10 Great Summer Nostalgia Movies

Dazed and Confused

Just about every review for Richard Linklater’s sophomore effort (following the unexpected success of his micro-budgeted debut Slacker) compared it to American Graffiti, as both pictures followed a large cast of teenage characters over a single night. Like Lucas, Linklater also lucked out by filling his cast with then-unknowns who would later blow up: Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey, Milla Jovovich, Parker Posey, Joey Lauren Adams, and (in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appearance) Renée Zellweger. But Linklater’s film, set in 1977, shifts the action to the beginning of the summer rather than the end, and takes on a slightly more bittersweet tone; though, as The New Yorker’s Anthony Lane noted, both films are “cramming a whole generation into a few short hours,” Lucas was “scoring a hymn to lost youth, to the tune of everyone’s greatest hits. Linklater is unmoved by that pop pathos: he remembers his school days as clearly as Lucas does, but he’s not so sure what he thinks about them — the more honest course.”