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Slacker (The Criterion Collection)

3.9 out of 5 stars 115 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Richard Linklater's Slacker presents a day in the life of a subculture of marginal, eccentric, and overeducated citizens in and around the University of Texas at Austin. Shooting the film on 16mm for a mere $23,000, writer/producer/director Linklater and his close-knit crew of friends eschewed a traditional plot, choosing instead to employ long takes and fluid transitions to create a tapestry of over a hundred characters, each as unique as the last, culminating in an episodic portrait of a distinct vernacular culture and a tribute to bohemian cerebration. Slacker is a prescient look at an emerging generation of aggressive nonparticipants, and one of the keynote films of the American independent film movement of the 1990s.

Special Features

  • New digital transfer with restored image and sound
  • It's Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books (1988), Linklater's first full-length feature, with commentary available on video for the first time
  • Rare casting tapes featuring select "auditions"
  • Footage of the Slacker 10th Anniversary Reunion in Austin, TX in 2001
  • Stills gallery featuring hundreds of rare behind-the-scenes production and publicity photos, and early script versions
  • Home movies, an early film treatment and a 10-minute trailer for a documentary about the landmark cafe used in the film
  • "Woodshock," an early short
  • Booklet featuring reviews, essays,and production notes

Product Details

  • Actors: Brecht Andersch, Rudy Basquez, Bob Boyd, Jean Caffeine, Jerry Delony
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, Special Edition, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: September 14, 2004
  • Run Time: 100 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002DB4ZK
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,095 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Slacker (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
Fifteen years ago, during the hot summer of 1989, a brainy Texas movie buff named Richard Linklater scrounged up a bunch of cameras, credit cards and amateur actors and made "Slacker," a kitchen sink love letter to Austin, free time, pretentiousness, paranoia and about a million other things. I saw it when it was released and felt it could've been set in my own college town, halfway on the other side of the country from Texas.

Since then, Linklater has gone on to make a lot of little movies that really strike a chord with audiences ("Dazed and Confused," "School of Rock") while rarely straying far from his cerebral independent roots ("Waking Life," "Before Sunset"). Meanwhile "Slacker" just got the ultimate cineast validation - it's been released as a ritzy Criterion Collection two-disc DVD.

There's no real plot to the movie. A roving camera simply spends a day eavesdropping on more than 100 students, eccentrics, revolutionaries, thieves, artists, partygoers, nutjobs, et al. It drifts from one conversation to the next and all of them sound, well, like the musings of a brainy Texas movie buff. It's aged better than I thought it might -- I especially enjoyed the brief debate between two characters over the election results of then-Pres. George (H.W.) Bush.

It's rough, a little contrived, sometimes monotonous, basically a love-it-or-hate-it affair; and while I understand why it drives some viewers nuts, I'm firmly in the other camp. This is a film crammed with ideas and inspiration and a sense of life - three elements that rarely bump into one another in the same movie.

The double-disc set also includes a in-depth commentary by Linklater (plus tracks with cast and crew); Linklater's glacially-paced first feature; a rollicking super-8 short about the 1985 Woodshock music fest; a cast reunion and enough other extras to render viewers slack for days on end.
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Format: VHS Tape
I love this flick. It was made in Austin, Texas when I was originally living there, and it not only has about seven people I used to see around town pretty often, but it showcases a lot of the landmarks there, such as the University of Texas and the downtown area. It's a truly weird little flick, made for less than a shoestring, with a really clever premise: the camera sets upon one person, follows him or her a distance, then branches off to showcase someone else for a bit---and never returns to anyone it's previously showcased. At first this really bugged me, till I figured out that it was saying that life, in all its many weird forms, is happening all at once, everywhere, to us all, and that we all truly connect in that six-degrees-of-separation way. The dialogue is often hilarious: a
JFK-assassination "buff" remarks that he never knew about how much Jack Ruby loved his dogs (even taking one along when he went to shoot Lee Harvey Oswald); a girl tries to sell a bit of Madonna's, erm, medical material -- you'll just have to see it to find out what. Richard Linklater makes really great, brilliant, funny, bizarre, non-linear films, the kind we should be seeing a hell of a lot more of from our film industry, if only they could see past monstrous box-office takes or
gi-normous egos. Check it out, for sure. I like to watch it just to remember what Austin, and some of the people I used to know there, looked like -- pretty damn good, as a matter of fact.
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Format: DVD
"Rare Marquis DeSade, dude." I've been reciting lines from this movie to various friends, co-workers and family members for 12 years now. Say what you want about this flick. Or, better yet, this montage of dialogue between random freaks. Many will describe it as this American Wonder, a motion picture masterpiece, but I took some film classes, and just like the characters in the movie, I've figured it all out.

"We've been on Mars since '62." Once you see the movie for, like, the 17th time, you've already noticed the mistakes, shortcomings and shortcuts throughout. How about the "Beautiful Losers" guy...when he first enters the movie...those others were going through the crazy post cards left behind, and he knocks on the door. The others open it to let him 'in,' and he enters the room...from a bathroom?!?! That had a chain lock on it?!??! Why was he locked in the bathroom?!?!?!

"QuadraJet. Yup. GM." There's something really cool about the mishaps, though. The characters are so odd, yet familiar...isn't it always the chick with the black eye who trusts the advice from a mystical card game and has developed "a whole new construct..."?!?!?! ...old people who rant about assassinations, the Spanish War and anarchy and are totally full of **it??!!? ...stoners yapping about Scooby-Doo conspiracies and blue Kr'shnas??? The girl from the book store had it right, when she summed up the friend who just met her after watching his friend throw a tent into a river. She says, "you pull from all the **** that you read..." Doesn't that describe everyone in this movie? And how about the tent scene--in any other movie, his friends would be convincing him to stab the guy who screwed his girlfriend with a tent peg. Not in this film.
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Format: Paperback
I regret "loaning" this book to another slacker a few years back, who loaned it to yet another slacker, who drifted to the west coast with it et al...never saw it again. But had I kept it I would've memorized many of the passages (Like the UFO conspiricy rant!) - the book is the story behind the making of the brilliant movie, a story which is every bit as entertaining and thought-provoking as the movie itself! It's unfortuante, and a bit odd that the movie is no longer available at the worlds largest shopping mall, After all, it WAS a watershed movie. Go figure.
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