I can’t think of too much to write in regards to this movie, at least in appreciation terms. This movie clearly garnered a lot of love over the years but I just don’t feel the same. I liked minimal aspects of this film and most of that boiled down to the choices of outside music on the soundtrack. The story, in my eyes, was hardly there, full of macho bullying and babble about high school futures, it never felt inspiring to me, maybe it’s because I’m now older, not American or didn’t grow up in the 70’s but there was near to nothing in the film that livened me up.
Mega opening paragraph than normal aside let’s mosey on over to the plot of this 1993 Linklater film. Basically it is the last day of high school and the year is 1976, the movie follows seniors and upcoming freshman on their trials and tribulations in the aftermath of school’s out. Expect paddle beatings, young loves and stoner hangouts.
The film does achieve the style of the 70’s with ease and strength at least and every corner of the screen oozes with that sense of the period. The characters are dressed right, the vehicles and surroundings are typically American 1970 hangouts and the soundtrack is pumped with loud and proud rocky tunes. It’s the confident and brilliant selection of tracks used that felt the best thing to me. The range of artists from KISS to ZZ Top and Alice Cooper to Black Sabbath just demonstrates the kind of style the music possesses. It can switch songs so often that it feels like you’re watching some fast paced music video channel but that’s the only weakness I can think of in terms of the best feature of the movie: the soundtrack supremo.
I guess this film has a lot in the way of respect and interest in kickstarting a few big named actors careers. You can see the likes of Matthew McConaughey, Parker Posey, Milla Jovovich and Ben Affleck in their youth here and that does come with a degree and sprinkling of cool. The movie is also clearly set up for the freshman/senior divide but does well in blending the age gap to follow the plight of one severely ass paddled kid called Mitch, as he breaks into the mould of the seniors and becomes more adult in one night. That was the most interesting story arc I thought and it was played believably by Wiley Wiggins.
There are some relatively fun moments, such as mailbox bashing and O’Bannion’s soaking but on the whole the majority of the film kept me pretty dazed and confused by how unexciting it is, it didn’t have a hold over me of inspirational magic that everyone else seems to comment about it. I honestly felt bored by it. I didn’t want to use that word but it’s how I felt. Shame because I wanted to get caught up in the rebellious high school attitudes and behaviours but I was just waiting for the film to end.
The music is proper good, some of the film in parts looks or feels cool but overall I’d say this film is just sort of alright alright alright.