Better Off Dead - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Better Off Dead Reviews

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May 4, 2017
A bloody hilarious, fun old film.
½ April 10, 2017
Probably one of the most cliche 80's comedies out there.

Better Off Dead tells the cliche tale of the teenage boy who's obsessed with his girlfriend who dumps him for a complete douche bag with long blonde hair and is captain of the ski team making the boy a miserable sod that tries to win her back by doing something only one person has ever done before: ski down the K12 slope despite her being a real bitch and not worth his time. He has the cliche dumb friend who hangs out with him even though they really don't have a lot in common. He has the cliche mom who is eccentric and also wears ridiculous clothing, talks in a high-pitched voice, and cooks horrible dinners. He has the cliche father who is an angry old man that is upset with how his son is living his life. He has the cliche younger brother that is much smarter than him. He befriends the cliche super attractive new with the hopes of getting his old girl back and instead ends up liking her in the end. Sorry not sorry for that spoiler but I mean who doesn't see that coming. Besides, even 12-year-old me watching this movie for the first time would have went with Monique over Beth. I had a bit of a crush on her back then and I remembered that I thought she looked so pretty when she was working on the car.

So why do I like this movie? Because within those cliches is so much randomness. Lane's obsessiveness with his girlfriend leads to him failing to commit suicide multiple times throughout the film! His friend Charles isn't just dumb, but he's also a drug addict that gets excited when he sees"pure snow" and starts snorting it! His father Al no matter what he does can't seem to prevent his garage door from being destroyed. His mother Jenny is so oblivious and weird, while running the vacuum, she almost lead to Lane hanging himself. And her cooking was so bad, she thought it was a good idea to boil the bacon because her husband said that it was too greasy, His brother Badger is building all kinds of gadgets including some sort of gun that fires lasers! And certain... naughty things you wouldn't expect from a boy so young. The new girl Monique is a foreign exchange student from France and she's living with the worst hosting family ever. The hostess Mrs. Smith is insane and stupid while her son Ricky is the most socially awkward and creepy dude ever! He barely speaks throughout the entire movie yet his grossness is still one of the main highlights of the film. And the entire time all you can think is, poor poor Monique.

And I didn't even mention the Asian brothers that want to drag race Lane all the time with the one brother driving and the other one announcing it in the voice of ESPN broadcaster legend Howard Cosell! Nor did I mention the Paperboy that is on a mission to get back the $2 that the Meyer family owes him for delivering the papers.

I also enjoy this movie because how quotable it is! Here are some of my favorites!

Charles: "Lane, I've been going to this high school for 7 1/2 years. I'm no dummy."

Worker: ""Man that's a real shame when folks be throwing away a perfectly good white boy like that."

Lane: "One night with me and she'll probably go blind with sheer ecstasy. Poor creature."

Rocko: "You wash your hands on your own time boy now get to work!"

Paperboy: "$2"

Lane: "You think you're such a big tough guy cause you're captain of the ski team."

Monique: "I think all you need is a small taste of success and you'll find it suits you"

And plenty of awesome Smith family moments. Poor poor Monique.

Mrs. Smith: "That's a Christmas present. You have Christmas in France? CHRISTMAS! CHRISTMAS!!!!"

Lane: "Gee I'm real sorry your mom blew up Ricky."

