Better Off Dead


“Savage” Steve Holland had a rough childhood. And if you don’t believe us, harken on back to 1985’s best (yes, BEST!) goofball teen comedy, Better Off Dead. In a 2004 interview (read it here!) he revealed that the film (as ridiculous and off-the-wall looney as it was) was actually semi-autobiographical.

Years before writing and directing Better Off Dead, Holland was a heartbroken teenager, whose girlfriend dumped him for the captain of the ski team. Sound familiar? And yes, he revealed, he even became suicidal after the breakup. Remember when Lane Meyer (the always-amazing John Cusack) tried to hang himself by an extension cord in the garage? Yup, Holland drew from personal experience. (Thankfully he failed as miserably as sad-sack Lane did.)

Better Off Dead, in case you need a refresher course, is so chock-full of quotable moments, it’s hard to fit them all into one little blog post. Along with, of course, the aforementioned “TWO DOLLARS!”, there was Lane’s best bud Charles instructing him atop the K-12: “Go that way, really fast. If something gets in your way, turn.”

And then Lane’s mom’s delightful French-inspired dinner for exchange student Monique, featuring “Frahnch fries and Frahnch dressing and Frahnch bread”.

And the two tree-trimmers spotting the Lane in the garbage truck after his failed jump off the interstate overpass: “Now that’s a real shame when folks be throwin’ away a perfectly good white boy like that.”

But the best moment came during big high school dance (which featured the oh-so-80s “One Way Love” by E.G. Daily) when ultra-douche Roy tries to make a funny at Charles and Lane’s expense. Charles (Curtis “Booger” Armstrong) responds with a bona-fide belly laugh that still stands as the funniest movie moment of the 80s. (Big talk, we know, but we stand by it.) Watch the whole thing here, starting at 42:36…

As great as Better of Dead is, imagine our shock and heartbreak when we found out that Cusack himself HATED the film. In that same interview, Holland recalled the actor’s reaction when he saw the film at a pre-release screening:

“About 20 minutes into it, [Cusack] walked out, and he never came back. The next morning, he basically walked up to me and was like, ‘You know, you tricked me. Better Off Dead was the worst thing I have ever seen. I will never trust you as a director ever again, so don’t speak to me,’ Holland recalled. “He was just really upset. And I said, ‘What happened?! What’s wrong?!’ And he just said that I sucked, and it was the worst thing he had ever seen.”


We love you, Cus’, but you’re way off base. Better of Dead is still a classic. And undeniably one of our favorite 80s flicks. You may hate it, bro, but…

We ♥ Better of Dead.


~ by weheart80s on May 2, 2017.

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