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This movie has no discernable "plot" except to follow the lives of some of the most interesting and quirky people you are liable to meet. You follow one person, you get a snapshot of their life and the movie then takes off on the life of a person that may just be walking by on the street. You get just enough to encapsulate where they are at in life right now. Most are going no where and this is the reason for the movies title. Great dialogue here and great stuff to get you thinking about the strangest things (Smurfs as Hindu propaganda???). Great movie if you will just give yourself over to it and release all expectations as far as what a movie is supposed to be.
The most interesting thing about Slacker is the way it was filmed. There is
no real ONE storyline, until later in the film when viewers realize that one
of the main premises is that everything that happens to someone in their day
can have a effect on people they might not even know.
The film is split into 5-10 minute bits and pieces, as the camera moves from person to person. The first character we meet sees someone on the street and has a conversation with then, then the camera follows them for a while. Great stuff for those who suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder, which I think represents most of us age 30 and under.
It's a very original and thoughtful idea. Rather than develop one storyline, we get to see part of many peoples lives and how they all affect each other. There are some great moments of comedy, and tongue in cheek humor, as well as sadness.
Perhaps moreso than any other film, Slacker embodies what Generation X is/was all about. It is one of the great defining films of Generation-X, along with Trainspotting, Clerks, True Romance, and Reality Bites.
About quantum theory and Schroedinger's cat. Each time one potential
outcome becomes the case, the other potentials collapse. But all other
outcomes are thought to exist in alternate realities. Each time we become
invested in one branch of the narrative, the camera takes us somewhere else.
But the character we leave continues to exist and his or her story is
assumed to continue -- only not before our eyes.
What do we think, or hope the cops found out from the guy who killed his mother. Something. Or other. All outcomes. And none.
Overthinking it? Perhaps. But this marvelous movie keeps teasing us along, making us think it's going to zig when it's going to zag. This reminds me of the joke about people who kept going back to see "Titanic" hoping that this time, maybe the ship won't sink. With "Slacker," the movie will always be the same, but it will never be the same movie because we can never remember exactly where or how it's going to branch.
I love this movie. I can't get enough of it.
it's not often that a movie can keep you guessing from beginning to end. slacker is the movie that will stretch your mind past the boundaries of traditional thought. if you are able to fully immerse yourself into the story, you will begin to think like the characters. You will start questioning governmental activity, development conspiracy theories of your own, and possibly give up all hope in the realm of collective action. The director uses spontaneous, free-flowing dialogues to convey a realistic approach to what its like to be a drifting, free-thinking individual in Austin. The movie never grows tiresome because of the fact that the moment you start to figure out a character, you are left hanging to make your own conclusions of what happened to them. Without a second thought, the film immediately pursues the life of a new "slacker". Look for the creepy aspects in the film as well: subtle, missing children flyers are scattered throughout the backdrop of the scenes; and the schizophrenic cafe are a couple that stood out for me. this is a movie that you could watch a hundred times and still find a something new to walk away with. a modern classic.
Extreme boredom leads to fascination. Like sands in the hourglass so is
this day in the lives of several bohemians living in Austin, TX in
1990. You'll either be bored to tears or fascinated to no end.
If you've ever been to Austin, or spent a sleepy summer in a college town like Lawrence, KS or Madison, WI, then you'll appreciate the parade of pseudo-intellectuals and good-natured conspiracy theorists that provide much of the grist for the script. These offbeat characters and wonderful dialogue make this film memorable.
Remember the traumatized yacht owner in the greasy-spoon diner or the older dude with the toupee from the coffee shop? 'We've been on Mars since the 50's', he says. I loved the loser with the TV strapped to his back and the older guy who found an armed robber in his house, only to take him for a stroll and a friendly chat (about Charles Whitman). I also enjoyed the menstrual-cycle stone garden and the fortune-telling hippie chick with the black eye who was having 'a breakthrough day'. Nearly every conspiracy theory in modern pop-culture is paid lip service during the film. That's a lot of sophistry and navel gazing to be sure!
Not every character is a gem. The Madonna pap-smear girl gets more annoying with every viewing. But I recommend this film for its originality and understated comedic themes.
Much has been made of the tangent approach to the story telling. I think the technique runs out of steam about three-quarters of the way into it. In other words, it's about 20 minutes too long. Still, it's a fun movie!
