Written by Patti Pauley
If the 1989 cult dark comedy classic Heathers taught us anything, it’s that social politics in school can be deadly indeed. Especially if you’re a snooty, cheating at croquet bitch named Heather. Add to the mix a devilishly handsome, unstable teen with a murderous agenda to make a political statement and well, you just might want to stay home from that Remington house party.
While Heathers rocketed both Christian Slater and Winona Ryder into stardom, Slater, who portrayed the rebellious teen killer JD, helped catapult the beloved horror/comedy/drama into the universally loved teenage angst film with some pretty memorable quotes that also served as valuable life lessons. With today being Christian Slater’s birthday, let’s look back at his infamous role as Jason Dean and five of the most sadistic yet sensible lessons his character taught us in preparation for those high school years.
Memorable one-liner and lesson numero uno: Be careful who you’re flexing your muscles to; you really never know what’s going on in someone else’s noggin’. Kurt and Ram felt immediately threatened by JD’s way with the ladies, particularly Veronica, the unofficial fourth Heather. So of course, the jock heads make their way to the dark corner of the school cafeteria to inflict their self-proclaimed seniority macho-status of Westerberg High. However, JD isn’t phased a bit and along with the first moral of the story, the next lesson in life is, don’t take any shit off of anyone.
Lesson number two: In the famous words of Breaking Bad’s Mike- “I took a half-measure when I should have gone all the way.” In the world of Jason Dean, I’m not so sure the word half-measure even exists. Veronica recruits her new found love JD to get even with Heather Chandelier. ‘Ronnie concocts an embarrassing situation involving a mixture of orange juice and milk for the hungover beauty queen. Our, good ole’ JD has a more permanent plan for Heather number one. Although Veronica simply brushes off the idea as a joke, distracted, she accidentally grabs the mug of Hull Clean and serves it to her best friend… and worst enemy. Much to the delight of Westerberg’s new deadly James Dean. The moral here is if you’ve ever threatened or intimidated someone, for fuck’s sake don’t eat or drink anything they give you.
Lesson number three- the squeaky wheel gets the grease… or something like that. Maybe not to JD’s extreme, but it seemed to ward off bumbling senior assholes Kurt and Ram, as this quote refers to the incident between the trio earlier that day in the cafeteria. It also helped to further ignite Veronica’s interest of this dark and mysterious horse in the running of potential teenage suitors.
Lesson number four- Ca sera sera, what will be, will be. Of course, our bad boy JD has his own colorful way of expressing this old time saying. Speaking directly to Veronica, “our love is God” refers to the strong and inevitable bond between the two star-crossed lovers with the added slushie line as his way of saying, “We’re awesome, we’re each others destiny, fuck all this bullshit, it’s cherry slushie time and we’re all that matters right now.”
And last but not least, lesson number five- You say tomato, I say to-mah-to. Which clearly speaks for itself as we’ve all heard the infamous saying at least once or twice. The phrase in itself has various meanings depending on context, but maybe the most important use of the phrase throws back to “we agree to disagree.” And in even shorter words, pick your battles, which is an especially useful reminder in this day in age.
Let’s all pause and reflect on the ideologies of Westerberg High’s most charming psychopath and wish the actor who brought him to life, Christian Slater, all the birthday greetings and salutations today!