Happy Belated Birthday to Richard Linklater, who turned 57 yesterday.
I keep meaning to do this top ten because I really love some of Linklater’s films. Then I remember that there are a few I still need to see, such as Tape & Waking Life, which are very likely to knock number ten off this list since I can’t say I liked that one very much.
But time is short these days and I’m unlikely to see my “unseen Linklaters” anytime soon. So I’m doing this list now, which goes like this:
1-3: Love ’em 4-6: Really like ’em 7-9: Like ’em 10: Barely remember it & would rather just watch the original, which is a classic. 11: Ugh.
For now, here are My Top Ten Richard Linklater Movies (that I’ve seen):
Starring: Will Brittain, Zoey Deutch, Ryan Guzman, Tyler Hoechlin, Blake Jenner, Glen Powell, Wyatt Russell
Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB) A group of college baseball players navigate their way through the freedoms and responsibilities of unsupervised adulthood.
I love Richard Linklater and Dazed And Confused is a favorite movie of mine. So, when I heard about this “spiritual sequel” to Dazed And Confused, I was SO excited! Screw all the superhero movies – this one was one of my most-anticipated films for the year. Does it live up to the hype (in my mind)?? Unfortunately, it’s no Dazed And Confused. It’s okay, though. It was an enjoyable afternoon watch (damn – I wanted that to sound more enthusiastic than it does…).
First off, I’ll say that this is a “Guy Movie” much more than Dazed And Confused was. And, hey – I honestly don’t have a problem with that. Stand By Me is a huge favorite of mine & the lack of female characters in that has never bothered me in the slightest – it’s a movie about young male friendships. Not every movie has to pass the Bechdel test to be good! But I suppose the boys in Stand By Me weren’t all “Pussy! PUSSY!!!! Want pussy. We want pussy. Tits. Pussy. Pussy!!!!!” for the entire duration of the movie. Okay – they didn’t say it exactly that way & not for the entire duration of this movie. But it’s not far off… But, hey, I was actually alive already in 1980 (when this is set), unlike a lot of younger bloggers. I think younger viewers may think these characters are exaggerated. Um, no. This is exactly what they were like. I think of the assholes I went to school with and it still amazes me that they found women who actually married them. Ugh. Anyway, don’t worry – not all the male characters are assholes. Linklater has given us a wide range of personalities just like in Dazed And Confused, so you’ll have your favorites & least favorites. The focus of this movie are these male baseball players so it’s fine that the female characters take a backseat. I just preferred Dazed And Confused feeling a bit more balanced in giving us more female characters (most of which were more than just “pussy” – we only get one girl like that in this one).
Look! It’s “the girl”!
Okay – that was my one main complaint that I had to get out of the way. I think it was also sort of a warning to younger bloggers. I honestly don’t think you’ll like this movie if you’re from a younger generation. Sorry – this movie wasn’t made for you anyway (which is fine – most are so it’s nice to have some films made for us old folks). 😉 You won’t have the same sense of nostalgia (thank you for once again giving us a great soundtrack, Mr. Linklater!) and you won’t be able to relate to these characters (or at least understand them since you knew so many guys like them).
My second complaint is that this didn’t feel as “natural” as Dazed And Confused. It felt a little too forced at times. I did appreciate how, through going to several different parties, Linklater shows us several different types of people in 1980 America. The jocks, the stoners, the punks, the disco fans, the drama majors, even the stereotypical country bumpkins. Which was fun! But, like I said, also a bit forced. I suppose it doesn’t help that Dazed And Confused exists so everyone is going to compare the two. Would I like this one more if that one didn’t exist? Yes, I think I most definitely would. The problem is that we’ve seen this movie before but done better.
Okay – I want to round this up by sounding more positive. Because I did like this. If Linklater makes another “spiritual sequel”, I’ll most definitely be watching it! This is an era I love and I’ll always have an affection for movies set in this time period (or, even better, actually made in this time period). To hear the music and see the clothing and the hairstyles and the record players and the cool album covers (actual albums! that you can hold in your hands!!) makes me smile. Oh how I miss that time! I’d go back there if I could (yes – even though the guys could be horribly sexist). At one point the hubby said “do you think younger people watching this will think it’s odd that all these characters are actually talking to each other?”. Yes, I sit here now typing this on my phone. I love my phone. I love technology. But I’d give this shit up in a heartbeat to go back to a simpler time and have proper conversations with people.
My favorite scene was probably when a few of the guys were sitting around (smoking weed, of course) and just chatting about music & The Twilight Zone. One dude was very proud of his big collection of Twilight Zone episodes that he’d videotaped (and labelled with all the episode titles!). I recognized the titles and, when they talked about one specific episode, I turned to hubby & said “Eye Of The Beholder“. In my defense, they chose one of the most well known episodes. But, yeah – I had a very similar Twilight Zone video collection & that character clearly would’ve been my boyfriend out of all the guys in this. And, luckily, he wasn’t totally sexist! Too bad he was a stoner… 😉
As a final note, the hubby & I kept noticing that these relatively unknown actors all seriously looked like existing actors. The hubby thinks that Linklater probably had existing people in mind then hired lookalikes. What do you all think? The main guy is SO Matt Dillon (also a bit like Jason London in Dazed And Confused). And the girl so eerily looks like Lea Thompson. There are a couple that have a total Matthew McConaughey vibe while the hubby swears that one guy is way too Jeremy Piven-like. Oh, and one guy really reminded me of Billy Crudup in Almost Famous (I didn’t realize until afterwards that he was the hot guy in the Teen Wolf TV show. Anyone watch that?? I gave up after season one).
Anyway – time for me to shut up since I’m just rambling now. I enjoyed this but didn’t love it. Maybe it’ll grow on me. It did give me warm, fuzzy, nostalgic feelings, though, which is what I was hoping for.
My Rating: 7.5/10
Look! It’s “the girl” again! 😉
I have to end this with a song as Richard Linklater so carefully chooses the music for his films and he once again has a great soundtrack. I know I should post Van Halen’s title tune but it’s not my favorite. I’m also mostly into rock but, if I’m honest, the below song is probably my favorite from the film. Here’s Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker) by Parliament:
**Oh! I meant to add that there’s hardly any baseball in this movie about baseball players. Thank f*^k! But it’s inspired me to maybe do My Top Ten Baseball Scenes In Movies (from a hater of sports). 🙂