Although I have a spotty memory of the seventies (born in 1971, entered kindergarten in 1977), some aspects of the decade DO stand out vividly in my mind.Like the Hanna-Barbera assembly-line cartoons. The Sid & Marty Krofft shows. Hot Wheels cars and their plastic orange tracks. The humongous real-life cars that my parents whisked me around in. My brother's Star Wars action figure collection. My dad's Farrah Fawcett T-shirt. Toys Plus, Woolco, Mr. Music, Cinema I-II-III and the Land of Oz arcade at Galvez Mall. Elton John, Electric Light Orchestra, Doobie Brothers, Donna Summer, Barry Manilow, Van Halen, Led Zeppelin, and Paul McCartney's Wings, all courtesy of my brother's and sister's record and 8-track library. And whatever doesn't come to mind, my parents have tons of pictures and slides for visual aids.
Richard Linklater has a vivid recollection of his seventies life, too. And the way he re-enacts it in Dazed and Confused is flawless and priceless. From the opening shot of an orange muscle car plodding around the high school parking lot with Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion" pumping in your ears, this film takes you on a genuine time warp to 1976-era Central Texas. The scenes and sounds are all there: the truck float featuring the band KISS; the mushroom-style chairs (I do so want one of those); the game room with nary a video game to be found, just foosball, pool and vintage pinball games; and of course an all-star sampling of the tunes from the time.
There's not much of a plot, but there's so much going on with the teenagers in this town that it doesn't really matter. There's the traditional freshmen hazing rituals (the boys get their asses whupped, the girls have to act like babies), keg parties, couples breaking up and making up, stoners getting stoned, and so on.
Much of the fun in seeing this film nowadays is picking out all the stars that were virtually unknown in 1993. The best they could do for star power here was Milla Jovovich, who was a fairly famous model just getting into acting. But look at the others: Jason London. Renee Zellweger. Parker Posey. Ben Affleck. Joey Lauren Adams. Matthew McConaughey. You'd be lucky (or perhaps be Kevin Smith) to get all of those folks into one picture again.I highly (no pun intended) recommend this film for anyone who lived through or has an immense fascination for the seventies.