Follows tour guide, historian and flâneur Timothy 'Speed' Levitch as he visits the monumentally ignored monuments of America's cities, from the shoe gardens of San Francisco to the luckiest subway grate in New York City.
Timothy 'Speed' Levitch,
John C. McDonnell,
Five young losers spend their days and nights wasting their lives away, hanging out in parking lots and occasionally mentioning that they might want to make something of themselves... someday. On this particular night, they are visited by an old high school friend who has escaped their suburban town to become a pop star. Written by
Andy Bogursky <email@example.com>
Linklater is treading in some of his familiar water ... one night in the night of a group of adolescents dealing with that difficult period at the end of high school, when one stops being what one must be and starts being what one chooses to be.
This film is not "Dazed and Confused", however, except that the two films share a spot-on accurate portrayal of familiar American characters. This movie is darker, preachier, deeper.
This time, instead of the rituals of the last night of high school, the film centers around the return of a former crony who has made it really big as a rock star. He's their friend, and the nicest guy in the world - just a former geek who struck it big and realizes how lucky he is - nobody could hate him.
And yet some do. Some hate him because he is a winner in the roll of the dice, and several of the gang are on their way toward becoming losers, and they know it. Their life consists of hanging around outside a convenience store.
For all its concern with the accuracy of its portrayals, the film has a curiously innocent denouement. The most simple and naive members of the group end up heading off to look for their dreams, and the cynical and jaded can see that their lives will repeat infinitely in their home town. In a sense, the succcess of the gentle stoned guy injects an almost impossible hopefulness in an otherwise despairing ending. As Graham Greene once wrote, baseless optimism is so much more appalling than despair.
Still, that was the choice of the filmmaker, and it wasn't an unfair one. Sometimes things do work out like that in real life, and this movie is all too close to real life. So close it can make you feel uncomfortable when you see yourself reflected in one character or another.
This and "Dazed" establish Linklater as an outstanding filmmaker with an uncanny eye for real situations and characters. One hopes he will soon realize his great potential with something better than The Newton Boys
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