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Dan the Man's Movie Reviews

All my aimless thoughts, ideas, and ramblings, all packed into one site!

Heathers (1988)


It’s like the old saying; “if you hate ‘em…kill ‘em”. Not an actual saying but it should be.

Veronica Sawyer (Winona Ryder) hates the girls in her popular clique. Enter mysterious newcomer J.D. (Christian Slater), who offers her the perfect — albeit deadly — solution to end the Heathers’ social tyranny.

Hasn’t every kid in high school at least once dreamed of killing off the popular high school sluts and jocks? I mean sure every one has, but to dream of it is one thing, but then to actually do it is another. Go geeks!

What I liked most about this flick is that it’s not like your usual high school flick and I think that’s where it’s real selling point was. The script by Daniel Waters is great because he makes fun of all the things we see in high school such as the bitchy prom queens, the asshole football players, the dumb teachers, and the clueless parents who have no idea of what’s going on. It’s a satire but it’s also very true in how it voices its mind of just how stereotypical high school can be. Waters definitely delivers the good when it came to making me laugh my ass off here but it’s also the central point here as well that made me think of it a whole lot differently as well.

No matter what anybody does, high school will always be high school. There will always be the cliques, there will always be the prissy girls that are too good for you so they go on top of college guys every weekend, there will always be those dickheads that try to take your lunch money everyday, there will always be those teachers/adults who “just don’t get it”, and there will always be the geeks who can never stand up for themselves. That’s how it’s been,  that’s how it will always be and there’s no way anybody can eliminate that. However, you still don’t have to be apart of all of that and you can just be your own person, without ever conforming or trying to “fit in” with a certain group of people. This rings very true, especially to a dude like me who never really tried to blend in with a certain group. I’ll be cool with any person who is able to be cool with me and it doesn’t matter how high on the social status they are either. Maybe this isn’t the point of the flick and I’m just looking for something to look in deeper with, but it still rang a little true for me.

But the main problem I had with this flick was that I think it started to get a little too serious by the end and that’s where it lost me. Yes, the whole idea of having teens kill off other teens is a very dark subject, and something you definitely couldn’t do in today’s day and age of post-Columbine, but you still can lighten it up just a bit without losing that comedic edge. The film loses itself half-way through because then everything starts to get scarier, a lot more serious, and a lot more darker to the point of where I wasn’t really laughing all that much. I think that Waters’ script is done very well here, but I think that he loses his comedic timing by the end and maybe, just maybe, gets a little too carried away with taking such a bizarre-o premise so seriously in the end.

It was really cool to see two stars such as Winona Ryder and Christian Slater back in their hay-day, and give great performances as two great characters. Ryder is awesome as Veronica, a character who seems like she’s definitely a lot more smarter than the girl she hangs around with, but then ends up almost getting sucked right back into it once the other girls start to get up in her grill about it. Ryder has great comedic timing in almost everything she does, and even though she starts to get a little cheesy by the end, I still have to say that I liked everything else she did with a very well-written character. Slater was awesome as J.D., using that “young Jack Nicholson” shtick he’s always known for but it also gives him this mysterious edge to him. I think that they kind of dropped the ball on this character later on in the flick as I think they could have developed him a bit more, but I still liked Slater for what he did here and it’s such a shame to see how much he has fallen down the radar since this.

Consensus: Heathers may get a tad too serious by the end, but it still maintains a smart, funny, and satirical look at the way high school is, how it’s always been, and how it always will be, even if the subject matter may be a bit too dark for some people to hold in.

7/10=Rental!!

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12 responses to “Heathers (1988)

  1. Danny June 21, 2012 at 4:22 am

    I don’t think it gets too serious at the end– it just reaches the logical conclusion. And if you don’t think it’s hilarious when Veronica uses JD’s last explosion to light her cigarette, I don’t know what to tell you. Good review otherwise; one of my favorites!

  2. mistylayne June 21, 2012 at 4:52 am

    I disagree with the end getting too serious too but I also think that the film is very much set in a certain era so maybe that’s why it might seem that way, if that makes sense. Anyway, Heathers is one of my all time favorite movies, and I’m glad you liked it! ;)

  3. Caroline Crow June 21, 2012 at 10:56 am

    Definitely a classic for those of us who graduated high school in the
    1980s. Absolutely, I agree crazy children who actually brought guns to school
    ruined this satire. It is just that, though a satire.
    There is an album( wow what a geriatric word) for this movie.
    You have to listen to ” My Dead Gay Son”. This is a movie line
    that shows your age! Great review.

  4. Eric June 21, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    Good review, Dan. I watched this recently for the LAMB Movie of the Month feature, and I enjoyed it for the most part. The dark humor was awesome, but Slater’s terrible Nicholson impression got old, quick. Still, a solid movie overall.

    • CMrok93 June 21, 2012 at 9:00 pm

      That schtick did get a little annoying because it was so damn constant. Still, I dug a lot about this film and I wish I was apart of that Movie of the Month. Thanks Eric!

  5. fogsmoviereviews June 21, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    Alright. Alright. I can see that, I can see that!

    You know whats great Dan, as an “older” reader… I love seeing you and other young bloggers like PG, etc… going through these classics from when I was young, because I know you love movies, and I respect your opinion, so its very much – literally – like seeing if the movie is passing the “test of time”.

    I’m not THAT invested in this one, I think a 7 is about right B+/A- to grade on my scale ;) But I have to share that I have a lot of fun reading along with your reviews, on this one, I was like, he likes it… he likes it… oh no, here’s the “but”… ok… its not that bad… hey! 7/10! LOL

    Good review Dan, very fair.

  6. Chip June 23, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    “Dear Diary, My teenage angst bullshit now has a bodycount.”

    I’m afraid I can’t agree about the film losing the comedy and getting too serious at the end. It’s just really dark comedy. I consider this one of the best teen movies ever made, and as you noted, there’s not a chance in hell that it could ever get made today.

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