What The Hell, 1980s?
It’s a long weekend where I’m from, so my husband asked me on Friday what movies I might want him to 100% totally legally obtain to watch over the weekend. I chose Heathers because it’s a movie I’ve always heard about, and Valley Girl because I saw it way back in the 90s on TV and it has super old school Nicolas Cage…with his natural hair! I mean, VG would be worth it just to see that. All I know is that after watching these two disasters, I’m wondering what in the hell was going on in the 1980s?
I chose that picture because it just enraged me about this horrendous movie all over again. A monocle. I wasn’t in the fashion of physically assaulting anyone in high school, but if one of the popular kids had worn a monocle, I would have slapped it off their face.
Anyways, I didn’t watch a trailer for this movie or read any kind of synopsis, so I went in thinking it was like Mean Girls from the 1980s. Nope. What it is is a girl (Wynona Ryder) who is in the popular clique but doesn’t really like her clique friends and winds up hooking up with a dude (Christian Slater) who helps her “accidentally” kill the lead clique jerk, but then the dude starts killing other people and eventually wants to make some kind of social statement by killing the whole school.
What this movie and Valley Girl (which I’ll chat about next) failed to do was clearly explain the motivations of any of their characters or elaborate on anything. I’m speculating here but Christian Slater’s character was so nuts because he happened to see his mom kill herself in a building explosion. You would think that they’d dwell on this for a moment or two in the movie, but it’s only mentioned in passing. I’m not an idiot so I don’t need things explicitly laid out for me, but a little something more obvious to highlight this fact would have been useful.
We also never really find out why Wynona Ryder’s character got into the cool clique and why she doesn’t just leave it if she doesn’t give a crap about social suicide. This character could have been so much more interesting, but instead I felt like her lines were written with the intent of having 80s kids quote them thinking that they were so “very” (Heathers reference! Check out my Swatch!)
I felt like this movie was trying to be daffy like the far superior 80s movie Better Off Dead, but fell short by trying to mix really dark subject matter with humour. Wynona’s character never seemed to feel remorse for her actions (people died in this movie, man) and crowned herself as new “queen of the school” by the end of the film. Sure she made plans with the nerdy girl (super charitable of her, I know), but I feel like without any kind of atonement for the murders she committed, I can’t applaud the wannabe happy ending. Insert me making a mouth fart noise here.
Slight comment on the poster there: that is not the girl from the movie. Sooooo. Yeah.
Like I said in the Heathers rant, this movie did not do a very good job with developing characters or even giving the slightest background on them. You only learn things in passing rather than have them well explained. Plus, let’s talk about the almost 40 minutes dedicated to the valley girl meeting Nicolas Cage’s non-valley character. They meet and chat at a party that he gets thrown out off, he comes back and waits in the bathroom for her (thank goodness she didn’t have diarrhoea or something when she had to use the WC), they go hang out in downtown LA, and though he decides to yelp in her face and talk down to her, she winds up making out with him. Like, I get teenage hormones, but I’m pretty sure that 16-year-olds are smart enough to not just suck face with someone being mean to them.
Love blooms between the valley girl and the city boy, and then all of a sudden out of nowhere with barely any explanation, valley girl decides to call things off and get back with her ex-valley boy boyfriend. This leads to city boy going to absurd lengths to follow her wherever she goes in order to win her back. Can we just take a moment and chat about a character letting someone be mean to them and then stalking them? But it’s a love story? OK.
Both of these movies had the oddest pacing and I felt like a third wheel between old friends at a dinner party. You know, where they’re telling inside jokes and you feel like you should be caught up but you aren’t? If I wrote a movie using only my own inside jokes, it would make no sense to anyone but me and my friends. These movies were just that: they made no sense because we were given morsels instead of meals. Why these two movies are put onto 80s classics lists, I don’t know. Just skip them. Watch Legend instead. See some super young Tom Cruise and super creepy Tim Curry.
Have you seen these movies? Did you like them? If you like them, is it only for nostalgic reasons? What’s your favourite 80s movie?