EJ Paras at NYFF!’s review published on Letterboxd:
“You know, but that's valid because if we are all gonna die anyway shouldn't we be enjoying ourselves now? You know, I'd like to quit thinking of the present, like right now, as some minor insignificant preamble to something else.”
“Sweet Emotion” by Aerosmith plays in the car radio, and the seniors pull into the lot on the last day of school, Texas 1976. Everybody wants to get high, get wasted, and get laid. The seniors don’t want to grow up, and the freshman can’t wait to be seniors. This is the recipe Richard Linklater uses to take us on a day-long bender with Pink, Mitch, Wooderson, Cynthia, Jodi, and so many other high school kids that almost feel like friends by the end of the film.
It’s a raunchier American Graffiti, and just substitute the 1950s for the 1970s. I’m a 90s/00s kid, but from what I’ve read, people swear by the accuracy and authenticity of Dazed and Confused in its portrayal of the 70s, and I’m all for it.
“Okay guys, one more thing, this summer when you're being inundated with all this American bicentennial Fourth Of July brouhaha, don't forget what you're celebrating, and that's the fact that a bunch of slave-owning, aristocratic, white males didn't want to pay their taxes.”
It’s a ton of fun, with a bit of emotional weight underneath all the debauchery and horniness. These are just high school kids. They want to have fun. They probably won’t be doing this forever, but it’s tough to plan ahead.
“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.”
Adolescent malaise & adolescent existential dread is relatable. I’m 24, but developmentally, I can’t help but feel like I’m 16 every now and then. Impostor syndrome in my job, or just quarantine “blah” sinking in — who knows! Maybe a little bit of both, in combination with the other million things happening all around the world.
Dazed and Confused was a fun distraction from it all. Even as the film’s characters are figuring things out on their own (or the biggest problem is just where to find another beer), it was fun to laugh along with the seniors and freshman and everyone in between.
Everyone involved looked like they were having so much fun — from the screen debuts of Matthew McConaughey (in a role modeled after his older brother), Wiley Wiggins, and Marissa Ribisi; to Jason London, Adam Goldberg, and Michelle Burke, you’d wish to be stuck in this world a little bit longer with this group.
“Behind every good man there is a woman, and that woman was Martha Washington, man, and everyday George would come home, she would have a big fat bowl waiting for him, man, when he come in the door, man, she was a hip, hip, hip lady, man.”