Better off Dead
Better off Dead
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.

John Cusack, David Ogden Stiers, Kim Darby, Demian Slade, Scooter Stevens, Diane Franklin, Amanda Wyss

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Year: 1985
Running Time: 97 minutes
Genre: Comedy
Rating: PG

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00:00:37
The director (Savage Steve Holland) did these animations and later designed the animations for the 1980s game show "Press Your Luck".

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00:11:45
Amanda Wyss (playing Beth) was also Woody Boyd's girlfriend from Hanover, Indiana on "Cheers", where she played 'Beth Curtis'.

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00:13:50
Amanda Wyss (playing Beth) breaks up with Lane (John Cusack), and in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High", she breaks up Judge Reinhold (playing Brad Hamilton).

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00:22:57
169 N. Baldwin Ave., Sierra Madre, CA 91024-1905 (Notice the fire hydrant and street sign are the same.)

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00:23:13
Probably for comic effect, but the math being 'taught' here is complete gibberish.

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00:23:23
Vincent Shcivelli may be most recognized for his role in "Ghost", as the spirit in the subway who teaches Sam (Patrick Swayze) how to control things in the "living world".

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00:31:58
The jocks are all eating out of baby-food jars.

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00:33:45
"Now that's a real shame when folks be throwin' away a perfectly good white boy like that." -Tree trimmer

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00:34:47
"You've been starring over that edge for hours. People die down there! And dying when you're not really sick is really sick, ya know?! Really!" -Charles (Curtis Armstrong)

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00:38:34
David Ogden Stiers is probably best known for his role as "Charles Winchester" on M*A*S*H.

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00:43:42
Elizabeth Daily is a singer, songwriter, and musician and has made a career of being a voice actress. Some of her credits include playing 'Dottie' in "Pee-wee's Big Adventure", "Loverboy", "Friends" and "Dutch", as well as voices in "The Rugrats Movie", "A Rugrats Vacation", "Duckman", "The Powerpuff Girls" and "Curious George".

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00:44:41
Notice the red and grey "Freddy Krueger" sweater to the right of John Cusack. Amanda Wyss (Beth) was "Freddy Krueger's" very first victim in long running franchise of "A Nightmare on Elm Street".

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00:45:39
One Way Love (Better Off Dead) by E.G. Daily from the Better Off Dead Soundtrack

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00:52:24
Lane's little brother, "Badger" (played by Scooter Stevens) doesn't have a single line in the movie.

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01:13:46
Lane's Camaro was lost to movie history - until Jeff Dutton of Kissimmee, FL tracked it down and restored it. Read the story at www.BetterOffDeadCamaro.com.

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01:13:52
Diane Franklin (Monique Junot) also played 'Princess Joanna' in "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure"

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01:25:06
Johnny the paper boy's line "I want my two dollars" also appears in another John Cusack movie "Hot Tub Time Machine", when a skier goes by Cusack and tells someone on his his brick-style mobile phone "Guess where I'm calling from? That's right! I want my two dollars!"

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01:29:02
"You're the hottest thing since sunburn!" -Charles (Curtis Armstrong)

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01:36:55
The last credit of the movie says "the film's over... you can go now."

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