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Better Off Dead... (1985)

7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 29,691 users  
Reviews: 171 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:

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  »

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

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

The High School quest singer is wearing a sleeveless dress. The next song she sings she has puffed sleeves on her dress. See more »

Quotes

Charles De Mar: Greendale is a bodaciously small town, Lane. A fly speck on the map - a rest stop on the way to the ski slope. I can't even get real drugs here!
[holds up a bottle of whipped cream]
See more »

Crazy Credits

When Lane and Monique are at Dodgers Stadium sitting on his Camaro, the camera pulls away to a long shot. The paperboy (I want my two dollars!) can be seen riding across the baseball field towards them. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Morning RPG (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Dancing In Isolation
Music by Rupert Hine
Lyrics by Torrence Merdur
Performed by Terri Nunn
Produced by Rupert Hine
Terri Nunn's services courtesy of Geffen Records and Phonogram 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.


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John Cusack hates Better off Dead SpinCT
Was this movie written by a child? Dumb and Cheesy. waters-9
Other Definitive 80's Comedies barrerarama
Does anyone know were I can try to locate a copy of 'Better Off Dead' jet_blanchard
Favorite 80's blond bully - nemesis? ohlou326
who else thought Beth was a bit** glean7
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