Every Friday night, and sometimes on Saturday, and sometimes on both, I have a movie night. It started out as a bad movie night, but as the group got smaller, and the people showing up became more regular, it turned into a weekly 'You haven't seen this, one of my favorite movies of all time?!? We're putting that in NOW!' fest. We try to pick movies that at least the majority of participants haven't seen, and it really isn't always a success. Up to this point I had thought that Robocop was a movie fun enough to enjoy even if you HADN'T seen it as a youth in the 80s, but judging by my girlfriends attitude I guess not.
This week's choice was Heathers, a movie I will call a classic til the day I die based mainly on it's transformative effect on my lifestyle in Jr. High and High School. Almost overnight I became a nihilistic, black-clad, bitter young man. OK maybe it wasn't overnight, and maybe this movie wasn't the ONLY reason for the change, but it came out when that adolescent rebellion was just about to kick in, and man did this movie SPEAK to me.
Years later, watching it now, I still get the same thrills from the movie that the 12 year old me did; I want to cheer when Jason Dean(Christian Slater) pulls out the gun and shoots blanks at the football players, I chuckle at all the one-lines('fuck me gently with a chainsaw' 'I love my dead gay son' ), and generally get off on all the adolescent angst that brings back those years with the trademark embarrassment and nostalgia. But as the years have gone on I've begun to appreciate the movie for different reasons. Where once I identified with young lovers JD and Veronica, I've now become convinced the movie has no real heroes. I think that's the genius of the film, and what's made it stand up so well in my favor, it's lack of truly perfect individuals. Of course the parents are clueless, the jocks are all assholes, and the popular girls are all bitches, but watch it again and you'll find that the outcasts are really no better. The 'losers' are just as deluded, full of themselves and exclusive as the rich kids. In fact Winona Ryder(ah Winona, girl of my dreams back in 1990) comes off as just as much of a bitch as her friends, only worse because she's so pompous and full of fake sincerity. To have this movie come out around the height of the John Hughes era of saccharine and redemptive teen movies was a huge kick.
Word on the grapevine is that Daniel Waters and Winona Ryder want a sequel made, which is intriguing, but also almost impossible to imagine. The first movie is about a young couple murdering the asshole persecutors at their school, and is very much a comedy. How would this movie get funding now that we live in a post-columbine world that treats teen angst and violence with kiddy gloves. The bloody and violent tone of the first film almost requires an R rating, which alone makes it a hard sell these days.