In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s there was one young actor who personified the burgeoning ennui of Generation X but, you know, made it look cool: Christian Slater. After bursting onto the scene as a teen in films like The Legend of Billie Jean, The Name of the Rose, and the underrated Tucker: The Man and His Dream, Slater was leading a number of films that have left an indelible cultural impact in the decades since. Alongside the Winona Ryders and Ethan Hawkes, Slater quickly came to represent a very specific kind of post-Reagan, aggravated anti-ambition.
Metrograph has curated a new series of films (all on 35mm!) celebrating Slater. Titled “Christian Slater: Outsider,” it starts on August 18. The movies included are Gleaming The Cube, Heathers, Pump Up the Volume, and True Romance. A perfectly selected quartet of pictures that all underwhelmed upon initial release, only to all earn cult-classic status in short order. Not unlike their star, these films wonderfully reflect the time in which they were made: equal-parts romantic and cynical, hopeful and apocalyptic.
Slater himself feels like a bridge between two moments in time. With his severe dyed hair in Gleaming the Cube, his smoldering intensity in Heathers, or his pervasive Jack Nicholson-adjacent voice and eyebrows, he feels like the movie star who stood at the nexus of New Hollywood and the indie-infused ‘90s.
Ahead of the series, we’re pleased to exclusively debut the trailer, which can be seen below.
Christian Slater: Outsider begins August 18 at NYC’s Metrograph.