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Creator / Richard Linklater

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Rick's feelin' a little Dazed and Confused...
Richard Stuart "Rick" Linklater (born July 30, 1960) is an American filmmaker based out of Austin, Texas. He is, along with Steven Soderbergh and Kevin Smith, considered one of the most important figures in the American independent film industry. His career began with Slacker, a very low-budget ensemble film about twenty-something misfits in Austin. The film was met with critical acclaim, and Kevin Smith says it was what inspired him to make Clerks. His second film, Dazed and Confused is a cult classic and equally acclaimed. From there, his career is, to say the least, eclectic. He's done two experimental animated films (Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly), studio comedies (School of Rock, Bad News Bears), smaller Indie movies (Fast Food Nation, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset), and an ambitious project called Boyhood, which was filmed over a period of over 10 years, detailing one young man's childhood from elementary school to high school graduation, with each grade's story being written and shot over a few weeks each year until the project was completed. However, present in all his films is an underlying humanist streak done in a simple, yet effective style.


Common tropes:

  • Acclaimed Flop: With the exception of School of Rock and Boyhood, nearly all his films' financial successes range from mediocre to outright bombs. Despite this, they're almost always praised by critics and audiences.
  • Author Appeal: Linklater derived his style from My Dinner with Andre, a film of which he is a major fan.
  • Author Tract: One of the complaints he got for Fast Food Nation was changing the theme of the book from a critique of the fast food industry to one long tract against eating meat.
  • Benevolent Boss: By all accounts, Rick is an easygoing, relaxed director who works with his actors to better their performances and characters.
  • Breakthrough Hit: For cinephiles, Dazed and Confused. For mainstream audiences, School of Rock.
  • Career Resurrection: After Fast Food Nation both bombed and got flak for changing the message of the book, and Me and Orson Welles was barely released, Bernie received critical acclaim and Before Midnight was named the A.V. Club's best film of 2013 and got nominated for an Oscar. Now Boyhood is being almost universally praised, with some even calling it a modern classic.
  • Creator Cameo: Appears in a photograph in School of Rock as the third member of "Maggot Death", the band that Dewey Finn and Ned Schneebly used to be in.
  • Creator Provincialism: He's from Texas, and a good chunk of his movies are either set or shot there.
  • Central Theme: Passage of Time, the Human Condition, Relationships, Suburban Culture,
  • Everything Is Big in Texas: Averted. Since he's born, raised and currently lives in Texas, he presents a very realistic look at the state.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Slacker, Dazed and Confused, Tape, Before Sunset, and Before Sunset. It's something of a trademark.
  • The Film of the Book: The Newton Boys, A Scanner Darkly, Fast Food Nation and Me and Orson Wells. Bernie is a subversion as it was based off a series of newspaper columns.
  • Granola Guy: He's vegetarian.
  • Grey-and-Grey Morality: His films often teeter between this and White-and-Grey Morality
  • Nice Guy: Rick is the most easygoing and laid-back director you could ever meet.
  • The Oner: One of his most notable trademarks as a director.
  • Production Posse: His films usually star Ethan Hawke or Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Adair will edit and Graham Reynolds will compose.
  • Random Events Plot: Common in many of his films. Slacker, in particular, is a series of vignettes with the camera wandering to a new passer-by for each one.
  • Rotoscoping: Waking Life , A Scanner Darkly, and the upcoming "Apollo 10 and a half" use this.
  • Rousseau Was Right: Antagonists in his films, if any, are not really evil or even that mean, they just seem that way the most to the main characters.
  • Scenery Porn: His films usually have lots of pretty scenery and nice cinematography.
  • Signature Style: Characters having Seinfeldian Conversations and movies with timeframes that usually span about 24 hours.
    • Averted big time with Boyhood, which takes place (and was filmed) over 12 years. Similarly averted with Merrily We Roll Along, which takes place (and will be filmed) over 20 years.
    • His films are also known for combining realistic characters and natural dialogue to make the characters seem alive and people you know.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: A lot of Rick's films have them.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Rick's films can differentiate from the idealistic School of Rock to the more cynical Bernie. However many films have a sentimental sense of realism and many can end on a realistic Hope Spot.
  • Sliding Scale of Realistic vs. Fantastic: Extremely Realistic. Linklater's films are known for blending the humanist art film genre with a lot of natural dialogue and realistic characters. The tone of his films itself has a sentimental realism.
  • Sliding Scale of Plot Versus Characters: HEAVILY on the character side. Linklater's films have very loose plots and let the actions and conversations of the characters sink in.
  • Taught by Experience: He never went to film school. He taught himself how to make movies by simply making them.