BY Fletcher Gelber
Once in a while, a film comes along that makes you not only question your position as a film buff, but also question your entire generation. This event came to pass when I recently watched the cult classic Dazed and Confused, a film that follows groups of high school seniors and upcoming freshman on their last day of school/first day of summer in the year 1976. There are two unwavering facts that I am completely sure of after watching this film — Dazed and Confused is one of the greatest films ever made, and my parents had it much, much better.
Richard Linklater wrote and directed this cult classic that truly defines a generation when hair was long, the cars were American, the music was actually music, and ambitions were…high. The seniors spend their last day of school drinking, smoking and cruising around in retro cars, like Wooderson’s 1970 Chevy Chevelle.
While watching this film, I experienced the golden-age syndrome for the first time. The 1970s seemed like a much more laid back, free spirited time period to grow up in. (How could you not envy a generation where gas was 70 cents a gallon?) It’s hard to take a step in today’s society without breaking some law or offending some group. That’s part of the appeal for this movie, that for two hours you can step into the past, to a time that was more carefree, fun, and where people socialized at game emporiums instead of through Facebook.
Reportedly one sixth of the film’s budget was spent on the rights to the music for the soundtrack and without a doubt, it was worth every penny. Hits like Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion” and Bob Dylan’s “Hurricane” make it impossible for the audience not to be fully immersed in the 1976 free-spirited feeling that these characters exhibit throughout the film. I am fully convinced after watching this film that the music helped define the generation.
The characters in this film seem like they are right out of the 70s. The characters feel so authentic mostly due to the time-appropriate dialogue Richard Linklater wrote for his film. Sprinkled throughout the film are hilarious conversations which could only be birthed by a mind altering substance, such as Slater’s discussion about how Martha Washington was the perfect weed smoking wife to George Washington. The characters are often discussing how they don’t want to conform to the growing rules and regulations placed upon them- all of which was actually going on during that time period.
If you lived through the 70s or want to experience how the older generations lived, or if you just want to watch a character driven comedy of the ages, than you should definitely grab a bud and take this trip down memory lane with Dazed and Confused.
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