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Dazed and Confused

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Richard Linklater
Produced by Richard Linklater
Sean Daniel
James Jacks
Written by Richard Linklater
Starring Jason London
Rory Cochrane
Wiley Wiggins
Sasha Jenson
Michelle Burke
Adam Goldberg
Matthew McConaughey
Marissa Ribisi
Kim Krizan
Parker Posey
Music by Various artists
Cinematography Lee Daniel
Editing by Sandra Adair
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Gramercy Pictures
Release date(s) September 24, 1993 (1993-09-24)
Running time 103 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Gross revenue $7,993,039

Dazed and Confused is a 1993 coming of age film written and directed by Richard Linklater. The film's large ensemble cast featured a number of future stars, including Matthew McConaughey, Jason London, Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, Cole Hauser, Parker Posey, Anthony Rapp, Adam Goldberg, Joey Lauren Adams, Nicky Katt, and Rory Cochrane. The film depicts a group of teenagers during the final day of school in 1976.

The film grossed less than $8 million at the U.S. box office, but in recent years has achieved cult film status. Quentin Tarantino included it on his list of the 10 greatest films of all time in the 2002 Sight and Sound. It also ranked third on Entertainment Weekly magazine's list of the 50 Best High School Movies. The magazine also ranked it 10th on their "Funniest Movies of the Past 25 Years" list.

The title of the film is derived from the Led Zeppelin song of the same name.[1] Linklater approached surviving members of the band for permission to use their songs in the film, but, while Jimmy Page agreed, Robert Plant refused.[2][3]

Contents

Plot

It is May 28, 1976, the last day of school at Lee High School in Texas. Next year's seniors are preparing for the annual hazing of incoming freshmen. Randall "Pink" Floyd (Jason London), the school's star football player, is asked to sign a pledge promising not to take drugs during the summer or do anything that would "jeopardize the goal of a championship season." When classes end, freshman boys are hunted down by the seniors at the local middle school for paddling. The freshman girls are also hazed as they are rounded up in the school parking lot by senior girls, covered in mustard, ketchup, flour, and raw eggs, and forced to propose to senior boys.

Freshman Mitch Kramer (Wiley Wiggins) escapes the hazing with his best friend Carl Burnett (Esteban Powell) when Carl's mom pulls a shotgun on Fred O'Bannion (Ben Affleck) but is eventually cornered at his baseball game, where he is violently paddled. O'Bannion, a senior participating in the hazing tradition for a second year after failing to graduate, takes special pleasure in punishing Mitch. Pink gives the injured Mitch a ride home and offers to take him cruising with friends later that night. Plans for the evening are ruined when Kevin Pickford's (Shawn Andrews) parents discover he is to host a keg party. Elsewhere, the intellectual trio of Cynthia Dunn (Marissa Ribisi), Tony Olson (Anthony Rapp) and Mike Newhouse (Adam Goldberg), known as the class nerds, decide to go out and "viscerally" participate in the evening's activities. Floyd and his friend David Wooderson (Matthew McConaughey), an older guy who still socializes with high school students, pick up Kramer and head for the Emporium, a pool hall popular with the teenagers.

As the evening progresses, students loiter around the Emporium, listen to rock music, cruise the neighborhood and stop at the local hamburger drive-in. Kramer is introduced to sophomore Julie Simms (Catherine Morris), with whom he shares a mutual attraction. Mitch, cruising again with Pink, Kevin, and Don Dawson (Sasha Jenson), drinks beer and smokes marijuana for the first time. They play mailbox baseball, but a neighborhood resident brandishing a handgun catches them and threatens to call the police. They barely escape, but not before the resident fires at their car, narrowly missing. After returning to the Emporium, Kramer runs into his middle school friends. They hatch a plan to get revenge on O'Bannion, who continues to haze freshmen students. The plan culminates with them dumping paint on O'Bannion.

After the Emporium closes, an impromptu keg party is planned outside of town in a vacant field, attracting most of the seniors. Cynthia, Tony, and Mike arrive at their first keg party. Mike has a confrontation with tough guy Clint Bruno (Nicky Katt). Afterwards, Tony runs into freshman Sabrina Davis (Christin Hinojosa), whom he met earlier during the hazing. Surprisingly, they begin to hang out together. Even more surprising, Dunn likes Wooderson and exchanges phone numbers with him. Mike, suffering from the humiliation of his confrontation with Clint, decides to make a stand and picks a fight with him. The fight is quickly broken up by Pink and David. Football player Benny O'Donnell (Cole Hauser) confronts Pink about his refusal to sign the pledge. Pink, the only player to have not signed, believes it violates his individuality and beliefs. Mitch leaves the keg party with Simms. They drive to a nearby hill overlooking town to make out. Tony gives Sabrina a ride home and they kiss good night.

