Old Lady Movie Night: "Heathers"
Oh, to be young again. Am I right, you guys? Remember how simple it was, to treat going to the movies like “an event,” and then buy the subsequent Disney soundtrack and bask in the warm glow of music you’d torture your parents with for at least four months? NOW what do we have? Our own incomes? Freedom of choice? The decision to watch The Walking Dead for 4925285258 hours on a weekend when you’re supposed to do your own work?
Yes. We do. We do have those things. And because we have those things, I am going to do what I have waited far too long to do: I am going to watch Heathers. Because I wasn’t allowed to watch it when I was a kid, and nobody I know watched it as a teen, and then in my 20s I was neglectful UNTIL NOW. So this is an Old Lady Movie Night extravaganza: I am going to watch a movie for the first time and write about it whilst I watch.
CAN YOU DIG IT? ARE YOU DIGGING IT? DO YOU REQUIRE A SHOVEL? NO? BECAUSE I THE SHOVEL IS HYPOTHETICAL? GRAVY.
1. Well, right off the bat I can tell you that I would hate being popular in the 1980s
Everybody knows that Ally Sheedy’s and Judd Nelson’s clothes were the best in The Breakfast Club, and while this movie takes place four years later, it still paints the picture of the “popular” and/or “cool” people dressing the worst. Am I wrong? No, I’m not. That was a trick question. For you see, scrunched up hair in scrunchies worn with oversize blazers will never, ever come close to what Winona Ryder wears on the Netflix movie poster. (I think it’s a t-shirt?) (I’ll get back to you on this, maybe.) Even though, let’s be honest, Shannon Doherty could probably pull off wearing a Northern Getaway pink sweatsuit that a certain writer wore in grade seven, thinking she was “the bomb.”
2. I tried to play croquet once
Which I’m not sure has much to do with the movie (spoiler alert: IT DOES), but I just feel that if we’re supposed to be sharing, you should know that my neighbours had a croquet set, and we’d set it up in our collective backyard (no fence), and fail miserably and break the sticks. My grandparents also had a set, and we did NOT break the sticks, but I think my grandpa got over putting the wires in the ground pretty quick. As did my nana, who got over me trying to play it in the house an equal amount. None of us had a Winona Ryder head. GREAT STORY, RIGHT? Carry on.
3. “What is your damage, Heather?”
This line should actually be in every movie ever made (and yes, I have heard it before THANK YOU VERY MUCH).
4. The Plastics > The Heathers
AM I RIGHT (yes) or AM I RIGHT (absolutely). First, because The Plastics are mean, but they’re not Heather mean. And second, The Plastics eventually learn to act like human beings. I feel like these Heathers are the devil…? As in, the devil split into three things and formed girls named Heather? Also what a coincidence that their names are all Heather. I tell ya. The ’80s, you guys.
5. Also, Christian Slater, hello, how are you
And that would be my 1980s crush if I were aware of how to have crushes in the 1980s. (It was 1990 when I had my first crush on a guy named Peter on my bus. He was also five. He smiled at me. It was magical.) Because right?! THOSE EYES. THE EYEBROWS. HIS EARRING I THINK (I’m not sure). You’ve done a good job, Christian Slater’s parents. Your genes were a gift to us all. (Not to objectify you, Christian Slater. But thank you for your role in Heathers.)
6. But seriously I don’t understand being so mean?
They’re SO MEAN. That poor girl with the note! Why would they do that?! And they think it’s funny?! I’m so confused and I feel so bad. And this is a movie, and it’s old, and everyone in it is an actor. BUT STILL. I feel genuinely sad. And why isn’t Veronica standing up to Heather? I mean, okay, fine, when I was a teen I absolutely would’ve done whatever this one girl had said because she was “so popular” and “so cool.” (Usually that just meant …well, that group ditched me, and we stopped hanging out.) But RIGHT MY WRONGS, WINONA RYDER. Write all of our wrongs.*
*I have absolutely no idea what that actually means.
7. SMOOTH MOVES IN THE 7-11
As in I now want to be in high school and date Christian Slater? Though not necessarily his character, because the gun thing understandably is a no-go. Also, AMEN, CHRISTIAN. (She SHOULD get new friends.)
7. b) BUT NO I hate these college guys
I hate them, and I hate he said “I can’t help myself” and I hate that they’re STILL AROUND TODAY. Not to get heavy, but I think we can recognize that they’re garbage people.
8. Okay, but wait Christian Slater’s character is actually a psycho?
Because he’s actually talking about killing a person? And knows how to do it? What? And Winona, WHY ARE YOU GOING ALONG WITH IT. I mean, yes, Heather is basically a minion, but she’s just a person who’s obviously struggling with … a lot? A lack of compassion, mainly, and also any awareness whatsoever? But death, no. NEVER DEATH. This isn’t really Veronica’s fault, either, it’s Christian Slater’s, who … wow. Well, there are a lot of think pieces to write about his character, I am sure.
9. I take back everything I said about clothes
It was jarring at first, I won’t lie to you. But now? Now I want only to wear patterns and overalls and everything you see in the hour something-long fil-im. I was wrong. I was so wrong. And I can’t tell you how wrong I was. (But you already know. You already know.)
