Taglines: Teenage life has never been darker…or funnier…
The teenager Lane Meyer has a crush on his girlfriend Beth Truss. When Beth dumps him to stay with the successful skier Roy Stalin, Lane is depressed and decides to commit suicide. However he gives up and tries to improve his skill of skier to ski the dangerous K12 slope to impress Beth.
Meanwhile his neighbor Mrs. Smith receives the exchange French student Monique Junot and her fat son Ricky Smith considers Monique his girlfriend; however, Monique has an unrequited crush on Lane that does not note her. When Lane stumbles upon Monique in a high-school party, he befriends her. The upset Lane challenges Roy in a competition on the K12 slope but then he regrets. However Monique is a great mechanic and skier, and fix Lane’s Camaro and teaches him how to ski the K12 slope. What will happen to Lane?
Better Off Dead is a 1985 American teen romantic comedy film starring John Cusack and written and directed by Savage Steve Holland. It tells the story of high school student Lane Meyer who is suicidal after his girlfriend breaks up with him shortly before Christmas.
About the Story
In the town of Greendale in northern California, high school student Lane Meyer’s two main interests are skiing and his girlfriend of six months, Beth. But, Beth dumps Lane for the captain of the ski team, Roy Stalin. Roy is handsome, popular, and has skied the dangerous K-12 slope, but is also an arrogant bully who publicly mocks Lane and unfairly rejects him at ski team tryouts. Beth also criticizes Lane’s car, an old station wagon. Although Lane also owns a disabled 1967 Camaro, he has not been able to get it running.
Lane lives in a suburban development with his mother, Jenny, a ditzy housewife who improvises gut-wrenching recipes for family meals; his genius little brother, Badger, who never speaks but at the age of “almost 8” can build powerful lasers and attract trashy women; and his lawyer father, Al, who daily tries to stop the menacing paperboy, Johnny, from damaging his garage with thrown newspapers. Furthermore, Johnny claims that the Meyers owe him two dollars for newspapers, and persistently hounds Lane yelling “I want my two dollars!” Lane also regularly encounters two Japanese drag racers, one of whom learned to speak English by listening to Howard Cosell.
Lane cannot get past Beth’s rejection and decides that death is the only way out of his misery. He makes several half-hearted attempts at suicide, which all comically fail. With the help of his best friend, Charles de Mar, who in lieu of “real drugs” constantly inhales everyday substances like Jell-O, snow, and nitrous oxide in a whipped cream can, Lane tries to ski the K-12 himself in hopes of getting Beth back, but wipes out. Lane is further embarrassed when he gets fired from his humiliating fast food job at Pig Burgers in front of Roy and Beth, who are there on a date.
As Lane attempts to either end his life or win back his ex-girlfriend, he gradually gets to know a new girl: a French foreign-exchange student named Monique, who has a crush on him. She is staying with Lane’s overbearing neighbor Mrs. Smith and her socially backward son Ricky, who are so annoying that Monique pretends she cannot speak English. Monique turns out to be an excellent auto mechanic and skier who helps Lane fix his Camaro and tries to build his confidence.
When Roy insults Monique, Lane challenges him to a ski race down the K-12, with the winner to be captain of the ski team. Monique helps Lane prepare for the race, which he ultimately wins despite losing one ski and being pursued by Johnny. Beth rushes to embrace Lane at the finish line, but he rejects her and, after besting Ricky in a ski-pole swordfight, drives off with Monique in his Camaro. Lane and Monique are last seen kissing at home plate at Dodger Stadium.
Better Off Dead (1985)
Directed by: Savage Steve Holland
Starring: John Cusack, David Ogden Stiers, Kim Darby, Amanda Wyss, Demian Slade, Diane Franklin, Laura Waterbury, Aaron Dozier
Screenplay by: Savage Steve Holland
Production Design by: Herman F. Zimmerman
Cinematography by: Isidore Mankofsky
Film Editing by: Alan Balsam
Costume Design by: Brad R. Loman, David Roester
Set Decoration by: Gary Moreno
Music by: Rupert Hine
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: August 23, 1985