Basement Films: No More Us and Them

Sean Strain

So, there’s always a major difference between the high school in movies and the high school in real life. For one thing, in high school movies all students look to be early 20’s and the teachers are only late 20’s (unless they’re a really boring teacher).

Also, maybe this was true in the 80’s, but everyone is in a certain group. You have the goths, nerds, preps, jocks, cheerleaders, and etc. The cheerleaders even wear their uniforms everyday and congregate together just to tell us that they are cheerleaders and this is apparently their defining trait.

I remember one movie called Heathers that contains elements of this portrayal of high school. The school is ruled by one clique of popular girls, the Heathers, who make the lives of those around them a living hell. It even has the jocks and nerds, though I like this movie better than other 80’s movies such as the Breakfast Club because it rebels against the ridiculous high school caste structure with the character Veronica.

Veronica is part of the Heathers, but she sees them as the vapid, shallow harpies that they really are and attempts to humiliate one of them in revenge for their cruelty. Of course it goes wrong and one of the Heathers ends up dead leading to a cycle of murder and suicide. Yeah, I should have mentioned this movie is a black comedy.

I think most high school students have become a Veronica (or Vincent, whatever your gender is). Everyone has osmosis across group lines and have created their own cliques that don’t have a uniformed look or mindset. These groups are also not set in stone and we can pinball to other groups as much as we want. It’s more like how the rest of the world should be.