Monday, June 05, 2006

Still "Dazed and Confused"

"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.


carrie_lofty said...

"I wanna dance!!"

Run, do not walk, to find a copy of Tape by Linklater (2000). Bizarre, but this film seems to have slipped through the cracks for even some of his biggest fans. Only three cast members - Robert Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke, and Uma Thurman - do battle about the past in a one-room hotel set. Good stuff.

But yeah - Scanner is on my must see list this summer.

PS - Which WC game(s)? My husband is from England and he (like everyone from England) is currently cheering for Trinidad and Ivory Coast (against Sweden and Argentina, of course)!!

Reel Fanatic said...

Hey Salome ... I have somehow managed to miss "Tape," but I will definitely check it out! .. As for the World Cup, I'm going for the first round with my brother and his ragtag crew of soccer geeks from Minnesota .. we have tickets for the U.S.'s three games, against Ghana, the Czech Republic and Italy ... We may try to scalp our way into watch a couple more, but who knows .. I can't wait

ryang said...

Sincerely jealous of your WC tix, but like Wooderson said, "you gotta keep livin' man ... L-I-V-I-N."

ryang said...
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ryang said...
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themarina said...

I'm soooo looking forward to "A Scanner Darkly". It pairs a number of faves of mine (including Linklater) and to be honest, I have a hard time thinking that he could mess it up. Can't wait.

As for WC, have a great time and (although I have no idea who you're cheering for) if you happen to catch Portugal at a game, make sure you send Figo a great big cheer for me.

Reel Fanatic said...

I don't think we'll get to see Portugal in action, Marina, but who knows ... as for me, I am a proud member of Sam's Army who will do my best to be a not-too-ugly American

themarina said...

Reel...I'm sure you'll do a great job. Just stay away from the French! hehehe