After breaking up with his lover and boss, a smooth-talking man takes his teenaged nephew out on the town in search of sex.
Roger Dodger (2002)
After cynical New York advertising copywriter Roger Swanson (Campbell Scott) is dumped by his on-again/off-again girlfriend, Joyce (Isabella Rossellini) — who is also his boss — his painful workday is further complicated by the unexpected arrival of his 16-year-old nephew, Nick (Jesse Eisenberg). After asking to spend the night at Roger’s, Nick reveals that he has come to ask for help—in hopes of ditching his virginal status, Nick begs Roger for a lesson in the art of seduction. Embittered Roger then takes on the role of a nocturnal drill sergeant in an imaginary war between the sexes, starting Nick’s training at an upscale singles bar. There they meet two beautiful women (Elizabeth Berkley and Jennifer Beals) who turn out to be less malleable than Roger expects.
Although this first attempt to seduce women is unsuccessful, Nick chooses to continue the quest, which takes them to a party at Joyce’s. There they find Joyce’s secretary drunk and attempt to capitalize. Once in the bedroom Nick’s conscience gets the better of him and he allows her to fall asleep untouched.
With Roger spinning out of control and Nick’s window of opportunity closing rapidly, they agree to go with the “Fail Safe” plan. This turns out to be an underground brothel. At the underground location Roger finds he cannot let Nick lose his virginity in such an emotionally barren atmosphere, and drags him back to his apartment to sleep things off. Roger has failed to introduce his nephew to the mysteries of the world, but has perhaps gained a glimmer of a conscience. Nick travels back to Ohio but Roger shows up unexpectedly to tutor Nick and his classmates on their home turf, bonding with the younger men in a more potent way in an atmosphere populated by adolescent peers.
At the closing, it is left open which way Nick will go.
Linklater’s 1993 teen biopic Dazed & Confused flits plotlessly across a plethora of teenagers on the last day of school.
In a similar vein to his first feature Slacker, Linklater’s 1993 teenage biopic Dazed & Confused flits plotlessly across a plethora of teenagers on the last day of school, watching their behaviour and listening to their conversations. Carelessly drifting through one afternoon and night; the film has an aimlessness about itself that is echoed in the behaviour of its teenage protagonists. A bushy-haired Ben Affleck stars as an obnoxious bully, and Matthew McConaughey features as a slimy southerner, but the real star here is Wiley Wiggins, playing a freshman who – after the standard paddling initiation procedure – is taken under the wings of the graduates, looking up to them with bright and hopeful eyes throughout.
A sincere snapshot of young life in seventies America, Dazed & Confused is both refreshing and liberating in its refusal to simply exploit teenagers as props for cringe-worthy sex-disasters like many other films about adolescents so often do. The film portrays an accurately wide variety of teen personalities – some dumb, some intelligent, some angry, some laidback – but has time for them all. Declining to poke fun at puberty, yet refusing to become bogged down in nostalgia either, Dazed & Confused simply exists as an intimate observation of a memorable mark on the timeline of a teen – the end of the academic year.
For some it’s the last day of high school forever, for others it is just beginning. But Linklater’s film doesn’t yearn for or regret these years, it simply relives them as they were; days of existing between childhood and adulthood; unsure of the future, unsure of themselves, unsure of how to behave – simply dazed and confused.
It’s the last day of school at a high school in a small town in Texas in 1976. The upperclassmen are hazing the incoming freshmen, and everyone is trying to get stoned, drunk, or laid, even the football players that signed a pledge not to
A brief yet,vivid take on Richard Linklater’s movie, Slacker (1991). Slacker’s exclusive quality is its refusal to commit to character-building rules.
The rumblings amongst the independent film scene during 1991 caused by one of Linklater’s first cinematic efforts named Slacker can be seen in hindsight as a significant sign of things to come. The unorthodox style and attitude of Slacker immediately turned heads in the underground filmmaking community upon its release, and can be seen as the benchmark film to which the form of many of Linklater’s follow-up efforts can be traced. The swirl of intrigue caused by Slacker stemmed from the way in which Linklater directed, wrote and starred in a film that appeared to break textbook rules; defying Film 101 in its refusal to remain with a certain set of characters; instead casually ambling on to take in different people in different places.
Slacker’s exclusive quality is its refusal to commit to character-building rules; not neglecting any of the cast, but simply observing them for a certain amount of time before shifting elsewhere. A whole host of colourful characters are watched, including an anarchist, a conspiracy theorist, a taxi passenger (Linklater himself) and a hippy; all discussing a variety of subjects such as social issues, politics, and life itself. Linklater took the casual, meandering, eavesdropping style of Slacker and incorporated it into the likes of Dazed & Confused and Waking Life later in his career, and its elongated dialogue came to be recognised as his own personal cinematic stamp.
Indeed, whilst Slacker stands alone as a curiously compelling filmic experiment; for those looking into Linklater as a filmmaker it is essential viewing. Not only does it establish the director’s filmic roots, but it is also demonstrative of his skill and style even in his relative inexperience. The film has gone on to influence the likes of other filmmakers (Kevin Smith has often made reference to its inspiration), and can be considered a valuable nugget of independent filmmaking.