Somewhere in Austin, Texas. May, 1976. In between tokes and jokes, the students of Lee High School are celebrating the last day of school. Whether you’re a stoner or a jock, mean girl or geek, freshman or senior, the end of another school year is, as ever, the great equalizer. For some that final bell signals a summer of fun and freedom; for others, graduation and an uncertain future. For the incoming crop of freshmen, though, that bell means a face full of condiments or a painful date with a paddle. Ouch.
This is our introduction to director Richard Linklater’s semi-autobiographical Dazed and Confused, an opening montage complete with era-appropriate typeface Eight Ball, the rumble of Aerosmith’s eternally catchy “Sweet Emotion,” and oh-so-much grass being smoked. According to Linklater, the initial idea for the title sequence – a slow motion shot of Pontiac GTO set to Aerosmith – popped into his head while he was getting a root canal, fittingly under the influence of drugs.
Featuring an ensemble of baby-faced young actors destined for stardom, including Matthew McConaughey, Milla Jovovich, Ben Affleck, Parker Posey, and Renée Zellweger, Dazed and Confused is American Graffiti for Gen X, a greatest hits of high school, as Linklater described it. It’s a funny, oft-times awkward portrait suburban life for the white American teenager in the mid-1970s, one that promises to stay the same no matter how old we get.
Title Design: Pacific Title
Music: "Sweet Emotion" by Aerosmith