Better Off Dead (1985) Other movies recommended for you
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Plot: 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… Runtime: 97 min Release Date: 11 Oct 1985
Better Off Dead is the zaniest movie that I think I have ever seen. Let's just recap what this movie has in it. We have a guy that attempts suicide but he can't even succeed at that. There is his best friend that declares that a mountain they are on in the dead of winter is pure snow, saying " Do you know what the street value of this is?" We have a father that is trying to speak the lingo of his kids and fails miserably and a mom that cooks food that literally slides off it's plate. We have a math class full of genius' that get upset when they don't have <more>
homework to do. Lane has a younger brother who orders books on how to pick up trashy women and learns how to build rockets. We have the entire male population and Barney Rubble that wants to go out with Lane's ex-girlfriend now that they are broken up. There is two Oriental guys that want to constantly race Lane and then broadcast it over the loud speaker on their car. There is Porky from the Porky's movies basically playing the same role here, dancing hamburgers, a basketball team that grunts and of course the most relentless paper boy in the history of paper delivery. Whoooooooo! I'm out of breath. So why do I mention all of these things about the movie? Because all of these little issues combine to somehow make one of the funniest and zaniest movies you will ever see. Better Off Dead is so full of energy that there is enough material in here for ten movies. But Savage Steve Holland makes it work. Don't ask me how, but he does. I think I'm going to stop here because if you haven't seen this movie you have to see it now. This is a completely original film and it also one that no one will ever have the guts to make again. This is one hell of a film.
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 <more>
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. ***
This is a must have in your DVD collection. Some love it, some say OK, some don't laugh at all. I say, you must have the uncanny ability to laugh at things ordinary people wouldn't understand the humor in. I've owned this movie on VHS and now DVD and have a steady belt of laughter each countless time I watch it. This is one of those movies where you are with your friends twenty years later and go, "I WANT MY TWO DOLLARS" and the room jocularly erupts and instigates discussion. If you find yourself easily amused, can see the humor in the way life hands you a sour glass of <more>
milk to wash down lifes trials in love, then you MUST see this Classic Movie that made me a Cusack fan!
I recently held a movie survey for an upcoming 12-hour "silly film" party at my house. This movie, surprisingly, was the top title to be voted on out of about 40 movies. Then I thought about it a bit - I loved this flick, and over 14 years, videos have been rented and others saw it and love it as well. What other flick can have a homicidal paper boy, a japanese guy who speaks only as howard cosell, a car that has darkened our driveway for six months, the k-12, and charles demar? The love story inside of it is good as well. "Reminds me of the moonshine Ricky's dead pappy <more>
Ahhhh...an actual dark comedy. I watched this again, to clear my mind of "Wilbur..."What makes this a cut above is the composition of sight gags -- 'How to build a space shuttle out of household items' is in the foreground, and then the eye pulls back to reveal the mother battling a sea monster in a pot, which frustrates her attempt to cook it...Cusack frets over an impossibly broken binding, and in the same frame the 'paperboy from hell' appears on a weatherized delivery bicycle...it's priceless stuff.The story is told visually, you see...this has less to do <more>
with dialogue although what there is of it, is classic , than with the idea of the writer's imagination conflated with movie imagination conflated with movie 'reality'. We see Holland seeing Cusack seeing the situations somewhere in between Holland's imagination and the platform of the movie high school role playing - already a confused reality . At key points, Holland literally invents characters on paper or in stop motion animation to further warp that perception. These realities continually blur with 'real' reality, and the sheer absurdity keeps it seamless.Some impressive camera work during the skiing portions.This is capable film-making that can be enjoyed as what it was meant to be.
Eighties teen films, I love 'em. I never tire of this brand of entertainment that's a true product of it pop-culture times. There's something about this wonderful era. Everything about the humour had a natural build up, and even during the hits or misses it stayed consistently amusing without resorting to gross-outs. 'Better off Dead' fits that buck. Here's another cherished coming of age story through the eyes of a troubled teenager dealing with a dumped relationship and the embarrassments that seem to follow through the painful years of high school and everyday life. <more>
Wallowing in self-pity, eventually it comes to identifying self-confidence over what isn't the impossible. What am I going to type that someone hasn't already. Nothing. The plot is secondary to the oddball episodic set-pieces and comic characters, where the flow is unpredictable and original like out of some daydreaming teenager's imagination. John Cusack a pin-up boy for these roles has that likable, down-to-earth awe which fits. Surrounding him is a fantastically hearty support cast in David Ogden Stiers, Kim Darby, Diane Franklin, Demian Slade, Amanda Wyss, Curtis Armstrong, Dan Schneider and Laura Waterbury. Director Savage Steve Holland throws caution to the wind with his animatedly interesting style, but manages to make sure everything still comes together without really trying. Well it looks so. Visual gags also have a powerful note like the night-time chase sequence involving a persistent paperboy after his 2 dollars and the drag racing scenes with a pair of Asians. Even the ski scenes are well shot. An upbeat soundtrack pounds out the catchy, nostalgic tunes and cements an provocatively charming sincereness. It's hard to pass up this self-knowing, off-kilter teenage comedy/romance winner.
