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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.
I am wondering about all the other reviews that say this is exactly like real life in the 70's. I found this movie to be very unlike real life in 1976, to a severe extent. I graduated high school in 1973 so it should be almost exactly my time but there are many things wrong here. The movie has stoners wearing polyester print shirts which were actually the costumes of the disco set. In real life they would all be wearing blue denim jackets with DISCO SU**S buttons on them, and never disco clothes themselves. The movie has them smoking bongs in a convertible in plain view of cops, something never done in the 70's when people still went to jail for 2 joints and always smoked dope where the cops couldn't see us. It shows stoners always getting into fights. Not like real life, only greasers and jocks got into fights, stoners were too stoned to fight at all. They never talk about music in this movie, the most you hear about music in this movie is the one guy who talks about getting Aerosmith tickets, but in real life, all us stoners talked about was music. That was like 80% of our conversation. Jethro Tull, Deep Purple, Captain Beyond. I think most of the people in this movie were the lower intelligence set, the smart stoners didn't knock over garbage cans or go around paddling people in the posterior with wood paddles. It never happened. In real life, the football players were dumb jocks with short hair, big muscles, dated the dumb straight cheerleaders who made money at the bake sale to buy uniforms. Jocks were straight and never smoked dope or even cigarettes. They were scared of the stoners because they didn't have any idea what we were doing. Once in a while a stoner got on the football team but never fit in with the jocks, and when the stoners found out he was on the team we thought he was maybe a jock-hippie which was a rare thing. But this movie has skinny little hippies playing football!! Never happened, ever. And it shows hippies with late-60's Camaros with 454 engines in them and Dodge Chargers with a 440 and a 6-pack. Bzzzzzt!! Those were the greasers! Hippies drove beat up Volkswagens and Chevy Novas with 6 cylinders. This movie is not realistic at all. I think this movie is ABOUT the 70's but it lampoons them, and it seems the people who made the movie were not really there.
I was born in 1975 so I sort of understand that people like this film
as a travel back in time, but as a story, it sucks. The fact is: there
is no story. None whatsoever. Apart from the beating of the
freshmen(which I've never experienced), I've been to better and more
interesting parties than the one in this film, and I've never thought
that those parties where film material. Style over substance all the
way. The best thing about is the music, but I find it hard to believe
that in 1976, they only played songs that were later to become
classics. I guess they also played songs that were forgotten as well.
And it is not a comedy.
A group of high school students reflect upon the past year and their future on the last day of school in 1976. Details the activities and interrelationships of several high school cliques. Uneven, with indifferent acting, script. None of the directorial style and sound track integration of American Graffiti. (Rating: B)
On the few occasions when I bash the snot out of a movie, I usually try
to have fun with it. I won't even bother this time. So get set for a
review as brutal, dry and miserable as the movie we're talking about.
Contrary to everything they tell you, "Dazed & Confused" isn't a comedy. At least I sincerely hope not. The only people who could possibly find humor in the disturbing paedophiliac rape scenes which compose much of this movie's vapid "plot" are probably the same people who laugh at images of prisoner abuse at Abu Gharib. Let me describe one of these "funny" scenes. A high school freshman, played by an actor who looks like he's 12, flees in mortal terror from 6 ham-faced seniors, played by actors who look like they're 28 and on steroids. They catch him. Hootin' and hollerin' they bend him over the hood of a car doggy style. The camera angle gives us a close up of the kid's contorted face grimacing while, from behind in slow motion, the ham-faces howl and laugh as they violate the prepubescent kid in the posterior with a paddle. If you were too dense to miss the rape symbolism, at one point they tell the kid to squeal like a pig, bringing to mind Ned Beatty's somewhat uncomfortable anal experience in "Deliverance". Gee, funny stuff. In the 1st hour the same scene is repeated two more times with two more kids. At one point a car of girls pulls up and one girl shouts "hey, take it easy on the kid" to which ham-face #5 cockily opens up the trunk of his car to reveal 200 beers, to which the girls suddenly start oohing and begging like trained seals. Are you laughing? I wasn't, nor was my date, nor was the entire theater. Good thing because I probably would've punched anyone who was.
The sick feeling I got when watching "Dazed & Confused" was a lot like the sick feeling I got when watching Stanley Kubrick's "A Clockwork Orange", except that Clockwork is a powerful, intentionally unsettling film with a purpose while D&C is just a mess. Clockwork was a brilliant dark satire of society--we're never supposed to believe or even expect that the story would ever be remotely true because it's so nightmarish.
