Sunday, June 30, 2013

Richard Linklater

Dazed and Confused might be a little too mellow for me to consider it a classic. I enjoyed it the first time I saw it, but it felt like a small letdown after the low-budget ingenuity of Slacker. I appreciated Linklater tackling a large ensemble cast and keeping the movie relatively plot-free. The thing with Pink deciding whether or not to sign the coach's no-drug pledge is so vaporous as to be negligible. But with the addition of studio money and a wall-to-wall '70s hits soundtrack came a certain subtraction of creativity. Though it is heavily based on Linklater's high school experiences, the execution still had a nagging generic young '90s actors in '70s wigs and bell bottoms vibe. It felt a little too user-friendly, like a soggy joint passed around one too many times or the watery beer at the bottom of the keg. Maybe it's because my own high school experience was more anxiety-ridden, less infused with kind bud.

Either way, after viewing Dazed again I'm still ambivalent. It's an enjoyable flick but not among my favorite Linklaters. The memorable characters built from nothing by McConnaughey, Parker Posey and Adam Goldberg still resonate the strongest. The Rory Cochrane stoner character was still more annoying than entertaining, a poor man's Spiccoli. And it's always great to see a movie where every character in the film hates Ben Affleck. I guess there are some things on which we can all agree...

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