Heathers (1988)
Comedy, Crime
dir. Michael Lehmann
A perfect distillation of teenage angst that I've seen in a film. Bree recommended this movie to me because she said "it was a classic." I can see why!

Heathers does something that most teenage movies fail to do: capture teenage angst in its entirety. Teenage comedies like Mean Girls or Clueless have a sort of 'notion' of what the high school life is like, but they always fall flat in their execution of these ideas. What this film does differently is that it doesn't pull any stops when it comes to angst, it is full steam ahead. A very constant theme (repeated ad nauseam throughout its runtime) is the idea that teens just want to be seen, and the way they structure themselves in high school is through different social strata. Divisions between "classes" of people make up the ecosystem of Westerburg, and these "classes" are some pretty familiar ones: the prim and proper beauties, the oafish and obnoxious jocks, the girl stoner, geekish nerds, etc.

What separates Heathers from a film like Mean Girls is that the story starts out with Veronica already part of the 'mean girls' clique. There is no scheme in the beginning for Veronica to infiltrate the girl group to enact some sort of coup; it is implied that Veronica initially desired to be a part of the group and the film starts out with her dealing with the guilt of successfully becoming that.

Jason Dean and Veronica represent the archetypal dysfunctional couple, with J.D. acting the role of manipulative boyfriend, and Veronica playing the manipulated girlfriend. Her whole arc is basically breaking from the 'social norm' of the high school, shedding the vampiric social-ladder-climbing self that lingers throughout the film.

All in all, a pretty perfect teenage comedy.

Rating: Christian Slater is soooooooooo attractive. . .