A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
The stereotype of American High School students being drunks, rebels and out of control maniacs has transcended through the generations, but to sum it up perfectly as Matthew McConaughey’s stoner character Wooderson puts it “I do love these freshman girls man; I keep gettin’ older and they stay the same age” (In other words, we’ve seen this film time and time again, just under different titles.) If thats not a statement to sum up the last 30 years of generic high school party films I don’t know what is.
“Dazed and Confused” is riddled with subplots and a sizeable cast that covers most stereotypes in the high school book. Theres the loser group, the freshmen, the older girls, the older boys, the ignorant parents, the strict teachers, the angry neighbours, the central freshman character who lands himself in deep water, the thugs, the jocks, the prunes, the nerds but above all else, there are the stoners.
Marijuana is the soul object the film revolves around. Groups of friends and students are completely unrelated to other groups shown in the film, however, more often than not, it’s dope that brings them together.
Films are recognised for their overuse of profanities and alike; “Dazed and Confused” would most likely set the record for the most uses of the word “man” ever in a film.
The storyline is simple, it’s the last day of school in 1976 and the film depicts the multi-layerd stories of what each group of people get up to following the last bell of the year. Parties, drinking and weed dominate all of these subplots. Silly dialogue and near-pointless characters result in “Dazed and Confused” not really amounting to anything; rather, leaving the audience somewhat dazed, but above all confused, and a little underwhelmed.
This is a showcase for young talent, with Mathew McConaughey, Ben Afleck and Mila Jovovic having notable supporting roles, yet they’re nothing special at the end of it all.
One of the main protagonists, Mitch (Wiley Wiggins) is that young freshman student who lucks out by becoming friends with the older students who guide him through his initiation from pre-pubescence into a more adult lifestyle, and he is annoying to say the least.
The only likeable character is Jason London’s ‘Pink’, a football star and all round good friend who is the spitting image of an Elijah Wood/Brendan Fraser hybrid.
With a runtime of 1:45, “Dazed and Confused” appears to have 90 minutes showing the multiple characters’ preparation for a final party, but when it comes to the crunch, the experience overall is anticlimactic and disappointing. It has it’s moments, like the fantastic soundtrack and the 70’s sheen of it all, but after all that wears off, it’s no different to all the other High School films out there.