Thank god for Netflix. Without it, I never would have thought to re-watch one of my favorite movies from my teen-hood, “Heathers.” “Heathers” is a teen film from 1988 that was a dark comedy even by today’s standards. Christian Slater and Winona Ryder were the Romeo and Julia, of sorts, for the age. Or at least for that film. I never truly appreciated the subtleties of the film when I first saw it so long ago. This was mainly because I was a bit jealous of the lovely Winona Ryder and how she looked like a real-life rival of mine. Anyway, healing occurs over the years. Slowly. Then regresses. Then occurs a little bit more. Kind of.
Anyway, watching “Heathers” a few nights ago made me aware that there was a time when movies could be made, and even be profitable, without product placement, huge stars or merchandising tie-ins with McDonald’s. Oh, also they didn’t need pre-teen Disney Channel kids to bring in revenue. And an original, independent film written for teenagers could become an instant classic.
There is no way “Heathers” could ever be made today. Dark as this movie was, at the time its story could never ever have been imagined as a possible reality in the real world. But looking at it now with my middle-aged eyes, I know by today’s standards it is way too violent. And guns and explosives certainly don’t belong anywhere near kids, much less in school. Sadly, someone who grew up after the mid 1990’s might not realize that there was, at one time, a world that existed before this much-needed extra security and precaution was necessary in our school systems.