In which my dream to do a group Heathers-themed Halloween costume is validated, Anaïs Nin continues to fascinate, and people have feelings about leggings. Plus much more!
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.
Happy Friday, Persephoneers! Read More Lunchtime Poll: When Was the Last Time You Watched Heathers?
We all know the movie studios are having difficulty coming up with original ideas – how else can you explain every other movie either being a reboot or a sequel – but now it seems to have spread to the Bravo network. Read More Paging Winona Ryder: “Heathers” is Coming to TV
A couple of weeks ago, I got nasty cold. I had no energy to do anything but watch movies. Here’s my evaluation of each movie I watched in terms of its ability to make you not feel like crap but still catch the thread of the movie at the end by the time you’ve fallen asleep in a Nyquil haze.
Welcome to the second installment of the Persephone Movie Club. This week, we’ll be discussing Heathers. Somehow I’d never seen it until now and didn’t really know much about it, so I’m excited to have finally caught up with the rest of my generation. (I was 10 when it came out in 1988, so I wasn’t really old enough for the subject matter. Why it took another 24 years to see it defies explanation.) Read More Persephone Movie Club: “Heathers”
“There’s more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good-looking.” Like being able to use movie quotes to properly express yourself! Today’s LTP: what quotes from movies or TV shows do you use on a regular basis? Read More LTP: 8/5
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?