Slacker: The Criterion Collection
Written and directed by Richard Linklater, Slacker (1991) creeps through a lazy day in Austin, Texas, jumping from one group of wayward intellectuals, hipsters, freaks, and/or burnouts to another like a stream of consciousness through the spectrum of post-college ennui. They spend their day deconstructing each other; deconstructing themselves; committing crimes petty and major; wandering without purpose; talking about books, movies, TV and music; participating in half-baked rituals mish-mashing the spiritual with the banal; trying to get laid; fantasizing elaborate conspiracies; avoiding work as a philosophical imperative; and spewing out mindless dissertations about anything that comes to mind, including discourse itself. And yet, Slacker is not critical of its subjects; unlike the "slackers" themselves, Linklater affably lacks cynicism and affectionately captures their often amusing, carefree and listlessly self-indulgent post-modern ways, which include destroying the very methods of media (a typewriter, a TV, and, finally, a movie camera) that inform their way of life. Simply as a movie, detached from its cultural relevance, Slacker is a mixed bag. Some of the amateur cast members acquit themselves better than others, but, for the most part, even the flatness of the worst performances works within the overall vibe. Slacker works best on its initial viewing, whereas on repeat viewings some of the less crazy dialogue borders on monotonous. Still, the nuttiest characters remain amusing time and again and keep the film entertaining for sober revisits. Its status as a cult classic is well-earned. With impeccable timing, Linklater produced a defining piece of pop culture that anthropologized a large youth movement early in its ascendancy. Disc One of this Criterion Collection release includes a high-definition digital transfer of the feature film in its 1.33:1 full-frame with Dolby 2.0 Surround audio. Linklater features on two commentary tracks, on the first solo and joined on the next by D.P. Lee Daniel and co-producer Clark Walker. A third track features an assortment of cast members. Disc One also includes a reel of casting interviews, an early film treatment, "home movies," a trailer for a documentary about the Austin café Les Amis, and a stills gallery. Disc Two features Linklater's first full-length film, the 8mm odyssey It's Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books (1998), with commentary by Linklater. Also on board is the six-minute short "Woodshock" (1985), Slacker's working script with 14 deleted scenes and alternate takes, footage from Slacker's 10th-anniversary celebration, the original theatrical trailer, a slacker culture essay by Linklater, and information about the Austin Film Society. The set is bound a by a nice-looking (but surely not very durable) fold-out digipak with a paperboard sleeve.