P-Mag Nostalgia Project: 1981 with Bryn

Okay, everybody, put on your Adidas and grab your favorite My Little Pony. Is your hair pouffy enough? I’m kidding – it can never pouffy enough, because we’re headed to 1981! Read More P-Mag Nostalgia Project: 1981 with Bryn

Best of P-Mag: Growing up X: From Heathers to Reality Bites

As a member of Generation X myself, I’ve often wondered why there’s so little discussion of us in popular discourse. PMag was one of the first places I came that talked about things that were important to my not-quite-Greatest Generation. And, come on, Heathers is awesome. – Slay

As a teenager in the late eighties, Winona Ryder was my hero. An article in either Bop! or Tiger Beat once misidentified her birthday as the same as mine, so in my vapid teenage way I felt, you know, really connected to her. I’m not sure if it was Dracula or finding out we were not birthday twins that ended my girl crush, but for a time between 1987 – 1994 or so, she was the cats pajamas.

Winona, the antithesis twin of my cornfed midwestern tall girl with glasses aesthetic, was the lead in two movies that I feel do a better job of defining Generation X than anything Brett Easton Ellis can pound out between PBR benders – Heathers and Reality Bites.

Heathers is a movie that would never, ever be greenlit today. In the days before boys in trench coats really murdered their classmates, however, Heathers was an unapologetic dark comedy. While not really evident in the following trailer (Lethal Attraction was the European title, yikes.), Heathers was the polar opposite of every John Hughes feel good teen movie that had preceded it .

Instead of writing essays about how we’re all alike on the inside or making a prom dress out of a canopy bed to impress a rich boy, Ryder’s Veronica and Christian Slater’s JD kill three people in the first 45 minutes of the film. Gen X cheered. Wizened by the knowledge Johnny Castle and Jake Ryan were as real as Santa Claus, we finally saw a movie that addressed what high school was really like with delicious, biting satire. There are no heroes in Heathers. There are a few minor characters who earn our sympathy in the film, but most of the speaking roles in Heathers are assholes. It’s a concept as old as theater, but Heathers was the first time a lot of people my age were introduced to the humor that makes Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Office and Sascha Baron Cohen so popular now.

Viewing Heathers for the first time was one of those moments when the world suddenly seemed exponentially bigger than it had the day before; one of a thousand similar moments when everything was new and fresh and didn’t creak when I bent it. After rewatching it recently, I think it stands up pretty well for a twenty+ year old comedy about sociopaths. I’m curious if it’s something that will be picked up by post-X generations, like The Cure and oversized floral dresses.

Reality Bites doesn’t hold up nearly as well, I’m sad to say. I remember loving this movie like peanut butter when I was fresh out of college with a Bachelor of Arts in Useless. Here’s the trailer to refresh your memory:


The entire cast is still adorable, but after all this time Reality Bites feels kind of like Gen X Godspell without the tunes or religious themes. The terrible dialogue isn’t helped by Winona’s half-assed performance or Ethan Hawke’s sadfaces, but the rest of the cast is charming enough to sell really horrific lines. While it’s entirely possible I loved this movie in my 20’s because I was as whiny and entitled as it is, I was also still blinded by my belief Winona could do anything.

Heathers and Reality Bites bookended what I like to call my wild years. Like Heathers, I approached eminent adulthood with cynicism, a sense of humor and a collection of colorful tights. Like Reality Bites, my actual first years as a grown up were filled with creative bill payment schemes, misguided delusions of grandeur and terrible music.

From the Archives: GenX: The Toys that Warped a Generation

Editor’s note: Here’s a blast from the past, before we had so many readers.  This one goes out to our Olds, on a hot summer night perfect for nostalgia.

It’s time to step in to the TARDIS, fellow Gen Xers, to look at the toys that shaped our childhoods and our psyches from the mid-1970s until the mid-1980s.  You Youthfuls may enjoy this as well, but I bet you’ll be shocked at how easy it was for us to seriously injure ourselves on our playthings.  Read More From the Archives: GenX: The Toys that Warped a Generation

Gen. X, Gen. Y and the Art of Slacking

I hope you all will excuse me while I make rash, sweeping generalizations about, well, pretty much all of us (or at least the generations to which we belong). I think it’s interesting that the idea of the lovable, cool slacker arose in the 80s and 90s as a counter-cultural alternative to yuppies and  corporate expansion, but I’m not sure that the art of slacking has translated well for my Generation, the Y-ers, who are, if anything, hyper-motivated, helicopter-parented and desirous of “making their mark in the world.” Read More Gen. X, Gen. Y and the Art of Slacking

Gen. X Movies: Aging like Fine Wine or Crystal Pepsi?

Now here’s a category where my Gen. Y status will undoubtedly help rather than hinder–having seen none of these movies when they first came out, I can determine (subjectively, of course) whether these classics have held up well with age or deflated like so many high, scrunchy-wrapped ponytails. Read More Gen. X Movies: Aging like Fine Wine or Crystal Pepsi?

C U L8R: The Changing Forms of Communication

This morning as my kids were playing quietly by themselves, I was indulging in some online time with Selena. We were swapping emails back and forth. For a moment, I thought about switching over to G-Chat, but  I didn’t. It wasn’t really necessary, we were emailing just fine, every 5-10minutes to each other. At the same time, I was skimming Twitter and catching up on Facebook. Read More C U L8R: The Changing Forms of Communication

Gotta Go, Gotta Go, Gotta Go RIGHT NOW

Apparently, I’ve reached an age where all health issues I develop somehow develop below the belt. Why my ladybits are protesting, I don’t really know. My ailments are life-threatening, but they are annoying and they are life-altering. During Persephone Magazine’s launch, I shared the details of my Ablation Vacation. This winter, apparently, will be known as Winter of my Bladder’s Discontent. Read More Gotta Go, Gotta Go, Gotta Go RIGHT NOW