Monday, September 10, 2012
MOVIE OF THE WEEK: Dazed and Confused
This week’s choice for Movie of the Week is Richard Linklater’s wonderful high school comedy "Dazed and Confused". As his fans know, Linklater is one of the best writers around and in this 1993 film, he is in fine form. This excellent screenplay is like the perfect time capsule. It features a stellar ensemble of future stars (including Ben Affleck, Parker Posey, Matthew McConaughey, Milla Jovovich, Adam Goldberg, Joey Lauren Adams) who are as good as they’ve ever been, I kid you not. This film captures the 70’s in such an authentic way that I had to keep reminding myself that this film was actually made in 1993 and not during that actual time period. Everything is on the mark - the cars, the clothes, the hair and of course that awesome soundtrack.
The story itself is an honest examination of high school culture, set during the last day of school. Linklater leaves no stone unturned, as he looks at the drinking, the drugs, the relationships, the hazing rituals and the overall sociology of those simultaneously awful and glorious high school years. Despite including these situations in the plot, Linklater has no time for unnecessary raunch and potty humour. In fact, this film manages to be funny without trying too hard. It’s an easy breezy celebration of summer. To that end, he crafts his stock characters without resorting to rote stereotypes. The geeks aren’t completely socially inept and the bullies are mischievous without being malicious. It’s quite refreshing and serves as a testament to his skill and instincts as a writer-director. For a smart coming-of-age high school flick, you can’t do much better than “Dazed and Confused”. It’s just as relevant now as it was back then.