Better Off Dead (S) (Widescreen) (Paramount Widescreen Collection) product details page

Better Off Dead (S) (Widescreen) (Paramount Widescreen Collection)

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Cartoonist Savage Steve Holland made his directorial debut with this acid comedy about a going-nowhere hamburger flipper and his run of bad luck. Its gleefully twisted tone, exemplified by a goofy suicide attempt in a basically lighthearted film (John Cusack's character jumps off a bridge, only to land among the refuse of a passing garbage truck), made it a minor quotable classic to a generation of young anti-authoritarian filmgoers. In one of his earliest roles, Cusack wears his expression of hangdog gloom with real comic sensibility, and the succession of miserable people and events that enter his life warrant every last frown and sigh. The funniest and most memorable character set on bedeviling Cusack's Lane Myer is the determined paperboy, willing to ride his bike down a ski slope to collect his fee, whose refrain "I want my two dollars" will resonate with audiences long after the credits roll. Curtis Armstrong and Dan Schneider also turn in quirky performances as Lane's best friend and his nemesis next-door neighbor, respectively. The set pieces, some of them punched up by Holland's own animation and offshoots thereof, make for a pleasingly outlandish little coming-of-age story that doesn't betray its own world view, even during the inevitable happier moments of the tale. Derek Armstrong, All Movie Guide

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