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Better Off Dead... (1985)

7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 29,992 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:

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:

 »
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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

In a 2004 interview, Savage Steve Holland said of his suicide attempts which inspired this movie: "I went into the garage, and I put an extension cord on a pipe and I'm on a garbage can, and I'm thinking, 'Should I do this? Maybe this isn't a good idea.' Anyway, it was a plastic garbage can, and my weight just like crashed through it, and I fell, and the pipe broke! And it starts pouring water everywhere. And I'm basically in a garbage can, drowning. And my mom comes and...starts yelling at me for breaking a pipe, which is what any mom would do. So I started writing down stupid ways to kill yourself that would fail after that, and I put them in sort of a diary. And that diary kind of became Better Off Dead... (1985)". See more »

Goofs

When Monique is throwing fruit at the sign she is only slightly bending over to pick up the fruit. When we see her from further away, the fruit is on the ground - at a height level much lower than to which she stoops to pick them up. When we see her closer again in the next shot to throw more fruit, she is only stooping half way again. See more »

Quotes

Lane Myer: [talking about skiing the K-12] Look Charles, I gotta do this. If I don't, I'll be nothing. I'll end up like my neighbor Ricky Smith. He just sits around crocheting all day and snorting nasal spray.
Charles De Mar: He snorts nasal spray? Know where I can score some?
Lane Myer: ARE YOU GONNA HELP ME OR NOT?
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 Family Guy: Road to Rupert (2007) 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 »

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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.


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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
Favorite 80's blond bully - nemesis? ohlou326
Does anyone know were I can try to locate a copy of 'Better Off Dead' jet_blanchard
who else thought Beth was a bit** glean7
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