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.