Today, August 24th, is my 28th birthday. I decided for my birthday that we’re going to discuss Heathers because, well, because it’s my birthday and I can do whatever I want, right? (Happy birthday also to Marlee Matlin, Rupert Grint, Steve Guttenberg, Cal Ripken Jr, Dave Chappelle, Craig Kilborn and Chad Michael Murray!)
Considering I was born in 1984 and Heathers came out in 1988 I can pretty much guarantee I didn’t see it until it had been out for at least 4 years (I realize this was probably somewhat “mature” viewing for an 8-year-old). This was a movie I watched WHENEVER it was on TV. I was just mesmerized by everything happening it. I mean, as a child of the late 80’s-90’s I was completely head-over-heels for Winona Rider so I just loved watching her in…everything. Before Mean Girls taught us about cliques and how awful they can be, and before Clueless totally reshaped my vocab, there was Heathers.
I’d like to think as a kid I was smart enough to get the whole humor of the movie but I’m pretty sure there’s no way that’s true. (Well, actually, wait, I mean, I was aware it was funny and I remember laughing at it so maybe I WAS in on the joke.) When we got a DVD player and I was checking out what movies we could get on DVD at Media Play (yeah.), I remember jumping on a $6 copy of this movie which I watched approximately 100 times and then got stuck in the DVD player of my laptop where it remains to this day. (I’ve held onto that laptop specifically to one day free Heathers from its clutches. And also to watch it on that laptop).
Obviously this movie has altered the name Heather for me in huge ways (sorry, All My Friends Named Heather) and I watched Christian Slater in Bed of Roses specifically because of this movie (and my other love for Mary Stuart Masterson). I also cannot disassociate the song Que Sera Sera from this movie (and I love both versions that appear in it).
So, let’s blow off seventh and eighth, go to the mall, have a calorie fest and see the new Christian Slater…but first, here are five ways Heathers ruined my life:
1. Completely Infiltrated My Speech Patterns
I mean, lots of things they say I can’t repeat here. One of my favorites is about saying “make love to me gently with a chainsaw” which always comes in handy. Even besides the girls and their expletive-filled catch phrases there are just great quotes in this movie.
Here are some:
- “greetings and salutations!” – definitely tried to make this one happen
- “I love my dead gay son!” – this is weird out of context but is awesome to use out of context
- “what’s your damage, Heather?” – I recently learned how to play Dungeons & Dragons and was asked “so what’s your damage?” and then we could not stop saying this all night
- “Well, it’s just like – they’re people I work with, and our job is being popular and sh*t.” – just a great line
2. Still Pretty Sure I Need a Monocle
They have some seriously awesome style going on in this movie.
And, of course, by “they” I mostly just mean Veronica aka Winona.
I love the weird thing she’s wearing in the convenience store.
They all rock bright solids like nobody’s business. A style I was very enamored with as a child and then, also, more recently.
But then she goes even further and uses a MONOCLE. A monocle, for crying out loud!
I got glasses from Warby Parker and had the thought, “wait, should I also get a monocle?” ALSO, since my left eye is near sighted and my right eye slightly far sighted, REALLY a monocle would be a cool fashion statement AND a practical eyewear option!
Yeah, my mom didn’t buy it either.
3. Made a Lady on the Subway Think My Halloween Costume Was REALLY Inappropriate
So, like any normal girl I wanted to dress up as Veronica Sawyer for Halloween. Luckily I have someone in my life who (though bald) was equally into dressing up as JD for Halloween in 2009. (He wore a wig).
So obviously the beauty of these costumes is lost on someone who hasn’t seen Heathers a million times. We went to a party with many other 20-somethings (including my bff who was awesomely dressed as Rosemary from Rosemary’s Baby). So our costumes fit right in.
Until we got on the subway to head home.
We’re riding the train home together and this girl who was dressed as a “devil” and a dude who had a bra on over his clothes stuffed with spices (“spice rack”) start whispering to each other and staring at us. Which was really odd since the four of us were holding onto the same pole.
Then I hear her say, “this is just in such poor taste. He’s a SUICIDE BOMBER.”
With the help of a few beers and my intense desire to teach people about pop culture gems I butt in and explain that we’re dressed as characters from the movie Heathers. The girl (who was approximately 6 years older than we are) had never heard of the movie but the dude kind of smiled and seemed to be into it.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t repay the compliment on his costume…
4. I Can Never Trust Shannen Doherty Anymore
I mean, Shannen Doherty’s Heather Duke is pretty wimpy at the beginning. Within the first few minutes she’s literally being forced to be a human table by their leader, Heather Chandler.
But as soon as Heather Chandler is out of the picture, Heather Duke has no problem assuming the role of leader, even donning the Red Scrunchie of Power by the end.
So then when I started watching Beverly Hills, 90210 (I hate that I have to write out Beverly Hills to reference that now) I was like, “sure, Brenda SEEMS nice and innocent but once Kelly is out of the picture she’s going to SNAP!”
Now, Brenda is no princess, obviously, but she also never reaches Heather Duke levels of crazy, so I should probably forgive Shannen Doherty for this now (especially because she’s doing those awkward online degree commercials now).
What’s odd is this is the total inverse of Tiffani-Amber Thiessen’s progression from Saved by the Bell to Beverly Hills, 90210, where I would always try to convince myself everyone should trust Valerie. Sigh.
5. Thought a “College Party” Was Like, the Epitome of Cool
Obviously this isn’t unique to Heathers but this was the first movie that I remember thinking about the importance of a mystical “college party.” I mean, I wouldn’t want to mess up at the Remington party and have to go to “keggers with kids” all next year!
But the time I was actually in high school, I don’t think anyone even went to college parties (or maybe I just wasn’t invited). It would be more like “oh, my friend in college can chalk your ID” or “my older cousin can buy some wine coolers” and less of a “let’s go try to get hit on my frat guys” kind of thing. At least at the two high school “parties” I actually attended.
I mean, how rad does this college party look:
Okay, maybe not.
I hope no one has to send their SAT scores to San Quentin instead of Stanford…(Images screengrabbed by me)