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LINKLATER 70'S/80'S DAZED CONFUSED DOUBLE-FEATURE

DOUBLE FEATURE REVIEW OF DAZED AND CONFUSED (1993) & EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! (2016)
DAZED AND CONFUSED: It might have been the 1980's when the tide started to reel back, and kids regarded the decade for what it was, speaking the very word in sentences like: "This is the Eighties," followed by something like, "Don't just stand there chewing on a leaf, take a pill." And that generation, in constantly reminding themselves of who they are and where they were, picking up stuff from a proverbial antique shop of former eras including the streamlined 1950's, the psychedelic 1960's (where the truly great music began), and the decade that Richard Linklater's intentionally unpretentious DAZED AND CONFUSED is set, consisting of a handful of guys and dolls during the last day and night of High School, 1976....

When cars were real men
More than a touch of AMERICAN GRAFFITI with some FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH, OVER THE EDGE (the only actual heavy metal stoner movie made in the 70's) and MY BODYGUARD thrown in, DAZED gets right to the point, and the point has everything to do with the characters, the two leads a wishbone of overall contrary significance: a spooked Freshman and next year's nice guy jock Senior, one trying to survive madman bully Ben Affleck's paddle-swinging wrath and the other in a dilemma on whether or not to sign a "Neo McCarthy" paper having to do with not using drugs to remain on the football team, or something of the nature...

Actually looks more 1960's
Jason London's cool older kid, Pink, takes under his wing this somewhat androgynous victim, ultra vulnerable Wiley Wiggins as Mitch, with a pretty older sister who can't keep the wolves off him, nor can a few good jocks other than Pink including a cocky stud in overalls who thinks only about sex; a perpetually stoned "I'm so wasted" Jeff Spicoli type without the surfboard and, along with Affleck, another future star, Matthew McConaughey as Wooderson, a college aged guy with a penchant for Freshman girls: "That's what I like about these High School chicks... I get older, they stay the same age." And had he lacked charm and perfect looks, with this kind of jailbait attraction, he'd be as notorious as Affleck's O'Bannion, the latter whose very own bullying friends, that would spill pig's blood on Carrie White  had they the chance, don't even like him too much to begin with.

I love... little girls
An important element that works in DAZED can also be viewed as the film's weakest point. That being, nothing really exciting happens save a few car chases and a big end party. Just a scene-to-scene handoff of eclectic dialogue from semi fleshed-out kids that include a teenage "Woodward and Bernstein," sort of the FAST TIMES Damone and Ratner yet more Ratner and Ratner being neither have fought or f***ed as they spend time pontificating, along with their homely yet somewhat cute freshman red-headed friend, wondering if perhaps the 80's will have more excitement in store... This plain yet somewhat attractive young girl is, by the way, who Matthew has his twenty-something eyes set on, and the feeling is mutual...

A Beauty's Beauty
Making for a tinge of frustration since most of the aspects that are set-up for a potentially intriguing resolve never pan out, and the already mentioned big peak party, supposed to have occurred at a suburban home and winding up at a rural location so befitting a limitless great time without police interference, it's a wonder there was another choice where, other than future SAVING PRIVATE RYAN actor Adam Goldberg... as one of the journalism idealists... getting the guts to attempt fighting older, tougher grease-monkey Nicky Katt, nothing really happens but a lot of drinking, smoking and, before, during and after, an endless juke of "Classic Rock" ranging from Alice Cooper to Foghat to Bob Dyan to Ted Nugent to Aerosmith to Nazareth to Black Sabbath and beyond, some of the kids swaying their heads a little too wildly, as if realizing the music's nostalgic importance as opposed to an actual generation so overloaded with great albums that they probably, in real life, took even the grooviest tracks for granite.

