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Better Off Dead... (1985)

1:29 | Trailer
After his girlfriend ditches him for a boorish ski jock, Lane decides that suicide is the only answer. However, his increasingly inept attempts bring him only more agony and embarrassment. Filled with the wildest teen nightmares.
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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


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


Insanity doesn't run in the family, it gallops. See more »


Comedy | Romance


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The scene where Lane Meyer drives through the car wash to get Johnny Gasparini (the paperboy harassing him for $2) off his hood was filmed across the street from a scene in T.J. Hooker: The Protectors (1982). See more »


The number of plates jumps from three to one between two shots, both of which contain Mrs. Meyers in the slime dinner scene. Also, even though her hands are never out of the camera's view throughout the entire serving, she is never shown serving herself and yet has a full plate. See more »


Lane Myer: Uh, hello?
Monique Junot: Ah, bonjour.
Lane Myer: Monique, hi.
Monique Junot: Comment allez-vous?
Lane Myer: No thanks, I already had breakfast.
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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 »

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 »


Referenced in Svengoolie: The Invisible Man (2008) See more »


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
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User Reviews

Half 80s teen comedy, half insane
6 January 2016 | by cheroldSee all my reviews

Savage Steve Holland, who went on to create the insanely wonderful Saturday morning cartoon series Eek! the Cat, combined two 80s genres - John Hughes romantic comedies and gag-a-second movies like Airplane! to create one of the more unusual teen comedies of the 80s.

The movie stars John Cusack as a jilted teen pining for his ex while oblivious to the absurdly perfect girl across the street, the two girls falling into the classic 80s stereotypes of the cold blonde and the magical, quirky brunette.

Cusack is more emotionally unstable than a Hughes protagonist, spending much of the movie in inept attempts to kill himself.

He also has to deal with living in an insane world. His mom makes weird gloppy dishes that crawl away on their own power, a newspaper boy seems to be the beta version of the Terminator, Cusack's best friend snorts all his food. The movie is frequently hilarious, resulting in a minor classic.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Release Date:

11 October 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Better Off Dead See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$56,371, 25 August 1985

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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