Indeed, part of their magic is leaving the viewer with a distinct wanting to return to their own formative days and the care-free living (and loving) of their younger selves. From escaping a beating to escaping school, no matter how bad things got, they were some of the times of our lives. It’s no wonder the Classic TT is becoming ever more popular, it’s a time capsule that we can step into each year. So, here we present two fabulous films that also do just that. Enjoy!
DAZED AND CONFUSED
Alright, alright, alright…
Set on the last day of the school year in 1976, Dazed and Confused follows a sprawling group of teenagers as they cruise around suburban Texas. Compared to the angst driven teen dramas of the 1980s, Linklater’s film is far more subtle piece, with the director understanding that actually, nothing much ever happened at school. Funny then, that Linklater created School of Rock just a decade later, but here the film’s real genius lies in the small things that we remember and cherish.
Nostalgia is a powerful thing all right, and Dazed and Confused delivers a double dose of it. It's both a '70s AND a '90s movie, boasting a full generation of Hollywood hopefuls and featuring three future Oscar winners in Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey, and Renée Zellweger. Then there’s Milla Jovavich (The Fifth Element) and a host of brilliant TV actors such as Parker Posey (Lost in Space), Adam Goldberg (Friends) and Anthony Rapp (Star Trek).
There’s also that incredible soundtrack. Originally slated as a three-disc release, Linklater famously blew the majority of his budget on securing the rights to music. Indeed, Linklater spent a six-figure fee within the first day of shooting just to license Aerosmith’s 1976 hit, Sweet Emotion.
Gaining entry to the Criterion Collection, Dazed and Confused remains a cult classic for its bell bottoms and bongs, the sizzling soundtrack, and the one-line wonders. But under its light and comedic surface lies the reminder that we can't control time or keep living in the past… only visit it now and then.
You can visit 1976 along with the cast of Dazed and Confused on Friday 28th August for the first of this year’s Sundown Cinema screenings.
STAND BY ME
Long before Netflix and Stranger Things, Rob Reiner’s 1986 film of Stephen King’s novella, The Body, combined youth, nostalgia and corpses for a landmark coming-of-age story. Expertly treading the line between a carefree adventure and a darker drama, Stand by Me remains a cut above the competition, not least for its unflinching ability to present the ugliness of the world inside a kid-friendly story about the affectionate friendship between four young boys.
Indeed, Rob Reiner does such a fine job from the Director’s chair, that viewers can be forgiven for ignoring the spirit of death that runs through every frame. However, there is one death in particular, around which this film revolves, as our four friends catch word that the corpse of a local boy is lying undiscovered in their neighborhood. Dodging danger and enemies by equal measure, Stand by Me serves up 90 minutes of classic ‘boys-own’ adventure right up to the heartrending closing narration.
It’s a powerful ending to a movie driven by nostalgia, and three decades later, the movie’s 50s setting unsticks it from the time it was made. That Stand By Me would still be revered at a cultural moment when TV and Cinema is all of a sudden obsessed with the 1980s only goes to show how timeless it truly is. That dull ache of remembrance of things past is always a two-part process, conjured first from affection for days gone by, and then from the pain that those golden years are lost forever. By this tack, Stand by Me will be an even sweeter and more melancholy film another decade from now and it’s a rare movie that gets better with time.
Boasting an all-star cast including Keifer Sutherland, River Phoenix, John Cusack and Richard Dreyfus, Stand by Me will be playing in the TT Fan Park on Sunday 30th August as part of the Festival in a Day.