Free Winona! Readers remember how cute she looked behind gobs of eyeliner.

By Salon Staff
Published November 14, 2002 9:00PM (UTC)
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[Read Andrew Leonard's "My Winona."]

Respectfully, you are so totally way off on your Winona, and as a long-time Winona girl, I am compelled to tell you why. First, whether on felony trial, or on her way to a Hollywood opening, Winona always looks fabulous. Sure she's guilty -- guilty of great taste!


She's 31, for crying out loud! Do you want Tim Burton to choose her wardrobe forever? As a grown-up, Winona eschews tacky trend for classic lines that suit her as much as they suit Catherine Deneuve, and suited Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy. As for the overly made-up remark, what on earth are you talking about? She wore 80 pounds of eyeliner in both "Beetlejuice" and "Heathers."

Though I have to agree, boyfriend stealing is a heinous crime. (And if you're going to steal a boyfriend, why must it be a half-talented Paul Westerberg wannabe? That's almost worse!) But certainly the crime of shoplifting in Saks is nothing compared to the crappy English accent perpetrated in "Age of Innocence," "Dracula" and whatever other "period piece" I'm blocking from memory. Take me away from all this death, indeed!

And how can Johnny Depp be a bad choice for anyone? Unlike other beautiful, talented indie-boy actors, he never whored himself for a movie role. (Like, say, Owen Wilson.)


You boys with your impossible expectations of women really roast my turkey. It doesn't matter if you're some frat guy or indie nerd, you all want your women to stay teenagers forever. Further, you're all incapable of accepting women for who they are. So what, Janeane Garofalo lost weight? Maybe she felt physically crappy. Maybe she couldn't get the work she wanted. Who are we to judge?

Winona shoplifts and makes crappy script choices. This is who she is, so boo hoo hoo get over it. To paraphrase Leslie Gore, you don't own her, pal. Take a cue from me and Robert Downey Jr. Despite "Ally McBeal," we are still very much in love.

Winona forever,


-- Helen Popkin

Thank you so much for your heartfelt essay. About six months ago, a friend and I watched "Heathers" on DVD, and afterward, we remarked to each other: "Remember back when every time Winona Ryder did a movie, you just knew you could go see it, and it would be good? Remember when it seemed like she was one of us, and not just another smiley-faced Julia Roberts? And now here she is, doing all these awful mainstream movies? The Winona of 'Beetlejuice' would never have touched the movies she does now! She's shunning the weird kids that liked her the way she was before she turned into another boring, glammed-up L.A. movie star."


That was the end, but I couldn't help but reflect back on it many times after that. Has Winona Ryder just gotten cynical, taking roles for the paycheck? Is this just another symbol of how the alternative idealism of the late '80s has curdled into the opportunistic, boy-were-we-stupid-and-pretentious-back-then selling out? Time will tell, I suppose, and you never know when she'll come to her senses, but the alterna-kids of 15 years ago have very few role models left. Tim Burton moved into big-budget crap like "Planet of the Apes". Nirvana is known more for their high-stakes legal battles than for the musical legacy they left behind. The punk bands of today are mostly frat boys who hope to sell a single to the "Road Trip" sequel. And everyone my age (I'm 25) talks about nothing but money. All I can say to Winona and my generation is: Shame on you.

-- William Shaw

I have only this to say: that this article, or lament, or whatever you could call it, is, at best, puerile filler. Save it for the Premium subscribers.


-- Kris Woofter

I can relate to some of your points, but it's another goddamned example of someone who really needs help, and none of her so-called friends are willing to step in and lend a hand until it's way too late.

I know it's hard to intervene, especially with drug/booze problems, but it's a million times worse for celebrities who have agents and managers and whatnot whose livelihoods depend on their clients' ongoing functionality. Didn't any of "her people" give a shit? Apparently not. Sigh.


-- Jack Mello

Winona Ryder is an actress. All those cool people she played in those movies are fictional characters.

Sheesh, man, get over it.

-- Dan Wiencek

I once worked as an assistant for a movie producer who happened to be a friend of Winona Ryder's. He had found what he thought was a great role for her -- a woman with a young child whose husband had just died. I objected that I couldn't really see her doing something that wasn't quirky and offbeat -- "Lucas," "Heathers," "Beetlejuice," "Reality Bites" -- and his response was very simple: "She's grown up now." He was right. As much as I wanted to continue seeing Ryder in similar roles, it wasn't fair to expect her to stagnate there for the rest of her career. And, Andrew Leonard's humorous tone notwithstanding, that goes double for expecting who she has been on-screen to inform who is in real life.


-- Christian Gulliksen


-- Andee Steinman

Amen, amen. I just wanted to be her friend, maybe sitting on the other side of Andrew on that lumpy couch in that bad apartment where we'd hang out. We would scorn the Heathers, play air guitar with the best of them, laugh at the guys who called to see if we'd be at the arcade later. (And who knows, maybe we'd show up.) All to say, the disappointment goes across gender boundaries. We all are just so sad about the Saks thing. Saks? At least she could have been arrested for throwing red paint on someone's fur coat. But now, alas, she is trying to steal the fur coat.


-- Jennifer Grant

I completely disagree about Mr. Leonard's mournful reckoning of the fate of a beloved X-gen icon. Think about it. She's shoplifting at Saks! Isn't this the darkest, edgiest thing she's done in years? Think about how that changes films like "Autumn in New York." Suddenly, there's a sad, foreboding undercurrent to the whole charade.

When I heard about this, I thought "finally, our idol has returned!" What a wonderful way for her to enter her 30s.

-- Anonymous

Salon Staff

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