If you gotta see one 1980s "teen flick", this is THE one to see! (by MartinHafer)
It seems obvious that those responsible for this movie were schizophrenics. This alone can account for why the movie seems like two different films melded together AND why the humor is so bizarre and gut-bustingly funny! The biggest downside of the film is that it has so many of the dumb 80s clichés from teen films--without the main plot, the film actually would have scored a 9 or 10! The whole business about "having to ski the K-12" was just lame and got in the way of all the wonderful weirdness! My advice is to watch the film and then try to ignore all the plot--you're better <more>
off,...really.So what was so weird about the film?! Well, apart from John Cusack, his ex-girlfriend and the "evil rival", all the other characters are almost like a combination of a normal 80s teen movie and a Salvador Dali creation! I really don't want to ruin all the many, many, many surprises, but you've got to see such things as the family's Christmas presents, the "interesting" things Lane's brother does throughout the film, the paperboy from Hell, the scene where Mrs. Smith blows up, and so many more strange bits here and there. And, most of the strange little vignettes that are irrelevant to the plot are GREAT--except for the claymation part that just seemed dull for better claymation, see HAPPINESS OF THE KATAKURIS .This is inspired lunacy that unfortunately barely missed being a grand-slam because of some dull plot elements and a stupid claymation dancing hamburger. BUT, because of all the weirdness and fun, this is a wonderful film that can be enjoyed by kids or those who lived through the 80s and want to relive old times and laugh at the clothes and music!
The 80's were a great time for films. Though much of what came out of the decade is now considered stupid kitsch and not worth much, some of the films remain a really good time and it's refreshing to see a movie that never takes itself seriously in this day and age; when there seems to be an unwelcome feeling that only A-grade material can truly be accepted. Better off Dead is a surreal and inventive comedy from a man calling himself 'Savage Steve Holland', that depicts teen life. Better Off Dead can be summed up as a series of genius ideas strung together around one young <more>
man's ordeal after splitting up with his girlfriend. Of course, some of the jokes are extremely lame don't forget, it was made in the 80's , but the ones that work tend to work brilliantly and there's many funny moments in this movie. As mentioned, the plot follows Lane Meyer; a young man that is obsessed with his girlfriend. Well...until she breaks up with him because he's not popular enough, not good looking enough and doesn't drive a very nice car. And not only that, but she's left him for the captain of ski team; and he's a guy that isn't going to let Lane get away without being ribbed about it...If I were to sum up Better Off Dead in a word, I would use the word 'odd'. How many films can you think of that includes dinner walking off the plate, someone's mother being blown up and a living hamburger that has it's own girlfriend? I wager not many. While at times the film does become a little too weird, it's absurdity helps the plot as it helps to enforce the bewilderment that being a teenager can come with; and this helps to get the film's point across. Naturally, the film features an assortment of odd and wacky characters and this is always a good thing in a film of this kind. John Cusack takes the lead role in a time before he rose to superstardom, and it's roles like these early ones that shows why he did make that transition. Cusack leads the film with great charisma and always keeps you entranced with his character. This especially helps when it comes to the more touching scenes of the movie as it enables you to feel for his character and therefore get the full benefit of the scene. While Better Off Dead wont be winning any awards, it's still a wickedly entertaining movie and if you're a fan of kitschy fun movies, you cant go wrong here.
Lane Meyer Cusack fails to get over that his girlfriend Beth dumped him. After contemplating suicide, he meets a beautiful young french woman, Monique. For some reason, John Cusack dislikes this movie. Not sure I understand the reasoning, but I think this is one of his best movies and one of the most iconic. I prefer The Sure Thing, but this one is great. It has some terrific black humor that has the ability to make anyone laugh. Cusack gives one of his most memorable performances. Kim Darby is great as Cusack's Mom. Diane Franklin is enjoyable as Monique. If you're a Cusack fan <more>
like I am, go and see this one as soon as you can8/10