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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 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 5 May 2015
Superb treatise on the life of the mundane.
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on 22 January 2016
Good movie, reliable seller!
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The film is about young people walking around, talking about philosophical ideas that they have or are studying. They are all pretty much either bored or confused about life. It's more monologue driven than dialogue driven which makes it a bit boring to listen to.
However it really catches the feeling of 1991 which makes it worth watching. Which was also why I wanted to watch it.
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on 25 April 2014
I heard that this was done by the same bloke who done the stoner's dream movie dazed and confused,so thinking it would be a good watch due to the seemingly plot less plot with interactions of a range of dodgy characters I bought it.
how I wish I didn't. there are a few funny bits included in this film, the man who seems crazy and is talking about some true conspiracy theories saved the start I was about to turn it off, it mostly seems like drama but too poor of character involvement for it to be of any meaning, suspense or interaction. its not iconic or worth a watch in my opinion, and nobody is missing anything important or worth watching by not watching this movie.
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on 6 June 2009
Having watched Waking Life, and many cult indie suburban youth films (Brick, Donnie Darko etc.) I was hoping for this Richard Linklater film to be a worthy addition. And it is to a large extent. The concept is fantastic, each little skit is intruiging and well-linked. The acting is also very good, obviously by people who are probably similar to the characters film in their real lives. The emphasis on slacker culture is a great theme for the film, which it covers well in many aspects.

My only real criticism of this DVD, is that the film has really not aged well, being a lo-fi work of cinema to begin with. Perhaps a great document to the late 80s and early 90s, some of the activities of the characters seem a tad hackneyed, or a bit too out there to apply to now, but then again, who says a film should? However, to the modern viewer, such as me (1 in 1991) who has grown up with high-fidelity films, and loves to see a film age well (Deliverance, Mad Max, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest), something coming from 1991 perhaps should be a look a bit less "Diagnosis Murder".

However, the film remains enjoyable but flawed, and is probably more applicable to American 30-somethings - I did enjoy the film, I just prefer Waking Life.
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on 9 November 2014
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