[[quoteright:217:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/BetterOffDeadPoster_1758.JPG]]

'''Better Off Dead''' is a 1985 comedy film directed by Savage Steve Holland and starring Creator/JohnCusack.

After being dumped by his utterly-unfaithful girlfriend, luckless teen Lane Meyer makes several futile attempts to kill himself, while wandering in and out of a series of encounters with the residents... inmates of his bizarre hometown. These include his super-genius younger brother Badger; his severely-underachieving best friend Charles; a pair of Korean car-racing enthusiasts, the one who speaks English having learned it by listening to Howard Cosell; and one ''very'' determined paper-boy. Lane's life finally begins to turn around when he meets Monique, a comely French exchange student who has been sentenced to live with Lane's grotesque neighbors.

Probably doesn't ''quite'' make it to classic status, especially the ending which veers off into painfully straight teen-movie win-the-athletic-competition territory, but mentioning this film or quoting from it is very likely to bring a smile to the face of Tropers of a certain age. It does have a pretty strong cult following due to the fact that aside from that ending, it has a different sense of humor than most 80's teen comedies and seems far less dated than other films of its type.

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!!This film series provides examples of:

* AbhorrentAdmirer: Ricky and his pursuit of Monique.
* TheAce: Everyone other than Lane seems to have incredible skill at doing things. Highlighted by Lane's younger brother, who uses his book knowledge to pick up trashy women and build a ''launchable space shuttle'' in the attic.
* {{alllowercaseletters}}: The opening and closing credits.
* AscendedMeme: "I want my two dollars!"
* AnimatedCreditsOpening
* BlondGuysAreEvil: Roy Stalin
* BracesOfOrthodonticOverkill: Lane's unfortunate but practical blind-date.
* BreakingTheFourthWall: In-universe example: Barney Rubble of ''TheFlintstones'' interrupts a broadcast to ask Lane if he can date Beth.
* BungledSuicide: Several -- it's one of the film's {{Running Gag}}s.
-->'''Lane:''' ''Gee, I'm real sorry your mom blew up, Ricky.''
* BurgerFool: Lane has to wear a hideous pig-themed hat, even though he works back in the kitchen.
* {{Cameo}} / PropRecycling: Twiki from ''Series/BuckRogersInTheTwentyFifthCentury'' appears in the background of the Christmas scene.
* {{Claymation}}: A brief sequence set in the burger joint where Lane works.
* CloudCuckoolander: Lane's mother Jenny.
* CoolCar: Initially averted with Lane's canvas-draped, cobwebbed (and nonfunctional) Camaro. But once [[WrenchWench Monique]] gets her hands on it, it goes from aversion to expression.
* TheDeterminator: "I want my two dollars!!"
* DrivenToSuicide
* TheEighties: Identifiable by the [[CrowningMusicOfAwesome catchy pop song soundtrack]].
* EnfantTerrible: "I want my two dollars!!"
* EverybodyHatesMathematics: Averted, because Mr. Kerber is ''just that good''.
* EvilGenius: Badger possibly qualifies.
* FunnyForeigner: [[ForeignExchangeStudent Monique]] mostly avoids this, except [[spoiler:for one or two ''slight'' problems with English.]]
* HomemadeSweaterFromHell: Jenny wears a reindeer outfit which comes complete with an antler-headpiece, and gives one to her husband which is aardvark-themed.
** They must not actually be homemade, though, since, when Mr. Meyer goes outside, he sees his neighbor wearing the identical outfit.
* INeedToGoIronMyDog: Lane ditching the paperboy.
-->'''Lane:''' My little brother got his arm stuck in the microwave. So my mom had to take him to the hospital. My grandma dropped acid this morning, and she freaked out. She hijacked a busload of... penguins. So it's sort of a family crisis. Bye!
* InstantExpert: "Go that way, really fast. If something gets in your way, turn."
* InsultBackfire: Played with when Stalin insults Lane and Charles at one point during the New Years dance; Lane is insulted, but Charles finds it hilarious, even interrupting Stalin's dance with Beth because he's still laughing.
* InterruptedSuicide
* ItIsPronouncedTropay: Lane's mother serves Monique "Frahnch Fries", etc.
* IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy: Of course, [[spoiler: Lane comes to his senses in time.]]
* JerkJock: The villain, such as he is.
** His name? ''Roy Stalin''.
* LanguageOfLove: Subverted, when [[spoiler: it turns out that Monique speaks English fairly fluently.]]
* LethalChef: Hoo boy. Jenny. Lane pokes one of her creations with his fork, and it ''starts moving away''.
-->"It's got raisins in it. You ''like'' raisins."
** She's so bad, she gives TV dinners as Christmas presents.
* ManicPixieDreamGirl: Monique.
* MeaningfulName: Roy ''Stalin''.
* MediumShiftGag: There are a couple of gag sequences in both clay and hand-drawn animation, representing Lane's bizarre daydreams about dancing hamburgers and so forth.
* MundaneMadeAwesome: Mr Gerber's maths class, wherein advanced geometry is ludicrously popular. (To be fair, Gerber is played by Vincent Schiavelli.)
* MyBelovedSmother: Ricky's harridan of a mother.
* MyGirlIsNotASlut: After the break-up, every guy from the [[OneSceneWonder math teacher]] to the rude mailman to [[TheFlintstones Barney Rubble]] is asking Lane if it would be alright to date his ex.
* NakedFreakOut: The roller-skating cheerleader in the cafeteria in her underwear, due to Lane's accidental slip-up. [[FromBadToWorse To make matter worse]], [[spoiler:ALL of her boyfriends give him a NoHoldsBarredBeatdown]].
* ProductPlacement: A very prominent flag for The North Face is shown directly above Lane's head while in the ski shop, though averted in another scene with a equally-prominent Coke can that is carefully oriented so that the viewer can't see the logo.
* ReverseHarem: Chris Cummins is a cheerleader who dates the basketball team. The ''entire'' team.
* RunningGag: "I want my two dollars!!"
** Also, Lane's drag-race-at-the-stoplight moments, plus the crash into the driver ''behind'' him.
** Badger's mail-order purchases
** The garage door windows getting broken.
** And, as noted, Lane's deeply futile suicide attempts.
* SpiritualSuccessor: John Cusack recently traveled back in time to a 1980s ski resort in ''Film/HotTubTimeMachine''. Somebody is even heard shouting "I want my two dollars!" at one point.
** This is despite the fact that Cusack evidently considers this film to be an OldShame.
** Cusack's protagonist in ''GrossePointeBlank'' also grew up in the 1980s and also had a HilariouslyAbusiveChildhood. He ended up becoming a [[HitmanWithAHeart professional assassin]]. We first meet him [[spoiler:shooting a bicycle deliveryman.]]
* StalkerShrine: Lane has turned his room into one of these, dedicated to his girlfriend.
* StandardSnippet: Muddy Waters' "Mannish Boy" as Lane's Camaro rolls out for the first time. Gene Autry's "Here Comes Santa Claus" during the Christmas sequence.
* StealthPun: The K-12.
* StockShoutOut: Lane doing Frankenstein-imbuing-the-creature-with-life at the start of the "Everybody Wants Some" sequence.
* TheStoner: Charles. Or he would be, if he could find anything to get stoned on.
-->Greendale is a bodaciously small town, Lane. It's a flyspeck on the map, a rest-stop on the way to a ski resort. I can't even get real drugs here!
** Snorting ''real snow'' seems to work for him.
--->This is pure snow! It's EVERYWHERE! Do you have any idea what the street value of this mountain is?
* SuicideAsComedy: Detecting a theme yet?
-->And dying when you're not really sick is really sick, you know? Really!
* TitleDrop: The singer at the school dance.
* TomBoyAndGirlyGirl
* TotallyRadical: Lane's father awkwardly attempts to "connect" with him.
* TranslationByVolume: Lane's father tries to communicate with Monique the exchange student from France.
-->'''Mr. Meyer:''' ARE YOU ENJOYING YOUR STAY IN OUR TOWN?
* TrashLanding:
-->[[AcceptableTargets "Now that's a real shame when folks be throwin' away a perfectly good white boy like that!"]]
* UnkemptBeauty: Monique looks surprisingly hot with car grease on her face.
* VanityLicensePlate: The villain's Trans-Am.
* TheVoiceless: Badger.
* TheWorldMocksYourLoss: Lane is constantly reminded of his ex, Beth, because every other guy in town (and [[TheFlintstones Barney Rubble]]) wants to date her.
* WrenchWench: Monique turns out to be one.
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