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Sweet emotion: A ‘Dazed and Confused’ review

By Thomas Jose
for New Wave Productions

Classic cars, stolen Kiss statues, and good ol’ bat licks. That’s what we got when Richard Linklater tried to make an anti-nostalgic film, and in his own words, “(I) just couldn’t, even though I had characters in the movie saying that the 70s suck” portray the crazy(hazy) times of the rock & roll culture of seventies americana.

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Dazed and Confused is a nostalgic trip like none other. Drawing parallels from American Graffiti, Linklater pays homage to the classics. Subtle references to Psycho and The Night of the Hunter are seen playing out nonchalantly through the film.

The success of this cult classic is its casual treatment of the plot. Plot? There really isn’t a plot. It’s these series of interactions with loveable characters that you identify and effortlessly relate to.

The last day of school has its ups and downs. Be it the humiliating hazing or the vandals out on a beer run, the film invites us to a house party that gets busted even before it starts.

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Now its up to the crazies high on the spirit of youth and then some to reclaim the evening. The air is looming with Aerosmith and Alice cooper while bullies, greasers, pot heads and athletes cross paths.

The interesting thing about Dazed and Confused is the narrative that is bigger than a single story. It’s a mood film, an immersion into a year book interlaced with the most popular rock hits of that time. It’s a window into how we would remember our school days; exaggerated, full of energy, teenage romance and rivalries that are all stakes when everyone wants to ‘rock and roll all night and party everyday’.

And what a party indeed! Funnels attached to kegs of cheap beer, alien conspiracies and first kisses.  

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Tuesday’s gone when the night sky slowly breaks in light. The rush slows down as the the feels train picks up pace and we see a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle with racing stripes cruise towards the horizon. The music sets in, the credits play and how does all this make you feel? ‘Alright Alright Alright’.