So Many Heathers... Reviews of the Movie

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Review of Heathers:
I can see why this movie is a cult classic, but I did find it kind of disturbing. I guess that that’s why it’s a cult classic—because it subverts the norms of teen movies and messes with your expectations. Christian Slater was actually really good in this movie, which made me briefly wonder why he isn’t in more things today. I thought about it and my (admittedly silly) hypothesis is that he is cutely creepy here—he’s still young—but grown up, he just looks creepy, which undermines his roles if the whole time you’re just thinking “He looks creepy! Creepy!” It works well in this movie, though. Winona Ryder was fine. The girl who played Martha was good and I’m sad that she only seems to have had two other roles. That’s a shame.
I liked the fact that each of the girls had a color, although I wish that it was better explained. Along with the “lunchtime question,” it’s not really explained for something that I thought was so important to the plot. Is the question for the school newspaper, as seems to be implied later on? Is it just to mess with people?
There is a moment where Winona Ryder’s character makes eye contact with the sister of the boy she killed, and she seems to briefly realize the pain that she’s causing people. This poignant moment is ignored and never mentioned again, which seems sort of a shame for a moment that I thought really grounded the movie. I suppose that you could argue that this moment makes her decide to stop killing people, who knows.
I didn’t love this movie whole-heartedly because it rubbed me the wrong way with all of the murders/attempted suicides and the way that neither of them are caught, but that is really just my tendency to like murderers brought to justice, even in a satire. I have a weirdly old-fashioned sense of morals a lot of the time, so that may be why I didn’t fall in love with the film; this is the sort of film that I would love and tell everyone to watch, but something about it made me uncomfortable. Overall, it was fine.

Review of Heathers:
I think this movie was excellent in some ways and definitely screwball in others. First of all, why does every single character say such strange lines? "Fuck me gently with a chainsaw?" Really? But, after a while, I got used to the entire idea that this world was not so literal and some things would go unnoticed/unexplained. I felt like the movie had a really great storyline that came together in some shocking ways; I wanted to trust the cute Christian Slater as J.D., for example, but he turned out to be a nutcase. I liked the use of color throughout the movie from its beginning with croquet balls and further use of scenic design. I must admit, I love Winona Ryder and her roles - the smart girl who wants to be popular in this movie, the goth girl that befriends a pair of ghosts in Beetlejuice - and in Heathers I felt like her character really expressed the conflict of emotions needed in this satire. Overall, I believe that the main "theme" was the conflict between inner desires and polite society; while we all want the nerds to inherit the earth (or at least have everyone respect each other), polite society sets up all sorts of constraints against that. Thus, this satirical film appealed to my broader intellectual side as well.

Make sure to take a look at the other movie reviews Liberty and I wrote and our other collaborative work: comic alterna-history zine The Bearniverse.