I want my two dollars.
The cult cry of a generation . . . and the cry of the most bizarre villian surrounding inland Californian teenager Lane Meyer in “Better Off Dead”.
Had the movie not been so dark, dealing with an awkward lighthearted jab at teenage suicide, this stoner flick had all the other components to propel it to the top of the mid 80s teen movie list, standing next to such classics at The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, and Pretty in Pink. Instead, the central point of the story centralizes itself around Lane Mayer (John Cusack) half heartedly attempting suicide a variety of ways after his girlfriend breaks up with him. Meanwhile, Lane tries to constructively move along, getting a job, skiing, and going to school, but comedy and hilarity meet and defeat him at many turns, inspiring his continued listlessness.
Let’s check some boxes.
Drug references: Check.
80s campy comedy bits? Check.
Adversity from all directions towards a teen? Check.
Clear depiction of awkwardness of teen sex discussions in the 80s? Check.
All the trimmings of a successful comedy? Check.
Actors: John Cusack (Sixteen Candles, Con Air), Amanda Wyss (Nightmare on Elm Street), Curtis Armstrong (Revenge of the Nerds, Moonlighting), David Ogden Stiers (MASH, Doc Hollywood), Yuji Okumoto (Karate Kid II, Inception), Steven Williams (Twilight Zone, Birds of Prey [and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn]), and Taylor Negron (Fast Times at Ridgemont High, The Stoned Age).
I don’t want to give away too much in these reviews, but this movie is totally worthy in a stoner teen rom-com from the 80’s way. You can currently stream it at Showtime, Roku Channel, Amazon Prime, Hulu, or SlingTV.