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I graduated in 1976 from a high school in North Dallas and this entire
movie is so spot on it's scary. It is my favorite film. I've seen it
hundred's of times and every time it's like watching it for the first
time. Only someone that was there and lived through those days could
have directed such a movie. I drove a 70 dark blue Chevelle SS 454 with
a 4-speed, over 400 HP and all of the goodies Wooderson described.
Starting that car up, listening to the roar of that engine and burning
out in 1st gear while in a thick cloud of blue smoke in front of the
high school at 3PM while wasted......doing over 80MPH in 2nd gear....oh
yea! I feel sorry for the teenagers today that drive the limp wrist
fluffs of metal that pass themselves off as cars these days.
I was a stoner like Pickford smoking weed non-stop. Some mentioned that the heavy drug use was not too common. Well, at our school it was beyond common. Before school, during school (in the bathroom and football field) and after school. Our school had a smoking area outside the cafeteria where everyone went to light up.
The opening scene with Aerosmith "Sweet Emotion" slowly building up and Pickford driving his Goat and girlfriend in the school parking lot kills me every time. I cannot imagine a better opening scene for the movie. That was pure genius. The funny thing is Linklater did not show getting licks from the coach or the principal. For all the "uninitiated" back then all a coach or an asst. principal had to say was "Smith, I want to see you back at my office now". Our coach had a paddle he personally made that he kept on his wall over his desk. It had about 30 holes drilled in it and it was covered in black electrical tape! When that one came down you knew it! Now with all the PC people coach would go to jail for "assaulting the poor boy" Hell, back then it was called character building. As I remember from the 7th grade on licks were given out.
The soundtrack. Best ever. Might as well be back at White Rock Lake or Lake Ray Hubbard on a Friday night getting wasted. Head East was a nice touch. Every time I listen to that soundtrack I remember things I have not thought about in 25 years. The man that portrayed Pickford's dad was dead on. Accent, demeanor along with the big caddy and the tennis playing wife in the mini-skirt and puffed up hair.
Some of the reviewers mentioned they did not think it was too realistic showing/mixing a lot of sexual activity among the freshman girls. That is another point I must dispute. Maybe at their school in their town of 500 or their strict upbringing but at our junior high and high school the freshman and younger girls were pretty wild. I mean really "wild"! This is coming from someone who "lost it" at 12. So insinuating things about a 15 or 16 year old freshman is pretty tame. 15 and 16 year old's were the "world travelers" to us 13 or 14 year old guys.
There is something about this movie that pulls me back over and over again. It's hard to describe. I'm not sure what it is. Am I a Wooderson that enjoys reminiscing? Am I someone that prefers simpler times? Am I someone that is so sick of PC people that a movie like D&C is like a breath of fresh air? Was there something magical in the air back in 1976? The country was celebrating 200 years of freedom. Now within the last 30 years it seems that most of those freedoms have been slowly whittled away with and all that is left is a former shell of the old. Especially after 2001.
The best scene? To me it's a toss-up between the opening "Sweet Emotion" GTO in the school parking lot and the Emporium scene with "Hurricane" playing in the background while (The Past) Wooderson, (The Present) Pink and (The Future) Mitch walk into the Emporium while the camera films every little nuance in slow motion. The cockiness of Woods, the mellow Pink and the innocence of Mitch. Put that scene on slow motion and study their faces and the reaction shots of their peer's faces as they acknowledge their presence.
Your own personal time machine if only for an hour and a half. Slip the DVD in, turn the lights down low, take a couple good strong hits and wash them down with a few Tallboys. Use your imagination and for the briefest of time you are back in 1976. I wish they made more movies like this instead of the sugar coated pablum coming out of Hollywood nowadays.
Howard Hughes died, Robin Trower-Bridge of Sighs, Jeff Beck, Kawasaki Z1, Kawasaki 750 triple 2-stroke, 45 cents a gallon gas, 104 octane gas, Frampton Comes Alive, Bad Company - Shooting Star, Elvin Bishop - Fooled Around and Fell In Love, Jimmy Carter, Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry, 1969 Dodge Charger 440, 2 Lane Blacktop, 3 finger lids, windowpane, Diamond Dogs, J. Geils, Midnight Special, Wings Over America tour, Bad Company - Movin' On, Mott The Hoople - All The Young Dudes, SD 455 with the Big Bird on the hood, Marshall Tucker Band - Heard It In A Love Song, Emerson, Lake and Palmer - Brain Salad Surgery, Edelbrock Tunnel Ram with Holley Double Pumpers, getting high at dusk while listening to Pink Floyd's "Time" and looking at the Dallas skyscraper skyline against the setting sun.
