Monday, September 29, 2008

Heathers (Michael Lehmann, 1989)

It was about time I revisited the perturbed hilarity of Heathers; a deliciously warped movie that comforts me whenever I'm feeling a tad unbalanced or depleted in the red scrunchy department. You see, I hadn't seen it in at least five years (my overplayed VHS copy just up and died on me). So, as you would expect, the prospect of bathing in its unsavoury light once again had me all aflutter and wistfully woolgathering about blue leggings, shower-nozzle masturbation material, lunchtime polls, cow-tipping, strip croquet ("Sure beats boning on the neighbour's swing"), the perfect hangover cure, and, of course, the breeziness of teen suicide. This film, directed by Michael Lehmann and written by Daniel Waters, is a movie that I used to watch at least once a week back in 1992-93, and it remains to be not only one of the darkest comedies of all-time, but one of the best movies period. Which was a relief, because I was deathly afraid that the film's ability to shock and delight might have softened over the years. But thankfully the film continues to brilliantly skirt that fine line between utter tastelessness and biting satire. Originally, I watched the film because of my healthy obsession with Winona Ryder, but gazing longingly into the diminutive actresses' big brown eyes soon became secondary, as I found myself transfixed by the film's harsh depiction of everyday life at a nondescript high school. The random acts of cruelty and the impenetrable nature of the various social hierarchies all rang true.

"The only place different social types can genuinely get along with each other is in heaven." ~ J.D.

Displaying wonderful chemistry with one another, Christian Slater and Winona Ryder play a murdering high school duo who turn faking suicides into an art form. Now, their quirky relationship germinates in the cafeteria, but it really blossoms at the Snappy Snack Shack, where the two engage in some of the finest onscreen flirting I've ever seen; a lot of innuendos involving Cherry Slushies, Turbo-Dogs and Corn Nuts. Which culminates with one of my favourite lines: "I don't really like my friends." Something I'm sure we've all thought at one time or another.

Having not seen the film in so long has granted me the honour of seeing it from a semi-fresh perspective. In addition, I got to utilize my newly acquired penchant for all-things sleazy and salacious. I mean, I was surprised by how much I embraced Heather Chandler this time around. Her domineering brand of bitchery was probably off-putting ten years ago, but now I find her to be strangely alluring. In case anyone doesn't know, she's the leader of the most powerful clique at Westerburg High and is played with a tyrannical zestfulness by Kim Walker. The alpha Heather (a.k.a. The Red Heather) is the character who launches the film into a cattish wonderland, full of mean spiritedness and hideous blazers. She also spews some of the film's most memorable lines...

Top 10 Heather Chandler Lines

1. "Well, fuck me gently with a chainsaw. Do I look like Mother Theresa?"
2. "Come on. It will be very. The note will give her shower-nozzle masturbation material for weeks."
3. "They all want me as a friend or a fuck. I'm worshiped at Westerburg and I'm only a junior."
4. "You were nothing before you met me. You were playing Barbies with Betty Finn. You were a Bluebird. You were a Brownie. You were a Girl Scout Cookie."
5. "Is this turnout weak or what? I had at least 70 more people at my funeral."
6. "You stupid fuck... I brought you to a Remington party and what's my thanks? It's on a hallway carpet. I got paid in puke."
7. "Grow up, Heather, bulimia's so '87."
8. "You blow it tonight, girl, and it's keggers with kids all next year."
9. "You wanted to be a member of the most powerful clique in school. If I wasn't already the head of it, I'd want the same thing."
10. "Corn Nuts!"

Other Random Heather Thoughts:

I love it when Shannen Doherty (Heather Duke, a role she was born to play) asks Veronica: "Why are you pulling my dick"? Women who refer to having penises are tops in my book. There's just something inherently sexy about a dame with an imaginary cock.

The mundane patter Veronica Sawyer takes part in with her parents (William Cort and Jennifer Rhodes) out on the patio never fails to amuse me. Mr. Sawyer: "Goddamn, will somebody please tell me why I read these spy novels?" Veronica: "Because you're an idiot." Mr. Sawyer: "Oh, yeah, that's it." Mrs. Sawyer: "You two..."

The statuesque Lisanne Falk (Heather McNamara) has the gams of a professional knee-pad model. I can't believe I didn't notice them the other 150 times I watched this flick. Check 'em out when she's talking to Winona in the parking lot just after the film's first funeral. Oh, and the look on Renée Estevez' face as she sulks away after Heather Duke and Heather McNamara interrupt the croquet match she was having with Veronica always makes me sad.



  1. "I love my dead, gay son!" I still say this line thru the years... classic.

  2. My teen angst bullshit has a body that line