Blu-ray Review: BETTER OFF DEAD

Paramount Home Entertainment
Release date: August 2nd, 2011
MSRP: $22.95

Director: Steve Holland
Stars: John Cusack, David Ogden Stiers, Curtis Armstrong

“I want my two dollars!”

Anyone that has seen BETTER OFF DEAD knows that line and is smiling at just reading it. An awesome line from a pretty funny (and strange) movie.

It is the start of the school year and Lane Myer has everything going for him: He has the hottest girlfriend, Beth, in school and is on the Ski team.

Then his world falls apart: The Ski team captain screws him out of a spot( He holds an extra couple of seconds before marking his time) and then his girlfriend dumps him for said dirtbag!

Having nothing left to live for, he starts to contemplate suicide (which gives us some fairly entertaining segments) before his pal, Charles De Mar (Curtis Armstrong) offers a solution: Ski the K-12, a monster mountain that leaves folk dead or crippled. Charles reasures Lane that he can do it and agrees to provide support.

But Lane’s self esteem is still a little rocky and needs a boost. That boost comes from an unlikely source: Monique, a French exchange student living with his Nasal-spy snorting neighbor Ricky. Monique is pretending not to know English so she does not have to talk to Ricky, who wants to get to know her…if you know what I mean.

Monique Junot: He keeps putting his testicles all over me.
Lane Myer: Excuse me?
Monique Junot: You know, like octopus? Testicles?
Lane Myer: Ohhhh. Tentacles. N-T. Big Difference.

With Monique’s help, Lane steps up and challenges Roy Stalin, new captain of the ski team and boyfriend to Beth, to a race on the K-12.

In many ways, BOD is a parody of the standard teen film. Being on the Ski team is a big deal, the students are enthralled by the biology teacher, the school dance has flash pots and fog machines…the list goes on.

I can’t say that BOD is a great film, but it is a funny one with some sly, sharp dialoge. There are odd moments that have nothing to do with the film, one includes Lane creating a claymation burger rocker that jams to Van Halen’s Everybody Wants Some, that kind of work because the film itself is in bizarro land. It is clear that some of the scenes were included simply because they are amusing, not because they improve the overall feel of the film.

Visually, BOD is solid, but nothing spectaclar. It is presented in 1080p with a ration of 1.78:1. While this was transfered to HD, it was not remastered or restored in any way. Because the film itself was not a major hit at the time, I have no doubt that the origial reels were likely never stored with any great care. But it looks fine and is not the type of film that cinemaphilles are going to get picking up.

Folks that grew up in the 80s will have a lot of fun with BOD. It offers up some nice laughes, has a young, bright-eyed John Cusack and a very quotable screenplay. So step right up and take a stroll down memory lane.

Jeremy Lynch