Door 20 of The Third Annual James Proclaims Advent Calendar of Christmas(ish) Films brings us 1985’s Better Off Dead.
Which is quite a strange film.
At first I thought it was an 80s teen comedy in the mould of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
Which would be no bad thing because that is a great movie.
But, although there are many elements of that genre present and correct, Better Off Dead is quite different.
Which, as it turns out, is no bad thing either.
A movie in which the lead character periodically tries to commit suicide possibly doesn’t sound like much fun, but it is a pretty funny film albeit the humour is on the dark side. It’s also surprisingly surreal and often subversive.
I’m not sure it’s fully stood the test of time, and at times it is a little too weird for its own good, but there is plenty to enjoy in the 97 minutes running time.
Score for Christmasishness
Quite a lot of the movie is set around the festive period and visibly so. It does feature one of the strangest on-screen Christmases of possibly all time, but there’s no denying that for much of the running time ’tis very much the season.