Alright alright alright, Drinkers!
Tonight we’re kicking it back and taking things slow with Dazed and Confused while sipping on a tasty Purple Haze from Louisiana’s Abita Brewing. My memory may may be a bit hazy (I had to, sorry) but I think tonight was quite the success. Let’s find out why, shall we?
The 1993 cult high school movie, Dazed and Confused, is one of those movies that I think most people saw when they were too young to really get what was going on. Or they know about it, never saw it and pretend like they have seen it. Or maybe that’s because they got a contact high from the film strip and forgot it all but that’s another issue. Directed by Richard Linklater (I reviewed his famous Before Sunrise about a year ago), Dazed and Confused is at once a typical coming-of-age high school flick and a confounding piece of cinema. Most obviously confounding is the cast. This massive ensemble film includes many actors that we have come to know over years including Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, Park Posey, Joey Lauren Adams and Matthew McConaughey, who literally hasn’t changed in 20 years.
But what struck me more was the lack of a structured narrative. In fact, the film is actually quite directionless, which seems fitting. Taking place on the last day of school for a group of rising freshmen and seniors, the audience is tossed into a world of incredibly high teens who seem to have some weird aggression problems, all of whom really have no plan for the future.
And while focus-less films typically frustrate me to no end, I wasn’t as bothered by Dazed and Confused. I think what it came down to for me was that this film didn’t try too hard to look like it wasn’t trying too hard. If that makes sense. Let’s make a comparison, shall we? The Big Lebowski is ostensibly about nothing, right? Well the Coen brothers, as brilliant as they are, tried very hard to create a plot about nothing (don’t hate me, Dudes). And while some people love this film, I tend to disagree. The opposite can be said of Dazed and Confused. This is a movie about a bunch of teens with nothing to do and just enjoying it. And the film itself reflects that. We weave in and out of characters’ lives, there is no major problem to be resolved and not everyone has to get the girl at the end. It’s kind of cool actually. Yes, this film is a bit…meandering but it works. For me. And while my high school experience was is in no way represented in this film, I did feel a certain kinship with most of the characters as they fail to figure out what their lives are all about. I also have to say, briefly, that this film is reminiscent of many of Linklater’s other films. From Before Sunrise to A Scanner Darkly, Linklater seems to be interested in characters that are floating through existence, occasionally searching for something more. Dazed and Confused is no different.
Oh and I also have to point out this one line where a female character compares decades:
“Maybe the 80’s will be like radical or something. I figure we’ll be in our 20s and it cant’ get worse.”
Oh it gets worse, darling. It gets worse.
So we were dazed, confused and hazy? Sure! Why not? Tonight’s tasty beer was brought to you by the Abita Brewing Company and it actually matched the film quite well. As Abita explains on the label, their Purple Haze is a wheat lager with an added raspberry puree that goes into the brew after filtration. When you crack open the bottle, that added raspberry is immediately apparent in the nose. You get a nice sweet, tartness that excites your palet. But what’s cooler is that when you give this beer a pour, you can actually see a slight purple hue in this otherwise light-golden beer. With that first sip, you get a nice balance of light wheat flavor and subtle fruitiness. And on top of that, it’s really just a refreshing beer. Maybe the kind you want one or two of when school gets out for the summer (Just kidding kids! Don’t drink until your 21!). But seriously, Purple Haze is a nice clean, crisp beer for those toasty summer nights.
So there you have it, folks. A hazy but enjoyable evening. We watched a not-too-serious and heavily substance-abused (on screen, not me) reflection on high school while sipping on a sweet little raspberry beer. Neither tries too hard to be anything other than it is and, in the end, that helps them both. Rather than hitting us over the head, both pieces of entertainment leave us with enough room to breath. To think, or not think, about the choices we make and the future that awaits us this summer.
Thanks for reading and as always keep drinking, my friends.
Dazed and Confused:
-Lovingly irreverent of high school
-Kids in the 70’s drank and smoked…a lot. Should I be surprised?
-Tons of stars before they were stars