Dazed and Confused (1993)
June 19, 2015 6:53 AM - Subscribe

The adventures of incoming high school and junior high students on the last day of school, in May of 1976.

The Wikipedia page.

"The drama is so low-key in [Dazed & Confused]. I don’t remember teenage being that dramatic. I remember just trying to go with the flow, socialize, fit in and be cool. The stakes were really low. To get Aerosmith tickets or not? That’s a big thing. It was really rare when the star-crossed lovers from the opposite side of the tracks and the girl gets pregnant and there’s a car crash and somebody dies. That didn’t really happen much. But riding around and trying to look for something to do with the music cranked up, now that happened a lot!" - Richard Linklater, at the 20th anniversary celebration of the movie in 2013

Previously on Metafilter: "Dazed and Sued"
posted by doctornecessiter (15 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I hit this age about 15 years after this movie takes place, but still my middle school and high school social life in north Florida was really similar to this...First I was Mitch Kramer, then later I became Mike and/or Tony, with a core little group I hung out with, not partying (except when more or less forcing myself to just as a change of pace).

I love how Pink flows easily among just about every group...As I recall from my own high school years there were certainly bands that gravitated together based on common interests, but cliques were not even close to the strictness that most high school movies illustrate.
posted by doctornecessiter at 7:03 AM on June 19, 2015

I graduated high school in '76, so this movie hit home somewhat for me, if only because I recognized several of the characters, including McConaughey's Wooderson (we had a guy in his 20's in my senior class.) None of the hazing and crap went on in my school, though (is that a Texas thing?)
posted by Thorzdad at 7:20 AM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

I've never heard of anything like the hazing in this either, at the high school level...But apparently it was specifically a Huntsville, TX thing.
posted by doctornecessiter at 7:35 AM on June 19, 2015

When I first watched this movie as a teen, it had the eerie effect of making me feel stoned without me actually being stoned.

I haven't seen this in so long but I do remember really liking it. It is incredibly quotable.
posted by Kitteh at 7:51 AM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

My friend was an extra in a classroom scene. She said the clothes they gave everyone were incredibly musty.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 8:14 AM on June 19, 2015 [3 favorites]

I'll open with my favourite Linklater joke: spent 12 years making a movie that spans as many years; best movie takes place in about 16 hours.

That said, the lack of drama is indeed what really sets the movie apart from other coming-of-age movies. Yeah, there's the paddling chases, and Mike being punched in the face (although, considering he WANTED to be punched in the face, just not as badly, does it count as drama?), but with the exception of O'Bannion (whom nobody takes seriously - not even his friends), everyone on the movie just wants to have a beer, a joint and a find themselves a good time. This also lends itself to the acting - it all looks very naturalistic, without having to ask the mostly young and inexperienced cast to do a lot of... well, acting.

And thankfully, McConaughey has moved away from romantic comedies. They probably paid him a lot better than his The McConaissance movies, but he can do a lot more than just looking cool and being charming as fuck. He was fantastic in every scene here.

And, Linklater is doing a spiritual sequel to the movie.
posted by lmfsilva at 8:21 AM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

I think it was on an episode of Dinner For Five that Vince Vaughn talked about how close he came to playing the Cole Hauser part (Benny) in this. Who knows what kind of butterfly effect that would have had on his later career, but it likely would have been yet another Dazed actor to go on to become a major box office draw in the 90s-2000s.

I'm surprised that the only other thing I've seen Sasha Jensen in is Halloween 4 (which was before this). He gives a pretty good comedic performance here. Maybe the fact that he's sort of odd-looking hindered him. Though I probably would have said the same thing about McConaughey if he hadn't broken out so successfully -- and gotten a better haircut -- later on.
posted by doctornecessiter at 8:48 AM on June 19, 2015

I can tolerate extremely low levels of drama in my movies, but my memory is this movie just didn't have any umph for me. Nothing happened in the plot-moving sense, but also nothing happened in the brain or heart-moving sense. For me anyhow.
posted by latkes at 9:55 AM on June 19, 2015

I love, love, love this movie. It is one of my favorites and not just for the "George Washington toked weed, man" jokes. I think it's incredibly well shot, the music is perfect, and it's a really tight capture of time and place.

And of course, taking a drink every time Mitch touches his nose while he is talking to Sabrina outside of the Emporium. And seeing an uncredited Renee Zellwegger pouring a beer bong into Parker Posey's mouth. And cringing because Carl NEVER GETS PADDLED and the world is not fair.
posted by Elly Vortex at 10:41 AM on June 19, 2015 [3 favorites]

I was thrilled to see Wiley Wiggins show up in Computer Chess, which he was great in. He also discussed the Moon Towers where the climax takes place in a recent episode of 99 Percent Indivisible.

If this video by Butch Walker And The Black Widows is any indication, David Wooderson is still doing his thing.
posted by maxsparber at 10:44 AM on June 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

And cringing because Carl NEVER GETS PADDLED and the world is not fair.

Wasn't there a line or somewhere in there about the hazing going on all summer though? I got the impression that it was just a matter of time before all of the freshman got gotten.

There was a period of time where whenever my brother would mention someone terrible (that we know, or a character in a movie, or a horrible historical dictator or someone like that), I would do a Mitch by conspicuously pinching the bridge of my nose and saying "God, I hate that jerk!"
posted by doctornecessiter at 11:04 AM on June 19, 2015

I was in high school 20 uears after this movie came out- which means I watched it in high school- and it was so similar to what my friends and I were doing. Another 20 years on (how did that happen?), and I still watch this movie on a regular basis.

Incidentally, both my wife and I love Linklater, but we can't agree on which ones. I am a Slacker/Dazed fan, and she likes those insipid Ethan Hawke movies.
posted by Literaryhero at 2:59 AM on June 20, 2015

This movie really lifted my spirits. It came out when I was in kind of a dark place, so it really meant something to me to see a character say this:

“Well, all I'm saying is that I want to look back and say that I did it the best I could while I was stuck in this place, had as much fun as I could when I was stuck in this place, played as hard as I could when I was stuck in this place.”
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:34 PM on June 20, 2015 [2 favorites]

None of the hazing and crap went on in my school, though (is that a Texas thing?)

Not exclusively. My high school in the 90s had an "initiation" week that was gone by the time I graduated. But it had been going on for decades before that.

Also Mitch always touching his nose what's up with that
posted by Hoopo at 1:49 PM on June 23, 2015

Also Mitch always touching his nose what's up with that

Either a tick by an inexperienced actor who didn't know what to do with his hands, or a subtle hint that Mitch would be a coke head in the 80s.
posted by doctornecessiter at 7:31 AM on June 24, 2015

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