on June 24, 2004
This dark comedy is laced with satire, humor, and wit, much like many of my favorite novels. Winona Ryder and Christian Slater make the ideal duo - until she realizes she needs "cool guys like him out of her life."
Winona, here as Veronica Sawyer, was formerly the best gal pal of dorky yet insanely innocent and kind Betty Finn (both character names are derived from the Archie comic strip). Now, she's taken it up with three girls by the name of Heather. Duke and Chandler may or may not be genuinely evil, while McNamara is just plain pathetically insecure. The thing is, Veronica hates her new so-called friends. It's just their "job to be popular and s***," that's all.
Christian Slater, to my utter dismay, seems to have disappeared off the face of the earth since this booming debut. Here, his performance mimicks that of witty and humorous Jack Nicolson.
"Greetings and salutations." :)
J.D. and Veronica make the ideal couple. Both are witty, bright, and loathe the existence of the high school world. Only J.D. is insanely violent as well, and his actions are bringing about vast repercussions for not only himself, but for Veronica as well. And Veronica is beginning to wise up and realize that J.D., despite his charms and wit, isn't worth all his trouble(s) and excess baggage. Besides, he's got an unhealthy fascination with guns.
After the demise of the leading Heather - their doing through liquid bleach - a second Heather takes her place as leader, even more aggressive and bratty than her predecessor.
Veronica ponders what to do over old and new friendships and accidental deaths in her diary. She and hunky J.D. manage to kill a Heather and two dim-witted jocks but escape suspicion for murder because they leave behind suicide notes. Veronica can perfectly imitate handwriting styles, as we find out during the first 5 minutes of the film when the three Heathers coerce her into writing a love note to high school outcast Martha "Dumptruck" Dunstock and signing a popular jock's signature to it. She approaches him at his lunch table and uproarious laughter ensues.
Teenage suicide seems to be all the rage in the world of Westerburg High, despite the popularity of fictional band Big Fun's hit single, "Teenage Suicide (Don't Do It)." Even though Veronica has left J.D. behind, he still has conjured up his own evil plans concerning the future of Westerburg. And the Heather in control is abusing her privileges - Veronica knows she wants out.
HEATHERS is so much more than a screwball comedy. Since its release, no other film has managed to live up to the same wit and dark humor and charm found throughout, making this film a genuine benchmark in the history of movies - and the 80s, for that matter. HEATHERS takes one glimpse at the work of ultra-cool 80s director/writer John Hughes and laughs in his face, making his Molly Ringwald flicks look like garbage in comparison.
Could this be why Winona is still alive in Hollywood and Molly is not?
on June 10, 2004
Don't get me wrong - Love John Hughes. But this is not Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles or even the Breakfast Club. If you're looking for the sugary sweetness of those happy endings - Heathers isn't for you. There are no scenes that are going to make you overly nostalgic for being a teen in this dark comedy.
The 3 Heathers rule the school of Westerburg High and Heather Chandler (#1) is the dominant red wearing queen. Veronica Sawyer (Ryder) her best friend is dressed mainly in blue - for truth? She is our perspective for the most part and her diary entries (where she pours out all her true feelings) are perfect. Heather Duke - dressed in green for envy of Heather Chandler's power. And Heather MacNamara dressed in yellow for her fear of - everything. They walk the halls of Westerburg secure in their popularity and the fear the instill in their peers.
Enter Jason Dean (Slater) the "black horse in the running". He attracts Veronica mainly because he's an outsider too cool for anyone else and she's sick of the Heathers. He is seen in black for a very good reason. He is ultimately the protagonist for the killings (which are all too believable)
The movie is great, showing without remorse the absolute solitude that HS can be. The stereotypes, while exaggerated are suspiciously close to the truth. Arrogent teachers, clueless parents, heartless peers... Ahhh High School.
Heathers is also has great quotes. BVS is the only other thing I can think of that perfected it's own slang so well. It makes the movie timeless.
"F*** me gently with a chainsaw. Do I look like mother Theresa?" - Heather C.
"I just killed my bestfriend." - Veronica "And your worst enemy." - JD "Same difference." - Veronica
"Did you have a brain-tumer for breakfast?" Heather C.
on April 29, 2004
This film personifies high school, classic 80's teen angst cult film. Right down to the cliques in high school. The one difference between Westburg High & my high school is nobody was killing the popular kids off. Christian Slater plays Jason Dean (JD) a sociopath new kid in school who is fed up with cliques and the everday sheep students trying to fit in with the cool kids. Winona Ryder plays Veronica an individual but hangs with the Heathers to make life in HS easier. She notices JD's individuality and they start dating. Everythings is great until he wants to kill off the Heather girls & popular students. So he manipulates Veronica to help him kill off her simple minded friends & make it look like suicides. At first she is repulsed but can't stand her friends so she gives in. If you look deeper into this film beyond the quirky comedy the message is scary the desensitized unemotional oblivious parents, the quirky teacher who still wants to be a student, the song "teenage suicide don't do it" set to a pop upbeat melody. It really reflects high school a bit exaggerated but still relatable. A very dark film about the lengths kids will go to fit in and be liked. One kids twisted view of how the world should be. The ending is great the little speech Christian Slater gives to Wynona Ryder after attempting to blow up the school listen to it makes you think about what he says long after viewing the film. One of my favorite films and essential to collection, a must see to anyone grew up in 80's cinema.
