Dazed and Confused Reviews
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.
"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?
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.