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Wick's Review

Created Aug 08, 2009 06:01PM PST • Edited Nov 07, 2023 09:13PM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Great 4.0

    An all-time great high school movie, Dazed and Confused captures a moment when kids got away with hedonism adults didn’t yet comprehend. Rarely LOL, though pleasantly funny – when not indulging in mild sadism – its blissful callowness is altogether winning, especially as brought to life by a great young cast.

    It could just as well be titled Hazed and Confused given the role that paddling and other sadistic indoctrination rituals play in the plot. Overt aggression aside, the movie has an essential sweetness, especially for those of us who came of age after the 60s and before the 80s – the period when counterculture went mainstream. The fact that Texas auteur Richard Linklater looked back from the vantage point of the 90s makes it all the more delicious as time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping into the future.

  3. Great 4.0

    Future big names Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey, Milla Jovovich, solid character actors Rory Cochrane & Adam Goldberg and promising young talent Jason London & Michelle Burke teamed up.

    Affleck and McConaughey are especially fun to watch as they play callow and stupid. Affleck’s almost unrecognizable at first, while McConaughey performs a gem as a 20-something has-been who’s perfected the art of hitting on underclass girls. “I get older, they stay the same age,” his Wooderson character brags. Who-da-thunk-it? He’s also heavily into cars, declaiming about them like Jan & Dean at the drive-in.

  4. Male Stars Great 4.0
  5. Female Stars Great 4.0
  6. Female Costars Great 4.0
  7. Male Costars Great 4.0
  8. Great 4.0

    Richard Linklater films fevered slice-of-young-life as vividly as it’s ever been done. D&C captures what it felt like to be an American teenager in 1976. While the film’s endless night gets a bit absurd, it does capture the sense of unlimited living that adolescents often feel, especially when given freedom and intoxicants.

    You just gotta keep on livin’, man. L-I-V-I-N. – Wooderson

    Given its Texas setting, the high school football players are precursors to Tim Riggins of TV’s Friday Night Lights. “Kings of the school,” as one girl puts it.

    In the Linklater canon, Dazed and Confused ranks just behind The School of Rock and Before Sunrise as one of his best films. A great stoner movie, it would make a perfect double feature with The Big Lebowski.

  9. Direction Great 4.0
  10. Play Great 4.0

    Linklater captures high school girl dialogue as well as he does the guys.

    • Girl – “She called me a slut? Ohmygod what a bitch.”
    • Guy – “We got 4:11 Positrac outback, 750 double pumper, Edelbrock intake, bored over 30, 11 to 1 pop-up pistons, turbo-jet 390 horsepower. We’re talkin’ some fuckin’ muscle.”
  11. Music Perfect 5.0

    Reportedly one-sixth of the film’s budget was spent acquiring the rights to 1970s pop hits on the soundtrack. Excellent decision.

    1. Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo – Rick Derringer
    2. Slow Ride – Foghat
    3. School’s Out – Alice Cooper
    4. Jim Dandy – Black Oak Arkansas
    5. Tush – ZZ Top
    6. Love Hurts – Nazareth
    7. Stranglehold – Ted Nugent
    8. Cherry Bomb – The Runaways
    9. Fox on the Run – Sweet
    10. Low Rider – War
    11. Tuesday’s Gone – Lynyrd Skynyrd
    12. Highway Star – Deep Purple
    13. Rock and Roll All NiteKISS
    14. Paranoid – Black Sabbath

    These weren’t my tunes at the time, but they’re 14 terrific choices. Man! Derringer, Foghat, Alice Cooper, ZZ Top, Nugent, Skynyrd, Sabbath. The 70s sucked (said the Stones) but these guys rocked.

    Aerosmith – notable by their absence – still plays a role in the story, as they should since they were far and away the most popular band amongst high school stoners of the era. Steven and Joe must have wanted too much scratch for Linklater to use Walk This Way. He solves the problem by making the pursuit of Aerosmith tickets the top priority of the summer of ’76. Rings true.

  12. Visuals Very Good 3.5
  13. Content
  14. Risqué 1.7

    Semi-vicious paddling and loads of irresponsible hedonism.

  15. Sex Titillating 1.8
  16. Violence Fierce 1.7
  17. Rudeness Salty 1.7
  18. Glib 1.3

    Hazing aside, the film nails the callow enlightenment of 70s high school life, a time when quarterbacks aspired to more than football, heads and jocks rolled together, and what 80s kids came to call “ragers” was a below-the-radar concept.

    That said, the movie goes extremely glib in its characterization of dudes indiscriminately toking at home and near cops, yet never getting busted. How ’dey do dat?

    Car Crazy: “11 to 1 pop-up pistons, turbo-jet 390 horsepower” be damned. Drunken HS drivers dragging pony cars all over town too often led to accidents the likes of which haunt survivors forever. Truth.

    About the hazing: Is that a Texas thing?

  19. Circumstantial Glib 1.6
  20. Biological Glib 1.4
  21. Physical Glib 1.4


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Jan 24, 2010 12:12AM

Regarding BrianSez’s Review
Happy you loved it Brian. It’s a classic.