7.1/10
39,945
202 user 47 critic

Better Off Dead... (1985)

Trailer
1:29 | Trailer
A teenager has to deal with his girlfriend dumping him among family crises, homicidal paper boys, and a rival skier.
Reviews
Popularity
2,948 ( 232)
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Cusack ... Lane Meyer
David Ogden Stiers ... Al Meyer
Kim Darby ... Jenny Meyer
Demian Slade ... Johnny Gasparini
Scooter Stevens Scooter Stevens ... Badger Meyer
Diane Franklin ... Monique Junot
Laura Waterbury ... Mrs. Smith
Dan Schneider ... Ricky Smith (as Daniel Schneider)
Yuji Okumoto ... Yee Sook Ree
Brian Imada Brian Imada ... Chen Ree
Chuck Mitchell ... Rocko
Amanda Wyss ... Beth Truss
Curtis Armstrong ... Charles De Mar
Aaron Dozier Aaron Dozier ... Roy Stalin
Frank Burt Avalon Frank Burt Avalon ... Roy's Ski Buddy #1
Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 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 7.3/10 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
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 high-powered laser for a university project. When their professor intends to turn their work into a military weapon, they decide to ruin his plans.

Director: Martha Coolidge
Stars: Val Kilmer, Gabriel Jarret, Michelle Meyrink
Summer School (1987)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Freddy the gym teacher has to teach remedial English in summer (high) school, if he wants tenure. As he can only teach gym and his students want fun, emphasis is on "field trips" - until he's fired unless all his students pass the test.

Director: Carl Reiner
Stars: Mark Harmon, Kirstie Alley, Robin Thomas
Action | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 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 | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

An outcast secretly pays the most popular girl in school one thousand dollars to pretend to be his girlfriend for a month.

Director: Steve Rash
Stars: Patrick Dempsey, Amanda Peterson, Courtney Gains
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 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
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 use a computer program to literally create the perfect woman, but she turns their lives upside down.

Director: John Hughes
Stars: Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, Kelly LeBrock
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
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

At Adams College, a group of bullied outcasts and misfits resolve to fight back for their peace and self-respect.

Director: Jeff Kanew
Stars: Robert Carradine, Anthony Edwards, Timothy Busfield
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

Photos

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:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The DVD sleeve notes declare that "writer/director Savage Steve Holland says 'Better Off Dead...' is semi-autobiographical. After his high school love ditched him, he picked up an 8-millimeter camera and made some depressing movies that had the exact opposite on his friends - they laughed." These couple of 8mm short films then got screened on the film festival circuit upon which Holland decided to develop the story ideas from these shorts into a feature-length screenplay for "Better Off Dead...". See more »

Goofs

[54:05]When Rocko (Chuck Mitchell) issues the keys to Lane (John Cusack) he tells him that he wants him in there at 6:00 to sweep and mop for the breakfast crew. Restaurants routinely do so at night while closing, so the place would be swept and mopped Friday night (or any other night for that matter). See more »

Quotes

Jenny Myer: Hello Lane. How was your day?
Lane Myer: Beth broke up with me.
Jenny Myer: Oh, heh, that's nice.
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 »

Alternate Versions

The network version (which most commonly airs on Comedy Central) had several scenes removed, including the jello snorting scene, Lane's brother with the "How to Pick Up Trashy Women" (along with the women themselves), and the Q-Tip scene in the bathroom. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Gilmore Girls: Raincoats and Recipes (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

One Way Love
Written by Steve Goldstein, Dwayne Hitchings, Craig Krampf, and Eric Nelson
Performed by Elizabeth Daily
Produced by Steve Goldstein
Courtesy of A&M Records
See more »

User Reviews

 
Bizarre. But disarmingly so.
18 December 2000 | by pleiades10See all my reviews

John Cusack's girlfriend has just dumped him for the biggest jerk in school, and John deals with the depression, anger, and frustration in humorous ways. Slowly, he finds himself bonding with French exchange student Diane Franklin, a beautiful and clever young woman, that helps to build up Cusack's self-image so he can win his girlfriend back.

Better Off Dead follows a familiar basic storyline. Main likeable character is dealt a bad hand in life, pulls themselves up by their bootstraps, and ends up triumphing over the people who pushed them down. This formula led to such films as "Animal House", "Revenge of the Nerds", and "Porky's". Not that these films are bad, they are just similar in basic plot.

Better Off Dead however, adds a bizarre surreal quality unaccomplished by these other films. Perhaps this is due to the claymation hamburger sequence, or the unlikely skiing competition at the end of the film.

Or perhaps it's due to the parade of familiar faces from other 80's films. John Cusack's best friend is none other than Curtis Armstrong, best known as "Booger" in the Revenge of the Nerds movies. Next door neighbor and consummate slob Dan Schneider is recognizable as "Dennis" from the TV show "Head of the Class". Cusack's boss at the fast food joint is played by Chuck Wallace, the title character from "Porky's". And with a bit part, yet one the funniest in the whole film, Yano Anaya reprises his "Grover Dill" persona from "A Christmas Story" in the form of a vengeful paperboy. I WANT MY TWO DOLLARS!!!!

Also has some of the funniest lines in 80's teen comedy, such as Franklin's accidental misuse of the word "testicles", and the comment made by an onlooker when Cusack tumbles into a trash truck.

Definitely better than the majority of 1980's teen comedies.


29 of 36 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 202 user reviews »

Videos

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 October 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Better Off Dead See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$56,371, 25 August 1985

Gross USA:

$10,297,601

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,297,601
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series



Recently Viewed