If Richard Linklater did not exist, I would never have thought his fame would be possible. Here's a director who has found mainstream success in intellectual thought and aimlessness -- not something Hollywood usually takes kindly to.
Slacker earned raves, cult status, and inspired Kevin Smith to create Clerks. Dazed and Confused followed, quickly becoming one of the quintessential high school flicks, merging stoner simplicity with political and social discussion. Before Sunrise charmed audiences with romantic discussion, The Newton Boys revealed interests reaching beyond modern day, Waking Life took on rotoscoping to discuss philosophy, Before Sunset quickly became a widely loved talk-centric romance, then fast food and Philip K. Dick fare, and now time with Orson Welles. (Not to mention those penned by others, like the one-room drama Tape.)
Yet the guy can't catch a flipping break.