August 26, 2010

Better Off Dead...

betterWhen Gran agreed to babysit, the wife and I made plans to see a movie. But what movie? August is le season mort at the cinema. Neither of us were really in the mood for Toy Story 3. I am planning on seeing Scott Pilgrim vs The World Friday night with George. There wasn't much left... until I remembered Somerville's free outdoor movies. The final feature of the summer, the Viewer's Choice: BETTER OFF DEAD! Actually, we owe a thanks to Amy, who is the Queen of the Outdoor Movie! She has kept us updated with free outdoor movie bulletins.
I have seen Better Off Dead (1985) many many times. I used to own the discount-bin laser disc! When I was a DJ and producer in Portland ME, I created a Christmas-themed bumper featuring Ricky's Mom: "Do you have Christmas in France? Crisssssmassss..." I actually paid money to see it at the Brattle Theater in December 2002.
It's still silly and funny, with a skinny 18-year-old John Cusack, Curtis "Booger" Armstrong as the world's oldest high school student, and a schizophrenic soundtrack: Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix, and Muddy Waters (good), Howard Jones and Thompson Twins (bad). Then there's the laughably bad pop from schlockmeister Rupert Hine; he contributes several songs, including the saxophone-infected love theme "Arrested By Love" ("I've been arrested by love/Take me in")
It's the directing debut of the immortal Savage Steve Holland, who completed his feature film directing career with One Crazy Summer (1986) and How I Got Into College (1989). While he has had a steady career in TV, he has never directed a feature film again. (Powderhouse Park, Somerville, with Amy and Mary Beth)