Better Off Dead Movie Review

Did kids in 1985 "get" Better Off Dead? John Cusack wouldn't become a teen idol until 1989's Say Anything..., and here his combination loser/geek/skiing stud might come off as hard to relate to.

I don't know, I still love this movie, with its bizarre tangents/dream sequences, such as when Cusack's Lane crafts an animatronic, Van Halen-rocking hamburger during his part-time job. What's that got to do with anything? Well, nothing at all. In fact, all the skiing, talking cartoons, and odd meals ("Frahnch fries...") distract from Lane's frequent suicide attempts, upset over the loss of his girlfriend (Amanda Wyss). The film could have been a lot more disturbing -- but of course Lane never quite manages to off himself, and he doesn't get the girl back either; he trades up to the foreign exchange student across the street.

Directed by Savage Steve Holland (Who!? After reteaming with Cusack in One Crazy Summer, he went on to direct a lot of bad TV, including V.I.P. and Shasta McNasty.), Better Off Dead is half teen romance, half sports flick, and a whole lot of mindless (yet quotable) fun. It doesn't merit the classic status of a couple of its contemporaries, but Lane's predicament isn't all that unbelievable, even if he does have to shoot down a mountain on one ski in order to save the day.


Comments

Better Off Dead Rating

" Excellent "

Rating: PG, 1985

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