Ten Things I Think About Heathers
The social politics of Heathers take on a more serious tone more than two decades later.
1) In our post-Columbine, post-911, and present-day cultural campaign against bullying, this dark teen comedy definitely takes on a more sinister tone twenty-four years after its release.
2) On that note, because Heathers pre-dates those events it has a much more discomforting quality than films made in the past fifteens years that cannot help but make reference to or be influenced by these monumental historical happenings and our current cultural moment.
3) Now thinking about the bomb underneath the school followed by J.D. blowing himself up moves far away from the metaphorical “now that you’re dead, what are you going to do with your life” and deeply into our reality.
4) Speaking of looking back but on a lighter note…while fashion is in a nostalgic love affair with the 1980s, I don’t see the large-scale should pads or scrunchies making a comeback. Thankfully.
5) Recently I was part of a conversation about dealing with real violence via the representation of violence in Paolo Pasolini’s Salò or the 120 Days of Sodom. While Heathers lacks the certain, um, corporeal quality that Salò has in abundance, it quite lethally deals with the undesirable politics and cruelty of high school.
6) The fact that the girls play croquet means that theirs is a world of strategy, manipulation, and skill all wrapped up in the guide of civility. I cannot help but think of Alice in Wonderland escape it’s Veronica about to go down the rabbit hole.
7) Heathers also eerily predicts an infatuation with fame in media culture and society’s preoccupation with entertainment by other people’s suffering.
8) Look closely when Veronica opens Heather No. 1’s locker to see the postcard version of Barbara Kruger’s I shop therefore I am. I doubt that Heather understood the imbedded criticism of this statement by Kruger but I do hope it was an ironic intention on the part of the filmmaker.
9) Though independently minded with a conscious and intelligence, the character of Veronica cannot escape the stereotypical role of the girl following the boy’s lead. This is disappointing.
10) Winona Ryder back then? Love. Christian Slater? Not so much.