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With: Jason London, Joey Lauren Adams, Milla Jovovich, Shawn Andrews, Adam Goldberg, Anthony Rapp, Sasha Jenson, Marissa Ribisi, Deena Martin, Michelle Burke, Cole Hauser, Christine Harnos, Wiley Wiggins, Ben Affleck, Jason O. Smith, Christin Hinojosa, Parker Posey, Matthew McConaughey, Nicky Katt
Written by: Richard Linklater
Directed by: Richard Linklater
MPAA Rating: R for pervasive, continuous teen drug and alcohol use and very strong language
Running Time: 103
Date: 01/08/1993

Dazed and Confused (1993)

4 Stars (out of 4)

School's Out Forever

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Richard Linklater's Dazed and Confused not only portrays flawlessly a 24-hour period on the last day of school in 1976, but it captures the crushing boredom of a small town. The biggest event on this day is not so much the beginning of summer vacation or the promise of new and exiting things on the horizon, but hazing incoming freshmen, beating them up and humiliating them. This is the small town mentality, taking out the frustration of your own dim future on those younger than you who might still have a chance.

But Linklater provides a wide array of personalities here, from the happy-go-lucky stoner (Rory Cochrane) to the uptight intellectual (Adam Goldberg), and we can latch on to any of them for the film's slow ride. Wiley Wiggins plays the freshman kid who makes it to the big time party, and Matthew McConaughey appears in an extraordinary role as an older boy who still hangs out with high school kids in an effort to stave off his own mortality. Beautiful Milla Jovovich has a nearly silent part as a stoner chick, although she gets to sing a song. Even Ben Affleck manages a decent performance.

The film's intelligent selection of rock songs, hilarious stoner dialogue, crude jokes, and endless partying appealed to a particular audience and the film became an immediate cult hit; it was even blessed with midnight showings in certain cities. Many of the film's young stars went on to bigger things. Linklater's careful, nuanced observation of human behavior served him just as well in later masterworks, but none are as much all-out fun as this one.

In 2004, Dazed and Confused was re-released as part of Universal's Ultimate Party Collection, along with Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982). New extras include deleted scenes, a "filmstrip" on the dangers of partying and "public service announcements."

Earlier in 2011, Universal released their own Blu-Ray edition, and now the Criterion Collection has followed it with a superior Blu-Ray version of its own. It features impossibly tight, crisp image quality and gorgeous sound ("Sweet Emotion" never sounded so good). Linklater approved the transfer and provides a commentary track. Extras include a 50-minute making-of documentary, interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, footage from the 10th anniversary celebration, deleted scenes, and a trailer. The liner notes booklet includes essays by Kent Jones, Jim DeRogatis, and Chuck Klosterman, plus memories of the film from the cast and crew; character profiles. There's also a bonus poster by Frank Kozik.

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