Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My Favourite Characters: A Perfectly Good White Boy

If you've never willingly seen (or been forced to watch by me) 1985's absurdist teen romance/skiing/angst film 'Better Off Dead', then you've missed out. I mean it. I really mean it. You can get it on Blu-Ray now or watch my ordinary DVD at my place, because it's, well,...

This movie blew my face off just like Ricky's horrible mother.

It is a long term personal favourite movie of mine, and if it touches you the way it touches me, then I'm deeply, deeply sorry, for we are the same person and I gotta say... I've never really liked myself all that much.

When I tell you that in 2010 I apparently ranked it my 99th favourite film out of 100 favourites, it's important to remember that I've seen THOUSANDS of films, and a favourite is still a favourite...

No matter how awkward, no matter how mawkish, I identified VERY strongly with this weird little movie and it will cheer me out of most doldrums to this very day. It's got a killer eighties soundtrack mostly by Rupert Hine. It's got a solid, eccentric cast, with a lead that I love very much: John Cusack as Lane Meyer. As written by 'Savage' Steve Holland, who I am also required to love very much. (Even though this movie ruined whatever friendship they had, I guess. (At least, that's what this neat interview Bookmonkey sent me says.)

Lane is the saddest sack in Greendale; for Beth, the girl on whom he has pinned all his hopes (and her face on all his hangers), has dumped him. And if he weren't such an abject failure in every aspect of his life including suicide, he'd have no reason to go on living.

When the universe throws unhinged paper boy armies, sneering jocks, and every possible form of work, school and family banality your way, look to Lane. There are inspirations everywhere, second chances (they might be named Monique), and outlets in your art whether drawing, music, or being a terrible skiier.

Lane's best and perhaps only friend, the not-even-cool-enough-to-be-a-real-drug-addict Charles De Mar offers advice to help Lane (and perhaps you and I) ski the K-12 that is life:

"Go that way, really fast. If something gets in your way... turn."

No comments: