You may well wince at the tidily wholesome ending of Michael Lehmann’s Heathers (1989), but you have to respect the film’s fearless depiction of youthful evil. As a young woman stranded in the netherworld between obscurity and popularity, Winona Ryder ingeniously makes her character’s innocence both chilling and comical. And Christian Slater? As an outsider with the swagger of James Dean and the soul of a serial killer, he’s one of the all-time scariest high school villains. Amazon Prime.
Greg Mottola’s quasi-autobiographical Adventureland (2009) is set in 1985, but you don’t need to have been alive then to be overwhelmed by its nostalgia. Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart star as James and Em, co-workers who fall in love while working at a Pittsburgh theme park over the summer. Revelatory in its ordinariness, the essence of their romance is captured in the film’s most exquisite image: Stewart’s face framed by a car window, looking at once beautifully present and achingly gone. HBO Max.
Celebrate the life of Jean-Louis Trintignant, who died in June, by revisiting his potent performance in Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colors: Red (1994). As a retired judge who eavesdrops on his neighbors, Trintignant skillfully embodies his character’s armored cynicism, which is gradually pierced by the empathy of a student and part-time model (Irene Jacob). HBO Max.