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Slacker Reviews

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September 18, 2014
Linklater shows his flare for dialogue in his aimlessly plotted debut. Characters rant and talk about events, but it never feels forced or scripted. Even though the story isn't present, the themes and effort are enough to commend.
September 3, 2014
Dull and pretentious movie. Pointless unrelated stories stitched together. One or two of the stories are mildly interesting. However, the rest are incredibly dull, consisting mostly of people talking either about weird but dull stuff, pretentious philosophical things, inane conspiracy theories or boring domestic stuff.

I generally like character-driven dramas, but this was horrible. None of the characters are likeable. In fact, they're all incredibly loathsome. But hard to feel engaged in the movie if you hate ALL the characters...

Notable only for being Richard Linklater's second movie as director (and writer). Thankfully, he got better. A lot better. His next movie was Dazed and Confused...
August 31, 2014
Richard Linklater's groundbreaking cult classic may not be a movie for everybody. Not much happens in Slacker and it gets monotonous time to time, but its style and effort are admirable. Ideas discussed in the film are quite interesting. Slacker feels sort of a prequel to Linklater's 2001 masterpiece "Waking Life".
August 25, 2014
A film that consists of no plot, with different conversations with a bunch of different people. Nobody stays on screen for more than 5 minutes and after that you see someone else.... For some reason its very watchable maybe because of the talk of conspiracy throughout. Its mind blowing to think for such a small budget all those actors to be in it. Its an okay movie definitely not for everybody though
August 13, 2014
This falls just short of being a really good film. The concept is really cool and interesting but at times it moves slow and feel like nothing is going. The majority of the dialogue was politics and probably the Linklater's view on everything but it was still a very interesting movie to watch.

Super Reviewer

July 27, 2014
In Richard Linklater's first feature film, there are clear moments of technical mishaps and set issues, however, with such an ambitious project most of that is forgivable for being his first film. There is no linear plot in this film, but it feels more like a relay race/hangout film, as one scene with characters seamlessly leads into another scene with new characters, and so on. "Slacker" is all about the lives of burnout teenagers as they live their lives after college. It was just very interesting to see how alike and how different some people are from each other. This film is brilliantly written, but that is what Richard Linklater's films are (character driven). Aside from some technical issues that may or may not take you out of the film, you should be able to really enjoy this film. It is a fantastic first attempt for director Richard Linklater, who Produced, Directed, Wrote, and appeared in this film. "Slacker" is great!
July 23, 2014
Delightfully weird.
Strangely philosophical.
April 6, 2012
It is a film about nothing and a film about everything.
July 19, 2014
A collection of strange, fascinating people within the city of Austin, Texas. What do they have in common? Unemployment. This is Richard Linklater's first film and he knocks it out of the park. It feels like a portal into Linklater's subconscious, which to his credit, is a very entertaining one at that.
July 11, 2014
Linklater's debut film is stocked with incredible fascinating characters, and largely whimsical conversation. It's the type of movie that will and can only speak for those individuals who never felt truly 'at home'.
July 8, 2014
Superb concept brought together with an interesting filming style and realistic performances.
July 4, 2014
Presented on Blu-ray by The Criterion Collection, Richard Linklater's 1991 debut is a staple film in the American independent scene. Set in Austin, Texas over a period of 24 hours, this film profiles a variety of individuals and features a completely non-narrative style. There is literally no plot in this film, which does make it hard to become completely engrossed in. The dialogue, however, is top-notch and is the real strong point. It's not an amazing film by today's standards, but it deserves to be seen by all Linklater fans.
July 1, 2014
A surrealist painting of the bizarre underside of America that's wholly better in idea than execution. A curious, but ultimately boring experience.
May 29, 2014
A small masterpiece.
May 23, 2014
Linklater doesn't give us anything resembling a continuous plot, what he does give us is surprisingly breezy and often quite funny series of vignettes that serve as surreal slices of life as part of the dropout culture of Austin, Texas and a glimpse into the talents of this key film-maker who became such a vital voice of generation X and American independent cinema.
May 6, 2014
Sometimes a snapshot is better than a collection? I don't know but this is one of the most intriguing films I've ever experienced. Every singe one of these conversations is interesting and thought provoking, even if most of them are insane. Connected by a sense of hopelessness, this film glides along at such a steady pace, while a very dark undertone peaks through at times.
Tommy South
March 15, 2014
One of Richard Linklater's earliest projects, Slacker does not quite have the maturity and sureness of some of his later movies, but it's still an interesting watch. I found it fascinating to see Linklater's early exploration of themes and directorial styles he would come to master in his later career.

