Dazed and Confused (1993) Poster

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a breeding ground for talent
the-jerk7 May 2005
"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.
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The last day of school in 1976
Wuchakk24 July 2011
"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.

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I was there, it was awesome
mrsastor29 February 2008
I must concur with the other reviewers who have commented on the eerie accuracy of this film. I too attended high school in Texas in the 1970's, and this film is so flawless in recreating this time and place it lends the impression you were being documented without your knowledge. If you are of an age and background that permits you to relate to Dazed & Confused on this level, it will give you an unusual affinity for the film. This is exactly how we dressed and wore our hair, those are the cars we drove, the music we loved, that looks exactly like my high school (with only slight variations in paint colors), those seemed to be my teachers, and all of these people were the people I knew then. There is no question but that the author of this piece had to have been one of us.

As someone who was there, I hope I can clear up or offer some insight into a few of the points people have raised about the film. The drug use; well, it was the 70's. In my high school, really hardcore drugs such as heroin were virtually unknown, we talked about it but never saw it, but both marijuana and LSD were as common and available as sand in your shoes. My generation had a very permissive attitude toward these substances. My own clique would never have had the brass ones required to actually partake on campus, as getting caught would not have meant a detention but a trip to jail; on the other hand it was not infrequent to find us stoned in class. But we did leave campus to blow a joint, absolutely, (usually in either the home of one of us who lived nearby or a van that belonged to another of our group, parking at the shopping center down the street). In D&C we see Slater and some of his friends smoking weed right in the schoolyard, that didn't happen in my school. There wasn't a single teacher at my high school who would not have immediately recognized the odor of marijuana and sought out the source. With the clarity of thirty years hindsight, I remain of the opinion that we frankly had a healthier attitude on this subject than do so-called role models of today. Bad drug problems are bad drug problems, but the recreational use of marijuana is substantially less detrimental than either alcohol or tobacco, which both get a free pass because they're legal. Marijuana also failed to serve as a "gateway" drug in our clique, none of us were led by it into harsher substances. I'm glad I'm not in high school today.

One point of particular discussion I have noticed here on D&C's IMDb page is the movie's rather brutal depiction of hazing, "busting the freshmen". Several have reported that this did not occur at their school. You were lucky, and be glad of it. I attended high school in Dallas in the 1970's and this absolutely was a part of our life. I, like all girls, was spared the brutal whippings that Mitch and his friends have inflicted upon them by the seniors, but it absolutely happened to incoming freshmen boys and was generally sanctioned, or at least overlooked, by the adults in charge. For the record, YES IT IS ASSUALT AND BATTERY. Dang! What else do you call violently beating someone with a board until they cry? Battery, plain and simple. Outrageous, mean spirited and cruel, and frankly the homoerotic ass-fixated nature of this hazing paints a far more unflattering psychological portrait of those dealing out the punishment than of those receiving it. As girls we were at least not physically assaulted, but we did undergo some nasty initiation rituals, but usually only those of us trying to get into an organized club, not just all of us en masse simply because of our age (this is also depicted quite accurately in the film, what those poor girls endure from that bitch to get on the cheerleading squad, God love 'em). And it is likewise plainly obvious in the film just as it was in real life, the senior boys learned this bizarre monkey-like behavior from those bastions of simian progress, their "coaches", roles universally filled by academic failures who represent the Wooderson's of the future.

As disturbing as the hazing is, it belongs in the film because it was there, it was real, it was a part of our lives in that time and place, and I felt a delicious satisfaction when that one kid's mom met O'Bannion at the front porch cocking a shotgun. "I don't think so, creep!" You go girl! As both Mitch and Sabrina deal with the initiation rituals in a manner that is respected by their older peers and grants them access to the cool clique, it is too intrinsic to the storyline to be removed or whitewashed. I might add this is the only movie I have ever seen that captures this.

