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30 years later, Better Off Dead has earned its two dollars ... and John Cusack's hatred

Is there a John Cusack movie from the '80s that you adore more than Better Off Dead? Think. The dark comedy about a teen named Lane Meyer - who turns suicidal when his girlfriend breaks up with him - probably could never be made today. And god help us all if Hollywood tries to remake this classic, which turns 30 years old this week.

Released Aug. 23, 1985, Better Off Dead offered a bizarre mix of animation, gallows humor and just truly off-the-planet acting. And the quotes? Wow, who can't name 10 great quotes from Better Off Dead?

"I want my two dollars!" "Go that way, really fast. If something gets in your way, turn." "Gee, I'm real sorry your mom blew up, Ricky." "See... the problem here is that... my little brother, this morning, got his arm caught in the microwave, and uh... my grandmother dropped acid and she freaked out, and hijacked a school bus full of... penguins, so it's kind of a family crisis... so come back later?"

Savage Steve Holland wrote and directed Better Off Dead and has been very candid about how the movie was perceived, especially by John Cusack.

"I thought it was going to make a hundred million dollars," Holland said in a 2004 interview with The Sneeze. "I think that the fact that it has become so popular in its afterlife is an indication of that."

Holland wrote the story right after college, where a girl had basically done the same thing to him that Beth did to Lane.

"Even through college I was still bummed out about it, but life went on," the director said. "Then I made this funny movie. And like 6 years later, I got a call, I don't know how she got my number, and she said, 'I've been in therapy because I saw your movie and I had no idea.' "

"I mean, she knew she hurt my feelings, but she was like, 'I just feel horrible that I put you through all that.' And she sent me cookies and stuff."

Not everyone loved Better Off Dead. Siskel & Ebert gave it two thumbs down. Watch their review here.

And yet, the biggest tragedy of all remains Cusack's hatred of the movie. Cusack saw the movie for the first time with Holland when a screening was arranged during the filming of One Crazy Summer. Cusack walked out after watching just 20 minutes and later told Holland that he'd never trust him as a director again.

"I feel like I let him down," Holland said. "And it totally surprises me so much because I have to say the most important person to me about that movie, was John. I really wanted him to love it as much as I loved it."

As we honor three decades of Better Off Dead, here are five things you probably didn't know about the movie.

1. TWO DOLLARS:
In real life, Holland did have a paperboy named Johnny Gasparini who would harass him for two dollars.

2. COSELL: The voice of actor Yuji Okumoto doing Howard Cosell in the street racing scene was actually dubbed by impressionist Rich Little.

3. BIDDI BIDDI BIDDI: During the Christmas morning scene at Lane's house, a large toy robot is seen by the tree. It's actually Twiki from the TV series Buck Rogers in the 25th Century.

4. THE MAILMAN: The late Taylor Negron plays the mailman in Better Off Dead. He would reprise the same exact role in 1989's How I Got Into College, even causing the lead actor to exclaim, "It's you!"

5. DEAD END: The movie's original tagline was "Sometimes...you're Better Off Dead," but that didn't fly with everyone. It was later changed to "Relax...you're never Better Off Dead."

Source: IMDB.com

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