Title: Better Off Dead
Director: Savage Steve Holland
Original Release: 1985
My Overall Rating: 4 stars out of 5
The story: Lane Myer (John Cusack) is a neurotic teenager who concocts various suicide scenarios when his dreamy girlfriend (Amanda Wyss) dumps him for a more popular jerk (Aaron Dozier). On the surface, it's standard teen movie fare but Better Off Dead is relentlessly wacky, beginning with Lane's family. Mousy mom (Kim Darby) cooks everything to the same horrifying shade of green, including boiled bacon. Silent genius younger brother (Scooter Stevens) is building a spaceship. Hapless dad is waging war with the local paper boy. Thankfully, the French exchange student across the street (Diane Franklin) saves Lane from himself. My favorite characters are the Japanese drag racing brothers, one of whom (Brian Imada) speaks no English while the other (Yuji Okumoto) learned Howard Cosell English.
The film is not exactly overflowing with cultural value but it is extremely funny. Stereotypes tend more to the insensitive than outright offensive - nothing compared to Sixteen Candles. If you seek meaningful commentary on the human condition, you'll be disappointed. But if you're looking for a good laugh... I'll bring the popcorn. I'll even give you the mail-in coupon. And $2.
We hope that you, too, will watch Better Off Dead and join in our discussion. I'll post February's sign-up list tomorrow. Our feature on Friday, February 13th shall be... Napoleon Dynamite.
If you, dear cinephile, would be interested in suggesting a film and co-hosting Mock Squid Soup one month, please let us know. In the meantime, for the Better Off Dead discussion, please sign on to the list below.