Myer: See... the problem here is that... my little brother, this morning, got his arm caught in the microwave, and uh... my grandmother dropped acid and she freaked out, and hijacked a school bus full of... penguins, so it's kind of a ...
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

Referenced in Ugly Americans: The Stalking Dead (2012) 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
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User Reviews

 
The ultimate teen angst flick!
23 August 2005 | by (Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States) – See all my reviews

If there was ever a role that John Cusack milked until it mooed, this one would have to have been it. His portrayal of Lane Meyer will forever be remembered in high school lore as the Ultimate Champion of the Underdog. I laughed so hard my sides ached and tears were running down my cheeks. What has long been a cult classic, this film did an excellent job of portraying the awkwardness of those teenage years that all adults thank God every day that we now have behind us. "Savage" Steve Holland's directorial debut was simply sensational; he could not have picked a better vehicle in which to make his mark!

Rounding out the cast includes Amanda Wyss as the fickle girlfriend who is more interested in her popularity than anything else; David Ogden Stiers (Major Winchester from M*A*S*H fame) as the dad who tries too hard to be "in", Kim Darby is priceless here as the mother who is completely, absolutely and utterly clueless, Scooter Stevens as Lane's little brother Badger is one ongoing surprise after another, and what is probably going to go down as BY FAR the most coveted film role in the 20th century, Demian Slade plays the paperboy from Hell. His portrayal alone makes the film not only worth watching, but worth buying! To close matters off in the casting department, the chemistry between Cusack and Diane Franklin – who plays the French foreign exchange student Monique Junot, is something that simply cannot be denied. Keep in mind however, that whatever you do – that like The Cable Guy – DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT take your eyes off that paperboy!

Cusack and Holland do a perfect job of capturing that period of time in the 1980's better than any other film of the period. This film is well worth an evening's entertainment. Rent it once, and then buy it, as you will want to watch it many times over. It took me SEVEN YEARS to find a copy in VHS. The DVD was just bought for $10.00 and change from from Wal-Mart.com. I highly recommend this film to one and all as a MUST-OWN!

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this film a 12/10. ***


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