What is it about Dazed and Confused that makes it such a beloved classic? Wait, first of all, is it beloved? I haven’t a clue, but it is in my heart and it should be in yours.
Anyway, is it the fact that we get to see Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck and Eddie the weird roommate from Friends in their salad days? Yes.
Is it the music? Yes, without a doubt.
Is it the smokin hot high school girls who never get any older wearing those high riding pants? (I feel like there’s a fashion term for them that escapes me… ) Possibly a bit.
But really it’s about being young and blinkered from your future and having huge dreams about the endless possibilities it might hold. And trying to assert your independence and figuring out who you are. That’s pretty broad, but it lands it, and it lands it by capturing that one awesome night, something so many films try to do and fail dismally. The movie follows wide spanning sets of students on the final day of school, and the narrative is just kind of allowed to flow naturally with a nice relaxing realist tone until finally the party just happens. The movie is a hell of a lot of fun too. The hazing or initiation of the new incoming high schoolers is especially amusing to me, seeing as how we’re obsessed with it in our own school system as well. It’s also quaintly innocent, in that there’s no sex and the worst thing the girls call each other are sluts and bitches. (Still, this is pretty bad, because that only makes it okay for the boys to call them sluts and bitches. Thanks, Ms Norbury.) So watching it simultaneously transports you to a different time in your own life and a different era altogether. It’s a groovy tribute to the 70’s small town American youth, and it always touches something sentimental in me, even though it’s a place and time I never knew myself.