Despite the fact that it's June and the temperature is still laboring to crack 70 degrees in New York City, school's almost out for summer. And you know what that means: 'Tis definitely the season for a new edition of perhaps the most quintessential beginning-of-summer movie ever made, 'Dazed & Confused.' In stores today is the Criterion Collection release of Richard Linklater's love letter to the pot-smoking, beer-swilling, Aerosmith-listening, directionless high-schoolers of the 1970s. Man, it sure is a relief that the youth of America have changed so radically since then -- and by "changed so radically" I mean that they now listen to decidedly crappier music.
So what does this version of 'Dazed' offer that the previously released Flashback Edition and plain old regular edition (which, of course, is the one I own) do not? For starters, this is by far the best this film has ever looked, thanks to a high-definition digital transfer. If you're a girl, that means a clearer picture of Matthew McConaughey kicking ass as the never-too-old-for-high-school-chicks Wooderson. And if you're a guy, it means it's easier to see Ben Affleck's O'Bannion cry after getting doused in white paint by some freshmen. Other perks are a copy of the original movie poster and a 72-page collector's book featuring 'Dazed'-themed essays from the likes of Chuck Klosterman (if you haven't read his book 'Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs,' please do so now). The true treasure, though, is the extensive behind-the-scenes footage of the notoriously fun shoot, rare cast interviews and footage of then-unknowns such as McConaughey, Affleck and Joey Lauren Adams auditioning for roles. The verdict: You can't put a price on memories, and this flick will give you plenty of good ones. That's what I love about'Dazed & Confused.' I keep getting older; it stays just as cool.Dazed & Confused, Richard Linklater, Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck, summer movies