on January 12, 2004
It's hard to believe that Christian Slater's breakout role as Jason "J.D." Dean in Heathers was almost 15 years ago. It's also amazing how well he pulled off his take on Jack Nicholson and psycho characters. Of course, when you look around, Christian Slater has all but fallen off the face of the earth. I haven't seen him since his two-minute cameo as a Starfleet officer reporting to George Takei's Captain Sulu in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, and that was in the early 90's. I can't remember if Murder in the First was before or after that little spot.
As to the movie itself, it definitely falls under the category of cult classic. Very 80's, very much a cross between social commentary and satire about that commentary with plenty of comedy and surrealism thrown in for good measure. An interesting feature from the DVD of Heathers is a screenplay of the original ending where Winona Ryder's Veronica kills J.D. in the boiler room, then takes his bomb and blows herself up outside the school. The original ending finishes with what seems like a dream-like school prom where all the cliques of the school break out of their molds and dance and mingle with each other. This includes all the characters who died during the movie. Apparently, the powers that be felt this ending would have been too dark for the teen audience of the time. I'd actually have to agree, although it would have fit in with the strangeness of the movie in general.
Another little tidbit: Shannon Doherty as one of the Heather characters BEFORE she hit it big with 90210.
on October 9, 2003
This 1989 movie hit a year after I graduated high-school and it was with smug amusement that I would gauge potential girlfriends by their reaction [or non-reaction] to its biting, jet black, macabre humour. It was and remained a favorite of mine for the ensuing decade. With a cadre of young unknowns, some of which would go on to better things, like shoplifting or partying with Heidi Fleiss; its hip wit and catch phrases pushed it quickly into cult status. Veronica wearies of her existence as fourth wheel in the powerful Ohio HS clique of girls named Heather, each color coded for easy identification. Christian Slater arrives snarling/preening in his Jack Nicholson way, and Veronica latches on. Together they wage a quiet, if effective war on the status quo, tilting it in directions they hadn't imagined via murder/suicides. There are moments of picturesque beauty; the opening scene in slow motion as the Heathers laugh, talk, and move forward w/ their croquet mallets to the tune of Que Sera Sera, only to crush the flora beneath their feet. Over the years, the movie's message delivery mechanism has become much more somber, owing in no small part to the cretinous real life actions of Gen-Y murder-spree kiddies. Back in the 80's JD's antics were inconceivable and suggested a dark and troubled, but fantasy world-view. However, today, the reality is almost par for the course. While the allure of Heathers remains, and it is a recommended view; it is ultimately tempered and tainted now as life has imitated art.
on June 27, 2003
There's not much left to say about "Heathers" that hasn't been said before...groundbreaking black comedy, witty dialogue, inspired story, and so on. It's really dated now, of course, but that's part of what makes it enjoyable to those of us who grew up in the 80's...or at least it's supposed to.
The movie deserves its reputation, as one of the few, and maybe the best, "anti-John Hughes" teen movies, although it doesn't always seem to wear well. I loved the movie when it first came out, but I only liked it this time around. Maybe the original audience has grown up, and left the three Heathers behind; like actual high school, it doesn't carry as much weight anymore.
As for the bonus features, it's been my experience that when a "classic" movie like this makes it to DVD 20 or so years later, the extras they manage to whip up aren't all that great, and this proves to be the case here. No mention whatsoever is made of the late Kim Walker (Heather Chandler) who died of cancer in 1999, which seemed a shame to me. She had the most pivotal role in the film, and no one even has one anecdote about working with her? Just as strange but more unsettling are Winona Ryder's comments about her experience on the film: she claims the screenplay is her favorite work of literature (huh?) and that her favorite scene is when Veronica is walking up the hill after the cow-tipping date, and Heather McNamara is getting date raped in the background. Um, okay.
