Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Better Off Dead 1985
"My little brother got his arm stuck in the microwave. So my mom had to take him to the hospital. My grandma dropped acid this morning, and she freaked out. She hijacked a busload of penguins. So it's sort of a family crisis. Bye!" -- Lane to the paperboy.
"I want my two dollars!" -- The paper boy to Lane.
Alright--who's ever tried to commit suicide? It's okay, don't answer. But I'll tell you who has: John Cusack's character Lane Meyer in Better Off Dead.
So what's the big deal if your girlfriend dumps you? You may have to take down the pictures of her plastered throughout your bedroom. But what if she dumps you for the captain of the ski team named Roy Stalin? Then you definitely become suicidal. Here's Stalin:
Take that story line and throw in a huge ski slope called the K-12, a foreign exchange student who wants to get it on, and a relentless paper boy who keeps stalking you and yelling, "I want my two dollars!" and you get Better Off Dead. Did I mention the best friend who has trouble finding drugs in the small ski-tourist town? He's funny, too. At one point they show him snorting "pure snow." But it's not cocaine. It's snow.
Lane's family is just as zany as the rest of the cast. The mom must be on daffy pills. She talks about being creative with her cooking and spoons out a glob of green something, while her face contorts and her eyes cross, and her perm sticks close to her head. you have to wonder what kind of father would stay with a woman like that. He tells Lane it's time he get over Beth, his ex-girlfriend, and start being like normal people and dating again. The hideous girl he makes Lane take out has braces and reminds me of the annoying girl from Hey Arnold!
The cast is the best part of this movie. There are occasional gag jokes and the suicide angle is pretty funny at times, but the characters are really what makes this movie work. One highlight has to be the foreign exchange student Monique, forced to be a sex slave to the repulsive son of a typical ignorant American family. At least there's one person in this town who has it worse than Lane.
Tom's Better Off Dead Page
If you're feeling suicidal, this site may help