Better Off Dead

Feb 12, 2023

I’ve been reminiscing about some of my favorite movies and I discovered a lot of my favorites, besides the obvious ones, are not very well known, such as Better Off Dead. These movies tend to be low budget, but well done. At least I think they are well done. If they had a run in the theatres, it was very limited. Another reason a lot of my favorite movies are virtually unknown is because of their age.

**groan** Yes, I’m old. We’ve been over this before. Don’t laugh. You’ll be old one of these days and you’ll be telling your kids about Avengers: Endgame and they’ll complain how cheesy a movie it is and they’ll wait for the reboot.

Better Off Dead Movie Poster

But, I digress.

When I think of my favorite movies, the one that always pops to mind first is, Better off Dead. Created by Savage Steve Holland, Better Off Dead debuted in 1985. The premise of the movie is about a high schooler who loves to ski and is obsessed with his girlfriend. The high schooler, Lane Meyer starts thinking about suicide when his girlfriend dumps him for the ski team captain. Lane’s life is not much better being surrounded by the outcasts of the school. There are several iconic characters in this movie. The two that stood out were Lane Meyer, played by John Cusack and Charles De Mar, played by Curtis Armstrong. Charles De Mar is a druggy, but can’t score any real drugs, so he resorts to snorting anything else he can get his hands on such as Jello and actual snow.

Some of the other memorable characters in the movie are Ricky, the fat kid across the street, whose mom brings in Monique, a French foreign exchange student, so Ricky can have a chance with a girl. The newspaper boy who terrorizes Lane for the monthly paper bill of $2.00. The two Vietnamese brothers who are always trying to race Lane. One of the brothers learned how to speak English by imitating Howard Cosell. Lane’s mom who creates creatures instead of meals. The mean and disgusting boss who Lane has had a couple of car accidents with. Lane’s brother who builds hi-tech toys out of the mail away coupons on boxes of cereal and in comic books. Finally, Lane’s dad who is reading self-help books, trying to understand Lane.

I found this movie on video a couple of years after it came out. I immediately fell in love with it. It came into my life during a rough time in high school. Whenever I was feeling down I would rent Better off Dead. It would have been cheaper for my parents if they had just bought a copy. Even though I had the movie memorized the jokes and gags always lightened my heart. Also, when watching the movie I knew things were never bad enough to try suicide.

In closing let me share some of my favorite quotes with you. I hope you will find this movie somewhere and enjoy it. At the very least the quotes will make more sense.

“I want my two dollars!”

“This is pure snow! Do you have any idea the street value of this mountain?!”

“You said you don’t like all the grease from bacon…so I boiled it.”

“Go that way, really fast. If something gets in your way, turn.”

“And dying when you’re not really sick is really sick, you know.”

“I’ve been going to this high school for seven and a half years. I’m no dummy.”

“Now that’s a real shame when folks be throwin’ away a perfectly good white boy like that.”

“Gee, I’m real sorry your mom blew up, Ricky.”

“The K-12 dude. You make a gnarly run like that and girls will get sterile just looking at you.”