PERFORMING ARTS

Alright, Alright, Alright: An Oral History of Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused

Harper. Nov. 2020. 464p. ISBN 9780062908506. $26.99. FILM
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Former Rolling Stone and Spin editor Maerz crafts an oral history of Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused (1993). Readers learn how, between the late 1980s and early 1990s, a slew of independent films flooded the marketplace, telling authentic stories that transcended the glossy, big-budget Hollywood movies typical of the era. The surprise critical and commercial success of 1990’s Slacker gave writer director Linklater an opportunity to make a personal film of teenage angst set in 1970s Austin. Shot on a relatively modest budget of $25 million and featuring an unknown cast of young actors, Dazed and Confused was another hit and, ultimately, a cult classic. Through interviews with Linklater and the cast (including Ben Affleck and Matthew McConaughey) and crew, Maerz delivers an at times humorous chronicle of how a small film became a touchstone of 1990s cinema, with introspective analysis of directing techniques, casting, and performance. While readers may become overwhelmed by the different perspectives, the author maintains a sense of cohesion among different insights, resulting in a well-rounded account.
VERDICT Linklater devotees, those who love Dazed and Confused, and anyone interested in 1990s indie film will appreciate Maerz’s detailed tribute.

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