10. And these high school guys, WHAT THE HELL
Seriously, though. Does anyone else not want to reach into the screen and say WHY ARE YOU BULLYING THE SMART KIDS. And another one for WHY ARE YOU TIPPING OVER THOSE POOR COWS. I know it’s a movie. I know that. And I know that I eat beef. But it still upsets me. Because I am someone who gets irrationally upset/is overly sensitive over cows.
But what is not irrational? My hate for these bullying, sexist d-bags. How did you guys process this when you were younger? Right now I’m ready to toss my laptop into the sea.
11. No, but seriously, how did you guys process this?
Because I feel conflicted. Right now, Christian Slater and Veronica are going to seek revenge on those two terrible jocks. And honestly? I understand their angle. BUT AH. There’s so much more than that! How did you do it? It’s all I can do right now not to be like “Yes, but there’s a systemic problem and those guys have been raised in a sexist environment, and they need to be educated!!!” and look I just did it. I know this movie is also about reclamation, but SO MANY FEELINGS ARE HAPPENING RIGHT NOW. One being:
12. Christian Slater is the new Heather in Winona’s life
HE IS JUST ANOTHER HEATHER, TELLING HER WHAT TO DO. And did he just burn her hand with his cigarette? WHY.
13. Christian Slater is also like his dad…?
Who is a sociopath. Though I will say that this movie is great. I’m not kidding. It does exactly what movies should do: it makes you think. Now we find out that Christian Slater’s mom killed herself in one of her dad’s bombings? AND NOW HE KEPT KISSING VERONICA WHEN SHE WANTED TO GET AWAY? Christian Slater is out of his mind. He is out of his mind, and listen, Winona, you can come stay at my house until we get enough of a case to take something to the cops. WE CAN BEAT THIS THING.
14. But imagine some guy just went up to you and was like, “I have these photos of you and don’t worry — just be the girl who died, and no one will see them.”
WHAT. No! No, Shannon Doherty! Why? Also, maybe we don’t wear her hair bow. Or maybe we do. I don’t know. I mean, I wear my Nana’s watch and she passed away, but that was different? Also, my grandpa gave it to me? Not some creepy guy in the science lab of my high school. (“Here you go, Anne.” – “How did you get this?” – “Don’t worry about it. Just be popular.” – “Sure!”)
15. “All we want is to be treated like human beings!”
YOU GO, GIRL. Also, remember when Veronica was referred to by her mom as “voice of a generation”? I’m going to assume Lena Dunham was nodding to that when she wrote that wonderful line because OF COURSE. Dunham knows her pop culture, and also, it would make so much glorious sense.
“If you were happy every day of your life, you wouldn’t be human, you’d be a game show host.” THIS. IS. GOLD. Literal gold. It is actually a realization I think we all have to come to despite our rational brains knowing better. But still. This movie, everyone. I probably would’ve liked it a lot in my teens. I mean, I like it now, but now I’m not in high school, so if something like this were happening, I would be like, “wait, why am I hanging out with people in high school and why is everyone named Heather.”
17. Okay but Veronica is totally screwed, you guys
WHAT CAN SHE DO. Christian Slater is obviously threatening her, but she can’t go to her parents or the police or you KNOW he’ll say that she was responsible for murdering everyone. HOW DO YOU EVEN DEAL. Easy: I would move. I don’t know where, but I do know that I would change my name and also probably join witness protection. Wait — is there any possibility that she’s making Christian Slater up? Keep in mind I’ve never seen this before, so let me ask this honestly: IS CHRISTIAN SLATER REAL.
18. He IS real!
And also INSANE. Actually. Was he the love object of any of you? “Love object.” I don’t know. Winona’s faking her death, and the school signed some sort of suicide pact, and Christian Slater, no. We are done with you. (Your character.) That’s it. (Again, your character. I’m sure in real life you are quite a nice man.)
19. Also, “get a job” is a fun thing to scream from cars
Because I was the worst at age 16-17, my friends and I thought it’d be funny to scream “get a job!” at people while we drove around. At night. In like, a neighbourhood. And usually when it made zero sense. Like, to another teenager. Or to a couple making out. I wish I had said it to a teacher like Veronica just did, but no real teachers would’ve deserved that. Neither did any of those other people, come to think of it, but I will say this: at least we were not saying anything worse. (I mean, literally. “Get a job” to someone our own age on a Saturday was about it — and I’m 99% sure we were too far away from actual people to have them hear us.)
20. As for THE ENDING
Well that’s a wow mixed with a woah. Did anyone see that coming? No? Me neither? Why am I still using question marks? Because I’m in shock? Yes. But we said NO MORE CHRISTIAN SLATER’S CHARACTER. (Though is no one going to question Veronica who just witnessed his death? And will she just always remain free of blame in terms of the murders? I guess, right? Okay.)
So instead, Martha and Veronica are friends. And people are going to start being kind. AND EVEN MORE IMPORTANTLY, rented videos and popcorn > prom. (At least based on my experiences.) (But if you can combine the two for an ultimate type of extravaganza, then go forth, my loves. Go forth.) I liked this movie very much.
Que sera sera.