Santa Cruz Sentinel from Santa Cruz, California on May 26, 1989 · Page 75
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Santa Cruz Sentinel from Santa Cruz, California · Page 75

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Santa Cruz, California
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Friday, May 26, 1989
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Page 75
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Spotlight Santa Cruz Sentinel Friday, May 26, 19897 High school humor takes a savage turn By RICK CHATENEVER Spotlight editor VERONICA hadn't really wanted her friend Heather to, you know, actually die when she wrote all those nasty things about Heather in her diary. But now Heather is lying totally dead in front of her, done in by trying to cure a hangover with a big glass of Liquid Drano. It's either a big accident or a big Joke, depending on how you look at it, but it's certainly a big bummer for Veronica (Winona Rider) and her friend J.D. (Christian Slater). They're the ones who gave Heather the Drano. J.D.'s the one who thinks it's a joke. Now there's only one thing to do: Forge a suicide note. Teen suicide is a laughing matter is the Nickelodeon's thoroughly outrageous and awfully funny "Heathers." Not only is this a black comedy about revenge it is an act of revenge itself, making up for all those years of teen sex comedies, and teen slasher disasters, and all the rest of those teen anything else movies based on the principle that teens on the screen or in the audience were idiots. In one savagely satiric stroke after another, "Heathers" makes the point that some teens are very smart indeed. Veronica and J.D., for Instance. Is it really their fault that they've got nothing better to do with their ingenuity than to do in their classmates who deserve it the most? Or is it society that's to blame? The jury's still out on that one. Writer Daniel Waters is playing "River's Edge" for laughs. His cast of characters do teenspeak as well as Bill and Ted, but come up with far less innocent and uplifting results. The screenplay wields a savage scalpel; what's surprising is that it yields so many good laughs. As opposed to "Revenge of the Nerds," this one is the revenge of the brains. But unlike other teens whose high IQs have made them outcasts, Veronica is groovy enough to be getting star treatment from the three Heathers, the coolest students at Westerbrurg High School in an upscale neighborhood of Sherwood, Ohio. Veronica is, in fact, part of their clique, although this requires her to sever past associations with old friends who have gotten fat or have otherwise been undone by the awkward age. The Heathers are led by Heather Chandler (Kim Walker), a cute B-word who rules her pubescent domain with the compassion and sensitivity of a pit bull. It's hard to know what's worse Heather Number One's viciousness, or the detached way she wields it. Whether it comes to castigating nerds, giving disinterested sex to the older men at a nearby college frat party, or offering an instant judgment on the wardrobe of one of her maids of honor, she's a frosty one. It's only a pity that she was born to late to serve in the Nixon White House. It's also a pity that she's the one who gets the Drano cocktail. The Drano was J.D.'s idea. He's the mysterious new kid in the school with a Jack Nicholson voice and a prematurely cynical attitude which gets Veronica's attention in a hurry. He's been "to seven schools in seven years," he says, "and the only thing that changes is the locker combination." Hey, heavy. J.D. enters the movie looking like James Dean, but winds up more like Attila the Hun before it's through. In director Michael Lehmann's hands, "Heathers" becomes something very different from teen movies you've seen before, maybe because it's funnier ... and more serious. Lehman and writer Waters have to know their subject well in order to satirize it so precisely. The ritualistic details of teen behavior and the excruciating cruelty of peer pressure during these years are the foundation against which the script gets things resolved in the most outrageous of ways. It turns out the fantasies of bright kids aren't any better than those of the nerds, jocks, wimps and valley girls we usually get on the movie screen. They're not any wiser; they're not any more mature. It's just that they have a far better grasp of reality ... before they lose hold of it. Big star makes a big mistake By TOM LONG Sentinel staff writer TAKE approximately 7,065 karate chops and Kung Fu kicks ... Add a dazzling array of bared breasts ... Throw in one of those ridiculous looking trucks with wheels bigger than most bathrooms ... Cover with a hard rock soundtrack loud enough to drown out any chance of meaningful dialogue ... Sprinkle with a graphic sex scene, a few standard fiery explosions, lots of tough-looking guys you want to see get their faces punched in, some philosophical gobbledvgook that's supposed to make the audience think it's having a meaningful experience, a multitude of feeble attempts at lowbrow humor and a nifty scene wherein the hero rips a bad guy's throat out with his bare hands ... Stir with a hunk actor who recently hit it big after laboring for years in obscurity and obviously wants to cash in while he can ... And what do you get? A mess of a movie called "Road House" that is , overly long . on, yiolenpe, sjt, and j noise and stuumnrysnon-on ong inallty, intelligence and sensitivity.' Starring Patrick Swayze, who leaped to sudden fame whilst teaching Jennifer Grey to cha cha-cha in "Dirty Dancing," this movie obviously sees itself as a blockbuster. Maybe so, but here's the bottom line on "Road House:" It makes you appreciate the subtle nuances, the sense of restraint and the moral values in the films of Sylvester Stallone. Our hero is named Dalton it's one of those films in which the protagonist is so tough and good-looking he only has to have one name. His claim to fame is he's the best bouncer in the land. In other words, he's really good at throwing drunks out of bars. The story is that Dalton gets hired to clean up a tough bar. When he gets to the tough bar he finds out that the local town is being brutalized by your basic bloodthirsty millionaire type, played in this instance by Ben Gazzara, who must really be hard up for work. Anyway, after Dalton beats up all the bad guys in the bar he eventually has to beat up all the bad guys who work for Ben. Along the way Dalton falls in love with the lovely young doctor down at the hospital's emergency room and we get to watch them him study anatomy together. We also meet Dalton's best buddy, a bouncer every bit as tough as Dalton played by Sam Elliot. Elliot is looking so filthy and grizzled these days he's probably being refused service at fast food restaurants, but he's a sight for . sore pyes iftthjs,QJro and n aUng wjth.certabfVart'vV1,4im.V. - is the- only thing worth- watching: - - Unfortunately he too quickly ends up with a buck knife in his belly. That's because this is a Patrick Swayze movie, folks, and the camera focuses on Patrick about 98-percent of the time. Now Swayze may not be a Ben Kingsley or DeNiro, but he's probably not as bad as this movie. Someone obviously told him he should make a bid to become another Arnold or Stallone, and that's what he's doing here. Well, he hasn't got the bod or the sense of humor that Arnold has, nor even the technical expertise of Stallone. Besides, this film may actually be too excessive to be a hit. When was the last time you saw a wet g-string contest in a movie (forget the t-shirts, they're long gone)? "Road House" may actually be a film that's just a little too violent, just a little too raunchy, just a little too darn loud for its own good. Then on the other hand, this stupid thing may end up a big hit. It certainly has all the ingredients. All its lacking is brains, and that doesn't seem to count for much these days. Cfy FIVE mr-u N raitu NICHOLSON pieces Jjjnrtowji,!l9 sat. sun. ORSON WELLES tITlZEN UIIII O'KKi Wll Tyron Po" 'Prince of lilUM IUM1L xoes 910 HON.. TUf ., WED. BRAZIL ALTERED STATES "DON'T BE SURPRISED IF IT BECOMES A CLASSIC." ...MIKE CLARK USA TODAY IV. JearfMti CERTAIN TO BE ONE OF THIS YEAR'S MOST CONTROVERSIAL FLICKS." m mis a thi novas "'feafifaJ REACHES WILD AND ORIGINAL COMIC HIGHS." -SiS '"sarfte A BRAZEN BLACK comedy:' . . . urmeu uinou nautr news "-au&v-i THE COOLEST KIDS . . . THE HOTTEST WWe... "'eafiWift LEGITIMATELY STARTLING." -y&wv-!A10! ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT SATIRE, A REMARKABLE FILM." 'Yea&v-i a DELICIOUSLY BLACK COMEDY. ..ONE OF THE WITTIEST COMMERCIAL FILMS TO COME ALONG t IM VCADC" ...umiBmnsttm m ICHnO, UWMltOMMH '"-feat&V-! ONE OF THE FUNNIEST, SMARTEST TEEN COMEDIES EVER MADE. m smuts-it tmr hi$ y-'TwJV-' THE 'CARRIE' FOR THE '80'S." ...mil saiauoh .win smn jtmm STWWG WINONA RYDER CHRISTIAN SLATER "?DWEL WATERS"; DENSE Q NCM'V MICHAEL LEHMANN NIGHTLY 6:45. 8:40, 10:30 SUNDAY & MONDAY BARGAIN SHOWS 2 55. 4 50 Br 11 te'-jgzj NK3HTIV 6O0. 7 45 30 sun mon bargain shows ? 4 is ONCE NIGHTLY 10 45 SUN . MON BARGAIN SHOW 270 4 K ROBERT DENIRO JACKNIFE NK3MTLV 7 00 6 56 R SUN . MON BARGAIN SHOW 4 05 ? YOU AIN'T SEEN NOTMIN LIKE ?x THE MIGHTY QUINN ) Gf Nf ROCfl GiVf ? ' VERY ENTHUSIASTIC THUMBS URV ENDS SOON.' NiCiHTL f 6 30 SO 10 15 SUN M"N RAPfiA'N MDWS ? 40 I'M CINEMA NICKELODEON NICKELODEON 'SASH MILL MOVIE GIFT PASSES Available Night at the Nickelodeon or Pavs at the Sash MiHyafr 426-7500

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