Sunday 1 January 2006

subUrbia (1996) - ickleReview (video from TV)

Richard Linklater movie about disaffected suburban youth. Written by Eric Bogosian, whose portrayal of slackers is much clunkier than Linklater's brilliant Slackers (1991) and Dazed and Confused (1993), though this may be the result of the adaptation from stage to screen.

The film follows a few post-high school kids who hang out by the local convenience store, smoking, drinking and goofing around. It sounds smarter and more profound than it really is, but perhaps that's because it's now almost a generation old. They complain about how dumb and meaningless their lives are, yet don't seem prepared or willing to do anything about it. Jeff (Giovanni Ribisi) and Tim (Nicky Katt) are jealous and resentful of Pony's (Jayce Bartok) success as a rock star, with a limo, an MTV video and a life in LA (he'd been a geek at high school). Tim is the former high school quarterback and an army drop-out and Jeff is a college drop-out bum, unwilling to work, but with the apparent intelligence to know better. Buff (Steve Zahn) is a drunken fool, more like one of Linklater's characters from Dazed and Confused, a collegiate beer-head (who doesn't go to college but works in a pizza parlour). Sooze (Amie Carey) has the ambition to become a feminist performing artist and go to New York to study at the School of Visual Arts, but Jeff, her boyfriend, only discourages her. Bee-Bee (Dina Spybey) is a rather innocent-looking blonde who's already been put through rehab by her over-reactive parents.

It all takes place at night in empty parking lots, behind dumpsters and in the suburban wasteland - a metaphor for these wasted lives, when really, they have all the opportunity and privilege to do so much better. Like George Lucas's American Graffiti (1973) without the cars and the music.

Nugget: Linklater's much better when he writes his own material.

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