The enjoyable correlations between American Graffiti and Dazed & Confused

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Scott Weinberg, Jul 31, 2002.

  1. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    I realize I'm not the first guy to make this connection, but a friend and I were discussing the similarities between these two movies, and I decided to expand that conversation into a full-blown HTF thread! Lucky you! Here's what I came up with:
    The enjoyable correlations between American Graffiti and Dazed & Confused
    1. The 'theme' - AG: Last night together before friends leave for college, war, career, etc. DC: Last day (and night) of high school.
    2. The music - AG: A truly wonderful collection of 50's doo-wop from Bill Haley, Buddy Holly, Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Del Shannon, The Silhouettes, and a whole lot more. DC: So many fantastic 70's tunes that they had to stretch it over two soundtracks: Aerosmith, Ted Nugent, Deep Purple, Bob Dylan, Nazareth, Foghat, Black Sabbath, etc., etc. (Regardless of which music style you prefer, odds are you'll love ALL the music from these two movies.)
    3. The casts - One of the more interesting connections between the two movies is that they both helped to launch a LOT of careers. AG: Richard Dreyfus, Ron Howard, Harrison Ford, Charles Martin Smith, Bo Hopkins, Cindy Williams, Mackenzie Philips, Paul Le Mat, Candy Clark, Suzanne Somers. DC: Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, Parker Posey, Joey Lauren Adams, Matthew McConaughey, Adam Goldberg, Nicky Katt, Anthony Rapp, Rory Cochrane, Cole Hauser, Jason London, Michelle Burke, Wiley Wiggins.
    4. The directors - Lucas would go on to direct some fairly popular space flicks, Linklater continues to offer (generally) damn good work. This connection may be a stretch, but there are lots of good movies with young directors who quickly vanish from Hollywood.
    5. The copycats - AG: The Lords of Flatbush DC: The Stoned Age - Both pretty funny movies; neither come close to their inspirations.
    6. The TV Shows - AG: Happy Days DC: That 70's Show (OK, that second one may be a stretch, but I sense it a little.)
    And most importantly, both movies are well-acted, lovingly crafted, extremely funny, offer authentic nostalgia, and have found millions of loyal fans. Obviously I prefer Dazed and Confused, but that's more due to my specific generation than anything else.
     
  2. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    Good post, Scott. While I love both films, I had never really thought of them in that light. Now thinking about it, it's quite amazing how similar the themes are...one night of crazy hijinks.

    I've been watching Dazed and Confused (mmmmmm... PCM laserdisc) a lot lately, so I'll have to go back and watch American Graffiti soon.
     
  3. Ross Williams

    Ross Williams Supporting Actor

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    Very true. I noticed a lot of these correlations in the past. The cast for both of these films are amazing. I also prefer Dazed.
     
  4. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    I am a huge D&C fan. My roommate and I turned about 20 people onto this film (honestly) and EVERY SINGLE ONE came back for more. We put the freaking LD on moritorium because the requests got so bad that we couldn't take another viewing.

    That being said, I find AG to be the better film. Visually they are both excellent, but while D&C has a fun story with some themes to it, AG has endless depth and warmth.

    Obviously D&C is Linklater's tribute/copy/whatever of the formula laid down by AG but bumped to a different era. But I will say this, D&C is clean, slick and polished filmmaking with many scenes being shot perfectly, IMO. In many ways I think it's Linklater's finest work as a director (forgetting trying to do something offbeat or what story you like). His eye for moments with this film raises it from ordinary fun to masterpiece filmmaking, again IMO. If only more "fluff" got this sort of effort we would be able to get the kind of rides out of popcorn flicks that we are supposed to every time.

    BTW, you have the Lords of Flatbush as the copy film? What about Hollywood Knights which is VERY similar (and a lot of fun too).
     
  5. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    Seth,
    I have seen The Hollywood Knights as well. Actually, that and LOF are kinda morphed together in my brain as the same movie!
    Another friend of mine brought up Fast Times at Ridgemont High as a worthy partner to these two movies. Can't say I'd argue that!
     
  6. Dome Vongvises

    Dome Vongvises Lead Actor

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    Re: Seth's new sig
    [​IMG]
    Not many people will get that joke, but I will.
    Anyhoo, I love both Dazed and Confused and American Graffiti, although I lean towards D&C because I can quote it more often.
    "Check you later, check you later"
     
  7. Seth Paxton

    Seth Paxton Lead Actor

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    Thanks Dome. I was pretty pleased when I thought of it (which I do while listening to songs, they make me think of scenes). This one fits so well it's uncanny. [​IMG]
    My favorite bits of direction in D&C -
    1) Jim Dandy to the rescue - that truck/car chase sequence is incredibly well done. Some great shots from "inside" the car (I assume a camera mounted on the other side looking through the car toward the truck). The dynamics of how the scene is edited are outstanding.
    2) The Hurricane - slow-mo can be cliched, but when you've got a great song, great set, and 3 cool actors, you work it for all it's worth. Not only that, but then he goes and cuts to the tracking of the foosball as it rolls onto the table.
    Okay, favorite car, either film? For me, and it's a tough call, I go with Pickford's car (1970 Pontiac GTO).
     
  8. Jeremiah

    Jeremiah Screenwriter

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    I also like Dazed and Confused more than AG; D&C had more of my lifestyle.

     
  9. Ted Todorov

    Ted Todorov Cinematographer

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    I always viewed American Graffiti, Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Dazed & Confused as the ultimate High School trilogy. I love all three, don't ask me to pick a favorite. Fast Times is different from the two others because it is not a rose colored glasses look back -- it takes place in its present day, and is a lot more gritty at times. It launched at least three serious film careers: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Sean Penn and Cameron Crowe.
    Dazed & Confused does have the most pleasurable moments of the bunch.
    Ted
     
  10. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    Very true, Ted. But let's not forget about:
    Amy Heckerling - Would go on to direct lotsa movies, some good - some...not: Johnny Dangerously, European Vacation, Look Who's Talking (1 and 2), Clueless and Loser.
    Judge Reinhold - Lovable character actor who's become a B-movie staple. [​IMG] Best remembered for Ruthless People, the Beverly Hills Cop trilogy, a VERY funny bit in Kevin Smith's Clerks Uncensored, and the "close-talker" from a hilarious Seinfeld episode.
    Phoebe Cates - OK, she hasn't done much lately, but there were those Gremlins flicks...and Princess Caraboo! Plus she's married to Kevin Kline, and he seems like a real cool guy.
    Forest Whitaker - Forest rules.
    Oh yeah - also Eric Stoltz, Anthony Edwards, Nicolas Cage, Robert Romanus, Amanda Wyss, James Russo and (one of my alltime favorite 'bit players') Taylor Negron!
     
  11. Mark C Sherman

    Mark C Sherman Second Unit

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    Taylor Negron IN EASY MONEY
    I'M THE MAN. IM SO BAD I SHOULD BE IN DETENTION"
    Back on track I also am a fan of D&C the cast is top notch and has a killer sound track. my favorite is what it says on Ben Afflecs paddle "FAH Q"[​IMG]
     

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