Richard Linklater

Richard Linklater is my GenX boy. Great 90s movies.

Slacker (1991) -- This floating from one character to the other goes to the floating nature of each of the intriguing characters in a way that doesn't get old. I don't mind the overuse of the word slacker or the term Generation X, and I don't care if people put me in that camp. I'd feel honored. A

Dazed and Confused (1993) -- I probably need to watch this again, but I recall it being a great little movie, a 90s version of the 70s like American Graffiti's 70s version of the early 60s. Great cast of young folks. B

Before Sunrise (1995) -- Some say it's boring or that they hate the characters; not me. I like both of them and I would follow them for another hour and a half if I could. A

Suburbia (1997) -- A really good movie that combines the slackerness of Slacker with the the ensemble of Dazed and Confused. B

The Newton Boys (1999) -- Why Linklater turned from doing his own kind of movies (unless somehow this is) to the worst bankrobber movie I've ever seen, I don't know. The usually good actors in this movie look like they're high school students doing a bad play with bad moustaches. Plenty of "we've seen this" rip-off like the banjo music (Bonnie and Clyde) when they're getting away from the crime or whatever. Crappy. I'm ashamed. F

Waking Life (2001) -- Basically a documentary of people talking false-intellectual bullshit without the director being aware of its bullshittiness and expecting us to be enthralled by it. And as far as the "technologically innovative" animation, it's basically just rotoscoping, which has been around since the beginning. I fast-forwarded from character to character to pick up on the plot (which finally developed somewhat after 45 minutes, after no one cared), and it was just one of those "nature of dreams and reality" things (though the movie was better when the discussion focused on this instead of just ranting). Sure, Slacker was essentially the same thing, people talking about this and that, but it was also mixed with interesting action, and -- most important -- the talk was there for a reason, to show the withdrawal and restlessness of Generation X, all the while Linklater simultaneously loving the characters and knowing that what they're saying is just air... which worked. Here, it's just Linklater showing what he learned in college, and trying to cover up the stupidity of it all with the animation (he said himself, "If you don't like the characters, at least you'll be entertained visually"--not true unfortunately, and a lazy way of making movies). D

Tape (2001) -- Linklater redeeming himself after the last two movies. It's not the best movie ever, but it's interesting. Very much like a play (it was based on one) and "unnatural" like a play, but not in bad ways. Even a little thought-provoking. B

School of Rock (2003) -- The best Jack Black role ever, which makes sense as it was written just for him and allows him to kind of play himself (rock-obsessed energy-filled supernice funny guy). His relationship with the kids is probably the best of any adult-to-kid relationship I've ever seen in a movie, since Jack acts like their "equal" (and he is). Most of the children themselves are great as well, especially the character Summer who begins as the typical first row teacher's pet precocious student and ends up being the most likeable and sweet. Joan Cusack even gets the best part she's had in a while; usually she plays the "best friend" role, but here she's developed an oddly realistic uptight prep school principal. I've got nothing but love for the movie. B

Before Sunset (2004) -- A sequel to Before Sunrise sounds like a joke, but it actually works, and now it feels that they could do one every ten years until Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy die.  Has a similar charm to the first one, with the conversation always interesting.  I probably wouldn't like these characters in real life, but I like to watch them in these movies. B

Copyright (c) Dec 2000 - Oct 2005 by Rusty Likes Movies