Heathers At 30

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An eighties Bonnie & Clyde: Veronica and JD.

“It’s just so very!”

Michael Lehmann’s dark high school satire Heathers has just turned 30. And it’s looking good on it. It’s a fucked -up fairytale. With remastered versions currently out all over the UK, plus (no, no, no!) a musical in the offing, its legacy has endured, and with just cause.

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‘Jealous much?’ Doherty and Ryder square up.

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Jock assholes Kurt and Ram

Winona Ryder as Veronica is the misfit amongst the clique of girls, all otherwise called Heather. They’re horrible, smug rich teens, arrogant, amoral, and always colour co-ordinated, who think nothing of fat shaming or othering. Veronica, sickened by their cruelty, gets together with new boyfriend, the Jack Nicholson-esque JD (Christian Slater) a black – clad rebel with a gun.

As Veronica, clad in kimono and monocle, scribbles frantically in her journal: ” My teen angst bullshit has a body count”. It’s this self-awareness and humour that makes her such a wonderful anti-heroine. JD, like his old man, is a cold-blooded killer.

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Laughing at the poor.

Teen tribes at Westerberg High are beautifully skewed by Daniel Waters’ script : jocks, geeks, stoner kids and prom queens get put under the spotlight in a not quite standard teen flick. It’s my favourite high school film , like The Breakfast Club* with paper cuts and firearms. The cafeteria, sports hall and classroom are all battlegrounds- which seems apposite enough.

Ryder is amazing in the role, both wounded and cynical. Slater is… hmmm… passable, an almost believable psychopath, but he works best in tandem with her.

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Croquet and bigotry, darling?!

The hypocrisy of student saintliness after death, homophobia, teachers blaming MTV and video games for suicide, and media prurience, all feel the sharp poke of Waters’ nib. Horribly prescient too. You laugh as much as cringe and shudder. After all, ‘Bulimia is sooo ’87”.

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‘Jack who?’ Slater and motorcycle

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Ah, true love and firearms.

(Lorna Irvine)

*Which I still love, though not as much as Heathers.

Out now in various cinemas. Check press, I gotta motor it. I’m off for a cherry slushy.

 

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