Thursday, August 26, 2010

#64 Better Off Dead - 1985

It is 80's week for me as I enter into my tenth week for my movie marathon. Its crazy to think that for the past 9 weeks I have watched 63 movies and blogged about each and every one. Craziness I tell you. This week is going to be a fun one! I have lots of favorite's in this bunch of films and I'm looking forward to each and every one. This could be called "ahhh the memories" week because all of these films remind me of something way back when I first saw it back in the 80's. I was somewhere between 10 and 13 most likely when I first saw these films so that is quite awhile ago. My first choice this week, Better Off Dead. Below is my detailed review.

This film had some interesting characters and although there were not any real big name actors in this film besides one the cast was great and very funny. John Cusak plays the role of the main character Lane Meyer. His father Al is played by David Stiers. His best friend is Charles De Mar is played by Curtis Armstrong who is famously known for his role of Booger in Revenge of the Nerds. Monique the foreign exchange student is played by Diane Franklin and she to me looks a little like Ginnifer Goodwin. Beth plays Lane's initial love interest and you might recognize her from being the first victim of Freddy Krueger in a Nightmare on Elm Street. Aaron Dozier stars as Roy Stalin, the movie villain and jerk and in a quite comical role Dan Schneider stars as Ricky Smith, Lanes neighbor. All in all the cast was great for this film.

I remember first seeing this film with my Grandma when at their place when I was younger. I remember her thinking it was really funny and I enjoyed it as well but now to think back it just kind of makes me smile to think we watched this one together. I also remember seeing Places in the Heart with her too but this one and that one couldn't be more polar opposites of each other and anyone who has seen them knows that. Ok enough about that and on to the movie.

Let me first start with this. I enjoyed this movie however not quite as much as I remembered and I cannot explain why. It had some very funny scenes throughout and interesting characters but maybe it was the story that was a bit much for me? I don't know? In any matter here is a short version of what that story was. Guy (Lane) is obsessed with girl (Beth) but girl falls for Ski Hunk (Roy). Guy kind of wants to kill self and tries but not really then has a sparked interest in the foreign exchange student who is living across the street for the summer. Guy's family is weird especially his mom and brother and he has a hilarious nerd friend, emphasis on the word "nerd". Guy eventually defeats Ski Hunk in a skiing competition and story ends up happily ever after with plenty of subplots throughout. There is your basic condensed version.

As I stated before this film had some very funny moments and below Ill list some of my favorites. Lets start with the father in general. I love his dry humor throughout the film. My favorite scenes with him was obviously the first scene of the film with him coming out front in a nightgown, yes I said nightgown to make sure to raise his garage door so the paperboy doesn't break anymore windows on it. Very funny scene to start the film. The brother in this film named Badger never speaks a word but is always cutting coupons and sending in for prizes. I like how he cuts the coupons off the cereal boxes before they are finished. Too funny.

Two of the funnier characters in this film were the two Asian brothers in the orange car that raced Lane. I love the comment that one never learned English but the other only learned it by listening to sports broadcasting by Howard Cosell, awesome. All the scenes with them are great especially the one where they along with their girlfriends all put on their "racing" helmets. haha. The scenes with Ricky were quite comical as well especially the one where he dances and the first time he meets Monique. I mean is there somewhere I can purchase those pants? Unbelievable and almost impossible not to laugh. If the pants don't make you laugh the Christmas present of an 8X10 self portrait of himself sure will. Very funny character.

The scenes with Roy were more annoying than anything else but I gotta admit he made you hate the character as all great villains and bad guys do (i.e.: Karate Kid, Revenge of the Nerds, etc). Typical blonde haired jock type bully in an 80's film. Beth on the other hand thought she was too cool for school and her character actually bugged me a little bit. I thought they could have picked someone prettier for that part personally but maybe she got it around the same time she got the role of the first victim in Nightmare on Elm Street? In a funny reference to the Elm Street flick one of Roy's friend is wearing the same sweater made famous by Freddy at the dance while walking right behind Beth, funny little reference to the horror classic there.

I thought Charles De Mar was hilarious in this movie especially when he laughed uncontrollably at Roy at the dance. This guy definitely has a contagious laugh and his little comments throughout were funny as well. My favorites were, "c'mon little trooper:", "buck up little camper", and the one at the end where he says Lane is the hottest thing since sideburns!! Elvis would be so proud. I loved all the horrendous and quite scary food scenes after mother Meyer cooked up some pretty hideous looking dishes, one that even moved off Lane's plate and crawled away. This is the same mom who wrapped up countless microwavable dinners as Christmas Presents and dressed up like a reindeer, oh the horror!

Some other cool scenes were the one where Lane's drawing comes to life in the cafeteria and also when the claymation hamburger dances and rocks out to "everybody wants some" while Lane is daydreaming while working. I love the mad scientist look and feel of that particular scene. Another funny scene with Lane was the qtip scene where he stuck qtips in his ears, nostrils, and mouth as I guess some sort of experiment? Not sure why but it was funny looking. The music in that scene was dull though however the song "Better Off Dead" that was performed at the dance was very catchy! Loved that song. Speaking of music I thought the song playing when Monique and Lane fixed up his camero was quite corny but had that total 80's feel so I guess it was ok. haha.

Speaking of Monique I thought she was adorable in this film. She had a go get him attitude and was a tomboy of sorts but looked quite cute in her ski outfit and when they went out to dinner. I am glad that she ended up being Lane's love interest in the film. Now I'm not sure which one came out first this film or Teen Wolf but the endings in these film almost paralleled each other. Underdog wins sporting event, the popular blonde girl wants the underdog but the underdog goes with the cute dark haired girl in the end. Love it love it love it. I also liked the final sword (with ski's) battle at the end between Lane and Ricky with the music that sounds strikingly similar to the theme song music for the WWF back in the 80's. The ending for this film was great with Lane and Monique sitting on his camero at home plate in Dodger Stadium. Technically that was not the real ending because Badger had built a spaceship which yes, tore through the roof of his Dad's beloved garage and took off into space. Whether or not Badger was in the space ship was something I guess we will all just have to wonder about and never really know. Do we really care though?? All in all I thought this film had plenty of funny scenes to make it a worthwhile view however it wasn't as great as I remembered. Still good enough for me to give it a B-!

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