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Soundtrack Saturday: “Better Off Dead”

For the last of the Soundtrack Saturday reruns, I thought I’d resurrect one of the first posts. You guys enjoyed this the first time around (it was posted more than three years ago), so I hope it still holds up. Maybe this is the movie you’ll watch if you’re spending New Year’s Eve at home this year? And then you can jam to some Rupert Hine. This one’s short — Soundtrack Saturday posts used to be, back in the day — so you don’t have to do a lot of pesky reading to get to the music.

This week I give you a classic John Cusack film: 1985’s Better Off Dead. The first of his two movies with director “Savage” Steve Holland, and probably my favorite, Better Off Dead tells the tale of down-on-his-luck Lane Meyer. Lane’s beautiful and popular girlfriend, Beth (Amanda Wyss), has just broken up with him for jerk ski jock Roy Stalin (Aaron Dozier). He begins thinking of elaborate ways to kill himself, only to fail miserably in the execution.

In addition to dealing with Stalin, who constantly goads Lane until he throws down a challenge to ski one of the most dangerous slopes in the area, Lane has to contend with his bizarre family, his crazy neighbors, and the overly persistent paperboy. In the midst of all this, Lane manages to find someone he can truly connect with: his wacko neighbors’ French exchange student, Monique (Diane Franklin). She shows him that there’s more to life than Beth and helps him stand up for himself and realize he has the confidence to beat 12 Roy Stalins at their own game.

Better Off Dead was always one of my favorite movies growing up. I can’t tell you how many times I heard “I want my TWO DOLLARS!” around my household. Not only did my brother and I recite the film’s more famous quotes, so did my parents. Of course, I have two of the coolest parents in existence, but that’s beside the point. If you’ve never seen this movie, you should run out and rent it right now. I promise, you won’t regret it.

There was an official soundtrack released; however, it appears that A) it’s out of print, and B) it’s woefully incomplete. Only ten songs are on it, leaving off some of the more memorable tracks featured in the film. I’ve compiled as many of the songs as I could, so hopefully this will be a more complete soundtrack for you to enjoy. There were a few Christmas tunes in the movie, but I left them off — you’ve had enough of Christmas music already.

Rupert Hine – Better Off Dub (Title Music)
Neil Sedaka – Breaking Up Is Hard to Do
Daryl Hall & John Oates – She’s Gone
Paul Simon – 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover
The Jimi Hendrix Experience – Foxy Lady
Elizabeth “E.G.” Daily – One Way Love (Better Off Dead)
Elizabeth “E.G.” Daily – A Little Luck
Rupert Hine – The Falcon Beat
Van Halen – Everybody Wants Some!!
Howard Jones – Like to Get to Know You Well
Muddy Waters – Mannish Boy
Martin Ansell – Shine
Rupert Hine – Arrested by You
Terri Nunn – Dancing in Isolation
Thinkman – Come to Your Rescue
Simple Minds – Street Hassle
Rupert Hine – Race the K-12
Rupert Hine and Cy Curnin – With One Look (The Wildest Dream)