Slacker - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Slacker Reviews

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February 20, 2017
For whatever reason I've been on a bit of a nostalgia kick lately and revisiting the '90s in small doses of cinema, so I gave this one another spin this evening and I have to say that the rambling, free-wheeling nature of the film is still a helluva lot of fun and gives the viewer a snapshot of an Austin, Texas that doesn't really exist anymore. I mean, i guess everyone who saw this film moved there immediately and kinda pushed the small sleepy town feeling out of the place, as only certain areas still have the charm of this film.

July 17, 2016
A movie that lets you smirk about Austinites. Holds a lot of cultural significance.
July 1, 2016
80/100, or a B+
Consistently fascinating and entertaining, which is a coup for a plotless film in which the primary characters change every scene. The nadir of this gimmick is early in the film, when one of the vignettes relies too much on perturbing incident rather than the meandering pseudo-philosophy conversations that make up the rest of the film. Not to worry, as the film makes up for it with hilarious moments like a woman selling Madonna's Pap smear, a guy living in a room full of televisions, and an old man teaching a burglar about the merits of anarchism. And there's a kind of understated sadness to these aimless people, like the kids that steal Pepsis to sell to people, or the Kennedy-assassination theorist who immediately starts talking about Jack Ruby's dog when someone asks how he is. By the end, Slacker has turned into a sort of "portrait of a city film", in this case Dallas, Texas; one feels like they have the complete feel of the weirdest corners of a city they've been to not once.
June 12, 2016
Never saw this before. It is one of the 1001 Movies, and it works as a history piece now.
December 23, 2015
I could listen to the conversations and observe the interactions all day long.
November 15, 2015
It's weird watching this film because you know so many of these people weather they are in your life constantly and a one time meeting. I think that's where the comedy comes from. We're all slackers in someway or another and this film is the tale of all of them, weather its us or someone you know.
Robert B.
Super Reviewer
½ October 8, 2015
Slacker still holds up after years and years. It is amazing how memorable various scenes are (especially when compared with other films where I forget what has happened even before it finishes). The film has got great style and indie spirit. It has a nice director's commentary track as well.
August 19, 2015
When I saw it in the theater I thought "I had that idea after seeing Nashville", and I'm sure I wasn't the only film buff that thought that. It wasn't until Linklater came around that it was accomplished, and accomplished beautifully.
½ July 26, 2015
Linklater is really hit or miss for me. I really like Dazed and Confused, Before Sunrise, and Boyhood. I hated Waking Life, and I didn't much enjoy this film.

Linklater is really about a lot of philosophical conversation - or just interesting conversation such as talking about a Madonna pap smear - and he does little interesting technically. One of the few shots in this film which I found to be great was a long take in which the camera tracks back from the scene of a crime - an old lady being hit by a car - and then pans left to transition to the next character in his home. Sadly this is the repetition in the film that makes it feel so monotonous. It transitions between "episodes" by introducing characters at the end of each episode that pretty much just pass by. And I don't believe we come back to any characters in the film once their "episode" is done.

I do enjoy the conversations in the film, I really do, but they don't really make up for the fact that this film has pretty terrible structure. While structure isn't necessary in a film, it can act as a guide for a good story. Characterization might help as well, rather than just conversations about life and such. Linklater seems more fit to write essays than to make films with movies such as this and Waking Life.

If you want to get into deep thought this is a good film for you to watch, but if you want entertainment and story, look elsewhere.
½ July 20, 2015
Honestly, this film is genius. I hope they show it in high schools and make sure that every student is educated about all of the references. "Sorry I'm late." "Don't worry about it. Time doesn't exist."
½ June 24, 2015
This is one of those masterpieces that achieves transcendence despite the lack of a plot, like Winesburg, Ohio or My Antonia. A portrait of Austin, Texas in the early 1990s and the many interesting characters roaming its streets, it's chock full of Americana like matricides and conspiracy theorists. Low in budget but ambitious in its scope, director Richard Linklater conveys a rich sense of place and always keeps things anything but dull.
½ May 6, 2015
What an impressive and unique way of experimenting with film. A movie not really about anything, but once again Linklater breaks the barriers with something new, fresh and real. An impressive debut.
April 23, 2015
gr8 another lost review
April 21, 2015
Indie flick with no story, which in a way inspired so many gen-x film makers...
April 15, 2015
Slacker could be the independent film by excellence. It doesn't exists a story apparently, but what could you expect if you are doing a film about "slackers". There is no recognized performer, and in the end when you see the cast most of them are referred by what they were doing.
March 14, 2015
I've watched three Richard Linklater movies in the past week: this one, Waking Life, and the much-praised Boyhood. While there's a great deal to admire in all three, this one might actually be my favorite of the bunch, and would be right up there with Before Sunset as one of my favorite Linklater movies overall. As small and seemingly insignificant as this movie may be, I think in some ways it more completely fulfills its ambitions than do Waking Life or Boyhood. It's also, due to its unique format, endlessly watchable; the movie is 1 hour and 45 minutes long, but I don't think I would've minded had it been 3 hours long.

