The definitive oral history of the cult classic Dazed and Confused, featuring behind-the-scenes stories from the cast, crew, and Oscar-nominated director Richard Linklater.
Dazed and Confused not only heralded the arrival of filmmaker Richard Linklater, it introduced a cast of unknowns who would become the next generation of movie stars. Embraced as a cultural touchstone, the 1993 film would also make Matthew McConaughey’s famous phrase—alright, alright, alright—ubiquitous. But it started with a simple idea: Linklater thought people might like to watch a movie about high school kids just hanging out and listening to music on the last day of school in 1976.
To some, that might not even sound like a movie. But to a few studio executives, it sounded enough like the next American Graffiti to justify the risk. Dazed and Confused underperformed at the box office and seemed destined to disappear. Then something weird happened: Linklater turned out to be right. This wasn’t the kind of movie everybody liked, but it was the kind of movie certain people loved, with an intensity that felt personal. No matter what their high school experience was like, they thought Dazed and Confused was about them.
Alright, Alright, Alright is the story of how this iconic film came together and why it worked. Combining behind-the-scenes photos and insights from nearly the entire cast, including Matthew McConaughey, Parker Posey, Ben Affleck, Joey Lauren Adams, and many others, and with full access to Linklater’s Dazed archives, it offers an inside look at how a budding filmmaker and a cast of newcomers made a period piece that would feel timeless for decades to come.
In this exhaustively researched debut, Vulture founding editor Maerz weaves an intricate oral history of Richard Linklater's 1993 cult classic film Dazed and Confused. Based on more than a hundred interviews with Linklater, the film's cast, studio executives, and others, Maerz digs into Linklater's childhood; the success of his previous film, Slackers; and production details, including the casting of then-unknowns Ben Affleck and Matthew McConaughey. Open hedonism and drama among the young cast ("behind the scenes, these kids were unleashed") made for a rowdy on-set experience, and Linklater was later hit with class-action lawsuits by real-life characters Bobby Wooderson, Rick Floyd, and Andy Slater, who felt they were misrepresented in the movie. Maerz insists that it is "nearly impossible" not to identify with the film's characters or situations, but also scrutinizes the reasons behind the film's glaring lack of diversity ("Texas was still pretty segregated, even in the '70s") and shines a spotlight on behind-the-scenes misogyny ("There's a demeaning of women that goes on that's just normal"). Maerz's debut is much like Linklater's film inconclusive, but it's one any cinephile would be happy to check out. \n
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A must read for fans of the movie.