Thursday, January 19, 2012

839. SLACKER (1991)

Running Time: 100 minutes
Directed By: Richard Linklater
Written By: Richard Linklater
Main Cast: Richard Linklater, Kim Krizan, Marc James, Stella Weir, John Slate

Note: I wanted to make a few notes, before I begin my actual post. 1) I forgot to mention it yesterday, but "Smiles of a Summer Night" was my 500th post on this blog - yet another cool milestone to bask in. 2) I've mentioned it a few other times before, but wanted to give anyone who may be reading this book or anyone who may be interested in buying a copy of the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die" book, a head's up. The running times are almost always wrong! They're usually only off by a few minutes, but still, 90% of the time they're not accurate. 3) I've downgraded my Netflix back to "2 movies out at a time" and so "Bergman Week" will probably be interrupted quite frequently by movies that are currently streaming or movies that I own. And now, on with the show.


This leaves the streaming portion of Netflix in a few days, so I figured why not give it a look and avert adding it to my "At Home" queue. I watched it last night and avoided writing the review immediately because A) I was dead tired and B) I needed some time to think about it.

I say this a lot nowadays, but to relay the plot of this movie to you would be next to impossible, so I'll try to sum up the entire movie in a short paragraph. The film is Richard Linklater's first and is set in Austin, TX. The film follows dozens of twenty-somethings through a twenty-four hour day, as they talk about a wide range of topics, including JFK assassination conspiracies, alternate realities and Madonna's pap smear. The film begins with Linklater himself getting into the back of a taxicab and relaying a dream he had to the driver. He rambles on and on for a solid seven minutes about dreams, alternate realities and how every path on the yellow brick road in "The Wizard of Oz" is it's own movie. Some time later, he exits the cab, crosses the paths of another character and then we follow that particular character for five minutes or so, never to see Linklater again.

The most notable thing I took away with this movie is how well it captured 90s America. I was born in 1984, so I'm not quite part of Generation X. However, I am right on the outskirts of it and saw how teens and twenty-somethings acted in the early 90s. I'm not sure of the statistics, but you get the sense that the 90s is when a lot of things that used to be unheard of, started to become normal. Kids began dropping out of college at a higher rate, we started sleeping until noon and 1pm and we really lost a lot of our ambition. This film really captured that and really shows what it was like to be a college age person, living in America, in the early 1990s. Long haired men, donning jeans and logo t-shirts, of which about 50% were a part of a garage band. You had this influx of thinkers, who really had nowhere to take their thoughts, and would sit around in coffee houses and spout ideas. Such as people who thought they had all the answers on the JFK assassination and how much of a conspiracy was going on in Dallas, despite the fact that they weren't living then.

I could understand anyone saying they didn't like this film, because it's not an easy movie to like. In fact, I wasn't even sure if I liked it at first. But as I spent the day whirling it around and around my head, I realized that it must have left some kind of impression on me, because I couldn't stop thinking about it. The dialogue, while sometimes nonsensical, is actually really good and it's shouldn't be a surprise that this was Kevin Smith's inspiration for making "Clerks". There were moments during this film where I couldn't help but think, "This is so stupid", but then five minutes later I'd be mentally praising it for being so clever. It's an odd one to get a read on, even from my own perspective, but I think it's one that will work for the right audience.

RATING: 7/10 For the record, I do think that that Linklater's later efforts, "Before Sunrise" and "Before Sunset" would have been more suitable candidates for this "must see" text. However, as it is, this is Linklater's only film in THE BOOK.


January 19, 2012 5:43pm


  1. Maybe I was in the right mood that day, but for some reason I really enjoyed this one. So much so I even bought it. So,OK, I've not managed to re=watch it yet..

  2. I watched this after seeing Boyhood, which was my favorite movie of 2014. I have to say I was disappointed. I enjoyed the concept of going from one conversation to another. I just didn't enjoy most of the conversations.

    Boyhood was the first Linklater film I really enjoyed. I still haven't seen the Before trilogy, which is on my to do list.

    My rating: 6 out of 10

    1. See I'm the opposite, I've actually sweetened a little more on this one and I didn't like Boyhood that much at all. To each their own...

      And Ray, I'm sorry I never replied to you. I assume this was back when I was a jerk and didn't reply to all the comments. I'm actually surprised you liked this one and even more surprised you bought it. Wondering what you'd think on a rewatch.

      Thank you both for comments!

  3. Well, thank you now!
    Yes, I guess I was somewhat surprised as well.. And when I say I bought it.. that was only because it was in a charity shop and probably about £1 . and I'm afraid I haven't got round to re watching it...
    But I still Feel I remember rating it.
    I've not seen boyhood. The picture, and the impression it's about .. well, kids.. is making me avoid it.. Am I wrong to do so?

    1. For me, the kids thing wasn't a big deal and you know how much I dislike films with children in main roles. For me, it was the fact that I consider myself a big Linklater fan and this was just disappointing. I felt like had this movie not taken 12 years to make, no one would've recognized it and that it's praise began and ended with that little fact. The 12 year thing is impressive, but it did not make a good movie. The whole thing is very mediocre, especially Arquette's performance, for which she received an Oscar.


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