Better Off Dead movie review

It’s 80s Movies Week here on! I pity the fool who doesn’t enjoy a good 80s movie! Today, we’re checking out Better Off Dead, one of my all time favorite comedies. If you’ve seen this flick and hate it, I might suggest your sense of humor is not especially well rounded, but admittedly, this movie is weird. If you haven’t seen it yet, go check it out, because I’m going to spoil the hell out of this one.

Better Off Dead has it all. Romance, adventure, action, sports, comedy (lots of comedy) and captures an aspect of teen life that is universal to any generation. Some things never change and no matter what your age, you’ll see yourself somewhere in Better Off Dead.

Running jokes

I can’t think of a movie that does running jokes better than Better Off Dead. From "Get out of the car!" to "I want my two dollars!" to the Howard Cosell twins, this movie just keeps delivering.

The curious tag line: "Insanity doesn’t run in the family, it gallops."

I’m not exactly sure why they feature the family so prominently on the poster and in the tag line – sure, they’re characters in the movie, but this is a movie about a teenage boy who becomes suicidal after his girlfriend dumps him and they are oblivious to this. So, why the poster perpetuates the idea that Blane (John Cusack) is better off dead because of his family, I have no idea, but there it is.
But, his family is nuts, so it’s not an incorrect assertion, just not poster/tag line worthy…

And now, a two part 80s movie check list:

Song that is also the title of the movie? CHECK!

It doesn’t get more 80s than a song that prominently features the title of the movie that plays at some point during the movie. I like that this one is performed during the movie, as opposed to "Armed and Dangerous," which just plays over the climax of that film.

Like any good 80s movie, Better Off Dead has a first rate montage where they fix a car. (They’re always fixing or building something in an 80s movie montage, aren’t they? I call this "A-Team Syndrome." Does the claymation fantasy sequence count as a montage? No, I guess not. That’s one way to get a Van Halen song ("Everybody Wants Some") onto the soundtrack! And there’s a skiing montage, too.

Advice to live your life by

"Go that way, really fast. If something gets in your way… turn."

Is there anything this movie can’t do?

"Dying when you’re not really sick is really sick, ya know?" and "KEYS!"
Both are too true. You can never find your keys when you really need them.

About Jamie Insalaco

Jamie Insalaco is the author of, and editor in chief of

Posted on September 18, 2013, in movie review and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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