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Better Off Dead (Widescreen)

4.4 out of 5 stars 90 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: John Cusack, David Ogden Stiers, Kim Darby, Demian Slade, Scooter Stevens
  • Directors: Savage Steve Holland
  • Writers: Savage Steve Holland
  • Producers: Andrew Meyer, Gil Friesen, Michael Jaffe, William Strom
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, DVD-Video, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: PG
  • Studio: CBS
  • Release Date: July 16 2002
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 90 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B00005JKFA
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #8,612 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Cusack/Stiers/Darby/Slade/Stevens/Franklin ~ Better Off Dead (1985)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
John Cusack has done some campy flicks One Crazy Summer and Better Off Dead. This one far exceeds the first. There are so many funny scenes I don't know where to begin. The soundtrack although disappointing on the CD will not disappoint on the DVD. Too bad no additional footage or goodies like that. To me this was John Cusacks best movie.
Favorite Moments (Close your eyes and remember)
1) CHRISTMAS! DO THEY HAVE CHRISTMAS IN FRANCE? CHRISSSSMASSS! Opens picture of Ricky and goes outside and laughs for about 5 minutes on the front step.
2) TWO DOLLARS, PLUS TIP! I don't think there can ever be a more evident line for a movie than this. All you have to say to someone is "TWO DOLLARS!" Chances are if they saw this flick they will say "BETTER OFF DEAD".
3) "DUDE, RIGHT NOW I CAN BE MAKING SOME KILLER EGGNOG FROM LIGHTER FLUID!" "CHICKS WILL GET STERILE JUST LOOKING AT YOU" "BUCK UP LITTLE TROOPER" Charles Demar or Booger as you may have come to know him steals the scene on several occassions.
The funny thing is he teams up with Cusack again in One Crazy Summer.
5) IT'S GOT RAISINS IN IT, YOU LIKE RAISINS - With that the green slime crawls off of its plate and across the table.
I could go on for hours, do yourself a favor and buy this movie! If you want to remember the eighties all over again this will bring it all back home. A great cast, script and many, many laughs. Also check out One Crazy Summer, along the same lines.
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Format: VHS Tape
This is a great movie to have around for those nights when you really don't want to think about how it is, but would rather think about how it was. 143 people can't be wrong. John Cusak might be the most easily identified with actor of my generation, (with apologies to Jon Cryer, who makes a good race out of it.) The first time I saw it in the cheap local theater I almost suffered an incontinent moment when Layne (Lane?) uttered, "Gee, I'm sorry your mom blew up, Ricky." It's lines like that, scenes like David Ogden Stiers in the reindeer head coat, and the only known soundtrack appearance of Van Halen's "Everybody Wants Some" that make me go back for this one again and again.
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Format: DVD
I don't like many '80's movies, and I like even fewer teen movies. However, I'm more than willing to make an exception in the case of "Better Off Dead." No matter how many times I watch it, this movie just won't stop being funny. It's a dead-on examination of high-school alienation and suburban depression, with a twisted sense of humor that separated it from overrated (in my opinion) '80's movies like "Risky Business" and "The Breakfast Club."
In the role he was seemingly born to play, John Cusack performs the lead role of Lane Myer, a high school student driven to the brink of suicide after the girlfriend he's obsessed with dumps him for the more popular ski team captain. Lane is essentially a human punching bag, with little indignities and embarassments piling up on him until his life becomes intolerable. He has a weird passive-aggressive quality about him, suffering mainly in silence even as his frustrations mount and he tries to figure out a way to improve his lot. To some viewers, Lane might seem like a baby who exaggerates his problems, but anyone with fresh memories of suffering through high school knows better. Lane is such a relatable and enduring character precisely because during your teen years everything often seems like a matter of life and death.
What really makes the movie, though, is the collection of screwball characters and director Savage Steve Holland's keen eye for inspired details. "Better Off Dead" is filled with little bizarre elements that may not have much of anything to do with the plot, but they'll make you laugh. Lane's little brother builds elaborate futuristic contraptions and studies (with great success) the art of picking up trashy women. Lane's math class sits in rapt attention as their teacher explains a geometry problem.
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Format: DVD
I sit here at work and read the reviews that proceeded mine and notice something. Some people "get" it. Some don't. The question that comes from this is "Are the people who sit and wait for that sublime moment when Ricky half jumps trying to catch his balloon and then rewind, watch it again, rewind, watch it again, rewind... somehow better than everyone else?" The answer is a sad but definite yes.
If you honestly watch this movie hoping to be enthralled by its plot, cinematography, and acting performances, you quite possibly are a moron. That's not what this movie is about. It's about the "international language." It's about learning the street value of a mountain and where to score some nasal spray. It's about beating some Korean kids off the line (one who speaks Howard Cosel while the other speaks no English at all) without having you dental plan activated. I make no attempt to try and convince you that this is a great movie. It is what it is. I will however give you this bit of advice, look for the little things. Look for the timing as Lane comes oh so close to eating the spoon full of cat food as he ponders the possibility of it all being just a big test. See Charles mouthing to his fetal pig (or whatever it is) in the jar to "WAKE UP!" as the camera pans by. Sure it has great lines. Sure it has funny moments. But the point I'm trying to make is that you will not enjoy this movie as much the first, second, or third time as you will the 15th, 16th and 17th. It's just that kind of flick.
As far as the DVD version goes, I would have to tell people to stick to the VHS. While obviously the picture and sound qualities are better it lacks the feel that comes from the haze of a worn out VCR. In moving back to the wide screen, much of the intimate feel is lost because this is never a movie that needs to open up and show the world. Live in its smallness. Embrace it. And most importantly, take it for what it is. No more. No less.
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