7.2/10
34,171
182 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.
Reviews
Popularity
2,797 ( 164)

On Disc

at Amazon

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

An aspiring teenage cartoonist and his friends come to the aid of a singer trying to save her family property from developers.

Director: Savage Steve Holland
Stars: John Cusack, Demi Moore, Linda Warren
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A college student plans a cross-country trip to get laid, but ends up traveling with a young woman. They hate each other, so naturally...

Director: Rob Reiner
Stars: John Cusack, Daphne Zuniga, Anthony Edwards
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A noble underachiever and a beautiful valedictorian fall in love the summer before she goes off to college.

Director: Cameron Crowe
Stars: John Cusack, Ione Skye, John Mahoney
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Martin Blank is a professional assassin. He is sent on a mission to a small Detroit suburb, Grosse Pointe, and, by coincidence, his ten-year high school reunion party is taking place there at the same time.

Director: George Armitage
Stars: John Cusack, Minnie Driver, Dan Aykroyd
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A girl's "sweet" sixteenth birthday becomes anything but special as she suffers from every embarrassment possible.

Director: John Hughes
Stars: Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Justin Henry
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

When Keith goes out with Amanda, the girl of his dreams, Amanda's ex-boyfriend plans to get back at Keith. Meanwhile, Keith's best friend, tomboy Watts, realizes she has feelings for Keith.

Director: Howard Deutch
Stars: Eric Stoltz, Mary Stuart Masterson, Lea Thompson
Weird Science (1985)
Comedy | Romance | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Two high school nerds attempt to create the perfect woman, but she turns out to be more than that.

Director: John Hughes
Stars: Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, Kelly LeBrock
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A poor girl must choose between the affections of her doting childhood sweetheart and a rich but sensitive playboy.

Director: Howard Deutch
Stars: Molly Ringwald, Jon Cryer, Harry Dean Stanton
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A nerdy outcast secretly pays the most popular girl in school one thousand dollars to be his girlfriend.

Director: Steve Rash
Stars: Patrick Dempsey, Amanda Peterson, Courtney Gains
Real Genius (1985)
Comedy | Romance | Sci-Fi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Teenage geniuses deal with their abilities while developing a laser.

Director: Martha Coolidge
Stars: Val Kilmer, Gabriel Jarret, Michelle Meyrink
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A group of Southern California high school students are enjoying their most important subjects: sex, drugs and rock n' roll.

Director: Amy Heckerling
Stars: Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Judge Reinhold
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Terry Griffith has got it all -- looks, popularity, the perfect college boyfriend, and an article that's a shoo-in to win her a summer internship at the local newspaper... or so she thinks.... See full summary »

Director: Lisa Gottlieb
Stars: Joyce Hyser, Clayton Rohner, Billy Jayne
Edit

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
Chuck Mitchell ...
Rocko
...
Beth Truss
...
Aaron Dozier ...
Roy Stalin
Frank Burt Avalon ...
Roy's Ski Buddy #1
Edit

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:

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:

 »
Edit

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  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

People protested the film's original tagline, "Sometimes...you're Better Off Dead," so it was changed to "Relax...you're never Better Off Dead." See more »

Goofs

In the opening minutes after Al gets the rolled up newspaper that was thrown, he stands in the kitchen and talks about it being Sunday, but in the earlier scene showing the paper being thrown, it was obviously a weekday edition - much smaller than a Sunday edition. See more »

Quotes

Paperboy: I want my two dollars.
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 Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

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 »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

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.


16 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
John Cusack hates Better off Dead SpinCT
Does anyone know were I can try to locate a copy of 'Better Off Dead' jet_blanchard
Other Definitive 80's Comedies barrerarama
Favorite 80's blond bully - nemesis? ohlou326
who else thought Beth was a bit** glean7
Better Off Dead with Forgotten Flix Danish_Delight
Discuss Better Off Dead... (1985) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?