I’ve had my review copy of Freaks and Geeks: Yearbook Edition for awhile – but only now have I managed to get through all of its many features. This is the kind of DVD package that you have to actually see, full-size, to really appreciate.
Freaks and Geeks, of course, is the classic one-season wonder set in 1980 that revolved around siblings Lindsay [Linda Cardellini] and Sam Weir [John Francis Daley]. Unlike other shows that used metaphors for “high is hell” [Buffy the Vampire Slayer], or “high school is cruel” [Veronica Mars], Freaks and Geeks proud asserted that high school is real – and it may seem earth-shattering while you’re, but in the end? It’s high school. By using siblings who were at different ends of the school population’s periphery, the series [all eighteen episodes] gave us a look at an institution that was far more real than we’d seen before – and because we saw it through the filter of a newbie freak [Lindsay] and an entrenched geek [Sam], it brought back all the epic highs and devastating lows of that period of our lives.
It’s been twenty years since Heathers was released by a dying New World to critical acclaim and some box office success. Now, Anchor Bay has released the dark high school comedy as part of its Cult Classic Film Series. The film’s indictment of kids who will do anything to be popular – and become the ultimate jerks once they achieve it – is as grotesquely funny today as it was when it was first released.
Veronika [Wynona Ryder] is one of the Heathers – the most popular girls in school [the other three are all named Heather] – and the least ruthless. About the same time as she reaches her limit with her so-called friends, she meets a charismatic new guy in school, J.D. [Christian Slater] and becomes in embroiled in a series of murders that the two stage as suicides.
First-time director Michael Lehman and first-time writer Daniel Waters produced a terrific film with its own peculiarly daring sense of humor – and its own slang. With its budget constraints, what propels Heathers is the energy of its performances. Ryder and Slater have, frankly, never been better – And Shannen Doherty stands out as the shyest of the Heathers.
Features include: Audio Commentary by Lehman, Waters and Producer Denise DiNovi; Swatch Dogs and Diet-Coke Heads [a 30-minute of reminiscences by the cast, director, writer, producer and editor]; Trialer; Screenply Excerpt; Original Ending, and Talent Bios.