film reel image

film reel image

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Dazed and Confused 1993 * * * * Stars


"You just gotta keep livin' man". True dat. And it doesn't hurt to revisit 1993's Dazed and Confused all over again. In truth, I've probably seen the film close to 100 times. Heck, I remember the VHS tape being completely worn to the nub.

With a 70s soundtrack that is spot-on and in abundance (there's two volumes), Dazed and Confused is like a "Me Decade" documentary except that it has actors involved (and they do a fine job). 

Now does "Dazed" have an actual diegesis or story? Not really. It does not need one and that's the point. "Dazed" is a snapshot, a kaleidoscope, a mosaic. Just throw a bunch of high school kids into the last day of school circa 1976 and let the cameras roll. 

Dazed and Confused is directed with keen insight and ruffian giddiness by one Richard Linklater. Linklater was obviously inspired by the flick American Graffiti with a little Robert Altman on the side. Actually Linklater's "Dazed" is probably smoother in structure than the stuff just mentioned. That doesn't take away from what George Lucas and Altman did many years before (hey, they were the blueprints).  

Linklater was in his teenage years when '76 rolled around. Watching "Dazed", you feel like he was right there, acting as a reporter and/or taking notes. Dazed and Confused has high school rituals, the usual high school cliques, and the almighty ganja (well of course). The characters are memorable and uninhibited, with their blinked storylines fleshed out at a mere running time of 102 minutes. 

A lot of well-known troupers participated in Dazed and Confused. I mean it's like the 90s version of The Outsiders. We're talking Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, Rory Cochrane, Adam Goldberg, and Cole Hauser. We know they're well-known because they are still working steadily today (especially Matthew and Ben). What's even more fascinating however, is that you the viewer always wonder what happened to their actual personas from "Dazed" (in a hypothetical sense). There's a lingering in the end as a lead-in to their question-marked adulthood-s. 

With a brilliant closing credit sequence (set to Foghat's "Slow Ride") and a carefree sense of prominent teenage subversion, Dazed and Confused will always be Linklater's best pic next to 2001's Tape. "Alright, alright, alright". 

Written by Jesse Burleson

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