Monday, 31 August 2015

August Blindspot: Dazed and Confused

August Blindspot: Dazed and Confused (1993)

Dazed and Confused is the 3rd feature film from Richard Linklater. It's become a cult classic in the years since, and features lots of actors who are later going to become stars. Having seen a few different Richard Linklater films now, the film still feels very Linklater in theme and style. The film just features on life and the day-to-day stuff. It's the last day of school, and it focuses on high school seniors last day, and the seniors of jr high being initiated as freshman in high school. Set in the 70's, it's filled with crazy fashion, weird hair, drugs, and lots of music.

I know quite a few people had the same few complaints about Boyhood. It was long, it didn't have direction, and they didn't find the lead character interesting or compelling. While I don't feel all these things about Dazed and Confused, I did feel it was a little too loose with it's plot and tried to have too many characters and "stories" going on. It's not that I didn't like this film; in fact, I very much appreciate it and am glad Linklater was able to continue making these kinds of films, simple stories about life. But I'm not sure if the 70s are just so unrelatable to me or if everyone was just unnecessarily cruel to each other, but I felt like I just couldn't relate or get into it as much as some of his other films.

Linklater seemed (to me anyway) to go back and forth of being critical of the actions of the characters in the film with how the seniors treat the freshman, the sexism and the drugs etc, but also idealizing this era and "life back then". Linklater was a teen back when the film was set, just like the characters in the film. So obviously there's a lot of nostalgia here that just doesn't work for me here (I was born only the year before this film was released).

However, it was fun to see several different actors here that went on to become stars. The big one being Matthew McConaughey. McConaughey is just so McConaughey in this film, and he's so great at it. This was his breakout performance and he really did nail it. He was a stoner, and kind of creep. An "adult" still hanging out with high school kids and living in the glory days. As well, we see Ben Affleck (who, admittedly, I actually didn't realize it was him until the credits). It's a smaller role, but he's an absolute bully to the poor freshmen and spend the movie whacking them with cricket bat. As well, we see Milla Jovovich and Parker Posey.

I didn't mean to rag so much on Dazed and Confused. Honestly, I did enjoy it, but it just wasn't a film I connected with at all. It was free and flowy with it's form (suitable for the 70s), the costumes were great (aka terrible!), as was the hair. But the movie felt like it portrayed small town 70s American life accurately (if exaggerated) but it was a fun film that lead to some great future movies.

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