As night turns to dawn, Pink, David, Don, and several friends including Ron Slater (Rory Cochrane) and Simone Kerr (Joey Lauren Adams) decide to smoke marijuana on the 50-yard line of the football field. The police arrive on the scene and, recognizing Pink, call football Coach Conrad (Terry Mross). Conrad lectures Pink about hanging out with "losers" and insists that he sign the pledge. Disgusted, Pink throws the pledge into the coach's face and says that he might play football, but only on his terms. Pink leaves with his friends to get tickets to an Aerosmith concert. Mitch arrives home after sunrise, but finds his mother has waited for him. She decides against punishment due to the previous evening's hazing incident. Mitch goes to his bedroom, puts on headphones and listens to "Slow Ride" by Foghat. Pink, David, Ron, and Simone travel down a highway en route to purchase Aerosmith tickets.

Cast

Reaction

Dazed and Confused was released on September 24, 1993 in 183 theaters, grossing $918,127 on its opening weekend. It went on to make $7.9 million in North America.[4]

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Reviews

The film received mostly positive reviews from critics and has a 97% "Certified Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Film critic Roger Ebert awarded the film three stars out of four, praising the film as "art crossed with anthropology" with a "painful underside".[5] In her review for The New York Times, Janet Maslin wrote, "Dazed and Confused has an enjoyably playful spirit, one that amply compensates for its lack of structure".[6] Desson Howe, in his review for The Washington Post, wrote, "Dazed succeeds on its own terms and reflects American culture so well, it becomes part of it".[7] In her review for The Austin Chronicle, Marjorie Baumgarten praised Matthew McConaughey's performance: "He is a character we're all too familiar with in the movies but McConaughey nails this guy without a hint of condescension or whimsy, claiming this character for all time as his own".[8]

Rolling Stone's Peter Travers praised Linklater as a "sly and formidable talent, bringing an anthropologist's eye to this spectacularly funny celebration of the rites of stupidity. His shitfaced American Graffiti is the ultimate party movie -- loud, crude, socially irresponsible and totally irresistible".[9] In his review for Time, Richard Corliss wrote, "Linklater is surely no ham-fisted moralist, and his film has lots of attitude to shake a finger at. But it also has enough buoyant '70s music to shake anybody's tail feather, and a kind of easy jubilance of narrative and character".[10] Entertainment Weekly gave the film an "A" rating, and Owen Gleiberman wrote, "Yet if Linklater captures the comic goofiness of the time, he also evokes its liberating spirit. The film finds its meaning in the subtle clash between the older, sadistic macho-jock ethos and the follow-your-impulse hedonism that was the lingering legacy of the '60s".[11]

Legacy

Entertainment Weekly ranked the film #17 on their list of "The Top 50 Cult Films",[12] third on their list of the 50 Best High School Movies,[13] 10th on their "Funniest Movies of the Past 25 Years" list,[14] and ranked it #6 on their "The Cult 25: The Essential Left-Field Movie Hits Since '83" list.[15] Quentin Tarantino included it on his list of the 12 greatest films of all time in the 2002 Sight and Sound poll.[16]

The Criterion Collection released a two-disc boxed-set edition of the film on June 6, 2006 in the U.S. and Canada. Features included an audio commentary by Richard Linklater, deleted scenes, the original trailer, the 50 minute "Making Dazed" documentary that aired on the American Movie Classics channel on September 18, 2005, on-set interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, cast auditions and footage from the ten-year anniversary celebration. Also included is a 72-page book featuring new essays by Kent Jones, Jim DeRogatis, and Chuck Klosterman as well as memories from the cast and crew, character profiles and a mini reproduction of the original film poster designed by Frank Kozik. Entertainment Weekly gave it an "A" rating and called it a "fine edition grants this enduring cult classic the DVD treatment it deserves".[17]

Soundtracks

Dazed and Confused (1993)

Dazed and Confused 1993 Motion Picture Soundtrack
  1. "Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo" - Rick Derringer
  2. "Slow Ride" - Foghat
  3. "School's Out" - Alice Cooper
  4. "Jim Dandy" - Black Oak Arkansas
  5. "Tush" - ZZ Top
  6. "Love Hurts" - Nazareth
  7. "Stranglehold" - Ted Nugent
  8. "Cherry Bomb" - The Runaways
  9. "Fox on the Run" - Sweet
  10. "Low Rider" - War
  11. "Tuesday's Gone" - Lynyrd Skynyrd
  12. "Highway Star" - Deep Purple
  13. "Rock and Roll All Nite" - KISS
  14. "Paranoid" - Black Sabbath

Even More Dazed and Confused (1994)

