How to write an objective review for a movie that influenced you greatly? I’m sure that this can be done, but I just don’t want to do it. Dazed and Confused is an exciting coming-of-age comedy doubling as a stoner movie. It managed to capture that youthful energy and the spirit of the seventies with ease. A bit of personal experience here, only to demonstrate the power of cinema. I watched this movie as I was finishing high school and it changed my outlook on life profoundly.
Everything that was happening back then was clumsy, strange, and awkward. A typical teenage experience you might say. However, as soon as I saw Dazed and Confused I knew that everything is going to be alright. I began to dream about this perfect night from the movie full of weed, beer, and sexual energy. I still remember that feeling of “everything will be okay” that I felt after the end. We forget just how fucked up our lives were back then. Exciting, but fucked up.
I was quite depressed most of the time and unable to find coherent concepts anywhere. And this movie brought that vibe of positivity that was sorely needed, for me at least. Whether it provided me with a blueprint for what “an officially good time” should be or these were just hormones going wild, I just cannot figure it out. This is why I cannot be objective here, this one’s too close to the heart. I guess this coming-of-age movie hit me exactly as I was coming of age.
You can also draw parallels with George Lucas’s American Graffiti released back in 1973. Directed by Richard Linklater, a very talented director with a lot of great movies behind him (Tape, The School of Rock, A Scanner Darkly), Dazed and Confused is one of those movies that you see and wanna go out and party. It does take a while to get going but once it does, it’s all good ”til the end.
All that time, you know that nothing wrong or bad is going to happen in it. Acting is great, even from Matthew McConaughey and Ben Affleck, who were still relatively unknown in the year of our lord Satan 1993. Rory Cochrane, Milla Jovovich, Adam Goldberg, and Joey Lauren Adams were also great and went on to have amazing careers. They also had a great script to work with.
It follows the lives of high school students on their last day in school, in some dead-end town, in the seventies. The story follows many characters, veering off into sub-plots with the same ease it gets out of them, tying all the stories into one big juicy one. Also, there’s no main plot, so there’s no big party that our characters must get to or any other event that serves as a driver for the rest of the story.
Everything sort of happens accidentally and naturally, or at least this was the intention of the writers. This creates this positive and easygoing atmosphere that’s just perfect for relaxation. When you add to that uninhibited and natural dialogue, what you get is a masterpiece.
I know that this movie was shot back in 1993, so I just want to tell these newer generations that you’re going through the same shit we went through. You can actually watch this movie with two different mindsets, one as a classic comedy and the second one as a coming-of-age flick.
Finally, I just want to mention a couple of movies you might wanna check out after this one. So, if you’re looking for movies like Dazed and Confused start with The Stoned Age and Detroit Rock City. Both of the movies feature the concept of “one wild night” taken to its limits. And they’re a lot of fun. If, however, you want something with an eighties flavor to it, do take a look at The Night Before starring young Keanu Reeves.
Director: Richard Linklater
Writer: Richard Linklater
Cast: Jason London, Milla Jovovich, Rory Cochrane, Adam Goldberg, Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck
Fun Facts: The word “man” appears 203 times total in the movie.