Heckerling went to NYU about 30 years ago, and throughout the film you can sense her looking askance at the current generation of students. There's a bigger gap between the good guys (Paul and Dora) and the bad guys (pretty much everyone else in the movie) than in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Sean Penn's stoned surfer wasn't mean, and even the ticket scalper who betrays his best friend had a conscience. But in Loser, New York (which looks as clean and bright as the Beverly Center) is overrun with users and abusers, all with grandiose senses of entitlement. Loser's spot-on depiction of its villains would have made for a depressing movie if it weren't so funny to see them get their comeuppance.

Dairy queens: Balaban and Spencer-Nairn in New Waterford Girl
photo: Alliance Atlantis
Dairy queens: Balaban and Spencer-Nairn in New Waterford Girl


New Waterford Girl
Directed by Allan Moyle
Written by Tricia Fish
Film Forum
Through August 8

Written and directed by Amy Heckerling
A Columbia release

Jennifer Reeder: Videos and Selections
Anthology Film Archives
July 27

If you prefer a more confrontational female sensibility, Jennifer Reeder is presenting about half a dozen videos ranging from her early "Clit-o-matic White Trash Girl" series to the recent, unexpectedly lyrical Lullaby. In the Clit-o-matic episodes, Reeder picked up where Vivienne Dick left off in her punk collaborations with Lydia Lunch. White Trash Girl, who was flushed down the toilet right after she was born and thrived on sludge, becomes a turbo-charged defender of working girls and the enemy of bikers, bartenders, and men in general. In these early pieces, Reeder was more concerned with outrage than with form, but her voice-over narratives had a pulp energy that made up for the careless imagery. Lullaby is a big step in another direction. Reeder edits together images of preteen ballet dancers and high school cheerleaders, clips from Madonna's "Lucky Star" video, and excerpts from a 12-year-old's diary (perhaps her own) to evoke, with great poignancy, the desires and anxieties of girlhood.

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