To those reviewers who are raving about how "spot on" this movie is, I don't know what Archie comic book world you crawled out of, but it certainly wasn't mine. In what alternate universe does every 17-year-old high school senior own a Pontiac GTO (which cost $4500 in 1976, roughly $8000 by today's standards), have the cash to buy 200 beers and 6 kegs, have no job other than hootin', hollerin' and smashing windows and basically walking around stoned & drunk 24 hours a day? While, yes, these things were known to happen in the 70s, it was only about as frequent as you'd expect today, generally describing the 0.05% bored rich kids whose mommies & daddies were buying them cars while the rest of us were schlepping around in our rusty Dodge Darts because that's all our part-time jobs would cover (minimum wage: $2.35/hr in 1976).
It quickly becomes obvious that this movie wasn't trying to give us an accurate portrayal of the 70s so much as it was a series of gratuitous 70s clichés. Aging baby boomers could feel like their existence was validated while younger Gen-Xers could feel like they're getting a cultural education. Wrong on both counts. What "Dazed & Confused" amounts to is simply a bunch of idealized nostalgia, the same way the 50's was idealized by the creators of "Happy Days". At least Happy Days was funny & entertaining, so we accept it. But "Dazed & Confused" failed because it took itself too seriously and had an inherently bland script, leaving with us with nothing but phony, contrived situations to entertain us. Contrast this against "Napoleon Dynamite" which was similarly set in a high school 20 years in the past but featured not only a funny self-deprecating approach but a memorable script full of great one-liners. In the case of "Napoleon", we accept the nostalgia because it's such a great satire of itself.
Now let's talk about the soundtrack of "Dazed & Confused". Think of every classic rock cliché that's been played so many times on the radio that even die-hard classic rock fans would switch the station. Now string these songs together almost randomly, with no significance to the story (as if trying to compensate for lack of cinematic content with crowd pleasing candy rock), and there's your wonderful soundtrack. Does anyone on the planet actually like the song "Rock & Roll Hootchie Koo" anyway?
The 70s offered so many better songs (which we actually did listen to back then). It is particularly irritating that the movie would take its title from the great atmospheric Zeppelin song "Dazed & Confused" while not acknowledging it once in the film. Not mainstream enough, I guess.
If you want a cool, nostalgic 70s trip with poignant music (not just the regurgitated radio crap), check out the films of Gabrielle Salvatores with obscure yet awesome songs like Deep Purple "Child in Time" or the movie Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas with Jefferson Airplane's incomparable "White Rabbit" or for you serious 70s rock fans, the movie "Buffalo 66" with great songs by bands like Yes & King Crimson. Leave this "I Love the 70s" radio-happy-rubbish to the posers who think this was what life was like back then.
As a comedy, this movie fails. As a drama, it's just plain disturbing. As a rock & roll movie it's annoying as hell. Watch a documentary about paedophiles in prison for more entertainment value than "Dazed & Confused". And for the love of Pete, if anyone tries to tell you this is a cult classic, please belt them in the chops for me.
What's the matter with you people? Why do you praise that film so much ? Personally , I like living situations ,like the characters of the movie lived, VERY MUCH, BUT I certainly hate sitting on the sofa watching others living them. Many imdb users wrote the this movie doesn't have a plot , but who cares ? I CARE ! You see ,watching a plotless film is like watching a film in which all you see is a farmer milking a cow, the only difference here is like the character of that film (the farmer) has less fun than the characters of Dazed and Confused. Many others wrote that `if this film doesn't touch you , it means that you have never had fun like that and bla,bla,bla..' I believe it's exactly the opposite,and I suggest you to go live you lives and have fun, instead of watching the others having it ,and just paralleling yourselves with them. When I see a movie , I need something to really happen . And if you think that the director of this movie did well describing the teenage life of the 70s , you should really see what Larry Clark did describing the teenage life of the 90s ,far more realistic but somehow plotless too. Finally, like Pink said in the movie `If this is the best time of my life, remind me to kill myself ` . 6 out of 10 mostly for the good music(for those who care).
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Back in '76 I was only two years old, so I can't really say that I can
relate to the decade which this movie was based on, although in my time
just like the 70's there were drugs, a cruising culture and friends
which this movie so highly portrays.
What really adds to this movie is a killer soundtrack, although I would of enjoyed hearing Led Zeppelin and AC/DC during the movie who I think really connected with the youth back in the 70's.
As for the cast - similar to American Graffiti that featured so many stars before they were famous. Superb acting by a group of youngsters at the time.