Really campy and somewhat dated movie that has it's fair share of bad overused jokes like the radio playing only break-up songs when switching from station to station or someone throwing a softball into a window breaking glass and them sneaking away making an "oooh" face with dogs barking etc. But it's got enough dark humor and plenty of jokes that actually are funny to make this worth your time if you're into cheesy 80's films that is. I see this as a poor man's Ferris Bueller's Day Off. It's not quintessential, but it's still feel good fun!
½ March 27, 2017
The magical realism and imagination of the film was excellent, even if it ran long and fluctuated in speed and tone at times. The dark humor didn't take itself too seriously and there were some seriously classic lines and moments.
February 20, 2017
What a great 80's comedy!!!
October 4, 2016
A high school comedy that goes higher than some of its outdated effects. Very high school minded and jokes that high schoolers would think of. The story has a nice progression. Funny how the top girl at the beginning feels so cheap in the end. Great effects with the french girl that sounds like a real french girl, and an incredible charm. That spiked the film with extra octane. The film is overall pushing the absurd fun enough to keep interest.
October 4, 2016
A high school comedy that goes higher than some of its outdated effects. Very high school minded and jokes that high schoolers would think of. The story has a nice progression. Funny how the top girl at the beginning feels so cheap in the end. Great effects with the french girl that sounds like a real french girl, and an incredible charm. That spiked the film with extra octane. The film is overall pushing the absurd fun enough to keep interest.
½ July 31, 2016
This is such a crappy movie. No, because it's filmed in the 80s it doesn't excuse it. None of the gags are funny. It feels like it was written by a 6 year-old, but even then, I think 6 year olds I know seem to have better jokes that this film does, and they just joke about poo!
If you watch this and enjoy it ...
June 20, 2016
This film is not for everyone, but having stumbled upon it I have to say that it is a true masterpiece of oddity, and it has the perfect mix of great humor and good storytelling. For me, this film trumps Ferris Bueller.
May 27, 2016
I didn't think that I would enjoy this film like I did. John Cusack did quite a good job playing Lane Myer. I think the reason I liked his performance as much as I did was because I also saw Say Anything... this year and to see John play nearly an entirely different role inside of the same age group was interesting. Speaking of Say Anything..., Better Off Dead... also has three periods after the name. What's up with that, late 1980 films?
March 11, 2016
I swear Better Off Dead just gets better every time I watch it. It's definitely a comedy of its time, with all its 80's-isms that are tropes of its time and comedies of that time, but its way of playing off of surreal comedy, irony, and deadpan nature make it so enjoyable to watch, and especially unpredictable for first time viewers. Its also just filled with a lot of random ideas or ideas that far exaggerate reality. There's a few ideas and jokes that do work against themselves and come off cringe worthy (the claymation sequence, ugh, just too lame and silly), but what stands out is that this is a totally 80's comedy that isn't totally what it is just solely because of its time, the director plays on ideas that he could only get away with at the time. Better Off Dead is a comedy that's cleverly dumb and goofy with its randomness and groaners, but it works better than most other comedies that were similar of its time.
November 26, 2015
John Cusack would rather die than not be with Beth...but, he just can't seem to pull off suicide.

Tagline: Have you ever snorted snow on top of a mountain at a ski resort?
½ September 17, 2015
Weird movie. But it is a lot of fun. Not the biggest Cusack fan but this one just has a kind of draw to it... I can't explain it but I like it.
½ August 21, 2015
Love it. 2 dollars!!
½ August 14, 2015
A surreal, very original take on the 80s teen movie genre. With hilarious writing and some pretty decent drama. Be sure to check this one out its a definite watch
½ August 13, 2015
Here's a film I admire a whole lot more than I like. It's not your average teen comedy from this period. It has a strange, manic edge to it that really sets it apart as it's own animal. That said, I don't really find it to be very funny. To be sure, it has a few really good jokes in it, but a lot of the time I think it's trying too hard with material that really isn't very strong. It has a really great cast though and is genuinely entertaining in it's odd little way.
½ July 31, 2015
It's a little rough around the edges, but almost every gag and visual joke is so, so good.
July 19, 2015
Pretty nice and funny, it just missed out a few things, but was very fun to watch skiing and the kid who shouted "2 dollars"!
July 12, 2015
When it gets out of treating suicide like a running gag and going for the absurd, Better Off Dead excels. But only then.
½ June 16, 2015
try to not quote this funny film
May 22, 2015
97 minutes of goofs, gags and arbitrary animations, Savage Steve Holland's in-your-face comedy is solid teen silliness from start to finish.
The film takes place in a sort of surreal anti-sitcom world, where Mums cook mush, props fall apart and characters act and speak like cartoon ducks. It's a comedy of errors and exaggerations to the extreme, yet even when the jokes fall flat, the film's always upbeat, always unusual and always great fun. Plus it's pathos-free and has bags 80s charm to boot. Terrific stuff.
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