Heathers - 1988
Let’s get this out of the way quick, this movie is an extremely dark comedy that I see it very hard ever being made again nowadays. Heathers stars Wynona Ryder, Cristian Slater both at the height of their careers and introduces the world to Shannen Doherty pre-Beverly Hills 90210. The plot of the movie is straight forward. Veronica (Ryder) is part of the most popular clique in school (The Heathers), after meeting the mysterious new boy in school (Slater), a prank goes wrong ending in the death of the leader of the clique.
The comedic dark tone carried throughout the movie is flat-out amazing, I went into this movie blind and was completely caught by surprise. I did a quick Google search for “cult-classic”, to find movies I haven’t seen before and fell under that genre. When I stumbled upon the “Heathers” poster I assumed it was a coming of age story from the 80’s a la “Pretty in Pink” and I couldn’t be more wrong. I had a grinned from ear-to-ear for the majority of this movie’s run-time.
Ryder as Veronica was smart, sarcastic and funny. She has great scenes with pretty much everyone in the cast. Obviously, the best coming between her ad Slater, but there are other standouts around her. There are three scenes between Ryder and her parents that have great dead-pan comedy. Ryder sits between them; her father asks why she is doing something. Ryder would reply “because you are an idiot” and her father agrees with her. She takes a bit of pate and “Great pate mom but I have to motor”. These interactions between them never change no matter how crazy their surroundings have gotten.
Ryder and Slater’s chemistry is undeniable and helped move the story along faster. From the very first scene of Slater dealing with the male bullies, you realize his not all there. When they get together for their “pranks” you can see how crazy he truly is and how blind Ryder is at the beginning. Their battle toward the end is funny and just stupidly entertaining.
My favorite scenes are a tie between the funerals (for the Heathers and the Jocks) and Ryder writing in her journal. The funeral scenes are the best-selling point for the comedic dark of this movie. We have two to pick from but I’ll focus on the Jocks. They are put in the coffins wearing their helmets and holding a football. One of the dads is screaming to the top of his lungs “I love my gay son” (they made it look like a double-gay-suicide pack). Oh, before I forget, the main piece of evidence that they are gay was the sparkling water left at the crime-scene. I’ll briefly touch on her writing scenes, she for no explained reason is wearing a monocle. The fact that they don’t address it made my day.
Like I said above, I don’t see this movie getting greenlit in today’s society. It has high school kids bullying each other to the point of suicide (or attempted), kids bringing guns to school, homophobia and bombs on school grounds. It’s all sold under the comedic dark tone and nothing feels forced or unnecessary. Each element adds to the overall social commentary and moves the plot forward.
I want to keep this review short because I don’t want to fully spoil this cult classic. The cast is great, the editing is on point and the writing is hilarious. I cracking up laughing in an airport watching a funeral scene, and that’s why I love movies.
Heather is currently streaming on Netflix, watch it.
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