It's the last day of school at a high school in a small town in Texas in 1976. The upperclassmen are hazing the incoming freshmen, and everyone is trying to get stoned, drunk, or laid, even the football players that signed a pledge not to.Written by
Jon Reeves <email@example.com>
Not what you might expect from a movie like this, but Dazed and Confused does deliver on many levels. Taking the setup from the classic American Graffiti and switching the setting to post-Vietnam in 1976, this is a coming-of-age story about a group of teenagers that for the most part represents what the entire young generation of that time was feeling and going through. The film covers one last day of school filled with many happenings including, hazing freshmen, playing mailbox baseball and getting shot at, as well as drinking lots of beer and smoking lots of marijuana. Writer and director Richard Linklater seems to have a good grip on the material and handles it with real sincerity and even sympathy towards some of the characters. The ensemble cast is well-cast and deliver the good dialog with a great sense of realism. Headlining it are a young Ben Affleck as a crazed senior determined to make the freshmen's summer miserable, Milla Jovovich who I don't think utters more than five lines in the whole movie, and Matthew McConaughey as an older guy who still hangs out with the high schoolers but is so cool and organizes the get-togethers.
This movie is very funny in some parts, but it is also very deep. It doesn't achieve classical status like American Graffiti or The Breakfast Club, but it is a strong and realistic portrayal that speaks to all people at that age where life is either far ahead or right around the corner. Indeed, there are many scenes with some "brainiacs" talking about President Ford and his political beliefs, then switching to deciding whether or not to go to a party. Also, I credit Linklater for not pulling an American Pie and becoming exceptionally crude and vulgar with this material. Yes, many teens do talk like this but not all teens rip off their clothes and have wild sex with each other.
All in all, a very good movie that gives a real sense of what it was like to live in the 1970s, and what it's like to be young in this country.
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