Stoned Again: A Look Back at the Making of ’90s Classic ‘Dazed and Confused’

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As Melissa Maerz notes in the introduction to Alright, Alright, Alright, her oral history of 1993’s Dazed and Confused, “Everyone who sees the film thinks it’s about them” because “the movie is a period piece, but the period isn’t the ’70s—it’s the period in everyone’s life from age 14 to 17.” Set during the last day of the year at a Texas high school in 1976 (when seniors haze freshmen, the star quarterback grapples with a coach’s clean-living pledge, and everyone gathers for a beer bash in the woods), Dazed was Academy Award-nominated director Richard Linklater’s first studio film after his indie classic, 1991’s Slacker. Dazed was also the breakout for a host of future stars, including Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey, and Parker Posey. In this excerpt, Linklater reflects on coaxing executives at Universal Pictures, which had previously botched the release of Cameron Crowe’s Fast Times at Ridgemont High, to green-light a shambling, character-driven reflection on high school stoner culture. The movie’s actors, meanwhile, recall the brutal casting sessions (imagine an alternative cast with Vince Vaughn, Reese Witherspoon, and Claire Danes), off-screen debauchery—and the improvised final scene that made late-to-the-cast addition 
McConaughey a …

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