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Better Off Dead... (1985)

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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 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
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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:

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 »
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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

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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Camaro SS seen in the film was owned by the son of the transportation captain, who sold the car in 1989 a few years after the film's release. In 2002, the Camaro was located (in poor condition) at a private residence, where it was purchased, transported from Los Angeles to Orlando, Florida, stripped down, and restored by repair shop Time Machines of Hudson, Florida. The film car did not have the original motor (it was swapped out for a Chevrolet 400 out of a mid-1970s Impala or truck). As of 2014, the Camaro has been seen at several car shows. See more »

Goofs

Lane trips on the skates and accidentally pulls Chris' cheerleader outfit down around her ankles, exposing her underwear-clad body to the cafeteria. In the next shot that shows the outfit, it is away from her body, closer to lane, not near her feet. If Lane had actually pulled the outfit out from under her skate-clad feet, she would have tripped. See more »

Quotes

Lane Myer: Johnny...
Johnny: Four weeks, twenty papers, that's two dollars. Plus tip.
Lane Myer: Gee Johnny, I don't have a dime.
Johnny: Didn't ask for a dime. Two dollars.
Lane Myer: Well... it's funny see... my mom, had to leave early to take my brother to school and my dad to work cuz...
Johnny: ...two dollars... cash.
Lane Myer: See... the problem here is that... my little brother, this morning, got his arm caught in the microwave, and uh... my grandmother dropped acid and she freaked out, and hijacked a school bus full of... penguins, so it's kind of a ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

When Lane and Monique are at Dodgers Stadium sitting on his Camaro, the camera pulls away to a long shot. The paperboy (I want my two dollars!) can be seen riding across the baseball field towards them. 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 The Simpsons: Little Girl in the Big Ten (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

Winter Wonderland
Written by Felix Bernard and Richard B. Smith (as Dick Smith)
Performed by Darlene Love
Produced by Phil Spector
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Blurred Realities
15 February 2006 | by jldmp1See all my reviews

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 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.


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