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Dazed and Confused (1993)
Dazed and Confused is a 1993 coming of age comedy film written and directed by Richard Linklater. The film's large ensemble cast featured a number of future stars, including Matthew McConaughey, Jason London, Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, Cole Hauser, Parker Posey, Adam Goldberg, Joey Lauren Adams, Nicky Katt, and Rory Cochrane. The film depicts a group of teenagers during the last day of school in 1976. The film grossed less than $8 million at the U.S. box office but later achieved cult film status. Quentin Tarantino included it on his list of the 10 greatest films of all time in the 2002 Sight and Sound. It also ranked third on Entertainment Weekly magazine's list of the 50 Best High School Movies. The magazine also ranked it 10th on their "Funniest Movies of the Past 25 Years" list. The title of the film is derived from the Led Zeppelin version of the song of the same name, originally performed by Jake Holmes. Linklater approached the surviving members of Led Zeppelin for permission to use their song "Rock and Roll" in the film, but, while Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones agreed, Robert Plant refused.
It is an entertaining fictionalization of high school graduation weekend of the senior class of 1976 in Linklater's former home city of Austin, Texas. Jocks, rednecks, cheerleaders, stoners, frosh, and the other high school demographic groups are all lovingly and respectfully rendered on Linklater's canvas. Though I didn't graduate until the mid-'80s, I'm pretty sure that the amount of pot smoking is this film is not exaggerated. And as evidence of the director's commitment to brutal realism, Foghat's 'Slow Ride' is heard not once, not twice, but three times before the end of the movie. Rock on.
Criterion's new edition of the film includes a bong-load of extras: Deleted scenes, commentary from Linklater, and DTS soundtrack are on disc one. Disc two includes a 50-minute documentary about the making of the film, on-set interviews, and audition footage. A 72-page book of reminiscences and essays rounds out the exhaustive and highly recommended set.
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