If you do then Dazed and Confused is right up your alley. If you don't then still watch it, the characters in D&C cover all generations, just the cars and clothing have changed.
There are spoilers in this review...
What a great, great movie. If you want to know what being in High School in the mid 70's was like, rent this film. I grew up in the metro Manhattan area. We didn't have the freshman hazing, and few of us could afford the cars (although we sure knew about them and lusted after them), but the rest of this movie is so dead on about my experience of High School in the 70's that it's scary. Every character in the film corresponds with someone that I knew during that time. Yes, there was a lot of pot smoking, yes, obtaining beer was quite easy for underage kids...I used to buy it in bars when I was 16. We made pipes in shop class. We hung out and had parties at night, drove the streets drinking beers and smoking joints listening to the same music. There were no youth centers though. The girls that I knew were as beautiful, and also struggled to get into their jeans. They used pliers too, but they also put them on while they were wet to further get that skintight look. There was no HIV virus to worry about, Herpes was not a big thing then, the biggest worry was getting pregnant. Everyone was having sex... All of these facts also were no big deal. Most of my peers grew up just fine, and now are upstanding pillars of the community. Many today would like you to believe that this is an example of the road to ruin. It was an incredible great time. The film has interesting character development, with the same types I remember. Philosophers, heads (now called stoners), bullies and waifs. This is my American Graffiti and it is perfect. Waxing nostalgic? Perhaps, but anyone that didn't live through that time will sill love the dialog in this film, as it deals with the universal experience of that point in one's life. This is high school in the 70's. Check it out.
"Dazed and Confused", which takes place during the 70s, was one of the
best movies of the 90s. It really is phenomenal how much talent was in
this ensemble; if you want to see Adam Goldberg, Matthew Mcconaughey,
Milla Jovovich, Joey Lauren Adams, Parker Posey, or an almost
completely unrecognizable Ben Affleck (playing the sort of role he
would almost never play again, an a**hole) before they were stars, look
no further. And of course this was an early movie for director Richard
Linklater, who had made the relatively unknown "Slackers" previously
and who would go on to make "School of Rock", which was almost as good
as "Dazed and Confused".
Taking place on the last day of school in a small suburban town, "Dazed and Confused" is a brilliant ensemble piece rivaling anything done by Robert Altman that covers the broadest spectrum of teenagers imaginable. We see the nerds, the potheads, the jocks, and the cheerleaders, as well as the incoming freshmen, as they celebrate the beginning of summer. Some celebrate less than others, of course; freshman hazing is a big part of the movie, both male and female. The dialogue is fresh and unexpected; lines about George Washington's proclivity for marijuana, why you just gotta love high school girls ("I get older, they stay the same age", as McConaughey's character says), and the herd mentality when a fight breaks out demonstrate how all-over-the-map the dialogue can be, and it's always affecting and usually quite funny.
Of course, it's the acting and the characters that really steal the movie, and it really is amazing how many people in this movie went on to bigger things. As I said before, Affleck was the most surprising, but Mcconaughey had the most memorable role as an older dude who can't seem to let go of his youth, a slick slimeball who chases after under-age jail bait. And he has never been funnier or better than he was in this. Eventually, his character will wake up and the kids aren't going to want to hang out with him and the girls aren't going to want to sleep with him anymore, and he's going to have a rude awakening. But for the time being, he's all macho cool swagger, and Mcconaughey pulled off the part perfectly. Parker Posey is also excellent, playing a senior bitch (but only because she's "supposed" to be) unleashing a humiliating hazing on the incoming freshman girls.
You have to give props to the writing. It's not a long movie, but it covers so much ground that it feels big. At one point, a character says that the 70s obviously suck. That may have been, but it's never looked cooler than it did in "Dazed and Confused". And the soundtrack must be mentioned too. The 70s was a decade full of musical highs and lows, and thankfully the soundtrack highlights the highs while ignoring the lows, and we have songs by Aerosmith, ZZ Top, Dr. John, War, and other seminal 70s rock figures (curiously missing: "Dazed and Confused" by Led Zeppelin, but that's forgivable). Brilliant; there's not a single clunker, and it adds to the free, easygoing atmosphere of the movie. "Dazed and Confused" is quite possibly the best "teen movie" ever made, and, from the point of view of someone who grew up in the 80s anyway, the best movie about the 70s ever made.
