Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Cult Classics - Dazed and Confused, the Perfect Summer Film

This has seemed like the longest winter in recent memory but good weather this week is certainly a sign that spring and summer are nearly upon us.  For students, the warmer weather also means that summer vacation is inching ever closer and so I thought that it was an appropriate time for my next Cult Classic, a movie that defines the end of school and the start of summer.  Dazed and Confused came out in 1993, but the movie is so accurate that you would think it was truly filmed in 1976.  The film centers on several groups of friends as they try and navigate the often brutal, confusing, and insane universe that is adolescence.  Mitch, the young na├»ve freshman, is caught between two worlds.  He and his friends must evade the seniors at all costs as the annual tradition of spanking the new freshman on the last day of school with homemade paddle boards is alive and well.  After getting cornered at the end of baseball practice and having his rear end mercilessly slapped, young Mitch is taken under the wing of coolest of the cool seniors, quarterback Randall “Pink” Floyd who invites him out for the first night of summer to partake in some serious shenanigans.  Remember, this is 1976 so it’s not just the young boys who must deal with the ever present threat of hazing.  The popular girls led by a young Parker Posey do all manner of humiliating things to the incoming freshman tweens before inviting them out as well, having been officially accepted into their clique.  All high school stereotypes are well represented from the uncool kids who stay in and play cards on the weekends to the stoner, party types whose only focus is keeping the party going.  Crazy cool muscle cars and a soundtrack which is unparalleled including tacks by War, Alice Cooper, Ted Nugent, Sweet, and many others bring even more to this already exceptionally well done film.  The movie also acted as a launching point for some Hollywood heavyweights including Oscar winners Ben Affleck and Matthew McConaughey whose character Wooderson has become a cultural icon that McConaughey continues to embrace, even ending his Oscar winning acceptance speech with Wooderson’s classic line “Alright, alright, alright”.  The film is one unforgettable quote after another and is a perfect way to get excited for the warm weather to come.  So throw on some Aerosmith, roll down your windows and go for a cruise straight back to the summer of ’76.     

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