Monday, January 02, 2006

[DVD] Better Off Dead (1985)

This movie is so typical of the 1980s teenage comedy classics, like Ferris Bueller's Day Off, or Fast Times from Ridgemonth High. It has your typical teenage protagonist, who can be either a complete loser geek, or on the flip side, the coolest dude in school. The plot would typically be about him getting his girl, or trying to win back his girl, against simple odds, in ridiculous madcap situations.

A very young John Cusack plays Lane Meyer, a boy who loses his girl Beth to the school's ski jock Roy, who is the only person alive to ski the K-12. Frustrated by Beth's throwing of their 6 months relationship, Lane tries to commit suicide, only that he becomes unsuccessful in his attempts.

Of course, you cannot keep our good man down, and he slowly rediscovers his self belief and confidence, courtesy of a new romance with French exchange student Monique Junot.

The cast is relatively huge, starting with the Meyer family - a father who can't get proper respect, a kid brother who is the family genius, and a mother who's cooking is of strange colours and can walk around on its own. You also have the loud mouthed neighbour with her overweight son, a nasty diner employer, a wicked and persistent newspaper delivery boy, two Asian brothers who like to race Lane, and of course, Beth and Roy.

The jokes come in hard and fast, and varies from slapstick, to wit. I particularly like the scene where Lane and Beth first met, with the totally insane touching of the nose and ears stemming from reading too much of the opposite sex's body language. You'll probably be able to identify with some of the situations too, the pains of growing up.

In all, Better Off Dead is one of Cusack's early movies, which seem to suggest that he's a master at playing non-conventional characters, as seen from his filmography. Definite must watch for his fans.

Really barebones version of a Code 1 DVD.

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