Better Off Dead… (1985) – Encore Review


“And dying when you’re not really sick is really sick, you know. Really!” – Charles De Mar

Number of Times Seen – Too many to count (Theater in ’85, cable, video, DVD, 9 Mar 2016 and 19 Apr 2020)

Link to original reviewHere

Brief Synopsis – After being dumped by his girlfriend, a high school student contemplates life and whether it’s worth living even though his attempts at suicide constantly fail.

My Take on it – This is another of my favorite films from my childhood during the 80’s because it is so much fun yet also has a great message about growing up and life.

I probably didn’t understand it as well beca when I first saw it than I do now, but soething still was able to trickle in 35 years ago to help me realize that this is such a great film.

They are able to find a way to encapsulate the feelings of a teen following rejection especially when he then begins to feel like a social outcast.

They might present things here as a pure comedy, yet there are some very important and poignant issues that come up throughout that help make this movie so much more powerful than a typical teen comedy.

The story and premise is actually quite timeless and the problems that teens of the 80’s had to deal with are not very different from the ones teens deal with now.

John Cusack is perfect in the lead role and is the perfect antithesis to a teen icon of that same era – Ferris Bueller.

The movie is filled with some great supporting characters and the fact that they spend enough time giving each of them unique quirks helps make things so much more entertaining and enjoyable to watch.

This is ultimately a movie that deals with how a teen can try and find themselves even when they think that their whole word is collapsing around them.

They somehow find a way to keep things so enjoyable and memorable that even after so many years, this film still stands up for me.

Bottom Line – Great film that really encapsulates the feelings of a teen who feels like a social outcast. The film might be a pure comedy yet they do deal with some very important and poignant issues that teens dealt with back in the 80’s and still deal with today which helps make things even more timeless to watch. Cusack is great in the lead and is the perfect antithesis to Ferris Bueller. The supporting characters all have fun quirks to watch and this helps make this film so fun and unique the whole way through.  The film is all about trying to find yourself when you think that the world is collapsing around you and they manage to keep this so enjoyable throughout. Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – According to Savage Steve Holland, the film is mostly autobiographical. Holland really was suicidal when his high school girlfriend left him for captain of the ski team. Also, he really did have a paperboy named Johnny Gasparini who would harass him for two dollars. According to Holland, when the film came out, the ex-girlfriend contacted him to apologize. (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (9/10) (no change from original review)

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2 thoughts on “Better Off Dead… (1985) – Encore Review

  1. Pingback: Temporal Top Ten – 1985 | MovieRob

  2. Pingback: Movies Reviewed Index A-Z | MovieRob

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