4 February 2005 | Oracle2959
A Time Machine Trip Back To The Texas Summer Of 1976
I graduated in 1976 from a high school in North Dallas and this entire movie is so spot on it's scary. It is my favorite film. I've seen it hundred's of times and every time it's like watching it for the first time. Only someone that was there and lived through those days could have directed such a movie. I drove a 70 dark blue Chevelle SS 454 with a 4-speed, over 400 HP and all of the goodies Wooderson described. Starting that car up, listening to the roar of that engine and burning out in 1st gear while in a thick cloud of blue smoke in front of the high school at 3PM while wasted......doing over 80MPH in 2nd gear....oh yea! I feel sorry for the teenagers today that drive the limp wrist fluffs of metal that pass themselves off as cars these days.
I was a stoner like Pickford smoking weed non-stop. Some mentioned that the heavy drug use was not too common. Well, at our school it was beyond common. Before school, during school (in the bathroom and football field) and after school. Our school had a smoking area outside the cafeteria where everyone went to light up.
The opening scene with Aerosmith "Sweet Emotion" slowly building up and Pickford driving his Goat and girlfriend in the school parking lot kills me every time. I cannot imagine a better opening scene for the movie. That was pure genius. The funny thing is Linklater did not show getting licks from the coach or the principal. For all the "uninitiated" back then all a coach or an asst. principal had to say was "Smith, I want to see you back at my office now". Our coach had a paddle he personally made that he kept on his wall over his desk. It had about 30 holes drilled in it and it was covered in black electrical tape! When that one came down you knew it! Now with all the PC people coach would go to jail for "assaulting the poor boy" Hell, back then it was called character building. As I remember from the 7th grade on licks were given out.
The soundtrack. Best ever. Might as well be back at White Rock Lake or Lake Ray Hubbard on a Friday night getting wasted. Head East was a nice touch. Every time I listen to that soundtrack I remember things I have not thought about in 25 years. The man that portrayed Pickford's dad was dead on. Accent, demeanor along with the big caddy and the tennis playing wife in the mini-skirt and puffed up hair.
Some of the reviewers mentioned they did not think it was too realistic showing/mixing a lot of sexual activity among the freshman girls. That is another point I must dispute. Maybe at their school in their town of 500 or their strict upbringing but at our junior high and high school the freshman and younger girls were pretty wild. I mean really "wild"! This is coming from someone who "lost it" at 12. So insinuating things about a 15 or 16 year old freshman is pretty tame. 15 and 16 year old's were the "world travelers" to us 13 or 14 year old guys.
There is something about this movie that pulls me back over and over again. It's hard to describe. I'm not sure what it is. Am I a Wooderson that enjoys reminiscing? Am I someone that prefers simpler times? Am I someone that is so sick of PC people that a movie like D&C is like a breath of fresh air? Was there something magical in the air back in 1976? The country was celebrating 200 years of freedom. Now within the last 30 years it seems that most of those freedoms have been slowly whittled away with and all that is left is a former shell of the old. Especially after 2001.
The best scene? To me it's a toss-up between the opening "Sweet Emotion" GTO in the school parking lot and the Emporium scene with "Hurricane" playing in the background while (The Past) Wooderson, (The Present) Pink and (The Future) Mitch walk into the Emporium while the camera films every little nuance in slow motion. The cockiness of Woods, the mellow Pink and the innocence of Mitch. Put that scene on slow motion and study their faces and the reaction shots of their peer's faces as they acknowledge their presence.
Your own personal time machine if only for an hour and a half. Slip the DVD in, turn the lights down low, take a couple good strong hits and wash them down with a few Tallboys. Use your imagination and for the briefest of time you are back in 1976. I wish they made more movies like this instead of the sugar coated pablum coming out of Hollywood nowadays.
Howard Hughes died, Robin Trower-Bridge of Sighs, Jeff Beck, Kawasaki Z1, Kawasaki 750 triple 2-stroke, 45 cents a gallon gas, 104 octane gas, Frampton Comes Alive, Bad Company - Shooting Star, Elvin Bishop - Fooled Around and Fell In Love, Jimmy Carter, Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry, 1969 Dodge Charger 440, 2 Lane Blacktop, 3 finger lids, windowpane, Diamond Dogs, J. Geils, Midnight Special, Wings Over America tour, Bad Company - Movin' On, Mott The Hoople - All The Young Dudes, SD 455 with the Big Bird on the hood, Marshall Tucker Band - Heard It In A Love Song, Emerson, Lake and Palmer - Brain Salad Surgery, Edelbrock Tunnel Ram with Holley Double Pumpers, getting high at dusk while listening to Pink Floyd's "Time" and looking at the Dallas skyscraper skyline against the setting sun.
If you do then Dazed and Confused is right up your alley. If you don't then still watch it, the characters in D&C cover all generations, just the cars and clothing have changed.