Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Essentials- Dazed and Confused (1993)

The Essentials-#19

Dazed and Confused
There was a certain time in everyone's life when things began to change. There was a certain time when you were young, but you were thinking about life and what kind of person you wanted to be. There came a night where you looked yourself in the mirror and said "I am going to have a party at my house, my parents won't be there, I am going to drink this, I am going to take that, if I get caught, whatever, what happens will happen and eventually it too shall pass." There came a time where you sneaked out of your house late at night.  With every single person I knew in high school and college, there eventually came a time when they said "I don't give a shit." Me personally? By my sophomore year of college, I was open with my parents that I had been drinking underage with my friends. Something that I thought would be a startling revelation actually was pretty natural. "Dazed and Confused" captures that time in a young person's life where we ignored consequences and just went with the flow. 

In "Dazed and Confused," we follow a bunch of different high school cliques on the first night of summer. Whether it's freshman trying to score before school, high schoolers trying to prove their work, super-seniors being cool, or just seniors trying to prove their seniority, there at least one person everyone can relate to. The film forces the audience to tap into their younger days, and a great part of how the film pulls that off is through the cast. I have so many favorite characters that its hard to narrow it down. Matthew McConaughey's David Wooderson is instantly iconic, easily one of my favorite overall movie characters. But I also really loved Wiley Wiggins portrayal of Mitch Kramer, a freshman trying to get girls before high school starts. He definitely got me to reminisce memories of my freshman high school days, and for that I give him credit. I also really dig Rory Cochrane's Ron Slater, he's very funny in this.

There is also Jason London, Milla Jovovich, Ben Affleck, Parker Posey, Adam Goldberg, Shawn Andrews, Nicky Katt, Sasha Jenson and Michelle Burke who all give outstanding performances. What the film does effortlessly is move through each clique with ease. We never feel like we didn't get to know somebody, not one character feels left out or not flesh out appropriately. The movie does a great job with character development, better than most films released on a regular basis. I also love that even though the film is rich with characters, the movie still manages to feel like a blur, just like what a night like that would feel like in the real world. 

At the end of the day, my love for this movie boils down to its ability to flash me back to my younger days. Many movies try to evoke that kind of thinking from its audience, but very few are successful in its attempts. "Dazed and Confused" is the real deal. Each actor is perfect for their role, each piece of music compliments its scene beautifully, the humor, drama, its all there, treated with the utmost respect. If I went another 10 on my "Best of the 1990's" list a few weeks ago, you could count this movie on the list. For now, it will always be a movie I love a lot. 

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