This movie, which wasn't actually Linklater's first but is the earliest one anyone seems to know about, is the first in his ongoing series of cinematic experiments with time. The Before trilogy is all about checking in with two characters on particular days years apart from each other; Boyhood follows one character for 12 years. Here, Linklater's experiment went in the opposite direction from that of Boyhood: rather than follow one character for a long time, he follows dozens and dozens of characters for a few minutes each over the course of a single day in Austin, Texas in 1990 or 1991. Some of them do interesting or bizarre things: a young man runs his mother over in a car and then has some sort of bizarre ceremony in his house; another guy is trying to watch ten TVs at once; an old man finds someone trying to rob his house and takes him out for a pleasant walk to talk about politics. Other people are just going about a fairly normal day: a woman walks to a coffee shop; some kids play in the woods; a young woman argues with her boyfriend. No matter what's going on, though, the film is never boring; most of the characters are oddballs or weirdos of some sort, though not outlandishly so.

It's a somewhat difficult film to evaluate in conventional terms, since it doesn't really concern itself with a narrative. I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed watching it, and its portrayal of college town life was pretty convincing to me. The Austin portrayed in this film reminded me a bit of Carrboro, North Carolina, where I live now; watching the movie almost makes me want to go make my own version of Slacker about the people living here. I really appreciated how smoothly Linklater's direction transitions us from one little story to the next. Purely from an entertainment perspective, it's nice to know that if you don't like one story or character, it'll be replaced by something else soon. The movie is funny and relaxed; it's the sort of movie I imagine would be easy to rewatch in later years. It's interesting, and kind of inspiring, how Linklater's totally naturalistic, low-key approach to filmmaking, which tends to make me think, "Hmm, I could do that!," still yields such fascinating results. If you're at all interested in Linklater, Austin, or the 90s in general, I definitely recommend Slacker.
Super Reviewer
½ February 19, 2015
A perfect portrait of Austin, Texas in the nineties, this film is full of vignettes of what it is like living out your twenties in that time period. It balances between being a love letter to Austin, and a diatribe about the collective characters that you meet when you're young. Linklater's films have often been heralded as centering on realism in contrast against the absurd. From the "Anti-Artist" in the bar scene to the conspiracy theorist in the book store, we've heard, and listened to, and felt exhausted by many of these same people in our lives. Though this film is nearly twenty-five years old, it feels just as relevant in today's times. Academia is always full of hotheads and passionate centenarians alike. This too is the world of liberal society, happy to philosophize about every aspect of life but intent on not living it. This film is funny, intellectually stimulating, and perversely amazing with its characters and cult following. A definitive piece of Linklater filmmaking and cultural iconoclast in the world of indie filmmaking, this is a must watch, in any case.
½ February 7, 2015
I personally know a lot of the people in this film including the director, but still think it was a boring experiment that was overly simple and went nowhere. I'm glad Link has evolved!
February 4, 2015
Ambling indie classic patiently follows a stream of philosophical burnouts crossing paths over the course of a day in Austin, Texas. The twist is that we never see any of these people ever again, their experiences do not contribute to any central plot and the story is told in what seems like real time. The main character is the town itself, and the lack of any true story momentum is a statement on its residents. They have plenty to say, but never seem to do anything. That's their charm, and it's also the charm of this movie. But unlike many of the films that this breakthrough cult classic inspired (namely Kevin Smith's Clerks) first-time director Richard Linklater exhibits an impressive mastery of cinematic motion rare in low-budget films which rely mostly on dialogue. Linklater shoots many of his scenes in long takes with infrequent cutting, reminiscent of the opening shot of Orson Welles' Touch of Evil or Scorsese's nightclub scene in Goodfellas. This kind of technique is incredibly difficult to achieve even for experienced filmmakers with a large budget to work with, making it especially astounding that Linklater managed to choreograph such sequences with limited resources and even less experience. But at the end of the day, the existential conundrums which this film wrestles with are what will hold your interest and its unique philosophical insights are what made Linklater one of the wisest cinematic sages of the 1990s independent film boom.
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