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Dazed And Confused

Dazed And Confused

By Patrick Samuel • April 6th, 2013
Static Mass Rating: 4/5
Universal Pictures

Original release: September 24th, 1993
Running time: 103 minutes

Wrier and director: Richard Linklater

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

Dazed And Confused

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.

Unfortunately Kevin Pickford’s (Shawn Andrews) parents find out 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. 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.

Dazed And Confused

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. 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?

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.

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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