Ric Linklater’s second feature-length movie finds him with a brilliant young cast, a perfect period soundtrack, and practically no plot. Dazed and Confused simply revolves around various groups of teenagers, students, seniors, freshmen, wise-asses, potheads and creeps, all watched by Linklater’s keen eye for comedy and teen spirit. It’s as if this is simply being observed and filmed, rather than ‘set up’, due to it’s completely believable yet perfectly caricatured cast (featuring many minor actors who would later become major) and stunning period accuracy of 1976 (check out the poster for Hitchcock’s Family Plot), the year rock ‘n’ roll broke to some, not to these kids.
It’s the last day of school in Austin Texas, seniors are ‘hazing’ (humiliating, abusing, harrassing) the freshmen, a party is organized and consequently busted, guys and girls hang out at the Emporium, drinking beer, smoking doobies, playing pool, getting burgers, and most of all, loitering. A game of mailbox baseball is played, then an impromptu party is held on the hill, all this performed in a nonchalant manner. For a movie with no narrative structure, it’s incredibly watchable and surprisingly fast-paced and snappy, littered with classic quotes and natural dialogue. Very few films have captured a time as well as this, so much so that the fact that it was made in 1993 seems almost impossible, and this is mainly because of the nuances and accuracies of it’s revolving list of characters. To add to this, for a teenage movie, Dazed and Confused is surprisingly unsentimental, or at least vaguely affectionate in a detached pothead kind of way.
Best Line: ”That’s what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age…”
Goof: A boom mic is visible as a reflection in a classroom window. Tut tut…
8 Paddlin’s out of 10