Dazed And Confused (1993) Director: Richard Linklater

A nostalgic trip back into 90’s indie film

For anyone like me who grew up in the 90’s, Dazed And Confused holds a special place in our film libraries. The film supplies a list of young Hollywood at the time, with such names as Ben Affleck, Matthew McConnaheuy, Milla Jovovich and Jason London.

The film grossed just under 8 million at the box office, but it soon became a cult classic that any kid of the 90’s could relate to. It is often placed in lists for best movie, comedy, and high school films of all time from sources such as Entertainment Weekly and director Quentin Tarantino (who also came to fame in the 90’s). Dazed and Confused

It is 1976 and the last day of school. The kids are planning a party and events for the summer. The senior class of girls pick on new incoming freshmen as a sort of hazing for entering high school. The boys pick on the incoming batch of new meat, by singling out certain students. Once they get a hold of those students they initiate them with a beating from a paddle. The original party location gets broken up by one of the kid’s parents, and as a result the kids run amok around town. After things have settled a little, everyone gathers at the local hangout, where they play pool. This is where we are introduced to David (Matthew McConaugh’s character), who is an older guy eager to prey on the high school girls.

The music throughout the film helps carry it from transition to transition, providing that sense of nostalgia and jams we all sing at the top of our lungs in our cars when we think no one is looking. The film concludes with a large party in the woods where there is no shortage of excitement.

The impact Dazed And Confused had on independent film is huge. It provided a generation with a voice and helped progress the careers of young stars. It was based in Austin, Texas, a place I personally call home. Austin is currently booming with the film industry and quickly becoming a go-to place for film life. The continued and current success in this city can be partially attributed to Dazed And Confused. The director and writer, Richard Linklater, has gone on to do great things such as School of Rock and his recent success Boyhood.

Still from Dazed and Confused with Jason London

Richard Linklater is a staple on the Austin film scene. He often hosts or judges at local film festivals, writes about Austin film and contributes a lot of his personal life to the local film community. Dazed And Confused is the 90’s anthem to teen rebellion. It is almost impossible for a 90’s kid to not know about Dazed And Confused: for good reason – the film left a stamp of brilliance, a sense of simplicity that is so articulately done that it still impacts us 20 + years later. Film review score: 4.5/5


Preston Corbell is an Austin, Texas based filmmaker/actor and clothing designer. Check out Preston’s latest film here

Dazed and Confused is part of our EPIC ongoing film review series: Lust for Life: The Music of Film, where Step On magazine writers take a look at all the films about music and made of great music that are the soundtrack of our lives. Lust for Life banner