Simon Ramshaw’s review published on Letterboxd:
"You just gotta keep livin' man, L-I-V-I-N." - Wooderson
As this is probably one of the best examples of a true ensemble alongside other 1990s landmarks like Magnolia and Pulp Fiction, I think it would be appropriate to list my top five favourite characters from Dazed and Confused:
5. Darla Marks - played by Parker Posey. Effectively the 'Queen Bitch', Posey relishes in the depraved and degrading venom of Marks, at first convincing you that it's only a role she's playing, before revealing that behind the bravado, she is actually rotten to the core. Taking an unexpected lion's share of laughs, Posey nearly steals the opening scenes by herself.
4. Fred O'Bannion - played by Ben Affleck. Like Posey, Affleck eats up the stereotype of the horrendous jock character and makes him irredeemable as possible, helped largely by Linklater's dead-on writing. His scenes are often show-stoppers, particularly in the freshmens' retaliation against his despotic brutality.
3. Ron Slater(-san) - played by Rory Cochrane. A character that adds nothing to the story's propulsion is often one of the best, and Slater-san is no exception to this rule. With little interval monologues from time to time, Cochrane is a pleasure to watch, making the two-dimensional stoner three-dimensional through sheer screen presence.
2. David Wooderson - played by Matthew McConaughey. The most quotable character in the film, McConaughey's iconic cameo is a drawling streak of pure, smoothed-out cool. Walking into the bar to Bob Dylan's Hurricane is just one of the many scene-stealing moments, and had it not been for one very relatable character, he'd undoubtedly be the best.
1. Mike Newhouse - played by Adam Goldberg. And this is the said-relatable character. Goldberg's Mike just speaks to me. Sure, I don't talk in verbose, philosophical ramblings, but Mike's angers and angst appeals to a younger me. His spurious logic about a fist-fight is as endearing as it is foolish, while his existential crisis in the back of a car is an irreverent highlight. The unexpected heart and soul of the film, Goldberg gives a truly great performance.
And of course...40. Simone Kerr - played by Joey Lauren Adams - Just no. Horrendously annoying voice. Worst character. No.