So, I just want to start out by saying that I love John Cusack and just about any movie that has him in it is okay with me, but for some reason this film had escaped me. It was a pleasure to go back and watch good ol' John in his prime.
Better off Dead is a story of teenage heartbreak and recovery. The film opens on Lane Meyer (Cusack), your average eighties teenage boy and his overt obsession with girlfriend Beth Truss (Amanda Wyss). Unfortunately, this passionate love affair only makes it through the first fifteen minutes of the movie when, suddenly, Lane's "bodacious" babe Beth dumps him for the captain of the ski team. After this painful break up Lane starts on a series of suicide attempts.
However, this movie isn't a drama. It's really a comedy hiding in a drama's clothing. How could it not be with a mother who cooks octopus stew, a hooker scoring younger brother, and most importantly a homicidal paper boy. I WANT MY TWO DOLLARS!!!
Like so many of the 80's teen flicks Better off Dead strives to realize through fiction what the alienation of being a teenager is really like. It highlights the experience of being the outsider in high school. Luckily, Lane finds comfort in the foreign exchange student staying with his creepy across the street neighbors.
My favorite part about this movie is the fact that it incorporates the fantastic into the everyday. Which perfectly illustrates the hyperbolic minds and emotions of teenagers in any decade.
This is a great example of the classic 80's dramedies and i would recommend it to anyone with a good sense of humor. Afterall, who needs the California Raisins when you've got a Charburger shredding on a Flying V.