Coming-of-age films are like wine—they get better with age.
Unlike most flicks, however, Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused is one of those which have gained and retained a cult following. This 25-year-old classic is no more than your quintessential adolescent movie, parang Bagets (1984) or Pare Ko (1995). Following a large group of teeners starring Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, Jason London, Adam Goldberg, Cole Hauser, Nikky Katt, Rory Cochrane, and Parker Posey, the plot revolves around the life of various students during the last day of high school in 1976.
So, what makes it special?
A narrative ahead of its time
When speaking about high school, most would claim that it’s supposedly the best time of our lives. Hmmm… baka sa iba siguro? What this movie gets is that it isn’t all peachy like some would like to remember. With Dazed, the characters are slightly more angsty, bored, and cynical in comparison with ’80s movie teenagers.
Basically, it’s a rather long day that shows a colorful image of how it is to be young in Texas—yet it’s so much more than that. As Chuck Klosterman puts it, “Dazed and Confused is a movie about how things are remembered.” It’s how memories would unfold if you try to stroll down memory lane: you are sure about most parts, uncertain of a few, and definitely made up some bits to fill the gaps.
Big picture, fleeting moments
Dazed is a film with no sturdy story, but it remains to be so significant because of how close it is to reality. It wasn’t defined by specific circumstances much like movies we watch for nostalgia on Netflix these days.
It’s built with a grounded view of a certain day that rolled out varying takes of life in high school—regardless of who you are. It’s simply the collective visuals of moments we miss yet can’t remember clearly at the same time. Like so many group projects we worked on, ’yong pinaka-controversial na chika about a peer, or plain Facebook tags na wala nang nakaka-alala kung anong ibig sabihin.
It radiates charm until the present, when it’s no different being a teen. Days are still filled with anxiety, confusion, and monotony—sans bell bottoms and ringer tees.