The Summer of 76
When and where were you born? I don't need to know but it is an important factor of whether "Dazed and Confused" is a great movie or just average. You see with its storyline about the last days of school in 1976 Texas it is a generational movie which speaks to those who experienced what goes on in the movie or maybe those who were grown ups and aware of what went on. But for those who were too young to experience something similar or who were not teenagers in America during the summer of 76 you have a movie which seems just weird.
Now I said weird because "Dazed and Confused" doesn't really have a storyline rather than the recreation of the summer of 1976 where those who will become seniors next term spend the summer terrorizing the next lot of freshman. What we see is girls humiliated as they suck dummies and get covered in mustard and flower whilst the boys are chased by older boys with paddles who seem vindictive in their punishment.
Now as I said maybe if you experienced this as a teenager during the summer of 1976 either as a victim or bully it probably is a nostalgic trip. In fairness writer and director Richard Linklater seems to have captured the era from the look to the music to even the atmosphere and that makes it fun for those who look back on their teenage years with nostalgic fondness. Although it has to be said that some of the stuff portrayed in the movie including bong making in a woodwork lesson seems a bit OTT to me.
But then that is the nostalgic side of things but for me and I know others "Dazed and Confused" is a little weird and daft. As I said it definitely feels like a generational movie for those who experienced it but for those like me who didn't what we have is a movie about teens getting stoned and bullying younger kids. There is still something entertaining about it but not as much fun as it obviously is for those who can warm to the nostalgic feel of sitting on car hoods and smoking weed as the summer sun goes down.
Whether or not the movie works for you one thing which is fun is the array of young actors who show up in the movie. Joey Lauren Adams, Jason London, Adam Goldberg, Milla Jovovich, Matthew McConaughey and Ben Affleck are all there in amongst many other well known names and faces. Are there characters any good, well to be honest there are so many characters in "Dazed and Confused" that none of them really create characters with depth but are still strangely entertaining for being slacker style characters.
What this all boils down to is that "Dazed and Confused" probably is a whole lot of fun for those who were teenagers during the summer of 76 but for those who never experienced it it isn't that great.