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'Dazed and Confused' is finest stoner comedy ever made and more (****)

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Posted: Friday, May 2, 2008 10:00 pm

Richard Linklater's "Dazed and Confused" is usually classified as a "stoner comedy," and although it is comedic and does feature characters who smoke themselves stupid, I find that label rather unfortunate. I suppose the film could technically be called the finest stoner comedy ever made, but it's so much more than that.

It's also a deeply perceptive, carefully rendered and (by most accounts) accurate portrait of a generation, and it stands as one of the few truly precious movies I've had the singular pleasure of seeing. Yet Linklater doesn't fill his movie with forced sentimentality or precocious youths in order to achieve that preciousness - he simply observes the interactions of some very realistic characters, and lets the material develop naturally. It all seems so effortless.

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