America, 1976. The last day of school. Bongs blaze, bell-bottoms ring, and rock and roll rocks. Among the best teen films ever made, Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused eavesdrops on a group of seniors-to-be and incoming freshmen. A launching pad for a number of future stars, Linklater’s first studio effort also features endlessly quotable dialogue and a blasting, stadium-ready soundtrack. Sidestepping nostalgia, Dazed and Confused is less about “the best years of our lives” than the boredom, angst, and excitement of teenagers waiting . . . for something to happen. —The Criterion Collection
Self-taught writer/director Richard Linklater was among the first and most successful talents to emerge during the American independent film renaissance of the 1990s. Typically setting each of his movies during one 24-hour period, Linklater’s work explored what he dubbed “the youth rebellion continuum,” focusing in fine detail on generational rites and mores with rare compassion and understanding while definitively capturing the twenty-something culture of his era through a series of nuanced, illuminating ensemble pieces which introduced any number of talented young actors into the Hollywood firmament. Born in Houston, TX, in 1960, Linklater suspended his educational career at Sam Houston State University to work on an offshore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. He subsequently relocated to the state’s capital of Austin, where he founded a film society and began work on his debut short film, 1987’s It’s Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books. Three years later he released the sprawling… read more
I love the fact that the cast in this film was so talented and "out there" at such young ages, holding up the story surprisingly well. It is definitely slow at times, but makes up for it with clever jokes and witty writing, crafting a coming-of-age story that, at its root, is quirky and very reminiscent of adolescent life in the midwest during the 1970s. It is a film to be seen, but definitely does not apply to all.
Another big Criterion Tuesday. Also: The Tree of Life, Joan Didion, Martin Scorsese and more.