In summation, this is a movie directed at a rather specific audience. My friends who are of dramatically different age or grew up in a different part of the country do not generally relate to this movie nor enjoy it on the same level, although they often find it entertaining. But if you, like the filmmaker, were a Texas high school student in those amazingly permissive 1970's, and didn't particularly hate your life at the time, I think you'll absolutely love it. Highly recommended.
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It's deep, man!
bobsgrock8 October 2008
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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Guess this one wasn't for me
bowmanblue29 January 2015
Sometimes I write reviews and I can see people reading them, cursing my words and saying that I don't know what I'm on about. I'm well aware at how well Dazed and Confused was received, getting 5/5 ratings from the majority of viewers. I guess that means I just missed something about it and it didn't work for me.

It's about the last day of school in an American High School, back in 1976. The older students are looking forward to generally beating up the younger kids (as is tradition... apparently - all I can say is that this didn't happen to me at school in Britain during the eighties and nineties and I'm glad it didn't!).

I found most of the characters either unlikeable or boring. I found it hard to root for someone who enjoys bullying people smaller than them (which is most of the older kids), just as I found it harder to identify with the younger ones who just sort of spent most of the film running away or waiting to take a hiding. Plus there's no real story. What you have here is a collection of scenes with numerous different characters all doing their own things on the last day of school. There's also too many characters. Many don't really have much impact and aren't really fleshed out enough to be believed in. I think it would have benefited with a smaller cast. Although, the cast is pretty impressive - maybe not when this movie was made, but, in retrospect, there are a fair few Hollywood A-listers all here in the younger (pre-fame) days.

However, as much as I didn't really like it, I had to give it credit for getting the 'look' of the period right on. It really could have been filmed in the seventies for the way it was presented. Plus the soundtrack was right up my street. For once a film set in the seventies didn't have a single Abba track involved and there was far more use of some 'classic rock anthems' such as Alice Cooper (hooray!).

I didn't hate it, I just didn't like it as much as everyone else apparently did.
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Almost a Documentary...
goodwynn191914 July 2005
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.
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A postcard from the 70s.
TOMASBBloodhound18 July 2005
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 now.

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.

The Hound.
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Better Than Stoner Teen Comedies Today.
Matt_Layden20 July 2009
When I entered grade 9, I never really got an initiation. Sure the older kids asked me if I was a minor niner, but I said I was in grade 10. They never paddled my ass, drew a penis on my face or made me push a penny on the bus floor with my nose. I got through grade 9 with ease. I also never grew up in the 70's so I thought I might miss the whole generation thing with Dazed and Confused. Even though it was made in the 90's.

Who would think that a film about high school kids beating up younger ones, getting drunk and high and partying all night would make a good film? Well, I did for one.

Dazed and Confused is not the first teen party film I've seen, but it is one of the best, so good that it transcends that genre. Can't Hardly Wait is suppose to be my generation party film, I think, but I feel more connected to Dazed and Confused then any other. Probably because Linklater is dedicated to his craft and isn't looking to cash in on a certain craze. I can honestly say this is his best film.

It boasts an young cast of early talent, like Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey, Adam Goldberg, Rory Cochrane, Milla Jovovich, and so on. I think it's great to see all of today's actors in a film like this, just having a good time.

The film has a great soundtrack that embodies that time era, as it should. Dazed and Confused is a film that I can enjoy no matter what mood I'm in. So many teen high school films these days are moronic and try way too hard to be funny to immature kids. This is a true high school film that has heart and doesn't need to stoop to that low level, even with it's content being so childish.

Sit back, relax and enjoy Dazed and Confused.
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A laugh a minute
Snoopymichele23 March 2005
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!
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Everything I Did When I was a Teenager
whpratt120 September 2005
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
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Don't understand the acclaim
Floated223 July 2019
Dazed and Confused has been praised for years and seen to have developed a strong cult following over the years. Finally getting around to see this film, can understand some of the appeal (it's nostalgic to those whom were in high school during the 1970's and such) but as a whole do not quite get what is so great about this movie.

