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.
As his tenure nears its end, I find myself becoming strangely sentimental about our president. Watching W.last night, I found myself rooting for him as he makes his way through a series of jobs that don’t stick (this feels familiar) and a failed run for Congress. I even found parts of it (especially the scene where he meets Laura at a backyard barbecue) quite touching.
Compared to other presidents’ biographies, his is undoubtedly on the lackluster and even pathetic side, and yet the average person can probably relate to him better than to Reagan or even Clinton. Maybe that’s how we ended up with a president who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth but didn’t make much of his life and was something of a loser until he ran for governor. Many people can relate to his underachievement, or at least his sense of having to prove himself.
Josh Brolin is brilliant as the title character, and Richard Dreyfuss has got the mannerisms and look of Dick Cheney down to an eerie science. The rest of the cast is almost *too* look-a-like for my taste, but on the other hand it is kind of amazing that they found actors who can so closely resemble and portray all the members of Bush’s cabinet.
As much as it made me wince at times (the gut-level decisions that go on during the meetings about invading Iraq are particularly painful to watch), I was surprised at how much of a good movie and even a historical document this was. Though I don’t have great memories of Bush’s reign in particular, his presidency was the backdrop of a lot of pivotal moments in my life: from my first semester in college (when he was elected) to meeting my husband and getting married. When my (hypothetical) kids ask me why we invaded Iraq, passed the Patriot Act, and reelected George W. Bush, I hope I can point them to this film.