Slackers, Stoners and Scanners: Richard Linklater's Films, Ranked

In honor of his epic 'Boyhood' hitting theaters, we rank all of this pioneering indie filmmaker's work from worst to best

Load Previous
'Dazed and Confused' (1993)
Gramercy Pictures /Courtesy Everett Collection1/17

1. 'Dazed and Confused' (1993)

How hilarious was it that Linklater's teen-movie masterpiece was marketed primarily as a stoner comedy when it first opened? ("See it with a bud!" the ads blared.) That’s not a completely off-the-mark description, exactly, but it's kind of like calling Citizen Kane a movie about a snowglobe. In this portrait of the last day of high school in an Austin suburb in 1976, Linklater lays out an entire ecosystem of adolescence: Love, drugs, bullies, acceptance, not to mention the sense of promise and overall uncertainty that the future holds for these kids on the cusp of the Reagan era. Plus it contains so many great actors, caught right before they hit it big: Ben Affleck, Parker Posey, Milla Jovovich, Renee Zellweger, and, of course, Matthew McConaughey as Wooderson, both the saddest and funniest one of all — a good-old-boy grown-up who's never stopped macking on high school chicks. (Because Wooderson's glory days are clearly behind him…and because the ladies still pick up what he's putting down. All right, all right, all right!) It's a great American film, but it's also fleet, charming, funny, and affectionate — the sort of movie that contains multitudes. You could disappear into it for weeks on end.

Back to Top