Too many characters, most of them are unlikable and just not interesting. Matthew McConaughey is the highlight of the film and makes for an interesting character and elevates the film. The lead football player character was rather boring, the freshman guy got more annoying as the film went on. While the woman were stereotypical and didn't stand out too much, not very memorable.

Also virtually no story. Just about high schoolers enjoying their last day of high school and we see where it goes. Which is mostly predictable (party scenes, late night driving, the typical drinking and drugs)

As a comedy, didn't find it funny and as a drama was more so disturbing but bizarre. Other than that, found this film to be rather generic and not nearly as great as it had been praised.
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If you like "Fast Times at Ridgemont High", you'll like this film!
barrwell19 October 2010
Dazed and Confused has a lot in common with Fast Times at Ridgemont High; both movies contain a lot of future stars playing teenagers, both have lots of terrific Rock tunes on the soundtrack, and both derive laughs from their characters and situations and not through jokes, pratfalls and other typical Hollywood clichés. One difference between the two films is that Dazed and Confused is a period-piece, filmed in 1993 it takes place in 1976, and directer Richard Linklater does a marvelous job capturing the habits, the styles and the attitudes of the era. In that regard maybe this movie is more inspired by "American Graffiti" than Fast Times at Ridgemont. But it doesn't matter because to me D&C is the best of them all.

This movie seems to be as personal to Linklater as it is to me, and its not so much about plot or big scenes as it is about realism and the overall flow...and it flows beautifully. The movie follows a group of high school juniors and another group of 8th graders (next years seniors and freshmen)through the events surrounding the last day of school in Austin, Texas in 1976 (the whole film takes place in approximately 24 hours). We observe the hazing, the partying, some introspective banter and many familiar rituals as the characters prepare not just for the summer, but for the next school year and beyond. This was the same general time period I was in high school, so this movie had a special impact on me.

At this point I need to mention Wooderson (McConaughey,in his film debut), a key character, he's that 20-something dude that still hangs with the high school crowd. Did every town in America have a guy like this or what? Wood, Dawson, Slater, Pickford; these guys all remind me of guys I grew up with in my hometown.

The greatness of this film is that it rings so true...the way the "jocks" party with the "freaks" (or "grits' as they were also called where I grew up), the way they just aimlessly cruise around in muscle cars until they find out where the party's at, or the mailbox bashing (here it was beer bottles thrown at signs), or even the bottle cap flipping...we did that all the time! The only thing i didn't see was a bong. (besides the one Slater was making in shop class..HEY, we did that too!) Yeah thats right -joints are better for cruising anyway.

This is the kind of movie to rent on one of those Friday nights where you have to work early the next day. I first rented this movie on one of those very nights. Its a great Friday night movie and why not? No heavy handed plot, lots of partying and good music, and it makes you feel good. Speaking of the soundtrack...Linklater makes great use of period music; We get the gamut of 70s pop/rock including Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, ZZ Top, War, Dylan and even Black oak Arkansas (remember them?)....Jim dandy to the rescue! This movie really took me back.

Dazed and Confused is also a bit of a curio because of all the young actors (who were all unknown at the time) who went on to star in other movies. You will see Matthew McConaughey (his best performance ever), Ben Affleck, Parker Posey (she's a riot), Adam Goldberg, Joey Lauren Adams and Milla Jovavich (ok,i'm reaching now), among others. My only complaint involving the cast is that Wiley Wiggins' (as Mitch Kramer) mannerisms are a bit irritating, but other than that everyone does a tremendous job.

This movie has become like a fascinating time capsule about that post-revolutionary decade of the 70s, a decade filled with great music, movies and television (seriously, what the heck has happened to entertainment in this country?)... so its worth viewing for historical and social aspects as well as its entertainment value.

But anyway, I hope you enjoy one of my personal favorites...a really cool, funny and realistic look at what teenage life was like in so many towns in America in the mid-70s.

