Heathers (R) - 1989 - Runtime: 103 minutes
Starring: Winona Ryder, Christian Slater, Shannen Doherty
Director: Michael Lehmann
Maggie was really excited for me to watch this. So excited, in fact, that I don't think she watched most of the movie because she was so busy looking at me to see my reaction to the movie (and possibly because I'm just so good looking). Well, no fear, this is a great cult movie. It's got so many good lines - "I love my dead, gay son!" (Maggie's favorite) which would alone put it in many top cult classic lists.
At first I thought this movie was going to be like Mean Girls (although Mean Girls definitely drew inspiration from this movie) because it's all about status - Ryder's character, Veronica, is part of the Heathers clique who rule the school. But things suddenly change when Veronica meets Christian Slater, aka J.D. aka drooling teen heart throb. Suddenly, head honcho Heather, Heather Chandler, "accidentally" gets poisoned by J.D. and things take a very twisted and dark turn.
And I loved it.
This movie may not have a whole lot of basis in the real world - but the world that's created is full of cliches and stereotypes, some of which are turned up on their head. I love how girls are not afraid to be like boys in this movie. Dick and fuck are normal slang for these ladies and they have enormous power in the school. It's a great ride - once the head Heather gets axed, she becomes even more popular - no longer is she feared, but envied. They rule her death a suicide and suddenly, it becomes hip to commit suicide as more "accidents" happen and are further ruled as suicide. The message is even more pronounced through the faux song Teenage Suicide (Don't Do It) that everyone loves. The movie definitely hits both notes - funny and dramatic - perfectly. I found J.D. to be a bit too cheesy with his monologueing at the end of the movie, but it doesn't hurt all the great quotes throughout the rest of the movie ("Our love is God, let's go get a Slushie.").
There hasn't been a teen comedy with such a dark tone in a while - it's refreshing. Mean Girls is close - but didn't quite have the bite like this movie (obviously the R rating only helps). But it's a great, fun movie - full of laughs, but not dead behind the eyes when it comes to saying something about teenagers. Even though it's 20 years old - a lot of the stuff is still relevant today. It's a movie that (I think) would be great on repeat viewing.
One more thing that stood out. Sherwood, Ohio. That's where the movie takes place. According to wikipedia, Sherwood is a fictional suburb of Columbus. They mentioned it A LOT in the movie, which seemed kind of absurd (I thought maybe the writer is from Ohio, but no, he's a native Californian). What's weirder is that Sherwood, Ohio is a real town just 20 minutes from where my hometown is. But town is being too generous, it's more like a rest stop. So I was a little weirded out when they kept mentioning Sherwood in the movie because I'm pretty sure no one in Sherwood would be caught dead playing croquet.
Rating: Own It!