Monday, November 19, 2012

Better Off Dead (1985) review


This is really just another 80s teen movie with a basic plot and cheesy laughs, but this one does it oh-so-well with some surreality to it.

PLOT:Lane Myer (John Cusack) has been dating Beth (Amanda Wyss) for six months now, and things are looking great for his life. However, all spirals out of control when Beth dumps him for popular jerk, Roy Stalin (Aaron Dozier). Lane is hearbroken and attempts suicide at every chance he can get, but never ends up doing it, which is suprising due to his wacky family's obliviousness. If it weren't for his best friend, Charles (Curtis Armstrong), he'd be dead by now. He tries every possible thing from asking another girl to trying to impress by skiing the deadly K-12 slope. However, he doesn't know that the new French exchange student across the street, Monique Junet (Diane Franklin), may have caught a liking to him. It's a good plot executed fairly well.

ACTING:The performances in here are nothing really special aside from the lead actor. John Cusack plays a rather entertaining role as Lane Myer, and the beautiful Diane Franklin plays off of him very well as Monique Junet. The other shiners would be Curtis Armstrong as Charles, David Ogden Stiers as Mr. Myer, Laura Waterbury as Mrs. Smith, Dan Shneider as Ricky Smith, and Yuji Okomato as Yee Sook Ree.

SCORE:The score was composed mainly of cool 80s themes. The soundtrack included a few nice pop and rock songs from Van Halen to Elizabeth Daily.

ANIMATION:The animation in here is great, and ranges from drawn animatics to claymation. Both the animatics and the claymation are imaginative and fairly detailed. These random moments are what make the movie somewhat more interesting.

OTHER CONTENT:This is pretty much another 80s teen movie, but it has a few things that stand out: the animation sequences and heartbreak seen in Lane's character. His suicide state of mind brings a strange surreality to the movie based on emotion of teens who go through heartbreak: how they feel and overreact. Plus, this 80s film does everything right and borrows material from all of the right places as well as including its own jokes. However, it's still just another cheesy 80s movie at heart.

OVERALL,a great 80s movie with a good plot, average performances, cool score and soundtrack, imaginative and detailed animation, a certain surreality from the suicidal heartbreak, and everything an 80s teen movie needs, but it's just another cheesy and formulaic 80s flick.

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