Blu-Ray Review: ‘Dazed and Confused,’ ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’

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CHICAGO – Is there something special about 8/9/11 like 4:20? The notorious smoke-down time is well-known but I ask about August 9th because it’s a date with a massive influx of pot-themed movies, including new hits like “Paul” and “Your Highness” (which we’ll cover with full reviews soon) and re-releases of classics like “Dazed and Confused” and “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” both hitting the HD format tomorrow. It’s a stoner free-for-all!

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 4.5/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.5/5.0

“Fast Times at Ridgemont High” is a very funny movie and is fascinating to the history of cinema given what would happen to star Sean Penn (becoming one of the best actors that ever lived) but it doesn’t hold an incense candle to the brilliant “Dazed and Confused,” one of the best pieces of nostalgic comedy ever made. Richard Linklater’s brilliant ode to the days of parties, pot, and pretty girls works from one of the best screenplays of its kind ever written and worked as a future-star factory of its own with appearances from household names like Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, and Matthew McConaughey along with the great Parker Posey and Adam Goldberg, two who should have become household names and may yet still.

Dazed and Confused will be released on Blu-ray on August 9th, 2011
Dazed and Confused will be released on Blu-ray on August 9th, 2011
Photo credit: Universal Home Video

“Dazed and Confused” has received several interesting DVD editions over the years, including a fantastic release from The Criterion Collection with a commentary track, deleted scenes, and footage from the ten-year anniversary. Criterion owns all of that bonus material and will be giving “Dazed” the Blu-ray upgrade in September. Honestly, there’s little reason NOT to wait for that edition as Criterion does everything better although if you’re mostly just concerned with the film itself this version is here now and it’s cheaper.

So, what we get here is a truly lackluster release for a great movie. There are deleted scenes, “The Blunt Truth,” retro public service announcements, and a U-Control feature that allows the identification of music as the film plays and even allows purchase of them through iTunes. The soundtrack is stellar. Don’t buy song-by-song, just pick up the whole thing. It’s not a “bad” release in terms of special features, but knowing there’s an audio commentary out there that you’re not getting is like buying half the weed at full-price. It will still get you high but it’s a bit disappointing.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High will be released on Blu-ray on August 9th, 2011 was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on August 2nd, 2011
Fast Times at Ridgemont High will be released on Blu-ray on August 9th, 2011 was released on Blu-Ray and DVD on August 2nd, 2011
Photo credit: Universal Home Video

In terms of special features, fans of “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” should be a bit more satisfied as the release is far-more-complete when it comes to bonus material. A commentary by the great director Amy Heckerling and even-greater writer Cameron Crow is a fantastic addition and U-Control allows for actual behind-the-scenes footage instead of just music identification. “Dazed and Confused” is the better movie but “Fast Times” is the better Blu-ray. Just pick up both and call it even.

“Dazed and Confused”

Synopsis:
“Complete with tie-dye and bell bottoms, macramé and mood rings, Dazed and Confused follows a group of high school students on the last day of school and one wild night they’d never forget…if only they could remember. Featuring a superb ensemble cast including Ben Affleck, Matthew McConaughey, Milla Jovovich and Parker Posey, Richard Linklater’s (The School of Rock) critically acclaimed cult favorite features classic rock music by Aerosmith, Black Sabbath and KISS and delivers an enduring film that Rolling Stone calls “spectacularly funny!””

Special Features:
o U-Control: The Music of Dazed and Confused
o Deleted Scenes
o The Blunt Truth”
o Retro Public Service Announcements

“Fast Times at Ridgemont High”

Synopsis:
“Academy Award® winner Sean Penn stars as the unforgettable Jeff Spicoli in the film that defined the outrageous and bold teen comedy genre, Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Follow a group of Southern California high school students as they explore their most important subjects: sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. Directed by Amy Heckerling (Clueless) and written by Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous), this hilarious portrait of 1980s American teen life features film debuts of future stars Nicolas Cage and Forest Whitaker, plus decade-defining music from The Go-Go’s, Oingo Boingo and The Cars.”

Special Features:
o U-Control: Scene Companion
o U-Control: The Music of Fast Times at Ridgemont High
o Reliving Our Fast Times at Ridgemont High
o Feature Commentary with Director Amy Heckerling and Screenwriter Cameron Crowe
o Theatrical Trailer

“Dazed and Confused” and “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” will be released on Blu-ray on August 9th, 2011. “Dazed” stars Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, Jason London, Joey Lauren Adams, Parker Posey, and Matthew McConaughey. It was written and directed by Richard Linklater. “Fast” stars Sean Penn, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Phoebe Cates. It was written by Cameron Crowe and directed by Amy Heckerling. Both films are rated R.



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HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

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