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Dazed and Confused: The Criterion Collection

Dazed and Confused (1993) too easily slips into the genre of raucous, drug-filled, good-old-days coming-of-age pictures to receive the credit it deserves as a mature and complicated dissection of the aimlessness of youth. On its sleeve, the movie, set during the last day of high school in 1976, is swift and funny, filled with hi-jinks, the best of the period's party rock music, and lots of teens engaging in controlled substances and talking about — not having — sex. But it's underneath this buoyant and light-hearted veneer that writer-director Richard Linklater subtly and meaningfully examines his characters. His touch is so light and humorous, though, the gravity is hardly felt. To paraphrase Francis Ford Coppola, Dazed and Confused isn't about high school. It is high school. Nobody wants to dwell on their problems. There's a big party going on. They'd rather grab a beer and not think about it. The young ensemble cast is terrific: Jason London, Wiley Wiggins, Matthew McConaughey, Adam Goldberg, Anthony Rapp, Sasha Jenson, Ben Affleck, Parker Posey, Rory Cochrane, Marissa Ribisi, Christine Hinojosa, Michelle Burke, Cole Hauser, Joey Lauren Adams, and Milla Jovovich. Those not already addled by intoxicants may feel dazed and a bit confused by the variety of DVD editions of this movie. The Criterion Collection' two-disc release of Dazed and Confused includes a new high-definition digital anamorphic transfer (1.85:1), supervised by director Richard Linklater and cinematographer Lee Daniel and both DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio mixes. The feature is accompanied on Disc One by an engaging Linklater commentary, 25 minutes deleted scenes and the original trailer. Disc Two features the 50-minute documentary "Making Dazed," plus hours of on-set interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, footage from the movie's 10-year anniversary celebration, and auditions. This set also comes with a 72-page book featuring essays, character profiles, memories of the film from cast and crew, plus a fold-out poster featuring the original poster art. Dual-DVD keep-case.
—Gregory P. Dorr

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