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The Nest

The Student News Site of Brentwood High School

The Nest

The Student News Site of Brentwood High School

The Nest

80s’ Movie Review: Heathers, a classic or canceled?

Welcome back to Classic or Canceled, a series where we review 80s movies and see if they hold up in today’s world. This week’s movie is the 1989 cult classic Heather’s. There are many serious themes in this movie, some are dealt with in a good way, and others are played off as jokes. There are many mentions of suicide, bullying, and high school violence. Most reviews on Heathers are overall positive. Many people see this movie as a classic; let’s see this film from a modern high school student’s perspective.

Overview:

Heathers starts off in the main character Veronica’s backyard with the three Heathers. There are no mentions of their last names, no initials, or anything like that. They somehow know when someone wants to talk to one of them, specifically when the name Heather is said. Veronica hates her friends, who are stuck up and obnoxious. But Veronica wants to be popular, so she puts up with them and their antics. We also meet the famed J.D, Veronica’s boyfriend, towards the movie’s start. Veronica and J.D. form a killing tag team, staging each of their kills as suicides. This sends the community into downward spirals, driving people to think about suicide and what causes teens to think about and act upon it.

Main Concerns:

The main conflict in the movie is between Veronica and the rest of her peers. Veronica, talked about real teenage problems, a lot of teenagers feel ignored when it comes to their feelings or the way they’re being treated. Everyone else in the movie promoted manipulative behavior. Veronica especially experienced this during her relationship with J.D. he made her feel as if she was supposed to feel good after committing crimes. He also forced her to kiss him so many times when she definitely didn’t want to but was made to feel bad after expressing her feelings. This is just the start of J.D. being problematic.

Not even 15 minutes into the movie, J.D. pulls a gun on a couple of homophobic jocks, and fires blanks at them. He had no repercussions, no suspension, no punishment at all. This was supposed to be a “joke” but with the seriousness of school shooters today, I can see why some people were upset that this was in the film. This scene kind of set the tone for the movie, it was aggressive and super unrealistic.

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This movie definitely normalized homophobia; a lot of people in the movie used the slur when bullying or to describe something. Now, this movie was 33 years ago, so the time was different, but they knew that it was wrong. They definitely tied to add a humor factor when being homophobic, but in my opinion, it wasn’t really funny. Lots of old movies seem to have homophobia in them; this was also a similar situation in my last movie review on The Breakfast Club. 

Though Heathers was pretty problematic, it was interesting to see how the movie has influenced more recent shows and movies. A few of the shows and movies that everyone knows and loves up to today looked up to Heathers in a way. Mean Girls and Gossip Girl had a Heather’s high school feel when watching them. Even Glee was inspired a bit by Heathers; according to Willa Paskin’s article “Two Decades Later, How Does Heathers Hold Up?” published at  vulture.com,Glee is modeled on Heathers in so many ways — from the evil of the popular people, to the zingers, to closeted bully Karovsky.” It’s cool to see different takes on the movie and what people have been inspired to make after seeing it.

Overall Thoughts:

Furthermore, in my research, I found a few opinions of what others thought of Heathers. One that stood out to me the most was Stella Semelsberger who is a senior at Brentwood Highschool loves Heathers, the chaos and the poetics of the movie drew her in to love the film. “I personally liked J.D. His insanity was truly interesting, seeing him spiral into his true self. Even the way J.D. Veronica’s relationship was portrayed as very real, the manipulating, abuse, and the arguments. Their relationship wasn’t cookie-cutter; I like that about them.” 

In my opinion, Heathers is not a bad movie; it has some very teachable lessons throughout the entirety of the film. It was very interesting and even surprising at times, and I think that’s great to have in a movie. I would personally rate this movie a 6/10 if that, deductions for the weird jokes. This movie doesn’t really hold up to me, but I do like the hidden messages throughout the film, and I would definitely recommend people to watch through a 21st-century view and see what they think about Heathers.

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About the Contributor
Danyielle Wren
Danyielle Wren, staff reporter
Danyielle Wren is a very nice person but also a bit shy. She enjoys watching Disney movies, her favorite is Tangled.

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