Dazed and Confused

Dazed and Confused ★★★½

[66]

Quintessential “hang out” movie, charming with both its nostalgic aura and upbeat, stars-to-be cast; I’d seen this before but somehow completely forgot that Ben Affleck was in it. And not only is he in it, he’s essentially a 1970s version of douchey, quasi-macho flunky he’d come to play later on in GOOD WILL HUNTING. That’s hilarious to me in ways I can’t explain. (I have an unabashed soft-spot for old-school fuck-boy Affleck, I guess?) Favorite character is still Wooderson, though, who completely steals the show whenever he’s on screen. There’s a reason the most oft repeated lines from the film belong to Wooderson; he turned the repetition of the same word, thrice, into a memorable axiom. Surprised this time by Adam Goldberg, who was way funnier than I ever gave him credit for or cared to remember (“Yeah, I bet she’s pretty cute once you clean all the shit off of her.”). Conversely, couldn’t stand Joey Lauren Adams (who thankfully doesn’t have that much screen time) or Wiley Wiggins (who is unfortunately in the movie far more often) years ago, and still can’t…especially Wiley, who makes Mitch far too sterile and dopey a character to embrace. The sluggish look in his droopy eyes, his lackadaisical smirks, or the strange way in which he’s always awkwardly touching the bridge of his nose for no apparent reason, just infuriate me endlessly. Continue to be 50/50 on Rory Cochrane’s stoner; hilarious at times yet embraces the ‘clouded-out’ persona a bit too tightly. Everyone else, for the most part, is good-to-great—Sasha Jenson as the ‘bro-licious’ counterpart to Affleck, Anthony Rapp as the pasty albino conservative dweeb, Milla Jovovich as the exquisitely subtler female reflection of Slater, and Shawn Andrews, who just kind of ‘exists’ within the realm of the movie, for seemingly no other reason than to throw party that ceases to exist, but feels integral nonetheless. This was also the first time I realized there’s no “point” to DAZED AND CONFUSED; no conflict, no resolution (unless you count Pink’s inner-turmoil about signing an agreement to forfeit summertime fun for a spot on the football squad, in which case—bigtime high-school probs, am I right?). It’s a scrapbook of students (and ex-students) hanging out, riding around, causing minor mayhem, getting stoned, drunk, and busy on the last day of school. Despite the lack of premise, or perhaps because of it, the film never bores, and aside from maybe ALMOST FAMOUS, I’m having trouble thinking of another movie that has since had a more kickass soundtrack.

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