on December 23, 2002
For a lot of teenagers, popularity takes precedence over high SAT scores or early admission into an Ivy. It's literally viewed as a matter of life or death, and no film brings that truth to life as vividly as "Heathers." Winona Ryder is Veronica, who (along with Heather Duke, Heather McNamara, and Heather Chandler) belongs to Westerburg High School's most elite and coveted clique. These four young women supposedly epitomize the essence of cool, and earning their stamp of approval is as prestigious as getting knighted by Her Majesty. But things get nasty when Veronica violently clashes with one of the Heathers, and shortly thereafter the clique slowly collapses under its own weight. Of course, there's much more to the film's plot, which is a brilliant satire on high school, the firece competition to be popular and well-liked, and the faculty's inability to connect with their students. Pregnant with one-liners and armed with a Ginsu-sharp script, "Heathers" is a pitch-perfect comedy that's wickedly funny. The best performances definitely belong to Ryder and then-unknown Shannen Doherty. Those who rolled their eyes at the "happily-ever-after" sentiment of "Sixteen Candles" have bonded with this film over the years, turing it into a small scale classic. "Heathers" didn't exactly set the box office on fire upon release in 1989, but it's definitely grown in popularity since then. Give it a look, and you'll see why.
on July 23, 2002
What, you can't see the humor in teenage murder/suicides? Then maybe "Heathers" isn't for you. However, if you like your farces pitch (and how often do you get properly treated to such a thing?), this is a must-watch pseudo-epic. As there've alreadyt been a few appropriately fawning reviews, I'll just give some info on the DVD...Picture: Quite crisp.Sound: A bit too good. The soundtrack has been so heavily bolstered by the THX, it's sometimes hard to make out the whip-smart dialogue.Documentary: Interesting. It would have been nice to see some of the interview material from earlier VHS special edition relases here, but it's tough to beat "Swatchdogs and Diet Cokeheads". All of the surviving major cast members (Ryder, Slater, Doherty, & more) make illuminating appearances, as well as the chief creators behind the scenes.Commentary: Beats out "The Usual Suspects" for best track I've heard to date. Producer Andrea DeNova is the amiable voice of fandom as she defends the movie against director Michael Lehmann's and especially screenwriter Dan Waters' acerbic wit. Their exchanges over the closing credits had me rolling.Other Goodies: The menu screens are cheap but swell, and they play two versions of "Que Sera Sera". You can just hear the actors' voices in your head as you read the last pages of script from Water's original ending.In Closing: If you own it on VHS, you might as well give your ratty old tape to a friend or stash it like an heirloom. You need the DVD. It's so very...
on July 14, 2002
The story of two non-geeks who are sick of the pretentious "in" crowd's thoughtless, tormenting ways towards outsiders, Heathers is a darkly comedic vision of revenge and regrets. Winona Ryder plays Veronica, the fourth in the most popular group of girls in school, the other three all named.. Heather. She meets J.D. (Christian Slater's angst-y, eventually psychotic portrayal of a loner going to the same school), who is a refreshing drink of apathy to her dehydration from cliques. From there, they join forces in overcoming stereotypes and unintentionally creating new ones as they "accidentally" kill the most popular Heather and make it look like a suicide. As J.D. has a hard time hiding his urges to continue doing the same thing to other popular students, Veronica begins to question his sanity, as well as her own.
Ryder plays an excellent basketcase of a character, who knows deep down what is right (following your instincts and doing what you want to do, not what your friends want you to do), but has a hard time deciding whether or not to be her own person or just go along with the Heathers. Although Slater can, at times throughout this movie, get a bit annoying (Jack Nicholson, anyone?), but in such a way that you have a hard time deciphering whether it's just part of the character, or his acting ability (or lack thereof). Shannen Doherty also plays a wonderful snob in what ultimately turns out to be one of the best dark comedies of the 80's.. the type of movie that is often poorly imitated but never duplicated.
Highly recommended, especially if you went to school (any grade, anytime) during the 80's. Even if the storyline doesn't pique your interest, off the wall humor and loads of sarcasm and cynicism will make this an enjoyable movie for you.
on July 2, 2002
When looking back on some of the films of the late 80's aimed at the countries youths, one of the brightest lights of that era is also one of the genres darkest: "Heathers". This is the story of the most powerful clique at Westerburg High that embraced the generation it was aimed and 14 years later is hailed as cult film that has truly lost none of its razor sharp edge. Veronica Sawyer (Winona Ryder) has outgrown the other members of the "Heathers" clique. The Heathers (Shannen Doherty, Lisanne Falk and Kim Walker) are lusted after by the boys and envied by the girls and they rule their school with a sadistic grip. Veronica's salvation comes in the form of rebellious new kid Jason Dean (Christian Slater) who is even crueler than the Heathers. Their relationship soon has a body count as the nasties of Westerburg suddenly commit "suicide" and Veronica begins to question what she is doing.
"Heathers" is by far, a very dark teen comedy flick. It came to change the whole genre with its pioneering dialogue. There are a wealth of razor blade-sharp speeches as "What's your damage, Heather?",...or "Did you have a brain tumor for breakfast?". It's nothing new today, but "Heathers" was first and is still the best. There are so many persons who makes their best performances here, among others Winona Ryder and Christian Slater. But my personal favorite is Kim Walker, as the megabrat Heather Chandler.
If you've never seen HEATHERS, you are missing one of the best films of the era. It is amazingly still as powerful as it was in 1988 and the performances rank as some of the best of the stars careers.