Dazed and Confused :: American Graffiti With More Spoiled Kids…

Cineville - Dazed and Confused

It's the last day of school and for what seems like much longer than an hour and 42 minutes, we follow the exploits of a large number of uniformly good-looking kids as they smoke weed and drink beer and destroy property and hit one another.

Unfortunately, I found Dazed and Confused every bit as slight as I did 23 years ago when I first saw it. There's some fun along the way and some of the characters are very endearing. Matthew McConaughey in his first film role is extremely charismatic. Rory Cochrane is pretty funny as your archetypal stoner. Parker Posey is poised and brilliant, as always. Ben Affleck is annoying and slightly hammy as the biggest bully of the pack. Many of the characters are wholly self-centred, inconsiderate, over-privileged American teenagers, which is fine if a little annoying.

Cineville - Dazed and Confused
Cineville - Dazed and Confused

What else? Nothing else really. Good soundtrack. It all looks really good and one of the few plotlines - about whether one of the characters should sign a pledge to stop taking drugs and concentrate on sports - is mildly interesting, but overall, there's nothing to really give a shit about.

Oh wait - there are two nerdy characters who disparage everything. I liked them a lot. But overall, a slight and superficial exercise in teenage nostalgia that feels like a remake of American Graffiti.


Cineville - Dazed and Confused


The Viewing

This was a totally impromptu one. I was leaving the Eye after seeing Stinking Heaven, which had left me feeling pretty dirty, like I'd just spent a couple of hours in a crack den or at a paedophile's house, and I was reminded that Dazed and Confused was on in half an hour. So I bought a ticket and went for a ride in the north of Amsterdam, which I don't really know at all.

I ate out.

Cineville - Dazed and Confused - Febo

Back in the Eye, I was surprised to see big queues waiting outside the same auditorium I'd just been in for the last film. There'd been about eight of us in Stinking Heaven, but Dazed and Confused was much, much more popular.

Then when we were eventually let in, we were given a free bottle of beer, which was odd. Then I heard an Italian telling his friend that there was going to be a performance before and after the film.

So as we took our seats, we watched the band - The Mighty Breaks as it turned out - yeah, I don't know - get ready to play. A guy from the Eye made a little speech about slacker culture and the film we were about to see, then he introduced the band, who are either genuinely very popular, or else had lots of their friends in the audience.

In the end, they played five or six songs, and they were pretty damn good actually. They had three different singers, which is always good, and the drummer was particularly excellent. I always like a drummer who sings.

However, it would be remiss of me to mention how terribly fucking old I felt sitting in this audience that seemed predominantly composed of teens and 20-somethings. And pretty lonely too. I love going to the cinema on my own generally, but tonight I felt out of place, and like it's probably time to do something about meeting a woman.

Next year, next year. It'll be fine. 

About the Author

I am Karl Webster. I wrote these words. If you liked them, you'll be overjoyed to know that there are plenty more where they came from. So you should definitely sign up to my newsletter if you haven't already.

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