In 2019 I found some old Word documents with movie reviews I wrote back before I had a blog. I’m posting each review backdated to the day I wrote it.
Title: Dazed and Confused
Release Date: September 24, 1993
Director: Richard Linklater
Production Company: Alphaville
So this is one of those “cultural flashpoint” movies I never saw until last week. It was actually very different from what I expected. On the last day of school in Austin, TX in 1976 a bunch of high school and junior high school kids hang out, drink beer, smoke pot, drive around, make out and have inane conversations – not too unlike real teenagers. There is absolutely no plot to speak of, although that’s not necessarily a bad thing here.
As far as teen movies go, Dazed and Confused can be judged on what it’s not. No one gets the girl (not really anyway), no one gets in a car wreck, no one learns a valuable lesson, really it’s just a bunch of kids having fun with little parental supervision. All the teen movie archetypes are there – the jock, the stoner, the geek, the popular girls – or so you think, but none of the characters really hold to type.
The cast of this movie is huge and there’s no lead character, and its hard to keep track of who is who because they keep switching cars. But overall the cast puts in some heartfelt portrayals of typical teens. One major theme of the movie I didn’t get at first was a town-wide hazing of graduating junior high kids by the rising seniors. I’d never heard of such a thing happening, but it seemed to be the accepted thing in this fictionalized town. Maybe it’s because I never lived in a small town, I dunno. I found it interesting that the kids could go from being mercilessly cruel during the hazing to quite tender and affectionate later on, again another slice of reality.
Dazed and Confused is not one of the all-time greats but an interesting and funny movie, and I guess since I’m still thinking about it a week later, thought-provoking too.