Dazed and Confused (1993)

dazed and confused poster 1993 movie
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Fun young cast

Sometimes relies too much on being cool

Movie Info

Movie Name:   Dazed and Confused

Studio:   Gramercy Pictures

Genre(s):   Comedy/Drama

Release Date(s):   August 1993 (Locarno Film Festival)/September 24, 1993

MPAA Rating:   R

dazed and confused matthew mcconaughey wooderson high school girls wiley wiggins

Older guys hooking up with high school girls is awesome…wait…what?

It is the last day of class in 1976 at Lee High School outside of Austin, Texas.  While Mitch Kramer (Wiley Wiggins) is bidding farewell to middle school, the seniors are out to “initiate” him and his friends to the high school.  A party falls through leaving the night’s plans up in the air and all the students searching the town for the next party.  It is going to be a long night, but a person is only young once.

Written and directed by Richard Linklater, Dazed and Confused is a coming of age comedy.  The film received positive reviews but did poorly in the theater.  It quickly gained a cult following and was even better received over the decades.  The Criterion Collection released a remastered version of the film (Criterion #336).

I feel like Daze and Confused was required watching in college.  A lot of people had the poster on the wall and lines from the movie were floated about often.  As a result, I kind of rejected Dazed and Confused when it was newer, but reflecting back on it, the movie does have a power to it.

dazed and confused hazing parker posey

Ha, ha…hazing is cool….wait…it’s not?

The movie doesn’t have much story to it, but the story it does have is essentially the joys of youth.  While things seem like such a big deal when you are young, it is nice to reflect and see how trivial stuff was.  Things like rites of passage and hazing were acceptable because you wanted to be accepted and just not wasting a moment like the last day of school is important when you are young.  The movie does a good job of capturing that youthful energy of kids just goofing off (and inevitably there’s going to be a fight too).

The movie is noted for the big cast that went on to other things.  Matthew McConaughey’s Wooderson is a scene stealer but Ben Affleck plays the perfect jerk.  Jason London plays the footballer with a question of conscious and Wiley Wiggins is the young character being introduced to the joys of high school.  I particularly like the trio of Marissa Ribisi, Anthony Rapp, and Adam Goldberg who have already outgrown high school, but still want to be part of the mix (that they never were really part of).  The movie also features Milla Jovovich, Joey Lauren Adams, Parker Posey, Nicky Katts, and Renee Zellwegger.

dazed and confused ben affleck paint

The real origin of Batman…

The low-budget movie does capture the feel of 1976.  With minimal sets and locations (mostly shot at night), it smartly made it easier for Linklater to get that look without a ton of money…it just meant some vintage cars and clothing for the most part which worked.

Dazed and Confused is a light, fun movie.  It has aged better than a lot of films due to already being set in the past when it was made.  It is worth revisiting and still can feel like “comfort food” when you feel too old.  Dazed and Confused was followed by the “spiritual sequel” Everybody Wants Some!! in 2016.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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