Directed By: Richard Linklater
Written By: Richard Linklater
This was a movie I once immortalized, and I still enjoy quite a bit. Ten years ago it taught me something about the repetitive nature of generations in high school. We all go through this stage of life. The style and sound changes with every generation but the activities and personalities are practically universal. This was a movie I related to as a teen but as a parent I see the obvious problems. This movie totally idolizes the kinds of things I loved but really don’t want my kids getting into. I think the high school hazing is a bit much in this movie, there was a lot of emphasis put on it and I never understood that. Maybe that was something that had phased out of the high school world by the time I was going through nearly twenty-five years later. Hazing went on when I was in high school, but it was nothing like it is in this movie. I’ve always thought that what we see going on in this movie must be a Texas thing if it was ever like that at all.
This movie is more or less based off of the real life high school experiences of director Richard Linklater. Universal Studios was actually sued by three of his high school classmates in 2004 because their real last names were used in the film. It was Floyd, Slater, and Wooderson, still living in their hometown in Texas, who filed the suit. The case was dismissed because more than 10 years had passed since the film’s release and certain statutes of limitations had passed. This was one of the high points of Linklater’s career though, so good for him for making the most of his high school glory days. This isn’t so much a movie about high school as it is a movie about partying and having a good time. There is always that one giant party among many during any given high school year and many high school movies choose to center around this event.
There are several things that make this movie significant. Number one being the soundtrack because it is one of a kind. 1/6th of the film’s budget was actually spent putting it together and it was worth it. This film also launched the career of Matthew McConaughey, who really made the Wooderson character memorable. McConaughey is super cool and I like several of his films. This was one of the first roles for Milla Jovovich, who enjoys a huge fan base today. I have never been a fan of her Resident Evil movies, but I think she was awesome as Leeloo in one of my favorite Sci-Fi movies ever, The Fifth Element. I think Ben Affleck is appropriately cast in this movie, as a douche bag. The part just seems to come so naturally to him, it’s like he isn’t even acting at all.
Bottom line, this movie is significant because it is cool and it captures an era that we all want to remember fondly. Looking back I can see really clearly right now that this movie was a horrible influence on me as a teen and honestly, no teen has any business seeing this film. Enjoy it yourself and keep it away from your kids! I had a hell of a time in high school but I did all these things we see in the film. Everything from getting high to keg parties to bashing mailboxes to getting into fights and I can see now where I was lucky to relatively stay out of trouble when so many kids are not. I don’t think it was because of this movie that I did those things, but it certainly didn’t help.
Ah, Dazed and Confused. I remember really liking this movie in college; I can’t imagine why that was. I still really enjoy this movie even though those days are long gone. This movie is set during a time when I wasn’t even born. I didn’t come along until 1984 and this movie takes place in the mid-seventies. For me, it is interesting to see the dynamic of high school life in a time that I was not a part of. Even though everything happens in a different time, the things that take place are normal, everyday high school plot lines. We continue to have the same things happen in high school no matter what time period it is. This is pretty much how high school went for all of us whether we were in high school in the 60s, 70s, 80s or for me the 90s/00s. We can all relate to this movie because we all had to go through high school. It was a pain in the ass, but we did it and then we moved on. I think I can safely say that I think all high school students are Dazed and Confused. If you haven’t had the opportunity to watch this movie, it is one you should definitely see.
NEXT MOVIE: Dead Poets Society (1989)