Better Off Dead Movie Poster
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Better Off Dead PG

1985 ▪ Comedy ▪ 98 Minutes

Directed by Savage Steve Holland. Starring Demian Slade, Amanda Wyss, Kim Darby, John Cusack, and David Ogden Stiers.


Most animation aficionados of the 1990s know "Savage Steve Holland" as the cocreator (with Bill Kopp) of the all-stops-out TV cartoon series Eek! The Cat. But Holland had been exercising his own peculiar brand of deviltry on live characters long before Eek! came into being. In Holland's Better Off Dead, John Cusack plays a lovestruck teenager, hopelessly enamored with Amanda Wyss. When she dumps him in favor of a more popular high-schooler, the boy's entire day quickly goes to Hell. In the words of Hamlet, all occasions do inform against Cusack: he is bullied, tormented and torn apart by everyone from the paperboy (who seemingly turns up everywhere) to the disembodied voice of a radio deejay. Cusack attempts suicide, but his efforts are just as unsuccessful-and amusing-as Bud Cort's in Harold and Maude. Meanwhile, French exchange student Diane Franklin, held a virtual prisoner by her host family, develops a long-distance crush on Cusack.


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