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3.8 out of 5 stars17
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on 23 March 2000
With documentary-like realism, experimental art film structure, and a title that became a '90s buzz word, Richard Linklater's brilliant study of the life of idlers has acquired cult status. Eschewing the typical film syntax, he follows a string of characters through a 24-hour period in Austin, Texas, using basically the same camera angle and lens for the length of the movie (with the exception of a brief segment shot in pixlevision). The dialogue acts almost as a monologue, with each scene linked together by one character 'passing the baton' to the next. The cast was made up of crew members and locals (Linklater plays the opening character), and an improvisational overtone provides for many memorable moments (the video backpacker, the JFK buff, and of course the infamous Madonna pap smear). Austin band Ed Hall are seen playing live in a club, and Louis Mackey, Professor of philosophy at University of Texas, has a great role as an old anarchist. After this, Linklater started directing more linear, mass audience-friendly films ("Dazed & Confused," "Before Sunrise," and "SubUrbia") but still kept the stories within a 24-hour time frame. An excellent companion book (including the full movie script) was published in 1992.
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on 4 March 2004
The DVD appearance of this turn of the decade classic comes just as Writer/Director, Richard Linklater, is finding his feet again with films such as Waking Life and Tape, the former taking much of its philosophical source material from this Houston, Texas based paeon to dropping out. It's an excellent reminder of just how massively popular culture changed in the 90s. Replacing 80s spectacularism with a new sense of insularity, which was enhanced infinitely by the constraints of a tiny budget, Slacker spends five or so minutes each in the company of Houston's Idler community. The characters we encounter are all, in some way, pretty messed up. There's a car thief, an anarchist professor whose dreams of governmental meltdown have caused a minor identity crisis, there's a guy who obsessively collects TVs and leaves them on continually, a bitter 40-something returning from the funeral of his cruel stepfather whose grave he plans to go back and dance on. The monologue by the sci-fi conspiracy theorist is, in particular, a frighteningly funny view of a world gone mad leading to individual insanity.
It could all seem pretty heavy when you also consider Linklater's ethereal approach. The Omnipotent camera floats throughout the city during the course of 24-hours (condensed to a neat 90 or so minutes), picking the most revealing and darkly amusing conversations of the individuals it passes. Once you've had a flavour of one character, it moves on giving us a Scroogesque view of a world that we were already aware of but had never really looked at in a particular context.
What elevates the film above the maudlin, though, is a reassuring ability to laugh at itself. To say, 'look how much we've messed ourselves up - isn't it ridiculous?' The fact that Linklater himself plays the first character we meet makes us realise that he's with us all the way. He's one of them - one of us. The slackers.
Appearing roughly around the same time as Douglas Coupland's literary equivalent, Generation X, Slacker didn't necessarily pave the way for a more aware world. Rather, it highlighted the apathy of the aware - something seemingly impenetrable from the powers that be. How could they get to us if we didn't care what they did enough to do anything about it but yack? Since then, such apathy or slackerism has been given the corporate gloss and the 'alternative' has now been so grossly commodified that the masses are able to write off films like Slacker as 'cool' in the most base, aesthetic sense. The layers of irony are so dense they become confusing.
It's reassuring to know that people like Richard Linklater - not quite as big a Slacker as the rest of us - care enough to continue telling it like it is. Now click the button, buy the DVD you don't really need without leaving the house and see if there's some takeaway left in the fridge while you wait for it to arrive.
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on 4 March 2008
After watching Slacker and reading the 1 star review I feel compelled to put the record straight.

First off - Slacker is a walk through life at real time. All it represents is the banality of how ordinary we all are. There is no slick plot, no punchline and no point - just like us.

Second off - if you are looking for Hollywood here, you are looking in the wrong place, go and watch exciting unreal alternatives of action and consequence, such as Crash (the recent one). This is a simple film, with porn-quality acting and tape quality so expect no more.

Third - It is unique. An engaging and enjoyable, light hearted film that the open minded, non-glitz, no thrills film-goer should love.

Plain and simple. Just like us.
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on 21 March 2015

It's a sunny Texan day sometime in the late 80's (at least some time before the films 91 release) and we follow the lives of a loosely connected slackers around Texas. The film follows a character for a while before deciding that other guy seems more interesting then another character will come into play and the film follows them and so forth and so forth.
We get lots of discussions on topics such as media, philosophy, politics and history from a varied and interesting set of characters most of whom are played by non actors, and while the film has no real over-arching plot its still very watch-able and clearly shows influences from earlier independent American directors such as Jim Jarmusch as well as influencing Kevin Smith to direct CLERKS.
Slacker set the trend for a lot of stuff in the 90's and was hugely influential. It still holds up today and Criterions Blu-ray is a phenomenal presentation including a great looking transfer, three commentaries and a whole bunch of extra stuff including a 16mm short from Linklater. It also has a nifty book included in the packaging as well. Worth a look if you can play region A.
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on 28 March 2000
When the film "Slacker" opened in 1991, it wasn't long before its director, Richard Linklater, found himself in the spotlight, fielding questions about the generation portrayed in his movie. This enlightening companion book was published a year later and not only addresses some of the media hype surrounding the film, but includes a wealth of additional information, insights, and trivia for fans. There's a brief section on Texas' slacker past, a bit on why Austin was the perfect backdrop for the film, and Linklater describes the ideas that led up to its creation. An early 'roadmap' of the script lays out the basic action of each scene, followed by the full transcription of the final film (which is very handy for quoting the dialogue). There's also actor profiles, providing over 70 entertaining bios of each of the folks who appeared in the movie, as well as a section of notes from the crew. The pages often recall the feel of a fanzine, filled with numerous photos, stills, clip art, and flyers from Austin rock shows and film festivals. The sidebars are peppered with Linklater's diary entries, chronicling the "Slacker" project from the beginning brainstorming stages to the eventual screenings and publicity. All in all, this is a fantastic book for both aspiring directors and devotees of the cult film.
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on 15 April 2016
I found the reviews highly misleading. This is a very low budget film, and that shows throughout. None of the cast give the impression of being actors, they all seem more like geography grad students helping a friend. This may be the launch vehicle for a fabulous writer/director and if you want to see where he started this is it, but looking at this in 2016, it is really weak.
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on 18 July 2015
I thoroughly enjoyed the freewheeling nature of the film, moving from character to character giving us snippets of situations and mini dramas. Seeing it now it's almost like a historical snapshot of a certain class of people; one can't help wondering how they would fare today.
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on 8 January 2014
Ordered the DVD for my brother for Christmas and as it was an import I thought it would arrive after Christmas, however to my surprise it arrived before. Very pleased with delivery. Brother loves the film so he was very pleased to receive it on Christmas day!
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on 13 July 2015
As a Linklater fan, I enjoyed this film which seemed ahead of it's time on environmental issues and the state of the world. It also related largely to the character's states of mind and philosophies on life.
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on 5 May 2015
Superb treatise on the life of the mundane.
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