Todd Gaines’s review published on Letterboxd:
The unofficial official sequel to Dazed and Confused finds Jake, a college freshman baseball pitcher, spending the weekend before classes start, hanging out with his new teammates, and doing the things you would expect a college kid to do.
Dazed and Confused is comfort food to me. I've seen it more times than I can count, and it's not only my favorite Richard Linklater film, it's easily one of my favorite movies of all time. This isn't officially a Dazed sequel, but it sure feels like one. From the opening car tracking shot, to the music that fits 1980 to almost perfection, to the most awesome wardrobe and facial hair our characters wear, to the cool hangout spots, to the people Jake encounters on his weekend adventure, to a coach that means well, to the Gilligan's Island reference, and of course, a little bit of clean and old fashion hazing. It's like Dazed's Mitch Kramer grew a foot, developed muscles, received a baseball scholarship, and stopped constantly flipping his hair and touching his nose. If you dig Dazed like I do, you can't help but smile.
Richard Linklater has a directorial style that's easily recognizable. You know when you're watching a Linklater film. Mainly, it's the free flowing dialogue about nothing, but in reality, the dialogue is really all about L-I-V-I-N. Probably, my favorite dialogue exchange, is a telephone call between Jake and his potential love interest, Beverly. You know, people actually talking on phones, with actual cords on them?
The mood is set for a 1980 Richard Linklater Universe. The way the kids interact with each other. The short shorts the fellas wear. The zero consequences free flowing sex. The most amazing facial hair ever. The disco dancing. The booze. The bong. The cowboy bar. The occasional fight. The ping pong pimpin'. The 3 hour punk rock tour. All of these things, are guided by a soundtrack that's almost pitch-perfect accurate. Look, it's all good Foreigner's Urgent is playing while goofy mustache boy is putting on piss aftershave. Yeah, the song was released in 1981, but who cares, it fits the scene just right. Speaking of the music, who wants to rap Rapper's Delight with me?
The actors. A mix of familiar with unfamiliar. Remind you of another Linklater movie? This is mostly seen through the eyes of our lead, Jake. He's likable, but oddly a little bit boring. I like the supporting cast, and I think with rewatches, I will fall for more characters. On this watch, my first watch, the characters who stood out for me are ladies man Finn, sports stud McReynolds, drunk fuck freshman Plummer, uptight Coma, and hick Beuter. Honestly, the only person I eventually recognized is the fella Finn. He's the one guy from Scream Queens. Remember, most are in 80's gear, and kinda hard to recognize. Another oddity is I didn't like stoner Willoughby or 95 mph pitcher Jay as much as I thought I would. To me, both actors tried too hard. Instead of rolling with the flow.
I like movies that make me laugh and leave an endless smile on my face. There's a lot of fun in this flick. Look, it ain't Dazed, and it never will be. However, I have a feeling, I will be revisiting this a lot over the years. That, makes me excited!!