Dazed and Confused (1993)
Cast: Jason London, Rory Cochrane, Sasha Jenson, Wiley Wiggins, Michelle Burke, Matthew McConaughey, Adam Goldberg, Anthony Rapp, Marissa Ribisi, Shawn Andrews, Cole Hauser, Milla Jovovich, Joey Lauren Adams, Jason O. Smith, Ben Affleck, Christin Hinjosa, Parker Posey, Nicky Katt.
Directed by Richard Linklater.
"Dazed and Confused" is one of the best teen films ever made, and for many reasons. It stands the test of it's time, along with George Lucas' "American Graffiti" and John Landis' "Animal House". It shows the highs and lows of partying, friendship, and drugs. The plot is about upcoming seniors and freshmen in a Texas town on the full last day of School in 1976. The characters are very likable in this, well, at least most of them. Richard Linklater gives a great independent direction. This isn't a film that encourages kids to do drugs, but it shows a true portrayal of teenagers in a America, in a very fun way. "Dazed and Confused" is one of my all-time favorite films, and one that I can watch over and over again. Well done.
This became my all-time favorite comedy the first time I saw it. I was a small child in the 70's, but I do remember that era somewhat, and the characters in this movie reminded me so much of my teen-aged neighbors. The music is right on-one of the best soundtracks I have ever heard, a must-have for any 70's classic rock fans (in fact, it is so comprehensive, there are two volumes). Superb performances by Jason London, Sasha Jenson, Rory Cochrane, Milla Jovovich, Adam Goldberg, Parker Posey and Matthew McConaughey highlight this film, but the rest of the cast is just as great. It is no wonder that a majority of them went on to become major stars-everyone shines with this hysterically funny and nostalgic script written and directed by the amazing Richard Linklater. The movie flows beautifully, every scene is funny, and the chemistry of the characters is just amazing. Party at the moon tower!
"Dazed and Confused" details the last day of high school for the
typical youths of America in 1976. Shot in and around Austin, Texas,
the film failed at the box office in 1993-94, but has gone on to
achieve a well-deserved cult status. I never even heard of the film
until this year when I saw most of it on TV and promptly decided to
pick it up the DVD when I got the chance.
To my mind, "Dazed and Confused" is one of the best high school comedy-dramas, along with 1982's "Fast Times at Ridgemont High." The difference between these two films is that "Fast Times" contains more goofy antics whereas "Dazed" is more of a docudrama with amusing flashes. In other words, although "Fast Times is generally realistic, excepting the over-the-top parts with Spicoli, "Dazed and Confused" is more like a slice from real life.
What makes "Dazed" work so well is that it gets the LOOK of the mid-to-late 70s just right, particularly the hair & clothing styles. Secondly, the actors pull off the material expertly. In fact, a large part of the film's success is the excellent casting choices. Both are no easy feat. Speaking of the actors, you get a few up-and-comers here: Matthew McConaughey, Milla Jovovich, Ben Affleck and one or two of lesser note (as far as future popularity goes).
All the standard school archetypes are here: the jock who parties on the side, the bullies, the hot sister and her little long-haired brother, the black dude, the hot (feminist) teacher, the streetfighter, the cool guys, the geekier crowd, the babes, the guy who graduated years ago but still hangs around, the mentors & mentees, etc.
And then you have the standard school experiences like parties at friend's houses, keg parties, fleeing bullies, dealing with coaches & teachers, flirting, the possibility of sex, hanging out, meaningless conversations, fights, smoking pot at school or in your friend's bedroom, etc.
Like "Fast Times," "Dazed and Confused" is a joy to watch -- whatever your age -- because it successfully takes you back to the high school years with all its joys & agonies.
Some don't like it because it's more of a slice-of-life film than a plot-driven, contrived story. The plot here is simple: It's the last day of school and the youths want to celebrate. If they can't party at their friend's house (because the dad catches wind of their plans) they'll have a party at the park or wherever, but they WILL party. The rest of the film involves their interactions within this context.
I've heard some complain that the film conveys a terrible message. What message? There is no message. The message is that school's out and it's time to celebrate! Besides, there are a few positive points that can be mined from the proceedings: the arrogant bully gets what's coming, make a stand and fight when you have to (even if you get beat up), ultra-tight pants must be put on with pliers & the help of a friend, be true to yourself, etc. But -- really -- this isn't a movie to look for deep messages, its simple purpose is to take you back to the school years -- in this case, 1976 -- and all the fun & painful experiences thereof.
No review of "Dazed and Confused" would be complete without noting the excellent soundtrack. You get some great rock/metal of the 70s like "Sweet Emotion," "School's Out," "Stranglehold," "Do You Feel Like We Do," "Love Hurts," "Paranoid," "Rock & Roll Hootchie Coo," "Rock & Roll All Nite," "Slow Ride," "Cherry Bomb," "Tuesday's Gone" and many more.