So it's about.. Hmm. Well, that's a rather difficult question. It's about nothing really. It's utterly, uniquely singularly, plotless. Essentially it follows the course of one day in Austin, Texas and stumbles across a group of random characters along the way. The movie is filmed in a very loose, surrealist style in which the camera follows a certain character for a certain duration of time, before spinning off to follow someone else. In the process, we meet a variety of interesting locals, including conspiracy theorists, looneys, students, criminals, idlers, kleptomaniacs, those who want to make a difference in the world, those who couldn't care less etc. We rarely get to know these characters very well and they are sometimes introduced and dismissed at the drop of a hat.

Linklater is a director with a great respect for characters. He likes to observe human behaviour. We see his early interest in very long shots of natural discussions, the type of shots he would later implement in movies such as his Before Trilogy. Some of the discussions are fascinating, others consist of pseudo-intellectual jargon. They are often hilarious, such as when two stoners discuss modern values and the control of the media, using the framework of Scooby Doo and the Smurfs. Linklater does not discriminate between these characters. He is interested in human behaviour in general, and his camera tentatively follows a range of different people with different goals and different ideologies.

The movie doesn't really go anywhere, and that's kind of the point. The movie captures a sense of general aimlessness and indecision. Linklater also seems interested in the communicative, ideological gap between people. In a humorous early scene a feverish young man(played by Linklater) relates his ideas on parallel worlds to a wholly disinterested taxi-driver. In another scene a conspiracy theorist tries to engage a clearly uninterested woman in a discussion on the JFK assassination. And yet, there are unlikely connections between people, such as a bizarre scene in which a thief bonds with his elderly victim.

Above all else, the movie captures the surreal yet authentic quality of the everyday. It reminded me quite a bit of Robert Altman's classic, Nashville. Both movies are very inclusive, covering a vast assortment of colourful, eccentric, and at times unsettling characters. Both are intensely interested in human behaviour and interaction. The only issue I have with the movie is that, for a movie that's basically about nothing, it's a bit too long. Nonetheless, it's a very raw and interesting piece of work, and a must-see for fans of Richard Linklater.
Cameron W. Johnson
Cameron W. Johnson

Super Reviewer

April 22, 2014
"I had always tried to do the right thing, but in the end, my results were just a little split off center from the most, though the same was offered to everybody else; I mean, what could you blame me for?" Jeez, when Umphrey's McGee finally get done with all of that prog Grateful Dead jamming, even they're lyrics seem to stretch on a little too long... kind of like my sentences. Yes, people, I just referenced a song from the modern rock era, but it's okay, because modern prog rock and, by extension, Umphrey's McGee are pretty awesome, and at any rate, UM has the only song titled "Slacker" that I can tolerate, Tech N9ne. It all works out in the end, because UM's very Dead Head style of aimless style, punctuated by a little bit of talk is pretty fitting in a discussion regarding this film, and if that makes you nervous, don't worry, people, because this is by no means "It's Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books". I don't know how you would be aware of that film and not aware of this one, but still, the fact of the matter is that with this second feature, Richard Linklater started getting a bit more of a grip on actually telling a story. Well, maybe he was still a little rusty on narratives by 1991, but hey, he was certainly no slacker when it came to making this film, because he did everything, except, you know, make a decent film. Yeah, for someone who was involved in more-or-less most aspects of this film, Linklater does indeed really slack off, though not nearly as consistently as he did with "Learn to Plow", at least trying more with technical style.

