No title better sums up the state in which high school leaves you — sometimes for life — than Dazed and Confused. The movie gets things right, too. Writer-director Richard Linklater — whose cult hit, Slacker (about Texas dropouts), was resolutely right now — has gone retro. Linklater set his new social satire in 1976, with a soundtrack of great relics ranging from Aerosmith to ZZ Top. It's the last school day before summer, and scarily, it all looks familiar. Trying to get blitzed on grass, beer, music, brawling and sex clearly transcends time. Hey, the world sucks.
Dazed is as postmodern and cool (huh-huh) as Beavis and Butt-Head. We know plots suck, too, so nothing much happens. Pink (Jason London), the school quarterback, and his babedogging pals Slater (Rory Cochrane) and Don (Sasha Jenson) get a little heated about Pink's decision not to sign the coach's pledge against drugs and alcohol. And eighth-grader Mitch (Wiley Wiggins is a star in the making) gets radically hazed.
Linklater, 31, is a sly and formidable talent, bringing an anthropologist's eye to this spectacularly funny celebration of the rites of stupidity. His shitfaced American Graffiti is the ultimate party movie — loud, crude, socially irresponsible and totally irresistible.