Slacker - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Slacker Reviews

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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.
February 2, 2015
Subpar only to films Linklater himself later produces, this debut mirrors, similarly, the insane amount of talent/success that would possibly be attributed to Orson Welles' works, of which (ironically) Linklater himself directs in the 2000s.

Slacker, however, is genuine and entertaining while remaining entirely nonlinear and unconventional. Waking Life is (arguably) its sequel.
January 2, 2015
A film widely acclaimed to be the defining movie of the 90's similar to 'Taxi Driver' of the 70's. Slacker shows in many continuous sequences the life of "Slackers" who have trouble playing any real valuable part in society. The 'Slackers' vary from young to old, male and female and all forms possible.
There is no apparent storyline and I have to agree that you do manage to lose interest during a few of the not so interesting character studies. But some of the characters really do have some incredible and eye opening stories to tell. For example, the initial sequence acted by Linklater himself is one of the best sequences in the movie where he describes a dream he has during the journey on his way to the city.
Linklater has a special talent for writing which manages to stick with philosophical topics but yet not make the content dry. This along with his experienced knowledge in film history making himself an incredible director is shown clearly in his different, risky and extremely creative debut into feature films after 9 long years of learning films and making short films. Richard Linklater is a true inspiration and I'm sure will go down as one of the great geniuses in film history!
December 17, 2014
Slacker is the rare film that communicates eloquently only with thematic brilliance and conveys theatrics without a linear storyline or developing characters.
December 13, 2014
I think it's safe to say that 24 years is enough time to understand that Linklater is doing much more than philosophizing about would-be truths. He truly is a prophetic filmmaker.
November 14, 2014
Too funny. A lot of strange people, but just so hilarious to watch. I've never been to Austin, but it reminds me of Berkeley.
September 24, 2014
Takes some patience on the first watch, but a truly original film and surprisingly rewatchable. This is Richard Linklater's first film, and his first to work with his oft-revisited format of framing everything within 24 or so hours. As a roundabout rebuttal to the conformity and consumerism to the 80s, the film goes through a wide variety of characters living in Austin who are living lives fraught with pet obsessions, conspiracy theories, and generally bizarre behavior that effectively removes them from the status quo. This film had a huge impact on me when I was in my early teens and continues to inform my sensibilities to this day.
½ September 21, 2014
Capturing the strange spirit of Austin life communicated through the unfiltered ramblings of college kids, Richard Linklater's "Slacker" indicates the humanist philosophy, unbridled ambition, and focus on capturing the daily minutia of life that would define his filmography.
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".
½ August 28, 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 24, 2014
Sure, I'll go five stars. Mostly because it's a weird movie, and of course it's accurate, boring and influential.
½ 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 27, 2014
Rewatching Slacker after many years....brilliant and thought provoking.
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