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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

Better Off Dead

(Better Off Dead...)
1985 | United States | 97 min | More...
A still from Better Off Dead (1985)
B: 4 stars (out of 5)
on Fri Aug 06, 2021

John Cusack plays a Northern California teenager who finds himself lost after his girlfriend dumps him for the captain of the ski team. Between half-hearted suicide attempts, he hatches a plan to win her back. He’ll ski the notorious K-12 slope.

Cusack’s deadpan performance proves the perfect straight man for writer/director Savage Steve Holland’s blend of teen angst, black comedy, and outright absurdity. He’s vulnerable enough to evoke our sympathy but detached enough to allow us to laugh.

Sure, the film drags when Holland catches his breath between bits and the climactic ski scene underwhelms, but the sheer originality resonates. The Howard Cosell drag racers, the relentless paperboy, and the running joke where everyone wants to ask out Cusack’s ex. It’s been making me laugh for over thirty years.

Viewing History

    Watched on
    Fri Aug 06, 2021 via Blu-ray (2011 | Paramount Pictures)
    Watched on
    Tue Aug 28, 2018
    at Alamo Drafthouse Cinema - One Loudoun