This has to be one of the best teenager, high school flicks which tops most of the many other films i have viewed. It depicts male and female struggles with all the temptations that face youth and will continue for generations to come. (maybe even worse). The beginning of the film cautions the public that drug use is going to be viewed and it sure is clearly displayed through out the entire picture. Beer drinking is being digested like it is water on tap and bottoms up appears in more ways than in bottles. The classic act is destroying mail boxes and also a bowling ball being thrown into the back window of a car. One of the teenagers talks himself into getting a six pack of beer from a liquor store like it was taking candy from a baby. Lots of hot looking gals in tight pants being zipped up with pliers in order to get their nice forms skin tight. Very entertaining film and extremely realistic and down to earth. All the actors gave outstanding performances. Enjoy
Dazed and Confused is a lot like the time in which it takes place. The
film doesn't have much of note to say, but you get the sense that it
has a good time just being there. By 1976, Vietnam was in the rear-view
mirror, as were much of the struggles of the previous decades. It was
almost like people were sick and tired of caring about things and just
wanted to get wasted. Notice how nobody seemed to care when their
teacher was trying to tell them about the 1968 Democratic Convention or
our "aristocratic" forefathers. There is a certain innocence about the
period that our up-tight and violent world of today could use right
Our film shows us the trials and tribulations of kids just looking to get high, drunk, or just save their butts from being paddled on the last day of school. Not much of note happens in this film. We just see kids doing what kids are still doing. They are all just out to have a good time. There are plenty of familiar faces in this cast, but nobody really outshines anyone else. The film is paced in a manner that doesn't let us get to know too much about the characters. We spend a minute or two with one group of friends, then we see what another group is up to. The most memorable scenes in the film are more painful than funny. We see next year's freshman class (girls and guys) get pummeled by the seniors. We see the destruction of property. We see a fight or two break out. Plenty of beer and pot are consumed by all. And there really isn't much else to it.
Linklater films the action from a completely neutral vantage point. There is nothing at all pretentious or preachy about any of the subject matter. We see some cool cars, tight jeans, long hair, and just about anything you would associate with this time frame. The film lacks the humor of Porky's or The Hollywood Knights. It also lacks the tragic desperation of The Last Picture Show. That said, this film is still worth taking a look at. Especially if you were in high school at the time. I was just a toddler in 1976, but I could still relate to these characters, and their need to party.
7 of 10 stars.
Intelligent comedy-drama about the last days of a bunch of high school seniors having a big bash in 1976. Excellent film all around with a well written script by director Linklater and a superb cast that features McConaghey, plus one of the finest compilations of classic rock ever.
I can see the appeal of this movie. It is very much an "American
Graffiti" for the '70s. If you look just a little you can find many of
the same caricatures used by Lucas. DC is viewed by the youth of today
much as we viewed AG in our day.
Contrary to many of the other reviewers I saw little humor in the hazing and the wide-spread drinking and smoking weed. That is not to say that there were not funny moments and lines, because there were quite a few; Slater's "knowledge" of history particularly hilarious. Who knew that Martha Washington grew weed - apparently by the bushel!
I also found it interesting the number of reviewers that have watched this movie and assert that this "exactly" their experience during the '70s. Mine was far from it. Growing up in a small N. California town (not far from AG's inspiration - Modesto) much of what was depicted did not occur or at least not to the extreme shown. Parents cared what time their children came home, what they'd been up to and if they'd been drinking/smoking. That is not to say that there wasn't any drinking/smoking - it was just on lower level and not nearly as wide-spread as depicted.
And many of the "pranks" shown in the movie occurred but were easily remedied in the real world. My father's mail box was hit only once. It's concrete-filled replacement collected broken bats for years afterward. And our equivalent of paddling was promptly discontinued when a freshman stabbed his assaulting senior with a knife. Problem solved.
But this is the way with movies. A narrow reality is shown often with few if any consequences for actions. Those not having lived in the time view it and get nostalgic over what they "missed out on." In reality the only thing they missed out on was a figment of someone's imagination.
One thing particularly note worthy of this movie is the quality of acting. I don't think that there was a bad performance in the lot. Perhaps some could have been better but none were bad. And others have noted, the music selections were great. Now there is a reality that is sorely missed today - the great wealth of artistic talent that was the '70s. The youth of today have no idea what a vast waste land of music they're living through; it's a veritable desert compared to the '70s.
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