|September from the "Croquet Babes in Blazers" calendar.|
Heathers falls prey to an assumption that's pretty pervasive in high school genre flicks: that all high school kids, from the 7th graders to the seniors, are equally barbaric to each other. I don't buy this. Maybe my senior high school years were sheltered, but no one was really that horrible to me. I endured the same insecurities I assume my peers did, but most of my highly tragic inner turmoil was self-inflicted; no one else really messed with me. That's why I'm always a little skeptical regarding movies about the wanton cruelty of 11th and 12th graders. By the time kids are talking about college, most have matured beyond torturing each other for the sheer joy of it. The kind of malicious cafeteria politics depicted in films like Heathers (or the more recent, and funnier, Mean Girls) as taking place between older kids seems more suited to 7th or 8th graders. In my experience, by the time they're old enough to drive, high schoolers more closely resemble the characters of Daria, Election or The Breakfast Club -- they endure tiffs and rivalries, but they don't dogmatically despise less "popular" classmates simply by virtue of their existence.
Heathers has a fantastic script, not a single line of which sounds like anything a real human being would ever say, some ravishingly bizarro costumes, and a bevy of drop-dead (hee hee) gorgeous actresses who do not resemble any 16-year-old who ever walked this planet. Best of all, its heart is in entirely the wrong place. This movie is not interested in exploring the deep, underlying causes of teenage anguish. It doesn't want to make you feel better. Instead, it's an extended snigger at the expense of the common enough adolescent misconception that unhappiness is somehow ennobling. Self-destruction is one of this society's last sacred cows, and Heathers' amoral inconclasm is occasionally obnoxious, but also endearing in spite of itself. Its heroines are from a different, darker valley than the Disney dolls who populate teen movies nowadays: they drink and have sex, and how complicit Veronica is in Heather Chandler's murder is admirably left ambiguous. All in all, I do recommend Heathers, although it can be more bewildering than enjoyable. I'll stand by any movie where a band called Big Fun releases the single "Teenage Suicide: Don't Do It!"
|Suspenders: are they right for you?|