Is watching Heathers still a rite of passage for teenage film buffs, the way it once was? When Heathers was released in 1989, everyone involved seemed destined for greatness: Writer Daniel Waters, who wrote a pitch-black comedy about a juvenile delinquent who murders the most popular girls in his class and passes it off as suicide, only to find that the girls become even more popular in death; director Michael Lehmann, who gave some pretty grim material an ebullient lift, not too far removed from the slew of John Hughes-style high school comedies that preceded it; and stars Christian Slater (as the j.d., “J.D.”) and Winona Ryder (as the most antisocial member of her school’s social circle), who had a low-key energy different from most teen actors at the time. Yet while Slater and Ryder have had some successes since, none of Heathers’ major players have had the kind of brilliant careers that the film seemed to herald, which may be why, while still beloved by many, it isn’t cited as “essential” as often it was at the end of the 1980s, when its corrosive satire seemed like a necessary corrective to a decade of Hollywood’s big-budget paeans to power. Truth be told, Heathers is in a lot of ways a product of its time, and a little too cutesy to be as subversive as it once was. But it’s still very funny, bolstered by charismatic leading performances—with Slater doing his first, best junior Jack Nicholson impression—and quotable lines. Feel free to leave your favorite Heathers quote below, though if it’s not, “I love my dead gay son!” you’re wrong. Heathers will be airing on Showtime at 6:15 p.m. Eastern.
Or: Stick around Showtime after Heathers for Jay Bulger’s Beware Of Mr. Baker (at 8 p.m. Eastern), a documentary about brilliant, cantankerous rock drummer Ginger Baker. Expanding on a Rolling Stone article that Bulger wrote about Baker’s reclusive life on a South African compound, Beware Of Mr. Baker delves into the mysteries of keeping time, and the inner anger that drives so many great drummers, while also considering how Baker’s musical and compositional contributions to bands like Cream and Blind Faith have been undervalued. It’s a must for rock-o-philes.