Sunday, July 13, 2014

Dazed and Confused (1993)

Director: Richard Linklater
Writer:    Richard Linklater
Cast:       Jason London, Wiley Wiggins, Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck

The film follows the various groups of teenagers during the last day of school in the summer of 1976. The incoming junior high students are given the initiation along the expected lines with them being given  a backside thrashing and other lame hazing rituals. As in real life, only some of the seniors are overly enthusiastic about this with the character played by Ben Affleck being the prime candidate for the alpha dickhead. His character also reminded me of the one he played in Mallrats. 

This was Linklater's second major film and it shares some similarity with his debut feature 'Slacker' in the sense that there is no large narrative or story arc about it. It is just a bunch of high school kids doing some random stuff. If you are to call one character central it would be Floyd (Jason London), the school team quarterback who is pissed off with his coach and authority. Film was a moderate success upon its release but is now a cult classic with even Quentin Tarantino naming it quite high up in his list of best films of all time. Linklater is quite an underrated director and I never think of him when I list my favorite directors but the sheer number of his films that I found to be great should warrant him to be in the list. Before Trilogy, A Scanner Darkly, Waking Life, Bernie, Dazed & Confused- that is some real good filmography he has got there. His latest one 'Boyhood' which was shot over a 12 year period is also getting rave reviews and one reason I watched Dazed & Confused again is due to my frustration about not getting access to watch Boyhood. Lets hope it turns up in the usual places soon.

This was also Matthew McConaughey's debut film and the role is quite memorable with his characteristic opening line of 'Alright, alright, alright'. He plays a creepy guy who dropped out from school long time back but likes to hang out with them. His line in the film about schoolgirls is also quite legendary: "That's what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age. ". He reminded me of Mohanlal's character in 'Sarvakalshala'. Shame that he wasted his career over the next two decades doing shitty rom-coms, none of which I have watched. 

Dazed and Confused is one of the best films of its genre along with 'Stand by me' and 'Breakfast Club'. 

Rating: 4.5/5