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Universal Studios Home Video presents
Dazed and Confused: Flashback Edition (1993)

Tony: So, you're not gonna go to law school? What do you wanna do then?
Mike: I wanna dance!

- Anthony Rapp, Adam Goldberg

Review By: Dan Heaton  
Published: November 18, 2004

Stars: Jason London, Wiley Wiggins, Rory Cochrane, Sasha Jenson, Michelle Burke, Adam Goldberg, Anthony Rapp, Matthew McConaughey, Marissa Ribisi
Other Stars: Shawn Andrews, Cole Hauser, Milla Jovavich, Joey Lauren Adams, Christin Hinojosa, Ben Affleck, Jason O. Smith, Parker Posey, Deena Martin, Nicky Katt
Director: Richard Linklater

MPAA Rating: R for pervasive, continuous teen drug and alcohol use and very strong language
Run Time: 01h:42m:12s
Release Date: November 02, 2004
UPC: 025192544828
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A AA-A- C+

DVD Review

The story seems all-too familiar: It's the last day of school and the kids are energized by the summer break. They spend the night driving around town, drinking and using drugs, searching for love, and getting involved in all types of mayhem. Have you seen this type of movie before? Undoubtedly, the answer is a resounding "yes." What's different about Dazed and Confused? Everything. Writer/director Richard Linklater uses the typical formula and converts it into a fun, insightful picture that works for any time period.

The film takes place in May 1976 at a small Texas town where the kids have little to do but look for the next party. The jocks, stoners, geeks, and everyone in between come together for a crazy night of fun. Mitch Kramer (Wiley Wiggins) and his buddies have just graduated from junior high school, and as an initiation ritual the high school seniors pursue them with paddles. The older guys are led by the oafish Fred O'Bannon (Ben Affleck), who seems more concerned with this frat-like activity than the fact that he flunked his classes. A more kid-friendly jock is Randall "Pink" Floyd (Jason London), who plays quarterback but hangs with a different crowd. His attention is focused on a required form presented by his coach to join the team. It prohibits the typical party activities, and he vehemently refuses to sign it.

These small plot elements only provide a minor portion of this compelling film, which avoids focusing too much on any specific aspect. None of the characters (even the idiot O'Bannon) are written as one-dimensional, which makes even the possibly creepy characters understandable. Wooderson (Matthew McConaughy) is a much-older guy who still spends his time hanging with the high schoolers. His outlook is explained in the following quote: "That's what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age." This character does seem a bit scary, but he's played as just another guy in the town who parties with everyone. Even his interest in the intellectual Cynthia (Marissa Ribisi) isn't set up for any type of nasty payoff. It simply provides a few brief moments within a much-larger palette. With so many characters involved, you might think the stories are difficult to follow. However, the scenes flow incredibly well and continue to gain energy throughout the feature.

The huge cast includes many actors who would go on to achieve huge success in Hollywood. Affleck and McConaughy both do a great job and avoid their usual over-the-top attempts at charm in recent Hollywood comedies. Parker Posey and Joey Lauren Adams both play small parts, and each one would go on to succeed within the burgeoning world of independent film. Wiggins rarely appears in films these days, but his performance as the innocent Mitch is one of the movie's best. Other notable faces like Adam Goldberg, Cole Hauser, Nicky Katt, and Milla Jovavich showcase the skills that would make them household names today. All the actors understand their roles and play them well, which brings authenticity to the overall environment.

Linklater (Slacker, Suburbia) is a master at crafting dialogue that feels real without being dull, and he weaves together the multiple stories wonderfully. The events do include significant underage drinking and drug use, but the tone remains enjoyable and reflects the crazy times of youth when the pressures of life barely existed. The characters' largest worries are finding a site for the party, hooking up, and just having a great time. Linklater appears to truly understand the feelings of each character, ranging from Adam Goldberg's Mike, who wants to "dance" and forget about law school, to Rory Cochrane's Slater and his obsession with marijuana. Nothing feels contrived or unnecessary, which leads to a fascinating and touching experience.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: Dazed and Confused utilizes an impressive 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that offers excellent colors and a clear picture. Although the story does not really require a majestic transfer due to its dialogue-heavy moments, it still enhances the film's success. The entire presentation remains solid and avoids the grain sometimes inherent with release for modest-budget pictures.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Frenchyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: One of the most important elements of Dazed and Confused is its rockin' soundtrack of '70s classics, and the audio presentation must be top-notch. Luckily, this release provides 5.1-channel Dolby Digital and DTS transfers that should please fans of the music. The dialogue is also very clear, and the sounds resound well from all the speakers. The DTS transfer has a bit more depth, but you can't go wrong with either option.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 16 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, Spanish, French with remote access
9 Deleted Scenes
Production Notes
Weblink/DVD-ROM Material
Packaging: custom cardboard cover with sl
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. "The Blunt Truth" insitutional filmstrip
  2. Retro public service announcements
  3. Vans commercial
  4. DVD Credits
Extras Review: This "Flashback Edition" of Dazed and Confused promises attractive extras not included on its original DVD release, but that is hardly the case. The only significant supplement directly related to the picture is the collection of nine deleted scenes, which run about 15 minutes. The reasons for the cuts mostly relate to length and some unnecessary and repetitive information. It is interesting to note the prominent place of Ben Affleck's O'Bannion in these scenes. The film makes him out to be the jerk who even the cool kids hate, but he actually seems more like one of the guys here. Much of the remaining time is occupied by Parker Posey and Joey Lauren Adams, who sit on a car and take several shots at a fairly dull scene.

This disc also includes some fun bonus features that relate to the time period and partying. "The Blunt Truth" is a ridiculous filmstrip that chronicles the dangers of drug use, and it has some very silly narration that almost has to be fake. Two retro public service annnouncements also provide some silliness, especially the "crying Indian" piece about the environment. The only remaining extras are DVD Credits and a brief commercial for Vans.

Extras Grade: C+


Final Comments

During my freshman year in college, the most popular film in the dorms was easily Dazed and Confused. We watched it countless times and still found the characters' antics to be amusing and worthwhile. Over subsequent years, I've heard very similar stories about this film's place during that time from several other friends. Richard Linklater's entertaining picture will hopefully continue to provide enjoyment for young viewers many years into the future. This Flashback Edition may not offer any compelling extras, but it is highly recommended for people who failed to purchase the original release.


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