Better Off Dead

1985 PG 1h 37m Blu-ray / DVD

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Better Off Dead

1985 PG 1h 37m Blu-ray / DVD
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  • Details
After his girlfriend (Amanda Wyss) ditches him for a boorish ski jock (Aaron Dozier), Lane Meyer (John Cusack) decides that suicide is the only answer. But his increasingly inept attempts to off himself only bring more agony and embarrassment. Dan Schneider ("Head of the Class") co-stars as Lane's socially awkward neighbor, Ricky, whose mother takes in a foreign exchange student from France (Diane Franklin), only to meet with an explosive end.
Blu-ray DVD
Widescreen Anamorphic 1.85:1
English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
Widescreen 1.85:1
English, French, Spanish (Neutral)
English: Dolby Digital 5.1
PG - Some material may not be suitable for children. Parents urged to give parental guidance. May contain some material parents might not like for their young children.
age 12+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 12+
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age 12+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that some releases of this movie carry the PG-13 rating, others a PG. It's pretty mild for its type nonetheless. There is drug humor and a few sexual references and modest swearing. Reckless behavior -- on the ski slopes and drag racing in streets -- is glorified. Queasiest factor for most viewers might be the repeated depiction of (unsuccessful) teen suicide as gag pratfalls.

Sexual Content

Brief talk/flashback about Lane losing his virginity to Beth (it's never clear whether or not it happened successfully) and condom use. Off-color confusion of words "testicles" for "tentacles" and "sex" for "sax" (as in saxophone). Visual joke in which a girl suddenly gets her clothes torn off down to bra and panties.


Reckless driving and car collisions, spills on the ski slopes, and one character beaten up (offscreen) by school athletes.


Some use of "s--t," "ass," and "damn."

Social Behavior

Nobody here is very deep, and the hero's repeated attempts at suicide, though (half-heartedly) discouraged, are basically joke setups. "True" love, that is romance not based on who is the better, more popular guy/girl in homeroom, does win out at the end. Characterizations lean towards stereotypes (nerds, jocks, fatties, car-crazy Asians), but there's one girl who goes against the grain by being an ace mechanic and baseball fan, not a shallow blonde -- but she's emphatically not American, so go figure.


Coca-Cola and Perrier labels rather obnoxiously thrust into foregrounds. Car models and the names of several winter-sports-gear product lines are evident.

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

Smoking for gag effect (it causes an explosion). One character talks enthusiastically about drugs, at one point pretending that a snow-covered mountain is pure cocaine (snorting the snow to make his point). Reference to drinking and moonshine whiskey.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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