It may be set in Texas, but it could just as easily be Ohio.
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Dazed and Confused
Coxer993 September 1999
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.
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High School the way I remember it
ComedyFan20104 June 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I graduated high school 26 years after the characters of the movie. So I can't tell if the movie shows the year 1976 accurately. But I sure could relate the plot to my high school experience. We didn't have any freshman initiations, I wonder if they existed at all? But I do remember high school as a time when we were getting stoned all the time, drive aimlessly through the night trying to find a party, have parties busted by parents, trying to get alcohol, have huge parties in the park etc. The movie has no plot, but this is done to represent the teenage years when the life is "plotless". I wouldn't necessarily call it a comedy though, I didn't laugh a lot, but it is a great movie that captures that time of our life so perfectly The characters are great, they show all the different types of high school students. And the cast is full of stars before they became such. I must say I loved Matthew McConnaughey in it. He had a great character and played it very well. I also enjoyed the performance of Adam Goldberg.
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The '70s As They Were
TheAll-SeeingI22 February 2020
With uncanny precision, the uproarious "Dazed and Confused" conjures the true gut feel of '70s high school culture, and encases it in a spot-on selection of era-specific songs that arrive with nearly magical timing. This is a film that somehow grows more deeply felt the further we get from its depicted era.

Here we have a snapshot of the last day of high school in 1976. Outbound seniors torment inbound freshmen, but where they'll party come nightfall is still TBD. It's a universally experienced plot that gives rise to incredible character sketches: Randy "Pink" Floyd (Jason London) is at a football-driven moral crossroads. Mitch Kramer (Wiley Wiggins) is a freshman with a bull's-eye on his back. Wooderson (Matthew McConaughey) is long-graduated, but loves those high school chicks. And Slater (Rory Cochrane) is our timeless philosopher-stoner; you know the type.

The 1970's were cool, we just didn't fully know back then. Eras that followed have served to retroactively pull back the curtain on the decade's endearing and enduring purity. "Dazed and Confused" evokes that essence like few have. - (Was this review of use to you? If so, let me know by clicking "Helpful." Cheers!) - WATCHED IT? THEN WATCHLIST: "Almost Famous (2000)," "Napoleon Dynamite (2004)," "Stadium Anthems (2018)."
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A superb party movie, which goes without saying...
Quinoa19846 June 2003
Dazed and Confused was one of those movies I saw years ago in bits and pieces on TV. At the time I was in my younger teens, and my first thoughts were "geez, these seniors are really cruel dudes" and I turned it off and watched something else. But recently I watched it again, only this time it was put on in the beginning stages of a party at a friends, where essentially there was the same mood as in the film which made it more enjoyable (this, and that my friends had a drinking game that whenever Affleck of McConaughey came up on the screen someone had to chug a beer, but that's obviously besides the point). But while watching it again I realized that what Linklater did was something like Cheech and Chong did with their films or Kevin Smith did with Mallrats, and so on... but then given that cool ensemble atmosphere of an Altman pic. His film is for people just like in the movie, those who are going through the rites and passages of adolescence, and that can either make people feel pity for the characters, or humor.

Bottom line, Dazed and Confused does the one day, one night time capsule bit to as far as it can go, and it's a very entertaining like that- that, plus a fantastic set of 70's songs...speaking of which, no one should complain that the title track from Zep isn't on the soundtrack since they nearly never give license for their songs to be in movies (the only exceptions I can think of are Small Soldiers which had Communication Breakdown, and Almost Famous which had a few songs, but was only because of Zep's friendship with Crowe)...and this all being said, it becomes a little more compulsively watchable on repeat viewings; perhaps making it Linklater's most accessible film.
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Stereotypical 70s Teen Culture...
Xstal14 October 2020
A group of people pretend they're five years younger than they are in real life and proceed to perform the exaggerated stereotypical roles associated with the teen culture of the day, but not in an interesting or engaging way.
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A depressing commentary about teen life and bullying
pyx12 February 2006
Reading some of the comments here, you would think that this film painted an idyllic picture about the transition from childhood to adulthood, as represented by the final days of junior high/high school.

