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.
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.
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.
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
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 »
[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 »
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 »
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 »
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.
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