Visual style is, of course, pretty important in a film this naturalist, and while this effort's filming is not as celebratory of a distinguished environment as the filming of "Learn to Plow" was, cinematographer Lee Daniel takes advantage of Richard Linklater's having equipment of much higher quality to work with by delivering on some appealingly even coloration and lighting that is relatively realistic enough to immerse, though not as much as the framing and camerawork. Richard Linklater's stylistic skills as a director are commendable, as his now-trademark and audacious usage of long and extensively intimate, yet smooth tracking shots nails a fly-on-the-wall feel that draws you into the world, no matter how much other directorial touches distance you, and it helps that the people Linklater follows so intensely and stylishly endear by their own right. Certainly, the performers aren't given much to do, but they are given the challenge of grounding themselves as characters who are both relatable and unique, and they succeed about as well as they can with questionably drawn roles, with enough distinctive charisma and, for that matter, chemistry bond you with the focuses of this sloppy ensemble opus. Each member of this diverse cast of mostly unknown talents convinces, perhaps thoroughly, and that's endearing, even more so than the writing, which doesn't even give you the common courtesy of being consistently believable while it unravels down a problematically minimalist path. However, as irony would have it, Linklater's script plays about as big a role in almost saving the film as it does in seeing the final product's collapse into mediocrity, being artistically overblown and maybe even intellectually overblown (Alright, Dick, we get it, you like to write characters with some kind of philosophical idea), but clever, at least in writing dialogue that ends up being instrumental in this minimalist character study, and attracts a fair deal of intrigue with its amusing snap and even using plenty of thoroughly interesting themes to mold unique, if sometimes unbelievable characters. I won't simply say that most of the film's problems derive simply from questionable ideas, I would consider the film very competent in a lot of ways, with an interesting visual style, convincing performances and even clever writing, all of which carry the potential to carry the final product a long way. The potential of the film in other areas, however, is so lacking that the strengths cannot transcend mediocrity, secured by a questionable style, and even by questionable characterization.

A pretty big novelty in this very naturalist ensemble piece is its focusing primarily on bohemian characters, and I can get behind that just fine maybe more often than not, seeing as how the performances at least provie to be relatively convincing, but there are more than a few times in which the film gets carried away with its intentionally eccentric characterization, being practically annoying at times with its crafting questionable characters, who could perhaps be easier to buy into if they were more fleshed out. The film barely puts any effort into character development, ostensibly because it, trying to cover many, many "stories" in the span of an hour-and-a-half, doesn't have time, switching from character to character, rarely to return, and simply studying on various slices of life, with no real focal consistency, just a meandering string of happenings. The film is utterly aimless in its going all over the place, yet ending up heading nowhere, because no matter how uneven the structure of the film is, it at least keeps consistent in natural shortcomings that limit potential through minimalism, exacerbated by an even more questionable medium for its story concept, or rather, subject matter. Almost in the vein of Linklater's debut, "It's Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books", this film has a basic concept as a portrait of eccentricity, but no real narrative, having a whole lot more substance than the near-unwatchably unfocused "Learn to Plow", but overstylized as a deliberately structureless abuse of an artistic license. The basic "storytelling" style concept of this film is aggravating enough on its own, and it seriously doesn't help that Linklater isn't even realized in the extent to which he experiments, having plenty of times in which he focuses on genuinely entertaining writing like he did with something along the lines of the at least more fleshed out "Before" trilogy, before jerking into the same artistically overblown, substanceless nonsense that destroyed "Learn to Plow". Not even the film's sloppy style is consistent, but really, what ultimately secures the final product as not even as compelling as the "Before" trilogy is its at least keeping consistent in dullness, challenged by clever writing, but not overpowered, like it ought to be if this effort stands a chance of endearing. The film has a certain something that "Learn to Plow" didn't, and that's highlights, of which there are almost enough to save the film, but only "almost", being ultimately outweighed by enough borderline tedium to its aimlessness to eventually lose effectiveness to its novelty and fall flat as a mediocre artistic misfire that isn't really worth your time.

In conclusion, an immersive visual style, convincing performances and even many clever, if not intelligent highlights in writing all but save the final product as genuinely decent, but under the weight of overly bohemian and undercooked characterization, inconsistent focus, and a questionably minimalist, unevenly handled and all around rather dull experimental structure, Richard Linklater's "Slacker" collapses as an almost generally interesting, but predominantly aggravatingly misguided slice of life affair.

2.25/5 - Mediocre
Mike N.
March 29, 2014
I admire the film and the idea of it. I also liked some of the dialogue, but as whole I did not enjoy it as much as i expected i would.
March 2, 2014
It's hard to find this movie. I watched on VHS several years ago. Not the best movie - even by Indie standards - but worth watching for three scenes. 1) The one with the JFK conspiracy nut will make you laugh out loud to the point of pain. 2) The one where the girl finally tells her overly-academic-psuedo-intellectual friend where to get off made me write down her exact words so i could reuse them to several people I knew at the time.
3) and finally the one where I will not give it away but will say two words - "Madonna Papsmear."
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