Netflix and Chill: 420 Edition

by Anya Jaremko-Greenwold

’80s-themed Snowdown is upon us. This was a decade of big hair, loud colors and Madonna. But the era was also rife with fantastic filmmaking; “E.T.,” “The Goonies,” “Indiana Jones,” “Star Wars,” “Back to the Future” and John Hughes. These movies were blockbuster darlings, but we’re highlighting a weirder, darker cult hit from ’89 called “Heathers.” A commercial flop initially, it later became an underground favorite, beloved for its profanity and social satire (cannabis will enhance your enjoyment of those qualities). It’s a black comedy about the highs and lows of high school life; cartoonishly violent, the film boasts a teenage body count and cursory conversations around the topic of suicide. Smoking pot can encourage you to glean an open-minded, creative perspective on the world – thus watching “Heathers” high, you’ll come to appreciate the absurdities of adolescence; the cliques, search for identity and desperate desire to fit in with people who don’t even know who they are. The film shares common ground with high school hierarchy comedies like “Mean Girls” and “Clueless,” but illustrates juvenile suffering in a bleaker, honest manner. The popular students are “Heathers,” three girls who dress the same and share a first name; Veronica (Winona Ryder) is the crew’s newest, most empathetic member. When she meets JD (Christian Slater), a rebellious new guy who sees the Heathers as hellish dictators, the two fall in mutual lust – until Veronica jokes about wishing Head Heather were dead, and JD obliges. He makes it look like a suicide; but Heather was so popular, suicide becomes the latest fad in school. Soon Veronica and JD are killing off multiple cool, mean kids and making the deaths appear self-inflicted. “Heathers” depicts teen traumas like sexual assault, bullying and neglectful parents, but also scorns the notion of killing yourself just because school sucks – high school is terrible for everyone. Filled with irreverent lines you’ll love even more stoned, like “[Bleep] me gently with a chainsaw,” or sage advice from Veronica, “If you were happy every day of your life you wouldn’t be a human being – you’d be a game-show host!”

Anya Jaremko-Greenwold

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