A Spanking Affleck
With a breezy, timeworn vibe, DAZED doesn't resemble a "modern day" 1990's Halloween Party with kids dressed in retro clothing since most of the characters don't especially need to "seem seventies, dude," since they're all just, basically, for better or worse, flawed, bullying or bullied youngsters without a war to join or protest, or lofty ideals to enlighten and/or burden their "Free Ride" consisting of a lotta drugs and booze, an ample selection of boys for girls and girls for boys and, especially, the art of hanging out... actually outside... something we don't see much of today, or even when this movie was made circa 1993 – literally one year before the Internet called all kids indoors, and they've (and we've) pretty much stayed put ever since, giving birth to the Millennial Generation, who probably view a film like DAZED AND CONFUSED on par with the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Toke'n Stoner
During one beautifully photographed nighttime scene, as three of the kids, in melancholy repose, stare out onto the dreary lights of the small Texas town from a hilltop, realizing what a drag their lifelong location is, there's a surge of b-story potential to delve further into what makes this particular time-piece tick more than talk. Then again, what seems the film's overall purpose, named after a Led Zeppelin song named after an old blues standard... which is rather misleading since most of the kids are clear-headed and intelligent, even the jocks and jerks... is how deep the kids remain in a generation that seems to have no purpose or destination, on purpose.

JL Adams
Sure, there are somewhat contrived moments when you can imagine director Linklater kiss his writing-pen after creating a few worthy lines befitting his ("typical Hollywood") political leaning (becoming more obvious in the years to come, especially in the Obama-obsessed BOYHOOD), like a young female hippie history teacher giving a quick rant against America, warning the kids not to enjoy The Centennial, 1976... Yet thankfully for us, the viewing and listening audience, Dick provides us a subtle, underwhelming, personal and best yet, unbiased/universal glimpse into teenage life more naturally realistic than fictionally dynamic, and it all, for the most part, works just fine and is actually, come to think of it, more an ambiguous TWO-LANE BLACKTOP than AMERICAN GRAFFITI.

DAZED RATING: ****
TRIVIA: Joey Lauren Adams, one of the kinda cool, cute, loose yet somewhat mean girls, and the ultra villainous Ben Affleck would soon turn up in what's arguably Kevin Smith's worst and best flicks: MALLRATS (co-starring this movie's star's twin brother, Jeremy London) and Ben and Joey led the brilliantly doomed love story (along with Jason Lee) in CHASING AMY • For fans of great old tunes, while some fantastic music is played, it's more of the hit songs you'd find on a "Freedom Rock" compilation as opposed to more obscure tunes from the bands that played their bigger hits herein • Of all the musicians, only Alice Cooper's SCHOOL'S OUT and NO MORE MR. NICE GUY actually fits within the story-line, not just playing with the scene but providing expository along with it • And as you see, at the picture at the top of the review, Alfred Hitchcock's FAMILY PLOT on a marquee, click here for one of that movie's main stars providing a CFF interview about working with Alfred on that very project, the last he'd ever make.

Year Released: 2016
EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!!: A sort of pseudo sequel to Richard Linklater's DAZED AND CONFUSED, being that it's set in the early 1980's instead of the mid-1970's, EVERYBODY WANTS SOME definitely doesn't live up to its name, or, perhaps it does in that a team of college baseball players only think of getting that SOME David Lee Roth sings about on one of the heaviest, more primal Van Halen tracks, but this is far from being a sex comedy....

Much of the film consists of conversations between the team-mates and, unlike DAZED, every character feels like the same exact person. Although there is a leading man who kinda stands out as the new kid in town, and yet he doesn't have trouble fitting in, deleting suspenseful initiation to gain or lose any kind of character arc or development. And while one particularly familiar scene (which actually occurred by yours truly in real life, almost in the exact manner) shows the group's stoner describing the amazing riff of Pink Floyd's brilliant yet obscure, mostly unknown acoustic track FEARLESS, but otherwise, the soundtrack are songs you've heard a thousand times at any and every rowdy barroom. And while DAZED AND CONFUSED is really a film about nothing, it completely works in that the kids actually have a pulse. But EVERYBODY WANTS SOME is thoroughly meaningless from beginning to end, not only a film about nothing but one that lacks pretty much everything, and while successfully capturing the early 80's as being an extension of the late 70's, since any decade takes a few years to actually reshape and evolve, there's neither nostalgic or entertainment value with this group of vapid nobodies, not worthy to waste a good song title on and especially to base an entire motion picture on – the 80's deserve better!

EVERYBODY WANTS SOME RATING: *1/2
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