Every character in this movie was unique - O'Bannion the school bully, Slater the hippie who was always high, Mitch Kramer the innocent young kid who was just starting in the adult world, Mike and Tony the nerds, Wooderson the guy who would always hang with school students no matter how old he was and Randall who I can relate to the most - the kid who is running with a poor crowd, but had potential to go places if he just applied himself a little more, but had serious issues towards his peers.
But what really stands out in this movie is the concept of high school initiation which can be brutal, but a sympathetic understanding by allowing those students who were punished to attend the party in the end. This is what the movie is highly based on along with the drinking and drug culture that every generation has to deal with.
I think the must crucial point in the movie is towards the end when Randall Floyd is confronted by his coach in the early hours of the morning after a night of partying. Will Randall leave his drop kick friends and apply himself giving in to his coaches demands or remain a rebel? A decision we all have to make.
I think there is a little Dazed and Confused in all of us!!!
My mother gave me this movie on DVD as a present, since I love stoner comedies. This had potential, it had an all-star cast, a reputable director, and a catchy title. The first twelve minutes were promising, high school is almost over and the story seemed to be going in a positive direction. After those precious twelve minutes, this movie went completely downhill. There was no plot whatsoever, zero conflict, and undeveloped characters, things you do not want in a classic film. I was disappointed and I had never been so bored in my life watching a "comedy" that felt like an eternity to finish. There is only ONE funny scene worth watching and that's the part where the hippie talks about George Washington smoking weed. Other than that, I cannot believe this project got made in the first place. It doesn't even count as a real movie, but I digress! If you want to watch an overrated movie that is boring and has no redeeming qualities to it, then this is the movie for you. I'm glad I shared my opinion and by the way, I sold the DVD after watching this piece of garbage for the third time.
To Author: jscott7432 from United States a teenager who said that "The
70's just seemed like they were amazing to live in like how so many
kids were cool with smoking pot, cigarettes, drinking, etc. today that
is not the case".
I grew up then and the movie is just a magnifying glass on a cut in time. In fact many that lived it have overemphasized it. The pot smokers, known as pot heads at my school, usually failed out of classes, school etc. They were considered low life's and failures. We did have a smoking court. Big deal. Those same students today, who I know are battling lung cancer due to the strength of cigarettes back then. Drinking was around, beer mostly, but not the way they show it. Probably less than there is today. Mostly after football games, etc.
And sadly so were DUI deaths and injuries. A HS friend of mine was permanently scarred when her head went through the windshield of the car when her then drunk boyfriend hit a tree.
Remember there were no airbags back then. No cell phones so emergency help took longer to get there. Others died in what today would be a minor accident.
It was not cool.
Never envy a previous generation. There was good and bad just like today. It was right after the end of the Vietnam era so many of my friends had older brothers or uncles who who never came back.
Getting grounded stunk. No TV and there were no video games, cell phones,Internet or anything else to entertain you so you read a book or hung out with the parents while they watch TV and there were only like 5 channels (ABC, NBC, CBS and a few on UHF) the upside? No school police, no guns in school, everyone actually went to college (except the potheads).
This film portrays my high school generation, and while it gets some
dead on, (the clothing, the hair, the obsession with pot,) it is
obvious the film-makers are catering to a generation far removed from the
Texas high school experience of 1976.
The music is fantastic, but it should have been used to better underscore the differences between what, in reality, was highly segregated groups. (See "10 Things I Hate About You" to see it done effectively.) "Rock music" had yet to become the homogenized sound of today, and every kid was identified intimately with their chosen flavor. The drifting apart of childhood friendships were actually affected by a change in ones musical tastes. While some of us easily moved from one group to the next, it wasn't common. In our world, Aerosmith folks wouldn't have rubbed elbows with the Kiss army if they could help it, and Frampton fans would have been foolish to make their preferences too loudly known. Missing is "The Eagles" and the ignoring of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" is incomprehensible, especially as Jason London's character was nicknamed Randall 'Pink' Floyd in the film.
At times the characters bear an uncanny resemblance to reality, making it easy to mentally identify them with their real-life counterparts of so long ago. The accents are missing (except by Matthew McConaughey, of course) and the frequent use of "the F word" blows it for me every time. The eagerness to use that word in common conversation is not from my generation, as it was generally used for shock effect, and then, rarely in mixed company.
I suppose if I hadn't lived through those times, I'd see this film differently, but as it stands, "Dazed and Confused" only serves to remind me that the times have changed, and in some ways, not for the better.
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