5 Movies You Should Watch to Celebrate Christian Slater's Birthday
It’s Christian Slater’s birthday today and, as you know Mr. Robot wouldn’t be Mr. Robot without him. Before he embodied the titular character on USA Network's critically acclaimed hacker drama, Slater was making some of the most iconic movies of the last three decades. To celebrate his birthday, here are five of the best Christian Slater movies you can watch today. And it will be another week until a new Mr. Robot so this should tide you over.
New kid J.D. comes to town and goes to high school where the original mean girls, a trio of popular girls all named Heather, rule the school. J.D. romances Veronica (Winona Ryder), the Heathers’ fourth member. And when they kill Heather Chandler (Kim Walker) and make it look like a suicide, suicide then becomes the popular thing to do. You know Slater is ultra-charming if he can convince you that doing something this terrible is cool. (He has a way with words, doesn't he?) J.D. is classic Slater with his hair slicked back and eyebrows raised. It’s classic Winona Ryder too. Violence in high school is no laughing matter, but the point of Heathers is satire. Could the cool kids still rule the school even in death?
PUMP UP THE VOLUME (1990)
Kids, before there were podcasts, the only way for a high schooler to do their own broadcasts was over shortwave ham radio, and only the local town could hear it. Even then, lonely high school student Mark Hunter (Slater), who does his radio show under the alias Happy Harry Hard-On, encourages his classmates to rebel against the authority of their teachers and parents. He creates a social revolution, but nobody at school knows who he is.
A dramatic companion to Heathers, Pump Up the Volume also has something to say about high school. There is a student suicide but it’s taken seriously, and Harry encourages the kids to confront their problems, even when the grown-ups want them to just follow the rules and obey. Harry actually ends up exposing corruption in the school. Slater really comes to life with his charismatic performance of Happy Harry Hard-On, and also nails the drama playing Mark. High schoolers only have it tougher in the decades since Pump Up the Volume, with social media invading lives with new pressures, so maybe listen to Harry’s wisdom, but don’t blow up your microwave or anything.
TRUE ROMANCE (1993)
This is just your average story of boy meets girl, girl loves boy, ghost of Elvis tells boy to murder girl’s pimp, boy and girl run off with pimp’s cocaine. In one of the firs scripts by Quentin Tarantino, Slater plays Clarence, a guy who works in a video store and falls for Alabama (Patricia Arquette), the prostitute his friends buy him for his birthday (Happy birthday, Clarence!). Attempting to run off together, Clarence goes to collect her things and ends up taking the wrong suitcase full of drugs, so the pimp (Gary Oldman)’s goons come after them.
The title True Romance may be a little ironic, since the movie is very violent, but Slater will make you swoon as the Clyde to Alabama’s Bonnie. He’s heartbreakingly sincere as he will do anything for her. Gangsters and criminals don’t phase him.
VERY BAD THINGS (1998)
All grown up, Christian Slater proved he could still be a darkly comic instigator. At Kyle (Jon Favreau)’s bachelor party, Michaal (Jeremy Piven) accidentally kills the stripper. Robert (Slater) helps them chop her up and bury her, but when the boys start talking, Robert starts killing them off one by one to cover his tracks.
Peter Berg made his directorial debut with this dark comedy, and it is very dark. Where Heathers had something to say about kids giving up on life before they even reached adulthood, Very Bad Things is just about making murder funny. Robert has a rationalization for every kill in the movie, and Slater gives it his devilish tone, even with blood splattered all over his face.
Christian Slater plays cops and robbers in this action-comedy from 1992. George Kuffs (Slater) has to take over his brother’s police precinct, but Kuffs was always the screw-up of the family. Clashing with his by-the-books partner (Tony Goldwyn), Kuffs fights crime his own way while trying to win back his girlfriend (Milla Jovovich).
Slater has what it takes to be an action hero, as he would later show in full-on action films like Broken Arrow, Windtalkers, and Hard Rain. Just three years after Heathers, Kuffs still had a bit of the smart-ass high school rebel, and always had something funny to say when busting bad guys. The entire movie is worth it for this scene where he opens the door to an unsuspecting guest.