Winona Ryder in Heathers
First of all, the precocious Winona Ryder of four years ago gets credit for having the nerve and intelligence to go after this role to begin with. She knew that the subversive, satirical and blackly humorous script for this film would indeed play on-screen and that she could play in it. So far, it’s the best of the movies she’s been in—and that includes Bram Stoker’s Dracula, folks.
As the disgruntled Veronica in a band of hilariously vicious high-school cliquettes, the other three of whom are all named Heather, Ryder gave a performance that took her out of the screen corps of resonant, prepubescent ducklings and put her in a league of her own, as a smart, unexpectedly beautiful young woman sporting an unearned but charming irony. Hitting upon the perfect strategy for carrying an ultrasurreal girl-coming-of-age story, she plays Veronica as if she were just your average popular girl in a fairly realistic story about the vicissitudes of teen life. Ryder was perfectly aware of the filmmakers’ concept, which was that only the blackest surrealism could get at the reality of teenage humiliation and despair. She knew that if she brought only a normal quantity of sneering, eye-rolling and glaring to the plot points it would all come off as fabulously weird and true. So, as Veronica gets happily seduced by the literally devilish Jason Dean (Christian Slater) and turns semi-wittingly homicidal, Ryder becomes increasingly believable within a revenge fantasy of deliberately increasing unbelievability.
The more outrageous the proceedings (Veronica and Jason knocking off one of the Heathers and two jocks), the more crucial Ryder’s grounded performance becomes, and the more consistently she keeps us involved in Veronica’s confusion and emerging strength of character. None of the actors in this film plays for laughs, which is why it succeeds in making us laugh, but the underlying sincerity in Ryder’s performance is especially important because it is the key to the film’s moral center (and, while making jokes about teen suicide, it does have one). Heathers sets out to redeem teen mentality in the only way possible, by mercilessly eradicating the sentimentality with which its fucked-up cruelties and quests are habitually viewed. Ryder’s vanity-free, dignified take on her ridiculous, conflicted character—whose moment of triumph is to watch her ex-lover blow himself up—serves this purpose well and raises Heathers to the level of a minor classic.
Michael Lehmann, one of True Blood’s premiere directors will be at the screening of one of his films, “Heathers” at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica, CA on Friday night, August 27.
Michael Lehmann directed Heathers in 1988 and it was written by Daniel Waters, who will also attend the screening. The film became a cult classic, with high rentals and sales business. In 2006, it was ranked #5 on Entertainment Weekly’s list of the “50 Best High School Movies” and in 2008, it was ranked #412 on Empire’s list of The 500 Greatest Movies of All Time. Heathers brought director Michael Lehmann and producer Denise Di Novi the 1990 Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature. Daniel Waters also gained recognition for his screenplay, which won a 1990 Edgar Award.
There will be a discussion following the film with director Michael Lehmann and screenwriter Daniel Waters.
To Buy Tickets click here.
The event will be held:
Friday · 7:30pm – 10:00pm
Location Aero Theatre
1328 Montana Ave at 14th St
Santa Monica, CA
The lineup for this year’s Litquake, San Francisco’s tribute to the written word, looks like a smashing one. Why? Because it vboasts a special appearance by a very special cinematic legend and infamous felons. Of course, we’re talking about Winona Ryder. The actress and sometimes San Francisco resident will appear as part of a tribute to Lawrence Ferlinghetti and City Lights Bookseller. Sure, other stellar names will also help out (guitarist Lenny Kaye, Michael McClure, New Yorker cartoonist Eric Drooker, Ishmael Reed, former San Francisco Poet Luareates Jack Hirschman and devorah major, the rad Beth Lisick, Michelle Tea, and the Marcus Shelby Quart), but we are saving our pennies and holding our breath for Ryder. (…)
Litquake runs from Oct. 1 – 9. Visit litquake.org for the full schedule.
The Pop Five is a series of Pop Candy readers’ top five lists. Today’s contribution comes from Kristy L. in Pittsburgh:
Molly Ringwald is the queen of ’80s-era teen comedies, but I’ve always identified more with Winona Ryder.
In high school, I was an outsider like Dinky Bosetti (Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael) and had the same religion-induced neuroses as Charlotte Flax (Mermaids). I also possessed a Rina-esque sensitivity that attracted guys in a let’s-just-be-friends sort of way (Lucas). For the record, I did not pull a Myra and marry my piano-playin’ cousin (Great Balls of Fire).
From her 1986 debut through the mid-1990s, Winona’s film canon reflected my adolescence. Then, a strange thing happened: Winona stopped making movies that mattered to me. For the first time in more than a decade, I didn’t have a cinematic soulmate.
As you can see, we have a brand new layout here. The previous theme was being used for a long time and it was time for a change. Please let me know if you see any error.
The picture used (which isn’t in our gallery, yet) is a shoot done by James Goodwin (her reportedly boyfriend). Gorgeous, isn’t?
I’ll be upgrading scripts and also will add a matching theme to our gallery, so please bare with me while I do this changes. It won’t last so long, I promise.
The matching gallery theme is also up.
The first picture of “The Dilemma” just appeared!
The Dilemma should offer a pleasing combo platter of what fans have come to expect from actor Vince Vaughn and director Ron Howard while provoking laughs and water-cooler debate. Namely, what would you do if you learned — as Vaughn’s character does — that the wife of your best buddy (Kevin James) might be cheating on him?
Aside from having his hometown, Chicago, as a backdrop, including an appearance by the Stanley Cup-winning Blackhawks (a bonus: “Kevin does some JumboTron dancing,” his co-star says), Vaughn has plenty of room for his usual improv riffs.
Howard offers a range of relatable emotions that ring true, similar to his Parenthood. “There is so much about Vince and Kevin’s relationship that could all unravel — they have a business together, they share a four-way friendship with Kevin’s wife (Winona Ryder) and Vince’s girlfriend (Jennifer Connelly).” Plus, a sibling cameo tradition continues: “Clint Howard has a nice turn.”