"All I'm saying is that if I ever start referring to these as the best years of my life, remind me to kill myself."
Randall "Pink" Floyd
It's beginning to look like this will be the year of Richard Linklater, and man do we need him.
Coming later this year we will get "Fast Food Nation," a fictionalized take on Eric Schlosser's best-seller, and before that the trippy, animated Philip K. Dick story "A Scanner Darkly." And before all that, we now get the Criterion treatment of "Dazed and Confused."
I can still remember that, when this came out, I had only the vaguest idea who Linklater was. As I was passing through the Tate Student Center at UGA, however, my friend Eric Rayburn, not a noted film afficionado but an all-around good guy, grabbed me by the arm and pulled me into a long line with the promise of "a free movie about the '70s." Well, not needing any more incentive than that, I went along for the ride.
We've all seen this story about Texas high school kids on the last day of school in 1976 by now, and it's classic moments are almost too many to list in one post. Matthew McConaughey in that sleazy mustache, trying to pick up high school girls. Ben Affleck looking like he belongs in "Deliverance," out to paddle anyone he can find. Parker Posey barking at all those "freshmen bitches" and falling down drunk at the moontower. If you somehow haven't seen it, trust me, there's nothing bad here.
Although I loved it instantly, I do remember having the nagging sensation that noone ever had this much fun in high school. Well, at least, I didn't, but we won't get into that.
Here, according to the IMDB, are the Criterion goodies: An audio commentary by Linklater; "Making Dazed," a 50-minute documentary by filmmaker Kahane Corn; A 72-page book featuring new essays by Kent Jones, Jim DeRogatis, and Chuck Klosterman, plus character profiles, and memories of the film from cast and crew; the original film poster designed by Frank Kozik; on-set interviews and behind-the-scenes footage; footage from the 10-year anniversary celebration; audition footage, deleted scenes and the original trailer.
Unless someone wants to buy this one for me, and I won't stop you, I'll have to wait until I get back from Germany. All my money and mojo are focused on going there this Friday for the first round of the World Cup, so the blog will be going on hiatus for about two weeks starting then.
The Boys of Baraka
For a cheaper DVD alternative this week, don't look past "The Boys of Baraka."
My brother convinced me to see this little documentary, and I'm glad he did. It focuses on a group of 12-year-old boys from Baltimore, which unfortunately has never been Charm City for them. They all volunteer to leave their rather depressing surroundings to go to a special school just for them in rural Kenya.
There's plenty of opportunity to manipulate our emotions here, but filmmakers Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady want none of that. They mostly just let the boys tell their stories as they have plenty of trouble adapting to being in, well, the middle of nowhere. You get to decide for yourself if any of this was a good idea.
As an extra, you get a conversation with Bill Cosby, who never misses an opportunity nowadays to talk about black men in America, usually in starkly unflattering terms. Even if you're tired of him, and I'm certainly getting there myself, this one is still at least well worth a rental.
Monday, June 05, 2006
Posted by Reel Fanatic at 6:21 AM