Dazed & Confused: The Criterion Collection
Viewed – 08 June 2007 DVD
Teen movies are attractive to me…now thats not to say I reminise about my school days, as I didn’t particularly enjoy them…but teen films paint a picture of school days many of us wish we had experienced…and to me that is what makes them interesting, because they give us what we didn’t get in our youth. One such teen film is Richard Linklater’s 70s era Dazed, which portrays various groups of people on the last day of school, hanging out, driving about, going to parties, smoking pot and getting drunk – and its infectious to watch – especially to a soundtrack that is pure melted chocolate for the ears!
Mostly the film follows the story of Mitch (relatively unknown Wiley Wiggens), a Junior-High freshman, about to head for High School and all the scaryness that comes with it, not to mention Ben Affleck chasing you for the summer to give your ass a whooping with his cricket bat. Ouch! He soon becomes part of the older kids gang for the night and experiences it all: reefer, music, cool college drop-out (a brilliant Mathew McConaughey in his debut), getting off with chicks and getting one back on the local thug (Affleck, again). On the other side of the coin we have Randy (Jason London, the heart-throb actor that never was), a college football player who’s stuck between hanging out with his friends and signing up for the big-league. So this is a great teen flick but also a brilliant nostalgia fix if you’re old enough to have experienced the 70s (even though 70s England was very different to America), which reflected personally on me – I could relate to much of what Mitch was going through – a fish out of water, the kid who probably never risked anything or did anything too outragious suddenly experiencing what it was like on the other side of the street…and coming home with a big smile on his face and Alice Cooper on his ear phones (although it was more likely Wham or Shakin’ Stevens 80s era for me).
The DVD as mentioned previously is a great set with a commentary from the director that is well worth listening to (his enthusiasm for the music and the characters is obvious) and we get a 50 minute documentary, deleted scenes and to top it all probably the films crispest picture and sound yet realised. Add to this a 72 page booklet…and thats one helluva package.
Verdict: 5 /5