Whilst the film does paint a picture of teens frantically trying to have a good time at any expense, the film seems more about bullying, both physical and psychological, and about the sad depths that American teens will go to conform.

Supercially, this appears to be a standard teen movie, but I suspect that what at first appears to be a deliberately blasé approach to ritual beatings, is actually a quite subtle way of drawing attention to the "lives of quiet desperation" endured by many of the characters.

The director is either a lot smarter or a lot less pleasant than you can tell at first glance. If he really thinks that the battering of freshman boys is funny, then he's a real a**hole. I give a low score because even if the director was making a social commentary, the film was moderately unpleasant to watch, from a European's point of view.

There are some here who doubtless empathise with the jocks and the party lifestyle, but then they were probably the same people who, in their school years, made life miserable for those around them.

I don't know if this unpleasant movie really does depict American teen life, then or now, but if it does, it certainly explains a lot...
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An "American Graffiti" for the '70s
cwoliver-112 January 2007
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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About as realistic as "Melrose Place" and as funny as "Platoon"
rooprect27 July 2014
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.
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If you were in this movie you probably became a movie star.
repojack11 March 2021
Seriously, what a casting call: Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, Parker Posey, and more. Those are just off the top of my head.

Watching Dazed and Confused with that timeless, rocking soundtrack, is like getting in a time machine that takes you back to that fantastic, uninhibited feeling of being young with no responsibilities again.

I grew up in California, not Texas, in the 80's, not the 70's, and we didn't paddle incoming freshmen, but that doesn't matter a whit in terms of bringing me back to those naive, fantastic times.

If you don't have time to watch the whole movie, just listen to Boston's "More than a Feeling." That song and its lyrics could be the condensed review for Dazed and Confused.
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The High Watermark of Teen-films
jay4stein79-121 May 2006
Warning: Spoilers
When I was in high school during the late 1990s, I always wanted to watch this movie but was afraid people would automatically assume I got high were I to actually rent it. I finally watched it during my junior year with some friends who did "smoke mad reefer" and watch, you know, Cheech and Chong ad nauseum. A sucker for the 1960s and 1970s who constantly spun Pink Floyd's Meddle in his CD player, I immediately fell in love with this movie without realizing that it was, in fact, a brilliant film.

Initially, I thought that my worship of Dazed and Confused revolved around my adoration of the period. The film evoked a time period that I did not know firsthand and did so convincingly. For me, at first, it was like a time machine. Then I watched it again and again and again. I noticed how well-drawn the characters were. They were, to a degree, stereotypes, but they were given depth that you don't typically find in movies about adolescents. I also noticed how, really, the narrative style didn't match what I was accustomed to. There was a plot, sort of, or maybe there were many plots. There were so many plots, in fact, that the movie appears plot less. That blew me away. I had never seen a movie that so wholeheartedly avoided a traditional narrative style. I had seen Pulp Fiction and understood non-linear narrative, but this monstrosity of plotlessness was totally foreign to me. Like Linklater's Slacker, Dazed and Confused has an anthropological fascination with a time and place and sets about recreating that time and place.

Oh, and it's really funny. It doesn't surprise me that Linklater found some cross-over success with this movie. It has several good belly-laughs in addition to piquing the nostalgists' interest. If you've avoided this movie because you think it's a stoner flick or a typical teen movie in the vein of Porky's or American Pie, I heartily urge you to seek it out, especially now that Criterion is putting it out in a refurbished DVD package.
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A true love-it or hate-it film.
Analog_Devotee3 June 2020
I adore these types of plot-less films, and to my surprise, that seems to be the biggest problem people have with this film. The truth is, not everything needs to be intricate and complex, or to fall into a specific genre. In order to make up for a lack of story, a film should certainly heighten its other senses. Dazed and Confused certainly has those heightened senses: it's beautiful to look at, relatable on so many levels, nostalgic, and most of all, it's fun.

