Richard Linklater’s ambitious, acclaimed, experimental coming-of-age film Boyhood offers yet another reminder that this filmmaker has, for more than three decades, built up a career that brims with inquisitiveness and anything-goes sense of invention. Unlike so many others labeled with the ominous words “Great Artist,” Linklater’s work displays a generosity of both spirit and process; he’s notoriously collaborative and prefers a go-with-the-flow vibe on the set. All that has resulted in an amazingly diverse body of work – from early indie hits like Slacker and formal experiments like A Scanner Darkly to studio comedies like The Bad News Bears and the unclassifiable wonders of his Before trilogy with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy.
As his 13-years-in-the-making magnum opus to childhood comes out this weekend, it makes sense to look back on this American original’s career and revisit both his hits and misses. Here are Richard Linklater’s 17 feature films, ranked from worst to best. You don’t have to go through all of them, but it’d be a lot cooler if you diiiiid.