Just Keep Livin’! Dazed And Confused

Just Keep Livin’! Dazed And Confused

Static Mass Rating: 4/5
Universal Pictures

Release date: July 25th, 2011
Certificate (UK): 15
Running time: 98 minutes

Year of production: 1993

Wrier and director: Richard Linklater
Producers: James Jacks, Sean Daniel, Richard Linklater

Cast: Shawn Andrews, Wiley Wiggins, Esteban Powell, Ben Affleck, Parker Posey, Matthew McConaughey, Milla Jovovich, Jason London, Adam Goldberg

In 1993 Richard Linklater made a film that reflected back on the time when he was growing up, but in doing so he also spoke to a new generation of moviegoers growing up in the 90’s.

In Austin, Texas it’s 1976 and school has just finished for the summer. It’s the time of year when students are determined to celebrate surviving another term of mind-numbingly boring classes and homework.

Dazed And Confused

Unfortunately Kevin Pickford’s (Shawn Andrews) parents find out that he’s planning a keg party while they’re out of town and thwart his plans by staying at home. All juiced up but nowhere to go, the town’s teenagers take to the woods for a night of drinking, smoking pot and partying wile others just cruise around, hoping to find something going on or to purchase concert tickets.

Mitch Kramer (Wiley Wiggins) and his best friend Carl Burnett (Esteban Powell) are freshmen and they’re desperate to escape being violently paddled at the hands of Fred O’Bannion (Ben Affleck), an obnoxious senior who failed to graduate the first time round. It’s not just the guys getting in on the hazing though, meanwhile there’s the terrifying Darla Marks (Parker Posey) who hunts down her pledges wherever they are and forces them into humiliating acts to prove their worth.

Dazed And Confused

There’s also David Wooderson (Matthew McConaughey) who’s much too old to pass for a teenager but he enjoys picking up the girls and hanging out with the guys, reliving his former glory days on the field.

Although I missed what it was like growing up in the 70’s, I did a get a taste of it as a teenager in the 90’s. Dazed And Confused perfectly captures that aimlessness and bottled up angst and energy of the generation that passed on through to mine with the rise of grunge, indie and alternative which is why I think it earned the cult following it did.

Dazed And Confused

I didn’t spend time looking for parties, but it was all about the music for me and Linklater fuses the film with the sounds of Alice Cooper, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Deep Purple, KISS and Black Sabbath which my generation was only just re-discovering in what was to be the last days of vinyl. We cruised the night listening to Hole, Nirvana, Sonic Youth and L7 on the tape deck or XFM and the most we planned for was tomorrow when we knew we’d be grounded for the rest of the week after staying out late but we just couldn’t help it. Why go home and be alone when you can stay out and be together?


  • Deleted Scenes (14:27)
  • The Blunt Truth (4:19)
  • VD Is For Everyone (0:59)
  • Keep America Beautiful: Crying Indian (0:59)

Dazed And Confused doesn’t busy itself with a plot, instead Linklater chooses to simply let us observe his characters as if we’re right there with them. Sometimes they’re just hanging out, other times they’re getting into fights, and at one point we see O’Bannion’s true colours, literally. It’s a nostalgic film, but at the same it’s very poignant, especially when you start to look back on yourself and your friends during that time, realising how simple and trivial your worries and thoughts were.

About Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is a composer and music producer with a philosophy degree. Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and World Cinema, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.