Films Directed by Richard Linklater
Thanks to the Slacker movie poster featuring ugly-ass Teresa Taylor of the Butthole Surfers, I’ve always associated director Richard Linklater with dirty hippies. Turns out that’s not the case at all, as Linklater has made a number of films that don’t involve pretentious and perpetually stoned residents of Austin.
This article details my experience with Richard Linklater movies, as well as discussing those that I might consider viewing in the future. While he’s far from being my favorite director, I’d still rather watch one of his films than a preachy piece of shit like Syriana.
If you happen to be a Richard Linklater fan, be sure to share your favorite movies and scenes in our comments section. And if you’ve never experienced his work, I urge you to try at least one of the movies below and form your own opinion.
Movies I’ve Seen by Richard Linklater
At this point, I’ve seen three movies that have been directed by Richard Linklater. Here’s a brief discussion of each:
Dazed and Confused (1993) – I’ve never been big on movies centered around the sub-par culture of the 1970s, although this Linklater film does boast an impressive cast that includes Milla Jovovich, Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck, and an uncredited Renee Zellweger. Fans of ‘70s rock music will want to check it out, as it features tunes from Foghat, Rick Derringer, Alice Cooper, and more. I saw it once, and that was enough (especially since I wanted to slap Ron Slater through the whole film).
The Newton Boys (1998) – Filmed in the southern part of Texas, this crime film stars Matthew McConaughey, Skeet Ulrich, Ethan Hawke, and Vincent D’Onofrio as bank-robbing brothers from the 1920s. While the cast was filled with starpower, I recall being unimpressed by the overall product. Get a load of Dwight Yoakam as a guy named Glasscock.
School of Rock (2003) – When he gets kicked out of his rock band, Dewey Finn (Jack Black) winds up masquerading as a substitute teacher at a prep school and helping a group of fifth-graders compete in a Battle of the Bands contest. A little Jack Black goes a long way, and this film pushed my tolerance for the mugging comic to the breaking point. The presence of a Stevie Nicks song didn’t help things.
Richard Linklater Movies I Might Consider
While I’ll never see Richard Linklater movies like Before Sunrise and Waking Life, there are a few that might make it onto my queue.
Slacker (1991) – Linklater’s breakout film about a day in the life of quirky Austin residents. I’ve always considered Austin to be the most pretentious city in Texas, so I’m in no hurry to see a bunch of faux-cool losers shuffle about. Still, it’s a landmark film that drew major critical acclaim, so it’s only a matter of time before I break down and watch it.
Bad News Bears (2005) – Billy Bob Thornton plays a great on-screen jerk, which is probably made easier by his real-life disposition (see his disastrous Boxmasters interview). In this comedy, he takes over the Walter Matthau role of a drunken lout forced to coach a kid’s baseball team.
A Scanner Darkly (2006) – Using rotoscope technology, this trippy and oppressive sci-fi flick marks the 198th Philip K. Dick novel to be brought to the big screen. That’s an exaggeration, of course, but it sure seems like Dick has had that many adaptations made. With dystopian themes and a cast made up of Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey, Jr., Woody Harrelson, and Winona Ryder, A Scanner Darkly is loitering around the edges of my Netflix queue.
Me and Orson Welles (2009) – Zac Effron tries to convince viewers he’s not just another pretty face in this period drama about an aspiring teen actor who has a chance encounter with Orson Welles (Christian McKay) and winds up being cast in Julius Caesar. By all accounts, McKay is wonderful in the role of the egotistical genius, which is enough to put it on my list.
When Richard Linklater movies first started coming out, it looked like he would specialize in films about reefer-addicted teens. But always one to defy expectations, he soon started dabbling in the mainstream and bringing the comedic stylings of Jack Black to the masses. Since then, he’s presented stories about Orson Welles, made a sci-fi film, and even gave Julie Delpy a job. Given the talent level of the latter, Linklater at least deserves a pat on the back for his sense of charity.