Dazed and Confused - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Dazed and Confused Reviews

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Super Reviewer
March 20, 2007
A cult classic. Us 30 somethings now watched this movie in envy and than even made it happen sometimes. Loved those tower parties.
Super Reviewer
March 12, 2014
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
Super Reviewer
September 16, 2007
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.
Super Reviewer
½ August 11, 2012
Funny, authentic and extremely nostalgic of its time period, 'Dazed and Confused' is the 'American Graffiti' for the 1970s decade, but a whole lot more rebellious and drug-induced. Writer/director Richard Linklater captures youth culture in such an exquisite way as he expresses the style of focusing more on the laid-back, but still entertaining nature of the decade's teenage lifestyle. Also I'd like any of you to step up and name one movie that has a better soundtrack than this, b/c no matter what your answer will be dead wrong!
Market Man
Super Reviewer
½ July 27, 2012
It does a good job at recreating the 70s and some of the characters are cool, but there is no story whatsoever. If you're into the 70s you'll probably love this movie; it really takes you to that era.
Super Reviewer
February 5, 2011
Wooderson: That's what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age. 

"It was the last day of school in 1976, a time they'd never forget... if only they could remember."

When it comes to teen movies, Dazed and Confused is at the top with Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Movies just don't come cooler or more fun than Dazed and Confused. It's a rock n' roll, beer guzzling, weed smoking party from beginning to end. It's impossible to not love this movie. Great music, great characters, and great situations are what movies like this need, and Dazed and Confused has all of them and more.

The story follows a bunch of teenagers on the last day of school. The events include paddling incoming freshman, getting drunk, playing pinball, and trying to find somewhere to party. It's an endless episode of pranks and partying fueled by one of the best classic rock soundtracks you could ever wish to hear. 

If you know Richard Linklater, you know that his movies aren't going to have much plot wise. He likes showing random hanging out, with amazing dialogue. He also likes to throw his own views on politics and other worldly matters into play as well. He does that here, but not nearly as much as he did with movies like Suburbia and Slacker. While those were hangout movies, they were also message movies. This is just a hangout movie and nothing more; and it's easily one of the best ever.

The characters are what make this movie so much better than the average teen comedy. Just like in Fast Times, there are a lot of characters, all of which have their own personality and their own vibe. Dazed, features the second best stoner ever, only second to Sean Penn's, and two of the best characters in teen movie history, with Pink and Wooderson. The cast is phenomenal and endless.

This is a movie that is sure to make you want to relive your party days. It makes you want to go grab a beer, roll a joint, turn up the music, and cruise.  You gotta love nostalgic movies like this.

Simone: You act like you're so oppressed. You guys are kings of the school. What are you bitching about? 
Super Reviewer
January 10, 2012
One simple quote can explain this film: That's what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.
Super Reviewer
½ April 22, 2007
I've never been a great Richard Linklater enthusiast, and I wasn't all that impressed originally with Dazed and Confused when I first saw it. It seemed to be getting a lot of high praise from my friends and from film critics alike, but I just didn't see it or understand it. However, having revisted the film several times now, I can take that thought back. The film is, to me, a big budget version of Slacker (Linklater's first film). While both films are not exactly the same storywise, the way they're told - in fragments moving from character to character - makes them polar opposites in a way. As Tarantino has stated about the film elsewhere, when you revisit the film, it's like revisiting old friends and hanging out with them for a day or two - and it's very much like that. It's also a 70's version of American Graffiti, but in my estimation, Dazed and Confused is superior to Graffiti. Mainly because I can relate to the characters more and they're less one-dimensional than they are in Graffiti. Nevertheless, I really enjoy Dazed and Confused and I love to pop it in from time to time and revisit some old friends for some good times and good tunes.
Super Reviewer
½ October 27, 2011
A superb feel good film that acts as a time capsule for 1976. Great performances.
Super Reviewer
September 21, 2011
Mercilessly honest and realistically portrayed, Dazed and Confused captures the entire high school experience within the story of one night. While the story may not really go anywhere or have much of a climax, the multiple characters are each carefully crafted and the script is passionately written. Tony and Mike, while marginalized in the story's context, are the most important characters, and tie the point of the narrative together perfectly.
Super Reviewer
September 8, 2007
As accurate a depiction of a time and people as I have ever seen, with quite literally the soundtrack of my teenage existence. As I watched I realized "I sat in that car, I went to that party, I knew those guys." The collection of young talent here is amazing as well. And a soundtrack that sounds like "The Best Of Classic Rock Weekend!"
Super Reviewer
July 31, 2008
It was the last day of school in 1976, a time they'd never forget... if only they could remember.

Good cool movie! It was a blast to see. Funny moments and lots of familiar faces doing crazy things. Great Cast!

The end of the 1976 school year in a Texan small town is cause for celebration of the summer break. But first the Seniors are excited to chase the newbies, whom they may submit to merciless hazing, which for boys takes the stern-scorching form of no-nonsense spankings. However futile, attempts to escape are made, yet pointless for the members of the baseball team, which has to play that evening, before the partying, when alcohol is to anesthetize their seat-sting. Mitch Kramer becomes the prime prey after his stupid sister actually asks the boys to go easy on him, which only senior quarterback Randall "Pink" Floyd does, while senior year-repeater Fred O'Bannion adds frustration to his reputed zeal for spanking sorely sorry.
Super Reviewer
½ August 18, 2011
A cult classic, one of the coolest and funniest films of all time.
Super Reviewer
½ July 31, 2011
A coming of age tale set in the late 70s, following a group of youngsters celebrating the summer ahead, in a world so starkly different to what the youth of today live in. From what I've read, Linklater captured the zeitgeist perfectly, and I had a whole lotta fun watchin'!
Super Reviewer
April 30, 2011
A film that perfects a time and age with modern music and carefree partying.
Super Reviewer
August 2, 2009
One of the most enduring stoner flicks you'll see with a great script and a scattering of great performances. Full review later.
Super Reviewer
February 15, 2010
This film represents the 70's so well that without looking at the year it was released, you are shown belief that this was actually made in the 70's. Dazed and Confused is one of the best teen/high school films out there and It could not have been executed any better than it was. It's funny, emotional and represents teen life perfectly. Outstanding!
Super Reviewer
August 3, 2010
Another great coming of age story set in the perfect time and place. It's freedom, it's liberty, it's being a teenager.
Super Reviewer
½ May 24, 2009
Not ever what I would call a realistic portrayal of teens in the 70s, but entertaining nonetheless.
Super Reviewer
June 3, 2009
This is the best stoner movie ever. I own this movie and I watch it often. I love the quirkieness of it and its just a feel good movie with a great cast of characters. This movie has a few people in it who are big stars today. For instance like Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, and Matthew McConaughy. Also this movie had a lot of great music. This movie makes you want to be apart of that time. It was just awesome and I am so glad I own this movie. I say its a classic.
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