Heathers (1989)

Winona Ryder (Veronica), Christian Slater (J.D.), Shannen Doherty (Heather), Lisanne Falk (Heather)

From IMDB: "A girl who half-heartedly tries to be part of the 'in crowd' of her school meets a rebel who teaches her a more devious way to play social politics."

(Note: the library copy I rented is actually from 1991 when the video was released. It had this cover. And the quality of a sixteen-year-old video? Terrible!)

Can I just live in a world where all I do is watch Christian Slater movies all day? And not the shit ones. Just the good ones. Ok, would that even fill a full day?

Forget it.

I saw Heathers for the first time in 1996 when I was practically living with Keven and his family. He had a major crush on Winona Ryder, so I disliked her quite a bit. And back then, I wasn't psychotic about Slater either. The film, therefore, held my interest as a satire. This time around, I was busy laughing and lusting and making a few mental notes.

Winona Ryder was damn cute. She even pulls off the outfits! Maybe that's because part of our collective image of her is tied up in that era. If you think of her, you don't necessarily think of her as a full grown up. Same with Slater. These two are so distinctly grounded in the late 80s/early 90s that it's difficult to imagine them as existing in 2007. Somewhere out there, right now, they're still wear those clothes and using that language.

There must have been a tipping point long about 1990 when Slater became lustworthy. As J.D., he's not quite here yet. He's still in that "you will be adorable one day" phase, much like his role in In the Name of the Rose. By the time he hit Pump Up the Volume, only a year later, ta-dah! But it's funny to see the same mannerisms and expressions on a younger him.

Christian Slater and Winona Ryder in HeathersI find this amusing: IMDB was founded by a couple of film geeks. Do you recall that couple of years before Amazon bought the site? They started with folks they could recall from memory and then assigned the URLs. For example, Fred Astaire's URL ends with 001. Lauren Bacall's ends with 002. Big names in roughly alphabetical order. But Slater's URL ends with 225 and Ryder's with 213, which makes me suspect these founders were big fans--or that they started the list in 1991. I mean, obviously, after the classic film stars of the 30s and 40s, you naturally jump to teen stars of the late 80s! Of course! (I just checked some Rat Pack types: Demi Moore? 197. Charlie Sheen? 221. These guys were probably big John Hughes fans!)

Ok, the movie? Hilarious. And I think my brother is right. There's no way a flick like this or Pump Up the Volume would be made today--not the same way. Guns? Gays? Fuck? Sex? Studios are too concerned with marketing to the kids who might actually see it and appeasing the grown-ups who let them, so teen films are rated accordingly. Spoofs and satires released now have a PG-13 rating so as not to alienate concerned parents. Parents in the late 80s? Didn't care, dude, coz all the kids were latch-key! Bouncing around town watching movies with actual violence and actual sex and actual cussing! Oh, the humanity!

(I say that, but Superbad has an R rating. Was it really aimed at kids, tho?)

Anyway, the satire is better with hard edges. High school is hell; might as well call it like it is. "When teenagers complain that they want to be treated like human beings, it's usually because they are being treated like human beings."

Does it say something that the only thing I decide to quote is from Veronica's Mom? Shit. Can't leave it like that. Trying again:

"Our love is God. Let's go get a slushie." Much better.

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