Clip It: Each day, Jon Davis looks at the world of trailers, featurettes and clips and puts it all in perspective.
Christian Slater has always been cool. As a kid, I totally looked up to him. I first saw him in Heathers, where he blew me away as a teenage Jack Nicholson. Everyone had a Jack Nicholson imitation back then, but only Christian Slater embodied his rebellious spirit (and, yes, mimicking his nasally, wise ass voice). He was the smarmiest teenager in school cafeteria history.
When Pump Up the Volume came out, I was a high school student, and I didn't buy any of what the movie was selling. Even then, I could hear Hollywood execs saying, “This is what the kids, like, right? Cool disc jockeys!” But Christian Slater was charismatic enough to make it work.
But then came one of the coolest movies ever made, True Romance, solidifying Slater's image as one of the ultimate cool dudes because he's NOT cool. He's trying to be cool, which makes him even more cool because he's also vulnerable. As we all know, it's a Quentin Tarantino script, with Tony Scott directing. A creative marriage made in cool heaven. And that ending, with Patricia Arquette telling Christian Slater, “You're so cool, you're so cool, you're so cool.” Total male fantasy. And one I will totally own up to. I mean, there's a reason this one of my favorite movies ever.
Now I'm sure Christian Slater's has been in other roles since then, but none made an impression until Mr. Robot. We all suspected he was a figment of Elliot's imagination in the first season. But for most of the season, we didn't know for sure, and Elliot didn't know at all, so we could kind of kid ourselves that he was his own bad ass character. When Mr. Robot is unveiled as the TV Tyler Durden, it's cool. I mean, Fight Club is cool. For one season.