Jan. 21, 2022

#48 - "Better Off Dead" (1985) with Nicholas Pepin of "Pop Culture Roulette Podcast"

#48 -

While some critics failed it from the outset, this 80’s flick is actually a notch more upscale than most of its fellow D-grade locker-room comedies of the era. It's gained a "cult" reputation for its overall cynical tone, its clever gags, and its zany blend of animation and live-action. A teen comedy that refused to take itself too seriously, even if the subject matter should have been. So unwrap those frozen dinners you got for Christmas, load up your snow skis in the station wagon, and for God’s sake, pay that paperboy his two dollars as Tim Williams and guest co-host, Nicholas Pepin of "Pop Culture Roulette Podcast", discuss “Better Off Dead” from 1985 on this episode of the 80’s Flick Flashback!


Here are some additional behind the scenes trivia we were unable to cover in this episode:

  • What tested best with audiences? The claymation hamburger scene, which he insists he wasn’t on drugs when he wrote. “I have no excuse for being that stupid,” he says. “I did have a different scene in there. My first job was at McDonald’s, that’s why I made Lane work at Pig Burgers. There was this rumor that a rat fell into a vat at a chicken place and somebody got served fried rat. That was what I had in the original script. The producer said, ‘That’s really just disgusting and not even funny.’ So I saw this guy Jimmy Picker had made this really funny claymation short film about mayor Ed Koch called Sundae in New York. I was like, ‘If I could do something like that and still incorporate it into a hamburger scenario.’ And then I had the Van Halen song. I put that together, and it was just so, so out there and stupid, that everybody was really worried about it. But it was the highest testing thing when we went to the test audience. They thought that was the greatest thing in the whole movie.”
  • “I read somewhere the other day on a blog or something that Lane takes off first, therefore he really doesn’t win the race, and I never really thought about that,” Holland laughs. That’s okay with him: “I wanted to have them tie, because that’s the Rocky thing. He hits Apollo Creed, and they both go down at the same time, which proves that he’s as good as Apollo Creed. He didn’t really win, but it was a win because he didn’t lose,” he says. “That’s what I did, and then there was test screenings, and all the people were like, ‘He has to win!’ So we made it that he won. But in this new theory that Roy had a five-second delay, really Lane lost. I can’t believe I’ve never thought of that before.”


Wikipedia, IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes





Intro & Outro Music: "Total Eclipse" by Nathaniel Wyver

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