“I’m Real Sorry Your Mom Blew Up”: Introducing a Teen to the Teen Canon of the 1980s

Part 13: Better Off Dead

Movies Features John Cusack
“I’m Real Sorry Your Mom Blew Up”: Introducing a Teen to the Teen Canon of the 1980s

Well, it was almost sure to happen, but to be honest I thought Say Anything would do it. But it ended up being the much weirder Better Off Dead that made Grace fall in love with John Cusack.

“Okay. He is adorable. Adorable!”

“Yeah. I know. So what about the movie?”

“He is just ridiculously cute.”

“He is. He still is, to be honest. But let’s focus.”

“So. Cute.”

“Grace, what is the movie about?” I was starting to think maybe she’d just stared at Cusack’s eyebrows for two hours. Not unreasonable, but I wanted to make sure we didn’t have to re-screen.

“Oh. Okay. A guy gets dumped by a girl, becomes obsessed with winning her back, succeeds, but realizes in the process that he can and should be with a way cooler girl. So, like, personal growth.” She paused. “Which I think puts it in the fantasy genre. You know, with a guy experiencing personal growth and stuff.”

“You literally have no idea. But at least now you know why when things go wrong I always say, ‘Gee, Rickey, I’m sorry your mom blew up,’” I said.

“That was awesome.”

“So, you loved it.”

“It’s not The Breakfast Club.” she said, “It’s not as deep and serious and meaningful. But it’s up there as far as what I’ve liked the most.”

“No drawbacks?”

“I didn’t like the stop-motion hamburgers. They were Annoying. Distracting. Too random.”

“There’s a significant amount of random in that film.”

“Well, that’s exactly why you don’t need stop-motion hamburger sequences. We can get into Lane’s head without that stuff.”

“Fair enough.”

“But overall, I like how ridiculous it is, because it’s … you know, it’s like that.”

“What, ridiculous?”

“Yeah, like it reminded me how we’re all like that, so stuck in our own heads we don’t see things that are obvious to everyone else. And it was sort of like Heathers in terms of the surreally clueless parents, only … obviously a different style of surreal.”

“Makes you appreciate my cooking more?”

“Hey, much of your cooking I appreciate anyway. You suck at rice though.”

“I’ve never been able to figure that out. How can I whip out a chocolate soufflé with no issues but screw up rice nine times out of ten? Anyway, I don’t boil bacon.”

“If you did, would it really turn green like that?”

“Um … I don’t think so.”

“Well, basically,” Grace said, “That film is hilarious, and … yeah, John Cusack is the cutest ever.”

“Interesting coming from the generation that got Jason Momoa as Aquaman.”

“Yeah well first of all, Aquaman is in the top ten lamest of all the superheroes, and also, that guy’s like a grownup. John Cusack is a relatable teen antihero-hero who is filthy-cute.”

“Was. You do realize he’s the same age as me?”

“Crap. Another dream shattered.”

Amy Glynn is not at all sorry Ricky’s mom blew up. She had it coming.

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