"All I'm saying is that if I ever start referring to these as the best years of my life - remind me to kill myself."
The year is 1976, it is the last day of school, the seniors are hazing the incoming freshmen, and Kevin has decided to throw a kegger. One freshman, Mitch, is taken under the wing of Randall "Pink" Floyd, a senior. Meanwhile a group of nerdy friends, Cynthia, Mike, and Tony decide to go make their last day a day to remember. The two stories dovetail at the party.Dazed and Confused
(1993) is a Coming of Age Story
written and directed by Richard Linklater
. The movie's large ensemble cast featured a number of future stars, including Matthew Mc Conaughey
, Jason London, Ben Affleck
, Milla Jovovich
, Cole Hauser
, Parker Posey
, Anthony Rapp
, Adam Goldberg
, Joey Lauren Adams
, Nicky Katt
, and Rory Cochrane.
Basically, it's American Graffiti
made in the nineties instead of seventies, and set in The Seventies
instead of The Fifties*
The title of the film is derived from the Led Zeppelin
song of the same name. Linklater approached surviving members of the band for permission to use their songs in the movie, but, while Jimmy Page agreed, Robert Plant refused.
This movie contains examples of:
- Adults Are Useless: All the adults except Carl's mom are cool with the seniors hazing the incoming freshmen. Tony comments on this.
- Alpha Bitch: Head cheerleader Darla.
- Breakout Character: David Wooderson. Originally a more minor character, Richard Linklater was so impressed with Matthew McConaughey's performance, he ended up writing much more dialogue for him.
- Calling Shot Gun: Shotgun is Slater's official position in the car. Remember this.
- Cool Car: Pickford's GTO is, in the argot of the period, bitchin'.
- Pickford's car is just one of many examples. Let's just say that if you're a fan of classic American muscle cars, you'll probably like this movie.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: The fight that breaks out at the party.
- Dawson Casting: Mostly averted, as most of the actors were only slightly older than their characters, but played straight for some.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: Hazing incoming freshmen on the last day of school was frowned upon in 1993 (as it still is today), and the movie seems to toy with the audience's modern day sensibilities whenever it's depicted. But in the film's 1976 setting, it's seen by the characters as just another traditional rite of passage.
...and remember to get plenty of calcium. It's important for pregnant women to get plenty of calcium.
- Store clerk, to pregnant customer buying liquor and cigarettes.
- He later tells her, "See you again tomorrow."
- Ephebophile: Wooderson, arguably the movie's most famous, or at least most memetic character. Provides the page quote:
Wooderson: That's what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.
- Erotic Dream: Tony tells Mike about a rather disturbing one.
Tony: So there I am, getting it on with this perfect female body, and...
Tony: I can't say.
Mike: No, you can't give a build-up like that and not deliver. You know, a perfect female body, itís not a bad start.
- Everything Is Big In Texas: Averted. The film takes place in Austin, but the Texas stereotypes are all missing.
- Except the high school football stereotype, which is subverted. The star player, Floyd, is not very passionate about playing ball.
- Austin itself is kind of an aversion, actually.
- Funny Afro: Cynthia's giant red afro.
- "Have a Nice Day" Smile: Unsurprisingly, the one used in the movie poster looked fairly baked.
- Held Back In School: Fred O'Bannion.
- Improbably Cool Car: Many owned by the named characters as well as several appearing in the background.
- Jerk Jock: O'Bannion.
- All the male hazing seniors are this, except Pink (somewhat). O'Bannion is just the most sadistic.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Vicious Bully O'Bannion gets his from a group of freshmen with buckets of paint.
- Never Trust a Trailer: All of the ads (trailers, posters, TV spots) promoted it as a Stoner Flick. There's maybe about one character (a supporting character) who actually is one.
- Nostalgia Filter: Played around with. Being a warts'n'all depiction of seventies teendom, we see all the things they enjoyed and also all the things they endured. Particular note should be made of the scene where last day of school ends, and "School's Out Forever" playing gloriously on the soundtrack... as children run like their asses are on fire to get away from a gang of bullies.
- The Not-Love Interest: The three friends show no romantic interest in each other, and do not act jealous when they show interest in other people.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Randall "Pink" Floyd.
- Random Events Plot: There really isn't a plot per se. Everyone just drives around after school ends until the party starts.
- Reality Subtext: Linklater was actually sued by the real Bobby Wooderson, Andy Slater, and Richard "Pink" Floyd for how they were portrayed onscreen.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Cast in-fighting required the ending to be re-written to prevent fistfights on-set.
- Recycled In SPACE: American Graffiti in THE SEVENTIES!
- Except deliberately not if you listen to the commentary. While American Graffiti had a specific plot and attempted to be "the ultimate 50s movie", this film was about just some night and just some party. If anything, it's more like Slacker IN THE SEVENTIES.
- The Seventies
- Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Pink is the only main character that appears on the movie poster and DVD cover.
- Stoners Are Funny: The point of Slater.
- Two Guys and a Girl: Tony, Mike, and Cynthia.
- Wild Teen Party: Subverted, as the keg delivery guy comes early, tipping off Kevin's parents. There is still a Wild Teen Party; but it happens out in the woods, away from houses and parents.