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Dazed and Confused Movie Review

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No matter what your high school graduating class, most last-day-of-school movies have a universal appeal. We are all familiar with the rituals and the pain that follows them. In my case, I hung out with a guy whose parachute didn't open, danced with a guy who died too young of cancer, went to a rock concert with a neighbor who died at 22 of complications from a hole in her heart, and took walks in the country with a crash victim who took eight whole years to die, at age 20. Our shared experiences were often just as goofy as the ones in this film, which is why I thought Dazed and Confused was evocative and a more recent graduate thought they were puerile. Well, he would, wouldn't he, being so close to the experience and so eager to escape it? Jason London is a football player with attitude named Randall “Pink” Floyd, who has a girlfriend we don't see and a gentle way with just about everyone that we do see. Wiley Wiggins is Mitch Kramer, a much younger, smaller boy who experiences some harsh rites of passage and gains considerable respect from everyone as a result. Ron Slater (Rory Cochrane) sees everything, even the history of George and Martha Washington, through a haze of marijuana. Ben Affleck, yes, THE Ben Affleck who went on to receive an Oscar for Good Will Hunting, is a nearly unrecognizable Big Bully named Fred O'Bannion. And a definitely unrecognizable Matthew McConaughey is David Wooderson, a graduate of uncertain vintage, who hangs out where high school girls hang out because “I get older, they stay the same age.” But wait, there's more! Parker Posey as the bitchy Dana Marks, the very funny Adam Goldberg as Mike Newhouse, Anthony Rapp and Kristin Hinojosa as Tony Olson and Sabrina Davis, a really sweet couple, and Joey Lauren Adams as Simone Kerr! Not to mention all those smash hits of 1976 and gr-r-r-eat fashions. Richard Linklater was still wrapping up the song rights and had yet to reach a distribution agreement (with Universal) when Dazed and Confused premiered at the Seattle Film Festival. Within five years, many of its players became Movers and Shakers within the movie business. I kept renting this movie and renting this movie and renting this movie until I imagined it cut up on pay cable like Fast Times at Ridgemont High and I finally bought it. I still watch it and I still laugh. It's a keeper!

1993 (R) 97m/C Jason London, Rory Cochrane, Sasha Jensen, Wiley Wiggins, Michelle Burke, Adam Goldberg, Anthony Rapp, Marissa Ribisi, Parker Posey, Joey Lauren Adams, Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, Cole Hauser, Matthew McConaughey, Kristin Hinojosa; D: Richard Linklater; W: Richard Linklater; C: Lee Daniel. VHS, LV, Letterbox, Closed Caption, DVD

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