When I was a wee movie loving lad, I was big fan of Christian Slater. I thought he was such a cool character and everything he was in I would seek out. Everything from “Hard Rain” and “Broken Arrow,” to “The Wizard” and—yes—even “Mobsters.” Remember “Mobsters”? Imagine “St. Elmo’s Fire” but with violent Italian mobsters. In either case, many of Slater’s films have stayed a favorite of mine, including “Pump Up the Volume.” The film just garnered a deserved release on Blu-Ray and in celebration, I just had to compile my top five Christian Slater movies.
True Romance (1993)
This is widely accepted as being a Tarantino movie as it is a Tony Scott movie. Deservedly a crime classic, Slater co-stars with Patricia Arquette in a pulpy, gritty, and vicious crime thriller centered around the unlikely romance between a prostitute and her Elvis loving boyfriend. Slater is top notch here, and Scott directs a great respective cast that includes Gary Oldman, Christopher Walken and oh so many more.
The Legend of Billie Jean (1985)
Slater is mainly a supporting player here, but Matthew Robbins’ crime drama is one of my all time favorite eighties films. Pretty much a starring vehicle for Helen Slater, she’s a small town girl who is victimized by a local shop owner after his son crosses paths with her brother Binx. After shooting him in self defense, they go on the run and accidentally start a countrywide pursuit, while Billie Jean becomes a feminist icon. This is a fun, exciting and entertaining crime drama with both Slaters stealing the show.
Slater at his darkest, “Heathers” is yet another childhood favorite about the very dark underbelly of John Hughes’ upper class America. Slater is JD, a psychopath who delights in murdering local yuppies in town, and he finds a connection with Wynona Ryder’s Veronica. Michael Lehmann’s cult classic hasn’t aged a day despite being very firmly planted in the eighties, offering gritty social commentary, and a biting satirical tone that make the film both disturbing and oddly entertaining.
I was a big fan of “KUFFS” as a kid and I still pretty much enjoy it every time I cross paths with it. Slater, as George Kuffs, is allowed here to be as crazy as possible. He dances with Milla Jovovich, he breaks the fourth wall, and he’s allowed to play off of Tony Goldwyn who is the straight man in their unlikely pairing. “KUFFS” is Ferris Bueller mixed with a buddy cop movie, and it works surprisingly well considering the premise. Even in the nineties studios loved to channel Ferris Bueller, and it works for what is considerably a fun, funny, and stark cop thriller.
Pump up the Volume (1990)
This is the movie that introduced me to Christian Slater and features him at probably his most likable. It’s a movie apt for its age, where shock jocks were rising in infamy and movies about the seedy underbellies of the suburbs were becoming common. “Pump Up the Volume” features Slater as Mark, a pirate radio DJ nicknamed “Hard” Harry. Every night he broadcasts his show where he rants, raves, and has absolutely no limitations. When he accidentally causes a listener to commit suicide, the local authorities begins looking for “Hard” Harry.” But as he’s a mysterious persona, that’ll be harder as his revolution with the town teens increases. This is my absolute childhood favorite, it’s a movie I still have a ball with.