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« Monologue: Christopher Walken x 2 | Main | Link Flood »
Monday
Mar312014

"monday morning, you're history"

Happy 25th birthday this very day to the daring, hilarious, and utterly classic Heathers (1989). It's one of the greatest high school movies of all time and the most shamelessly ripped off. (See also: Mean Girls, classic in its own right don't get me wrong but the debt it owes cannot be overstated. It's "very". My guess is Tina Fey (who was 18 when it came out) must've watched it a million times.

Growing up this was the bit my friends and I quoted all the f***ing time.

Heather: You stupid fuck

Veronica: You goddamn bitch 

Heather: You were nothing before you met me. You were playing Barbies with Betty Finn. You were a bluebird. You were a brownie. You were a girl scout cookie. 

I got you into a Remington party. What's my thanks? It's on the hallway carpet. I got paid in puke.

Veronica: Lick it up, baby. Lick it up.

[Great Moments in Screen Bitchery #9, Winona Ryder in Heathers]

 

While we're on the topic of Heathers, I'll report on the new Off Broadway musical tonight but I have two questions for you in the comments.

1. What lines have you quoted most often?

2. Which Oscar nominations do you think it was robbed of (since Oscar don't touch high school comedies). I am very serious when I say I would have nominated it for three that year: Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Actress. But 1989 is one of the years where Oscar and I have been least sympatico - none of the Best Picture nominees even made my top ten list. (If you're curious to know my top tens from years past there's a pull down menu up at the top of the blog)

 

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Reader Comments (17)

Ooh, tough call. There are so many delicious, endlessly quotable one-liners. But for me it's probably, "What is your damage, Heather?" Either that or, "She's my best friend. God, I hate her." (Although for absurdist bliss tops has to be, "Well fuck me gently with a chainsaw. Do I *look* like Mother Teresa?" Whee...)

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

P.S. I so-o-o miss Winona Ryder. *tear* Is she too far beyond the brilliance of her black comedy skills at this point?

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

Print your list. '89 was a year where all my reference points are for major movies, even the shitty ones.

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

/3rtful -- what do you mean by print your list. I told you how to look at it right there

March 31, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Categories? Well, beyond the three you mentioned, I'd also stump for, at the very least, Costume Design, if not also at least one supporting actress nod.

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Batman (Tim Burton) -- Classic
Crimes and Misdemeanors (Woody Allen) -- Dull
The Fabulous Baker Boys (Steve Kloves) -- Dull
Drugstore Cowboy (Gus Van Sant) -- Very Good
Heathers (Michael Lehmann) -- Classic for the genre
Henry V (Kenneth Branagh) -- Dull on paper
Jesus of Montreal (Denys Arcand) -- Need to make time for
The Little Mermaid (Ron Clements & John Musker) -- Classic
sex, lies, and videotape (Steven Sodebergh) -- Need to make time for
The War of the Roses (Danny DeVito) -- Your Turner Obsession

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

You speak of missing slots in 1993 and 1996? Here are suggestions for slot fillers.

1993:

True Romance
Dazed and Confused
Groundhog Day
Carlito's Way
Army of Darkness (There. Five films that don't involve including a director twice for the same year.)

1996:

Secrets & Lies
Lone Star
The English Patient
Jerry Maguire
Bottle Rocket
Matilda (And there's six.)

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Is it too obvious to say "Fuck me gently with a chainsaw?" That's a pretty great line that I think of often when considering the great, unsung Heathers. I was three when it came out, so it wasn't on my radar at the time. I didn't watch it for the first time until I was in college, long after I had already seen Clueless and Mean Girls. My main frame of reference for it had been on the back of the Mallrats VHS tape (my older brother was a huge Kevin Smith fan at the time and a lot of my kid un-friendly cinema watching was shaped by him) where they give the synopsis and they used to do that thing where they would parenthetically mention other movies the actors had starred in, so it was noted next to Shannen Doherty's billing. I was aware of it as a cultural...thing and yet somehow it managed to be so undersold to me as a movie. It really held up for me, seeing it for the first time in my early 20s long after its time. It's so so great. It has its own visual language and cinematic universe, with clear rules and limitations that a lot even the best high school movies don't have. Something like...Mean Girls, for instance. As much as I enjoy that movie, it's very neutral in its directing style. I wasn't expecting Heathers to be so stylized and well-constructed in terms of its world building. With that in mind, in addition to the nominations already mentioned by Nathaniel (which I totally cosign), I'd nominate it for costumes and production design. The costume work in this movie is so great. It's distinctive for each character, even amongst the individual Heathers. And the production design, specifically the Heather #1s bedroom, especially when compared to Veronica's bedroom and then the high school itself...all thoughtful, all on character, all clearly not slapped together.

I just realized that I've been quoting this movie for years and I've never actually seen it.

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Marie

I know it's not bitchy, but the line "I love my dead gay son!" makes me laugh every time.

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBen

I always suspected something was wrong with me when I saw HEATHERS for the first time and felt legitimately sad that JD had died. Mind you, I was probably about twelve (HEATHERS was released before my time) but I found myself rooting for his psychopathic charm despite myself. Clearly, I should rewatch the movie, though. Although, I can't bear to watch the memories of what Christian Slater could have been staring at me. I really should, though, I can only imagine how much of it went over my head at the time.

Even more than the film's fine script, I really think the film's biggest asset is the excellent rapport between Winona and Christian. Too weird to call them one of the decade's best couples? They work so excellently together.

I mean, how very.

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAndrewK

for me, nothing can beat this "Dear Diary, I want to kill- and you have to believe, it's for more than just selfish reasons, more than just a spoke in my menstrual cycle. You have to believe me!". Get me every single time.

On the side note, I always think of Heathers and Harold & Maude as a companion - they share pretty much same themes: teen angst and confusion, the very awkward first love, and the way both films flirt with deaths. I also think of Welcome to the Dollhouse too, such overlooked gems

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered Commentertombeet

"My teen angst bullshit now has a body count"

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterErko

I'm with you on the nominations. I'd probably give it the win for Original Screenplay. It's just so smart and it holds up so well compared to the actual nominees.

I've tried to make so very happen before. You can tell in my writing when I've recently rewatched Heathers because I use it in place of actual positive commentary for a couple days. It's a crutch, but a fun crutch.

I'm going to try to get to the Heathers musical after my show finishes its run this Sunday. I have to. An updated Hedwig I can live without, but not missing the chance at the Heathers musical. It was like when I had to convince a bunch of people to go see a musical adaptation of Night of the Living Dead playing in a middle of nowhere theater a few years ago. It wound up being terrible, but I felt obligated.

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

Great pate, dad, but I've gotta motor if I want to make it that funeral on time.

March 31, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRV

no one does teen angst like winona. her and christina ricci. actually no one can do twentysomething confusion like winona too.

winona, come back!!!

April 1, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterwinoforever

So much greatness derived from this movie, and so many memorable quotes that I still use today! Disappointing to know that a movie of this nature would never make it today, even in a cult classic sense :\

April 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCourtney

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