Monday, February 19, 2007

Classic Movie Review: "Dazed and Confused"

Although I entitled this post Classic Movie Review, it could as well have read Retro Movie. As Netflix noted on their plot summary of Dazed and Confused, a 1993 movie directed by Richard Linklater, the movie is done in the style of American Graffiti, in that it is more of a love letter to a decade than an actual plotted movie. In Graffiti, the decade was the 50s, in Dazed, that decade is the 70s.

Much like Graffiti, Dazed is a lot of interwoven character plots, with each character either entering their last or first year in high school. From initiation rights to decisions to be made about their future, the film touches upon all the struggles a high schooler in the 70s might endure. Of course, the movie climaxes with a night time party, where everything comes together. There is much driving around to be had, like in American Graffiti, and comparing the two films side-by-side finds that through a moviemaker's eye, the struggles of our youth does not differ from decade to decade.

Now that I got the deep part of the review over with, it is time to be superficial. Dazed has a lot of roles in it, and viewers will find a lot of familiar faces. Jason London plays the main character, with Joey Lauren Adams as his girlfriend. I find this ironic, since Jason's brother, Jeremy, plays Joey's ex-boyfriend in my favorite movie, Mallrats. The biggest starts in the movie, though they weren't stars at the time, are Ben Affleck as a bully and Matthew McConaughey as an older stoner. McConaughey utters the now classic line "That's what I like abotu high school girls: I get older, but they stay the same age." And although it may seem funny to say this, the actors play stoned very well. From mannerism to speech style, I was convinced at times that they were toking the reefer.

This movie didn't suffer from the nostalgia burn that Graffiti did, because except for a few scenes, DaC didn't stress that it was 70s. Sure the music was from that period and the atmosphere of the high school was from 1970s, but it wasn't as blatant as AG. Maybe it was also helped by the fact that I am more "aware" of the 70s and this movie than I was about George Lucas's movie. I would recommend Dazed and Confused over American Graffiti in fact.

4 Mans out of 5.


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