Has it really been 20 years since Dazed and Confused Came Out?
Like most middle-class Americans reaching their formative years in the late 1990’s/early 2000’s, I yearned to have grown up in the 1960’s and 1970’s. I devoured books and movies about Woodstock. I joined BMG Music Company so that I could fill my CD case with albums that were released twenty years before I came into the world.
Oh wait, not everyone burned incense in their bedrooms while listening to the local classic rock station before upping their game to the boxed sets from bands like Jefferson Airplane and Led Zeppelin? Looking back on my life between the ages of 11-18, it’s really no wonder why my father, upon examining my report card sophomore year in high school asked me, “Are you on drugs?” Apparently that question is not something only asked in movies.
And so it should go without mentioning that one of my favorite all-time movies is Dazed and Confused, a story with very little enduring plot, some wickedly funny lines, and very terrible acting. But a lot of pot, partying, sex, and teenage angst, malfeasance and antics.
In an article written last week by Mike Ryan at the Huffington Post, he writes why Dazed and Confused would never work today. He cites the passage and a Chuck Klosterman article about the acceleration of culture and it’s ability to shorten the distance between cultural events. For instance, in 1993 when the movie came out, 1976 felt like a different amount of time ago than 1996 does to 2013.
I was 11 when Dazed and Confused came out. Someone recorded the album for me onto a blank cassette. That’s how I listened to the both soundtracks and hearing songs that appeared on the albums still brings me back to the bedroom in the front of my parent’s old house on Hampshire Circle. Very Wonder Years.
20 years have passed. Randy “Pink” Floyd and his friends would be in their late 30‘s. The film still finds itself as a period piece, a look back into a time in America that I never knew, although I wanted to very badly. I happened to re-watch the movie over the summer. And, in honor of it’s anniversary, I think it’s time to address them.
What did O’Bannion do that Mitch Kramer made hate him so much?
One of the plot lines of Dazed and Confused was that the incoming seniors would get to essentially attack incoming freshmen with paddles. This rite of passage seemed to be embraced by the community, except of course, by the incoming freshman (and Carl Burnett’s mom). When O’Bannion (played by Ben Affleck) caught Mitch and Carl in front of Carl’s house, Carl’s mom confronted him with a shotgun and the boys were ushered inside. Seconds later, the two freshmen opened the door and mocked O’Bannion.
Why, then, was O’Bannion seen as the asshole here? Eventually he caught up with Mitch and his pudgy friend, but never Carl (the biggest flaw in the movie. Carl was the most unlikeable character in the film). But for the rest of the movie, O’Bannion is the jerk, not the freshmen punks who had to be saved by their friend’s mom.
Second O’Bannion-related query: They make mention of the fact he flunked his senior year. Wouldn’t that make him ineligible to play football the next year?
Why did Jodi Kramer take such a liking to that freshman girl?
While the freshman boys were being paddled, the incoming freshman girls were being humiliated in a town parking lot. They were kidnapped – essentially – brought to a parking lot where they were called bitches, had food thrown all over them then transported home in the back of pickup trucks and driven through car washes. Somewhere in the mix, Jodi, Mitch’s older sister, took Sabrina under her wing. Invited her out, took her to parties. I’ve watched this movie roughly 90 times and I still have no idea why a pretty 17-year-old took a shine to an awkward 8th grader.
Another important question: What did Tony and Sabrina see in each other? There is more chemistry between the assistant football coach and Benny than these two lovebirds.
Could Kevin Pickford’s parents really not smell the weed in his bedroom?
In one scene, Kevin’s parents are packing to go away for the weekend. Their son is planning on throwing a major end-of-the-school-year party. While they pack, Kevin is upstairs with Randy, his girlfriend, and Slater. He’s selling them weed. They are smoking the aforementioned weed in his bedroom.
When the keg delivery comes early, thus blowing up their plan for the big party, Kevin’s parents come to his room to ask him about the delivery. They spray some Lysol and fan the incense to mask the smell. Kevin’s dad walks in, asks about a party. Does he not smell the marijuana? If so, why doesn’t he say something? If not, he would have to be so dumb that he couldn’t put together that there was a party that night, right?
Last question on this topic: If you were throwing a large party when your parents were going out of town, wouldn’t you be helping them under the guise of “shit, let’s get them out quickly to eliminate any hold-ups” rather than smoking weed in your bedroom?
Did Mitch throw a complete game? How many hits did he give up?
Along these lines, did people really hang out at Little League games? Did they sell the beer at the game or did the guys bring it? Where were Mitch’s parents? If he were that good of a pitcher, don’t we assume they’d be there at the game watching him? And, if not, how did he get there? Wouldn’t the parent who drove him there (and was presumably driving him home) be suspicious that a group of senior boys were waiting to escort him out of the field gates, drunk and holding paddles? Wouldn’t anyone in the crowd be suspicious?
What was really the best line in the movie?
I’m assuming the most memorable line in my people’s memory of the movie came from Wooderson. Chances are it is, “That’s what I love about these high school girls. I get older, they stay the same age.”
The best line, though, is a different one by Wooderson, and it’s when things really start to pick up in the movie.