If you absolutely need a plot in your films, then, yeah, you can probably skip this one, man. But if you enjoy these plot-less, relaxing palate cleansers between the overly-elaborate movies constantly pushed down our throats, go for it. You'll have a great time with this 70's throwback.
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Probably the best hang-out movie ever made
IamROCKAS4 March 2021
This movie never fails to make me smile when I watch it. It is like a reunion with my friends, who I have not seen in a long time. And I just feel happy...I feel like I belong... I feel like this is where I want to be for a little while... All of the sudden, I don't feel lonely anymore. There are less than a handful of movies that make me feel like that and this teen hang-out and coming-of-age movie is one of those rare movies that makes me feel like that. I'm a sucker for these kinds of movies. After all this time of re-watching Dazed & Confused, I feel like I got to know the whole community of people in the film and those people have actually become my friends.

One of the highlights here is the soundtracks. A huge chunk of the budget was spent towards securing the right tunes here, a whopping sixth of the budget to be precise. The tone-setting Sweet Emotion by Aerosmith alone cost $100,000 and if that by any means seems like a bad investment, I don't know how a right investment would look. Hurricane by Bob Dylan also really stand-outs, as it's the less used song when talking about movie soundtracks, especially in teen movies, but the way it was presented when we first saw the Emporium is just on the spot. Stranglehold by Ted Nugent is brought back a few times to and that tune presents the sound of that generation really well too. I could spend hours talking about each and every song that is featured in the soundtrack, it's just that good, at the very least I appreciate it that much.

We're not LIVIN, L-I-V-I-N if we're not talking about the quotes in this movie, man. Wooderson, portrayed by Matthew McConaughey, the stoner with a whit is the main culprit for delivering epic one-liners that just land so well and are both funny and sincere for his character at the same time. The "Alright, Alright, Alright" even had a life beyond the movie as McConaughey used it when winning the award for Best Actor and on some other occasions, it is McConaughey's quote as much as it is Wooderson's at this point. And the high-school girl quote catches me off guard every time. There are some conversations that aren't necessarily quotable but they're memorable too. Like when Mike said that he wants to dance after ranting about how he doesn't want to be a lawyer or Mitch playing off like he isn't drunk after a good night. Those moments are just oddly relatable and give the movie a lot of charm.

I can't gather enough words to explain how much I like this movie. The young cast with mostly-unknown names at that time did a really good job and most of them are just really good-looking in their own quirky way. There's not a single one that I hate, even Clint threw down a badass quote here. The dynamic between Tony and Sabrina is awesome to the point you envy it, the same can be said for Young Mitch and Julie. I can't really pinpoint my favorite moment in the movie, as it was just one fun ride from the beginning to the end.
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Don't pay attention to the Critics
thecaptain-390-68685818 March 2018
This movie is spot on in so many ways to growing up and going to Jr. High and High School in the late 70's / early 80's. For those who don't get it or say there is no plot and story line, there is. The plot is celebrating the rites of passage from Jr. High to High School and also becoming a Senior.

The hazing happened frequently when I went went from Jr.High to High School. It wasn't spankings, it was other things, but they still happened. Pot, ludes, speed and alcohol were very prevalent and easy to get. The bathrooms reeked of cigarette smoke and pot as did the parking lots.

The house parties and barn bashes we used to have were legendary at times. We used to hang out in a game room called Big Daddy's here in Tampa. We would play pool, foosball and video games and then leave and go smoke dope in the parking lot or drive around and slam some beers or hit up one of the house parties for a while then come back and hang out.

We were partying so much the local news did a story on the massives parties we were putting on. It was great times and ones I will never forget. When I watch this movie I am transported back to those days. Don't let people tell you it's not authentic, if they do, they are either not from this country or were the unpopular kids who didn't get invited to parties.

Enjoy this movie as it is very accurate and will give you an idea if you didn't grow up as a teen in the late 70's and early 80's how crazy times were.
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