I was a kid once, only in the 80s not the 70s as portrayed here. I lived in a small town where (Australian equivalents of) the jocks, the cheerleaders, the geeks, dweebs, stoners and ‘normal’ kids had no choice but to mingle. There simply weren’t enough kids available to sort into nice and neat allotments.
During this time I learned how difficult it is utilise alcohol to its full benefit as a party-starter without it becoming a party-ender. I learned that big, strong and dumb will inevitably beat small, cocky and smart-arsed – usually with its fists. And I learned that in a small town only a few of the prettiest girls are looking for ‘companionship’, and that they invariably gravitate toward the guys who just beat down the smart arse…
So watching Dazed and Confused brought no startling realisations or awakenings. The only pleasure that it elicited was when it reminded me of my own coming of age, and these are recollections that I can summon at will if/when relevant.
In fact for the most part the shenanigans on display here were either duller than my own experiences – or at least things I personally witnessed – or aggressively viler and less amusing than anything I saw. How the American teens can call something as reprehensible and humiliating as school initiation ‘endearing’ or view same with rose coloured glasses has me shaking my head.
But as with everything Hollywood does, they at least clean up the rough edges. All of the teens here are sure footed and for the most part well spoken, they drink to excess but never babble incoherently, slur their words or (gasp) vomit copious amounts of rainbow coloured regret. So while this might be more aesthetically pleasing and far less offputting on the eyes, it isn’t nearly as true to label as it claims.
This is Revenge of the Nerds without the nudity and hijinks. Superbad without the laughs. Stand by Me without the endearing characters and compelling story.
But I continue; Every female is a hottie. Every guy adheres to their allotted stereotype, especially (yawn) the stoners. And at the end of the biggest night of their lives, they’ve all probably learned some valuable lesson that will no doubt shape their lives.
My valuable lesson is this; rely on your own memories.
If your childhood was less exciting than this then I hope you are enjoying the highly paid job and expensive home that your studiousness helped generate. If your childhood was as exciting as this – or ideally moreso – then stick to your own recollections. Deriving enjoyment at the antics in this film, which is as hilarious and action packed as a police procedural, is like stealing product packaging and leaving the product behind. I don’t have it, but I can pretend I once did.
Final Rating – 5 / 10. If you must waste two hours, pull out a yearbook, or better yet ring a mate and say ‘Remember the time when…”