Dazed and Confused (1993)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Featuring an excellent ensemble cast, a precise feel for the 1970s, and a killer soundtrack, Dazed and Confused is a funny, affectionate, and clear-eyed look at high school life.


Movie Info

Like George Lucas' American Graffiti, Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused is an affectionate look at the youth culture of a bygone era. While Lucas took aim at the conservative 1950's, Linklater jumps ahead a generation to the bicentennial year of 1976 to celebrate the joys of beer blasts, pot smoking and Frampton Comes Alive. Set on the last day of the academic year, the film follows the random activities of a sprawling group of Texas high schoolers as they celebrate the arrival of summer, … More

Rating: R (for pervasive, continuous teen drug and alcohol use and very strong language)
Genre: Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Richard Linklater
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 30, 1998
Runtime:
Gramercy Pictures

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Critic Reviews for Dazed and Confused

All Critics (51) | Top Critics (10)

The teenage wasteland, 1976-style, of Dazed and Confused is smack-dab between The Brady Bunch and Children of the Damned , and it's a scary, if sometimes giddily amusing, place to visit.

Full Review… | August 8, 2011
Variety
Top Critic

Bet it makes you wanna dance.

Full Review… | August 8, 2011
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Seriously funny, and shorn of any hint of nostalgia or wish-fulfilment, this is pretty much where it's at.

Full Review… | August 16, 2007
Time Out
Top Critic

A better-than-average teen movie but not much more, at least if you aren't a member of Linklater's generation.

Full Review… | July 19, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

glorifies bullying and tries to balance it with pseudo-intellectual contemplation

Full Review… | September 5, 2013
7M Pictures

Has the look and spirit of the time down pat. Unfortunately it captures only the worst of the typical misogynistic, foul mouthed druggie losers of the period.

Full Review… | July 7, 2012
Spectrum (St. George, Utah)

Audience Reviews for Dazed and Confused

A cult classic. Us 30 somethings now watched this movie in envy and than even made it happen sometimes. Loved those tower parties.

jmanard52
John Manard

Super Reviewer

Richard Linklater is one of those directors that consistently delivers fresh and original material yet somehow remains a filmmaker with a lower profile. His projects certainly gain the respect they deserve but they never really go over and above that in terms of awards. He's always been innovative and has adopted some daring approaches to filmmaking with the likes of his free-form indie debut "Slacker", the expansive "Before Sunrise" trilogy, the philosophical "Waking Life" and it's rotoscope animated companion piece "A Scanner Darkly". Even his forthcoming "Boyhood" - a 12 year project following a boy's journey from 5 to 18 years old - is a feat that few, if any, directors have tackled. However, one of his most poignant and entertaining escapades happens to be the mosaic "Dazed and Confused". It was largely ignored upon it's release but has since gained a strong cult status. And for very good reason.

The year is 1976 and it's the last day of high school in a small Texan suburbia. Everyone's up for a party and in search of booze and drugs but first, the incoming freshmen must go through some embarrassing initiation rituals organised by the senior students, who take great pleasure in putting the youngsters in their places.

Much like his aforementioned and experimental approach to "Slacker", Linklater doesn't have a lot going on narratively. He's fully aware of this, however, and acts only as a mere vessel in allowing his actors the space to breathe and run free in their roles. That being said, there's still a complete focus here and the result is far more solid and entertaining than his debut. It's not often I'll praise a film for it's lack of narrative but in the case of "Dazed and Confused" it's the characterisation that leads the way and each and every one of the actors really shine; Wiley Wiggins is our young guide throughout this turbulent time for teenagers as he falls into a friendship with the senior students on his last day of freshman year and Linklater astutely captures a whole myriad of teenage angst and the carefree emotions of a disaffected youth.

Let's not forget that this was only Linklater's second film and it wasn't just him that was finding his way, but also the impressive cast that he put together. Largely unknown at the time of the film's release, many of the actors would go on to become part of the Hollywood firmament. We get well judged performances from all sorts of high school types; from Jason London and his jock pals Sasha Jenson and Cole Hauser to Rory Cochrane's stoner, Adam Goldberg's nerd and Ben Affleck, playing one of his most unlikeable characters, as the school bully. The most memorable from the entirely great ensemble, though, is a small but dynamic and scene stealing role for Matthew McConaughey as the older guy who refuses to grow up and move on.

Outwith the performances, Linklater also has a keen eye for capturing the 70's setting (in all it's flair and hair) and taps perfectly into the tone of the era. It's a nostalgic look back at daunting initiations, rebellion and the agonising awkwardness of adolescence and it's told with an affectionate wit and charm. I may not have went to an American high school or got involved in tanning some freshman ass with a pre-made baton but the energy and love for this poignant time really shines through and still operates at a level that will appeal to everyone who has any memory at all of their school experiences or peer pressure.

Sharing much in common with George Lucas' "American Graffiti" or Greg Mottola's more contemporary "Superbad", this is a funny and insightful coming-of-age contemplation. Linklater has delivered some wonderful film's over the years and I'm sure he'll continue to do so but, so far, this is his best film to date. It's absolutely superb.

Mark Walker

MrMarakai
Mark Walker

Super Reviewer

One of the best movies concerning teen life ever done. This film basically covers the last, epic day of school for some bored kids in Texas, who elect to cause mayhem and party once night falls. It's a rare feat for a director (in this case, Richard Linklater) to give us a couple stereotypes and get them a little tipsy, yet somehow get his audience completely enamored with what is going on. This is the ultimate nostalgic movie really, one yearns for the last days of high school when viewing this film. I just had a blast watching this movie, and the biggest thing it boasts is that its very re-watchable. There are some scenes in this film that hit home for me, some of the thrills these characters encounter certainly take me back to some of the best moments I had in my younger life, and I can say with confidence that this is a top movie for me, and one that everyone should watch if they desire to return to their younger years from time to time.

Dan Schultz
Dan Schultz

Super Reviewer

Dazed and Confused Quotes

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– Submitted by Kelly E (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Kelly E (2 years ago)

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