During my freshman year of high school, my best friend and I had an ongoing and not very fruitful debate about who was hotter/more awesome: Eddie Vedder (who had long hair and played music and thus was the essence of hotness in my fourteen-year-old mind) or Matthew McConaughey, whom my friend preferred. A Time to Kill had come out that summer and Matthew McConaughey was a rising star, though too beefcakey and blond for my taste at the time.
I don’t remember watching Dazed and Confused for the first time, but it was in the mid-nineties and I think I was still harboring my grudge against a certain actor. I didn’t know anything about Richard Linklater and I was still in high school myself, so I don’t think I got the whole nostalgic-for-high-school looking-back-on-an-era thing. I surely didn’t grasp the awesomeness that is this movie. I mean, just look at this:
D&C was the first major film for a ton of no-name actors that would go on to be famous (Parker Posey, Ben Affleck, Adam Goldberg, Joey Lauren Adams, Jason London) but McConaughey really makes the movie. There really are no words:
Fourteen years later, I’ve gotta call it a draw in the Vedder/McConaughey debate. It’s clear McConaughey’s got something special going on, though I almost wish he had become a character actor instead of a leading man. I think he’s a lot more appealing and funny this way.
On a side note, Dazed and Confused came out in 1993, seventeen years after it was set (in 1976). It’s been seventeen years since 1993. I think it’s time for a Linklater nostalgic high school film set in the early nineties with another crop of undiscovered talent.
*I actually got these from my local library (my favorite new video store), but they are 100% Netflix-able.
Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002). Three Aboriginal girls are forcibly taken from their families by the government in the 1930s. The film chronicles their epic journey back home. Kenneth Branagh is randomly in this as well, which is funny to me because it’s a pretty small part and he’s such a big deal (and such a great Shakespearean actor).
I’ve said before that I like learning about history through movies (the sensationalism makes it interesting, you know) and this is not only a typical story of the “lost generation” of Aborigines (well, except for the long journey home part), but was written by a woman about her own mother’s experience. The the making-of documentary is also worth watching. It shows the director in the process of casting and training three girls to play the leads. Though it’s their first time acting, they do a very convincing job in the movie. It’s fascinating to see what their personalities are like off set. Also interesting to note that the director was looking for Aboriginal girls that white people could “see as their own children.” I’m not quite sure what to make of that.
Bad Education (2004). I’ll admit I picked this one up soley because it stars one of the few actors that really does it for me in the hotness department: Gael García Bernal. Even when he’s rocking a mullet and unflattering 70s/80s garb:
And even when he’s cross dressing:
The hotness cannot be contained. I think this might be my favorite of Pedro Almodóvar’s movies, as it’s not needlessly complicated, and no women are objectified. For some reason the fact that it’s only men that are victimized makes me less inclined to believe thatAlmodóvar is a straight-up misogynist. I’ve come around on his movies, and want to go back and watch All About My Mother and Talk to Her again.
At any rate, if you can stomach the theme of child molestation by a priest (thankfully it’s all suggested, not acted out), this is a very enjoyable film with lots of excellent eye candy and clever story-within-a-story twists.
By now, most everyone has heard of Flight of the Conchords. Season 2 is now on HBO, I hear. But for those of us who don’t have television or cable, Netflix is the way to go. I just got Season 1 in the mail, and it’s about the greatest thing in the world. Here are two of my favorite songs from Season 1: