Sunday, February 6, 2011

Review: "Dazed and Confused" Always a Winner

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 197 (of 2004) by Leroy Douresseaux

Dazed and Confused (1993)
Running time: 102 minutes (1 hour, 42 minutes)
MPAA – R for pervasive, continuous teen drug and alcohol use and very strong language
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Richard Linklater
PRODUCERS: Sean Daniel, James Jacks, and Richard Linklater
EDITOR: Sandra Adair


Starring: Jason London, Rory Cochran, Sasha Jenson, Wiley Wiggins, Michelle Burke, Adam Goldberg, Anthony Rapp, Matthew McConaughey, Marissa Ribisi, Shawn Andrews, Cole Hauser, Milla Jovovich, Joey Lauren Adams, Christin Hinojosa, Ben Affleck, Jason O. Smith, Deena Martin, Parker Posey, Nicky Katt, Catherine Morris, Christine Harnos, Estaban Powell, Mark Vandermeulen, Jeremy Fox, Kim Krizan, and Rick Moser

Director Richard Linklater (Before Sunrise, The School of Rock) got the attention of a lot of young moviegoers in the mid-1990’s with his comic film, Dazed and Confused. Set during the last day of school, May 28, 1976, the film recounts the exploits of the incoming freshman class and the Class of ’77 at Lee High School, situated in a small Texas enclave. The male seniors-to-be beat the incoming freshmen with wooden paddles and the senior girls haze the incoming freshmen girls by pouring food and condiments all over them. The kids buy and smoke marijuana, buy and drink beer, make out and talk about having sex, plan parties, and listen to lots of classic early to mid-70’s rock music.

The film is very laid back, but very entertaining. It may be an acquired taste, likely popular with people who are nostalgic (those who lived it and those who only know it through media) about a kind of mid-70’s suburban idyllic, an almost pastoral setting that never really existed. However, Dazed and Confused is about an ideal, and it’s a very fine version of that ideal. The acting is so natural, and Linklater directs his cast and moves the film with such an alluringly lazy pace that suggest that this small town is a paradise or utopia.

Dazed and Confused is a tale about rites of passage and the relationship among a diverse student body of geeks, stoners, athletes, snobs, etc. with such facile grace that I wish it were real. I certainly think that every movie fan should see it at least once, especially because many may find it somewhat familiar.

7 of 10


No comments:

Post a Comment