  1. "Free Ride" - Edgar Winter Group
  2. "No More Mr. Nice Guy" - Alice Cooper
  3. "Livin' in the USA" - The Steve Miller Band
  4. "Never Been Any Reason" - Head East
  5. "Why Can't We Be Friends?" - War
  6. "Summer Breeze" - Seals and Crofts
  7. "Right Place, Wrong Time" - Dr. John
  8. "Balinese" - ZZ Top
  9. "Lord Have Mercy On My Soul" - Black Oak Arkansas
  10. "I Just Want to Make Love to You" - Foghat
  11. "Show Me the Way" - Peter Frampton
  12. "Do You Feel Like We Do" - Peter Frampton

Book

In September 1993, St. Martin's Press published a 127-page, softcover book (ISBN 0-312-09466-3) inspired by Richard Linklater's screenplay. It was compiled by Linklater, Denise Montgomery, and others, and designed by Erik Josowitz. It was presented as a kind of yearbook, with character profiles, essays by characters, a time-line focusing on the years 1973 to 1977, and various 1970s pop culture charts and quizzes. It also featured dozens of black-and-white photos from the film.

Some of the material contained in the 1993 book was reprinted in the 72-page book included with the 2006 Criterion DVD.

Lawsuit

In October 2004, three of Linklater's former classmates from Bellaire High School, whose surnames are Wooderson, Slater, and Floyd, filed a defamation lawsuit against Linklater, claiming to be the basis for the similarly named characters on the film. The lawsuit was filed in New Mexico rather than Texas because New Mexico has a longer statute of limitations.[18]

References

  1. ^ Mindjack - Interview - Richard Linklater
  2. ^ http://nsfc.zap2it.com/nsfc/cda/index.jsp?p_state=8&DvdId=100068&ts=1173833040623
  3. ^ Led-Zeppelin.org. "Led Zeppelin Assorted Info". http://www.led-zeppelin.org/reference/index.php?m=assorted3.  
  4. ^ "Dazed and Confused". Box Office Mojo. http://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=dazedandconfused.htm. Retrieved 2009-02-10.  
  5. ^ Ebert, Roger (September 24, 1993). "Dazed and Confused". Chicago Sun-Times. http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/19930924/REVIEWS/309240302/1023. Retrieved 2009-02-10.  
  6. ^ Maslin, Janet (September 24, 1993). "Nervously Contemplating Life After High School". New York Times. http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9F0CE7DB133BF937A1575AC0A965958260. Retrieved 2009-02-10.  
  7. ^ Howe, Desson (October 22, 1993). "Dazed and Confused". Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/style/longterm/movies/videos/dazedandconfusedrhowe_a0b004.htm. Retrieved 2009-02-10.  
  8. ^ Baumgarten, Marjorie (September 24, 1993). "Dazed and Confused". The Austin Chronicle. http://www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Calendar/Film?Film=oid%3a138648. Retrieved 2009-02-10.  
  9. ^ Travers, Peter (December 8, 2000). "Dazed and Confused". Rolling Stone. http://www.rollingstone.com/reviews/movie/5947243/review/5947244/dazed_and_confused. Retrieved 2009-02-10.  
  10. ^ Corliss, Richard (October 11, 1993). "A Toke of Our Esteem". Time. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,979352,00.html. Retrieved 2009-02-10.  
  11. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (September 24, 1994). "Dazed and Confused". Entertainment Weekly. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,308072,00.html. Retrieved 2009-02-10.  
  12. ^ "The Top 50 Cult Films". Entertainment Weekly. May 23, 2003.  
  13. ^ "50 Best High School Movies". Entertainment Weekly. http://www.ew.com/ew/gallery/0,,1532588,00.html. Retrieved 2009-04-21.  
  14. ^ "The Comedy 25: The Funniest Movies of the Past 25 Years". Entertainment Weekly. August 27, 2008. http://www.ew.com/ew/gallery/0,,20221235_15,00.html. Retrieved 2008-08-27.  
  15. ^ "The Cult 25: The Essential Left-Field Movie Hits Since '83" list". Entertainment Weekly. September 3, 2008. http://www.ew.com/ew/gallery/0,,20221982_19,00.html. Retrieved 2008-09-04.  
  16. ^ Tarantino, Quentin. "Sight and Sound Top Ten Poll 2002". Sight and Sound. http://www.bfi.org.uk/sightandsound/topten/poll/voter.php?forename=Quentin&surname=Tarantino. Retrieved 2009-04-21.  
  17. ^ Labrecque, Jeff (June 2, 2006). "Dazed and Confused". Entertainment Weekly. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,1200017,00.html. Retrieved 2009-04-21.  
  18. ^ Peter Carlson (2004-12-08). "Bummer, Man Portrayed as Potheads In 'Dazed,' Trio Has A New Joint Venture: Suing the Filmmaker". The Washington Post. washingtonpost.com. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A45614-2004Dec7.html. Retrieved 2009-11-17.  

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