Get the led out! That is all!
Savage Steve Holland's Better Off Dead is hands down one of my favorite movies from the 80s. The kind of movie that I've owned multiple copies of, in multiple formats - even working hard to track down the hard to find laserdisc version prior to the film's eventual DVD release a few years back.
So imagine my delight when I came in for a fill-in shift at the radio station, and discovered that I had passes to give away to a screening for Better Off Dead, happening at the Cedar Lee here in Cleveland, as part of their ongoing "cult film" series.
Plans were made, again with friend Rebecca, to go see this "must see" film, and we even managed to dig up former co-worker Sarah, who had unexplainably NEVER seen the film. I bought tickets in advance, preparing for the guaranteed sellout, and sure enough, when we got to the theater, it was packed for the first of two showings.
Now this is where I have a bit of regret - Big Head Todd and the Monsters were also in Cleveland at the House of Blues, and if I would have been thinking, I would have caught that show, and then hit up the midnight showing for Better Off Dead. But alas, I had already bought tickets for the 9:30 showing by the time I realized the conflict.
The Cedar Lee is not your traditional movie theater -they show a lot of indie films, with the occasional one that is quite popular (i.e. Juno) AND they also serve beer and wine for the patrons, which offers great possibilities for those that have always dreamed of getting their drink on while seeing their favorite flick. I think there were a number of those people in attendance Saturday night.
Now for the second point of regret - the Cedar Lee folks announce that due to a foul-up by DHL, the print for the film is being held hostage at one of their shipping centers in Michigan. Despite negotiations to try and pick up the print directly from the shipping center, they are denied on all requests, which surprises me, and gives me a bit of sudden dislike for DHL. As a result, they will be showing Better Off Dead from DVD source. Heck, I've got the DVD....I could be at Big Head Todd and the Monsters right now!
But hey, when is the last time you had an opportunity to see Better Off Dead on a big screen at all? That's what I was thinking, and you can't watch Better Off Dead and not enjoy it.
It's a real shame that Cusack holds such strong dislike for Better Off Dead and its "sorta" sequel One Crazy Summer, because they are really great and important films in his catalog in my opinion - right up there with High Fidelity in my book.
The DVD for Better Off Dead is bare bones, while the DVD for One Crazy Summer is well worth picking up - it has a great commentary track with Holland, "Bobcat" Goldthwait, and many of the other stars of the film, minus Cusack.
If you're curious what Holland and Dan Schneider (who played Ricky) have been up to since Better Off Dead, you can find a great interview from 2004 right here. Even better is the news that after years of relative inactivity, Holland is allegedly working on not one, but TWO comedy films, including one for National Lampoon.
As for Better Off Dead, it was great to see it on the big screen. Had I been the Cedar Lee head cheese in charge, I would have tried to arrange a double screening of both BOD and One Crazy Summer, and get Savage Steve Holland in to host it - now THAT would have been huge! Kudos to them for screening Better Off Dead though - Upcoming screenings include Harold and Maude and Pee Wee's Big Adventure - check out the upcoming schedule here!