Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Dazed and Confused (1993)

 Stay-In-Bay Days July 4, 1976 

There's a script festering in the vault of my mind, it takes place during the Bicentennial, and once upon a time this blog was dedicated to Bicentennial research.  I wrote the first act of that piece in 24 hours, and I have yet to complete the second, but it will get there. It's all waiting for me. Yes, for sure it is. But for right now, let's celebrate the Fourth of July in style, hopped up on allergy medication and pain relievers.

My experience of the mid-to-late 1990s, as someone in his mid-to-late 20s, was a treasure-trove of long-lost childhood memories. As Gen-Xers were resigning themselves to prolonged adultescence (okay, I just read that word yesterday in The New Yorker) we as a cohort group jumped into the deep end of our subconscious, digging up nuggets long-thought lost.

The "World Wide Web" barely existed, you could not yet "google" the phrase "Saturday Morning Cartoons" and get a thousand "YouTube" videos of every show you saw when you were five. Instead, there were 'zines circulating celebrating childhood ephemera. I still have my three-issue series of Ben Is Dead (1995) which was an encyclopedia called Retro Hell chronicling pop culture of the 1970s and early 80s. I had no idea I had forgotten so much.

Dazed and Confused (1993) was Richard Linklater's second major release. Taking place on the last day of school in 1976, I had the great fortune to watch it first with my brother Denny, who finished his freshman year in high school at the same moment in history.

"Okay, guys, one more thing, this summer when you're being inundated with all this American bicentennial Fourth of July brouhaha, don't forget what you're celebrating, and that's the fact that a bunch of slave-owning, aristocratic, white males didn't want to pay their taxes." - Feminist lady teacher in "Dazed and Confused"

My brother and I also watched The Ice Storm (1997) together. Though enjoyable, he noted several minor, historical inaccuracies which would only be visible to someone who had been living in 1973. He found Dazed and Confused startling it its detail. During the credits, establishing the exterior of, and then moving into, the high school, he leaned over and said, "They only need a Bicentennial mural somewhere and it will be perfect."


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