Saturday, September 30, 2006

Better Off Dead


Is Better Off Dead The best movie ever made? Prolly not, but after seeing it just now, I'd be willing to argue it's greatness. I'll do so in list form:

1. John Cusack. I don't really have to expound on this one. Not liking John Cusack is like not liking chocolate. If you don't like Cusack or chocolate, then you have problems and we have beef!

2. The quotes. This movie is quotable from begining to end. There is so many classic lines in this flick, that many of them became common phrases in the suburban town that I grew up in. Truly quotable comedies are a vehicle that has been long replaced with shock comedies. "Shock" is a crutch, "clever" takes time and creativity. It's all about the writing.

3. Sweaters! Every person in the flick is sweater-clad. If you are the kind of person that appreciates a good 80's sweater, or if you work for a movie studio in the wardrobe department, you will be reeling at the handsome simplicity of the 100% sweater styles.

4. Van Halen's "everybody wants some." The hallucination of the claymation burger scoring his burger-chick, mixed with a Van Halen music video. It was good to see that the metal was represented in such a mainstream movie. Back in the day when metal was such a "fringe" interest, this was a bit of validation.

5. No cheap gay jokes. In almost every 80's comedy there were really offensive and lame homosexual jokes. That was always an unimaginative comic staple that promotes hate, intolerance, and bad stereotypes. The writers almost entirely stayed away from this weak and formulaic cliché.

6. Ricky's mom. That voice! I can still hear it. If Fran Drescher's voice is a 10 in the 1-10 annoyance scale, then Rickys mom's voice would also be a 10 (because you can't go past 10 in a 1-10 scale. But if you could, she would be a 30. You know what I mean.)

7. The 2 Asian Race car drivers. Remember, they pull up next to Cusack every time he's at a red light and want to race. The driver doesn't talk, the passenger talk's like Howard Cosell (which, incidentally, is a Rich Little's impersonation, overdubbed). Great random strangeness to these characters. I'm so surprised that newer kitchy nostalgic comedies (read: Family Guy) (or did they, and I subconsciously remember it) havn't used an updated version of thses guys as a shout out to the 80's.

8. The music that isn't Van Halen was seemingly forgettable until you watch it. I knew every song and most of the lyrics. It was also strangely comforting to watch E.G. Daily sing at the school dance. Do they make bad 80's movie song compilations? If not, why not? If so, Christmas is coming up ;-).

9. Curtis "Booger" Armstrong not being able to score drugs and snorting snow instead. I remember my friends and I all tried it after we saw the movie. "This is pure snow! It's everywhere! Have you any idea of what the street value of this mountain is?" Shit was hilarious to a 12 year old!

I could keep going on, but I won't. Do yourself a favor and watch this DVD. Make special note of how well it holds up to today's comedies, and how few 80's movies do that.



Anonymous elginroots said...

if john cusack is chocolate, what is joan cusack?

11:33 PM  
Blogger Scamp said...

...creme brulee (burnt creme), of course.

2:41 AM  
Blogger Meat O' Benito said...

Everyone in the world quotes this movie at least once a day without even knowing it.

I liked Rickie. He is the proto-type nerd style of every Cartoon Network toon boy you see on tv at two in the morning.

It's like he's their God.

6:35 PM  
Blogger grrlsweat said...


2:22 PM  

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