Better Off Dead
Twenty minutes into a screening of Better Off Dead John Cusack walked out and approached the director, Savage Steve Holland, to express his distrust towards him and his hatred of the movie.
The then nineteen year old actor felt he had been made to look foolish, however his character, Lane Myers, allows Cusack to show off his natural charm. A comically sympathetic portrayal of a broken hearted teen, ventures deeper into an absurdist philosophy through Lane’s melodrama.
Admittedly the film lacks the construction of a Terence Malik production, whose finesse remains unmatched. It is whacky and at times a little jaded, falling away from the narrative to implement bizarre skits. Yet the humour is undeniably funny and fundamentally stands above other teen comedies from the era such as Porky’s (1982), avoiding cheap sexually driven laughs and instead producing fresh and unique humour.
Cusack’s unexpected comments alongside a disappointing, yet profitable, box-office return certainly hindered the writer-director’s career; however his highly exaggerated autobiographical absurdist comedy is among the 80’s greatest. Whether the man himself is a fan or not, this is a must see for any fan of Cusack.