Thursday, November 09, 2006

Dazed and Confused (1993)

Directed by Richard Linklater (he of Slacker and Before Sunrise) this goes down as one of my all time favourite films. I don't know when I first saw this but it can't have been long after it was released - probably when it made it on to satellite. Anyway, its been on my DVD 'wish list' for ages just waiting for it to pop up on offer somewhere, which is just did at HMV online. No P&P - score!

I have a particular weakness for all things teenage. I'm not really talking about the wave of teen gross out comedies that have come out in the last few years but more brat pack, Dawson's Creek, Party of Five etc. Things that give that nice soft-focus, rose-tinted sheen to the (usually American) teen experience. It wouldn't take a Freudian psychiatrist long to work out that my penchant for these films derives from my own fairly crappy teenage experience - 5 years on a sofa feeling very ill - so I like living vicariously through my friends on screen.

Dazed and Confused, however, would have to be in any film aficionados top ten teen experience movies. Following a group of 1976 high-school kids on the last day of school of their junior year - when they 'graduate' to become seniors and so both rule their school and their town.

There is the permanently stoned one, the handsome one, the jock, the nutter (repeating senior year and so getting to beat freshmen twice), the older dude still hanging with the kids, the bitch, the geeks, and the adopted incoming freshman who get a taste of high school life. The film is filled with classic moments and classic lines.... all enhanced with a 'kick ass' mid-70s rock soundtrack (opening with Aerosmith's 'Sweet Emotion').

We see the adult tolerated (and even encouraged) hazing of the new freshman (beatings for the boys, humiliation for the girls); the eternal quest for beer; hanging out at the pool hall; and the end of school party out at the 'moon-tower'. I'm not saying its a work of genius but it captures a wonderfully idealised moment which is great fun to vicariously live through.

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