Dazed and Confused Reviews
Leave it to director-writer Richard Lanklater to fit an ensemble story in the course of a single day, something he would later perfect in the Before ____ trilogy. I am left with a desire to get to know more about these characters, but fuck it. They're high schoolers. They have a lot on their mind, but there isn't much they know. Lanklater captures that quite well, all the while presenting an array of different people with clear priorities and a core desire for connection, through whatever way makes sense in a moment. Quite the variety in such priorities, from feeling older and thus more respected, feeling younger and thus freer, feeling high and thus more powerful. The quotes, too! Some are hallmarks of a past era -- "That's what I love about these high school girls. I get older, and they stay the same age." from a young Matthew McConaughey -- and others are so perfect for any situation that you may catch yourself saying them in your daily routine. In fact, one quote is a meme: "I came here to do two things: kick ass and drink beer. (turns to near empty beer cooler) Looks like we're runnin' out of beer." Context: That character said that, in an attempt to rationalize why he lost his cool and picked a fight with someone at a party. See how there's so much to dig into this movie? For all I know, Linklater just wanted to make a movie about the 1970s. What sets him apart from lesser peers is that he understands how to relate to his audience, acknowledging that 1976 is the past but it also had some part in setting the course for 1993, when the movie came out.
Dazed and Confused boasts a wonderful ensemble cast with Jason London, Rory Cochrane, Wiley Wiggins and so many more great performances.
Obviously, the soundtrack kicks ass. The dialogue and way the characters act is so perfect.
In the end, only The Breakfast Club can compete with Dazed and Confused as the best coming-of-age teen film of all time.
(PS. Richard Linklater also directed Boyhood which I loved.)