I walked into Richard Linklater's SLACKER not knowing for sure what to
expect. I think that is the best way to experience this film. I wouldn't
exactly put this film under 'Comedy', if I ran my own video store. I would
invent the category 'Post-Film School Experimental Piece' and place it under
that. Because that is just what it is, but don't let that repulse you. It is
very interesting and has the power to warp you in what seems like one shot
throughout a day and night in a college town of Austin,
The true life preserver of this film is the sure directorial hand and witty script of Linklater. I enjoy the matter-of-fact philosophy within the dialogue of Linklater movies, (DAZED & CONFUSED, BEFORE SUNRISE)it is especially heavy here. It's fun watching the weirdos in this movie, like the video-obsessed droid who prefers taped sequences over reality or the chick with Madonna's pap smear (eewww!!) But it's almost frightening when you come upon a character very much like yourself.
But the movie most successfully gives us a town populated by characters we actually believe are living their aimless life in front of us. Minute-by-minute plays that intricately connect into a long string of slacker beads. These characters belong to the counter-culture where neurosis comes naturally and there are hardly skeptics anywhere. Where conversations find the metaphysical levels of funny postcards.
Later in the future, we will trip upon this movie again and find it more as being a time capsule of the early 90s than a semi-experimental comedy by a director most known for his insights of the sub-culture living inside their own heads.
Director Richard Linklater follows one slacker after another in this absolutely fascinating film. Linklater throws out the rules of traditional movie-making with this low-budget film shot in Austin, Texas. There is no star, in fact, there is no central character. The camera simply follows one person, who meets and relates to a second person, then follows the second person to a third person and so on. Although the structure appears aimless, it remains thematically in focus throughout, and the film introduces enough interesting characters to fill five movies. The only problem is the length. By the end, the novelty starts to wear off a little bit.
I think this movie ranks among the 10 great films of all-time & I'm no slacker, either (well, maybe sort of...). Even though I own the laserdisc (& the guidebook), I love catching random parts of it on the indie channel at unplanned times. It's absolutely hypnotic. This movie breaks the tired & stale narrative form that film borrowed from (19th century) novels. See Phlicker's review below for a very insightful synopsis. If Richard Linklater never makes another film or never makes one nearly as good, it doesn't matter, he's broken the mold & created a new & unique model. Absolutely brilliant!!!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Slacker is about people living their purposeless lives. It is also a
good commentary on the state of mental health in America. I could have
seen the same movie if I went out an walked around on Polk street here
in San Francisco, so I guess I should be thankful that I could stay in,
lay back, and watch it from the couch. This film is, though, a perfect
picture-postcard of purposeless existence. It is a very sad piece
because it does not stray far from reality.
Linklater's first film for which he won awards and nominations, it is a very good first feature in many respects. It is honest, it won praise from audiences and critics alike, and costing only 23,000 it made money. Perhaps reaching a more focused narrative in his later work Waking Life, Linklater seems to be a cinematic genius who has over the years had a not an easy time weaving his wares into the mainstream. He has, though, had consistent success with a few films which were nothing if not human. It took him thirteen years to break thorough with his main message, comedy coded, in The Shcool of Rock. Nice timing for a guy that doesn't hurry, and isn't ready to sell out for the sheer sake of celebrity, the relative failure of the Newotn Boys considered. It should be noted that Slacker for all its slacking ended on a vivacious high note with camera work and music which nicely contradicts the entire film.
The title of Richard Linklater's deadpan debut feature describes a new generation of young, educated, aimless social misfits, part of a young neo-bohemian subculture of drifters, dreamers, and losers with no money, no ambitions, and no worries outside the occasional paranoid conspiracy theory. Their marginal lifestyle revolves around the concept of (in slacker vernacular) 'hanging out': eating, sleeping, watching TV, drinking coffee, and listening to the latest, local garage bands. But what they do best is simply talk, and the viewer is invited to eavesdrop on an extended series of hilarious soliloquies, anecdotes, and observations about politics, history, art, Smurfs, and UFOs, from a cast of nearly 100 genuine slackers pulled off the streets of Austin, Texas, apparently a hub of slackerdom. The film (not a documentary) is structured entirely around random encounters, methodically following one character after another, with no plot to interrupt all the verbal detours and digressions. It looks (and sounds) entirely improvised, but believe it or not was all carefully scripted and choreographed, and the result is one of the more unique and original American features of its time.
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