It’s may 28th, 1976, and the last day of the academic year at Robert E. Lee High School. Most of the kids are skipping classes, smoking weed no gearing up for a big house party. However, the only big thing on Randall ‘Pink’ Floyd’s (Jason London) mind is the contract the school’s football coach wants all the returning players to sign, stating that they won’t drink or do drugs over the long, hot summer, for fear of it damaging their chances for their supposed upcoming championship season. Pink doesn’t feel like giving up his freedom, and it puts a bit of a damper on the last day; another tradition of which is for the class of ’77 to traumatise next year’s intake. Amongst them is Mitch Kramer (Wiley Wiggins) who is the biggest target thanks to the request by his popular older sister. These thoughts and activities continue as the day goes on, right up to the house party that doesn’t quite go to plan…
Dazed And Confused is Richard Linklater’s 1993 modern American masterpiece that echoes ’70s school life for so many people. I wouldn’t know myself, but according to what I’ve read, Dazed And Confused gives a pretty accurate portrayal of the time, and is considered to be an all-American classic by some of the Hollywood greats.
The film made a lot of people famous – for the likes of Jason London, Wiley Wiggins and Matthew McConaughey (yes), it was a major breakthrough. However, and I don’t want to sound snobby or anything when I say this, Dazed And Confused used a cast that was made up of quite a few very young members, and there was the odd person whose lack of experience was evident. Despite this though, the film wasn’t any less enjoyable.
London as Pink was great. He really showed the struggles faced by someone in his position – something I kind of feel like I can relate to. Throughout the whole film, Pink was trying to figure out whether or not he would play football for his school next year; the year in which the team’s coach truly believed that would taste real success. Pink would’ve had no problem playing for them, but his coach was asking him to give up too much. Along with the rest of his team mates, Pink was going to have to sign a contract saying he wouldn’t do anything over the summer that would even remotely thwart their chance of winning. Now, I don’t know about anybody else, but I fell like this reflects the way schools are perfectly. They want you to spend five days a week in their company, and complete every last piece of homework they set you, plus a little extra independent study on the side. Then, just incase what they’ve given you isn’t enough, you’re expected to do one hour’s classroom assistance every week. And on top of all that, if you’re daft enough as a newcomer to the school to offer to take part in one extra curricular sporting event (me), then you have to expect be drafted into every future sporting event the school signs itself up for, or else risk getting it from both barrels off yet another teacher who pretty much hate your guts. They say that your school days are the best days of your life, but with the pressure and expectations weighing down on us, they aren’t. Apologies for the rant, but what I’m saying is the character of Pink resembles the way I know I feel, and also the way I’d imagine many other young people do too.
As I said earlier on, Dazed And Confused made the way for some of today’s biggest stars. Ben Affleck played O’Bannion, the school idiot (because there always has to be one), Matthew McConaughey played Wooderson, an ex-student who is a friend of Pink’s, and Milla Jovowich played a stoner hippie girl. Today, that would be a big-budget ensemble cast, but back then, they were all relatively unknown, unaware of just what was to come for them all.
Other than that, however, I don’t really know what to say. Dazed And Confused will touch all young people with the way it portrays the dilemmas of coming of age brains upon us all, and it’s a hugely enjoyable film with some quotes that really will reach out to you. But, and here’s the funny thing, there’s not an awful lot of substance to it. As good a film as it is, Dazed And Confused isn’t all that earth shattering which could very well be the magic of it all.