7.2/10
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194 user 41 critic

Better Off Dead... (1985)

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:
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 Junet
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
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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:

Teenage life has never been darker...or funnier... See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 October 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Better Off Dead See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$56,371, 25 August 1985, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$10,297,601

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,297,601, 31 December 1985
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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Amanda Wyss played a character in Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982) who dumps her boyfriend (Judge Reinhold) and she does it again to Lane Meyer here. She apparently has a history of dumping boyfriends in high school. See more »

Goofs

When Monique is working on Lane's car, we see various parts lying on the ground in the opening shot. She shows Lane she has gotten his car running, despite the fact one of the parts is the distributor, which is necessary for the car to start or run. 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 last line of the credits reads The film's over... you can go now. 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 How I Got Into College (1989) See more »

Soundtracks

Everybody Wants Some!!
Written by Edward Van Halen, David Lee Roth, Alex Van Halen, and Michael Anthony
Performed by Van Halen
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records by arrangement with Warner Special Products
(P) 1980 Warner Bros. Records Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The ultimate teen angst flick!
23 August 2005 | by MrBallroomSee all my reviews

If there was ever a role that John Cusack milked until it mooed, this one would have to have been it. His portrayal of Lane Meyer will forever be remembered in high school lore as the Ultimate Champion of the Underdog. I laughed so hard my sides ached and tears were running down my cheeks. What has long been a cult classic, this film did an excellent job of portraying the awkwardness of those teenage years that all adults thank God every day that we now have behind us. "Savage" Steve Holland's directorial debut was simply sensational; he could not have picked a better vehicle in which to make his mark!

Rounding out the cast includes Amanda Wyss as the fickle girlfriend who is more interested in her popularity than anything else; David Ogden Stiers (Major Winchester from M*A*S*H fame) as the dad who tries too hard to be "in", Kim Darby is priceless here as the mother who is completely, absolutely and utterly clueless, Scooter Stevens as Lane's little brother Badger is one ongoing surprise after another, and what is probably going to go down as BY FAR the most coveted film role in the 20th century, Demian Slade plays the paperboy from Hell. His portrayal alone makes the film not only worth watching, but worth buying! To close matters off in the casting department, the chemistry between Cusack and Diane Franklin – who plays the French foreign exchange student Monique Junot, is something that simply cannot be denied. Keep in mind however, that whatever you do – that like The Cable Guy – DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT take your eyes off that paperboy!

Cusack and Holland do a perfect job of capturing that period of time in the 1980's better than any other film of the period. This film is well worth an evening's entertainment. Rent it once, and then buy it, as you will want to watch it many times over. It took me SEVEN YEARS to find a copy in VHS. The DVD was just bought for $10.00 and change from from Wal-Mart.com. I highly recommend this film to one and all as a MUST-OWN!

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give this film a 12/10. ***


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