Richard Linklater

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5.0 It's Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books (1988)
6.0 Slacker (1991)
7.0 Dazed and Confused (1993)
6.8 Before Sunrise (1995)
6.0 SubUrbia (1996)
6.2 The Newton Boys (1998)
7.0 Waking Life (2001)
6.8 Tape (2001)
6.5 School of Rock (2003)
6.8 Before Sunset (2004)
5.0 Bad News Bears (2005)
6.4 A Scanner Darkly (2006)
6.0 Me and Orson Welles (2008)
6.9 Bernie (2011)
6.8 Before Midnight (2013)
7.0 Boyhood (2014)
5.8 Where'd You Go Bernadette (2019)

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Richard Linklater

Slacker (1990) e` una serie di storie di adolescenti cucite insieme da una serie di coincidenze. Il film, modellato sulla falsariga di Le Fantome de la Liberte`, presenta uno spaccato della giovane generazione.

Un ragazzo appena arrivato alla stazione vede un'auto investire una donna e poi fuggire. Il ragazzo si avvicina al corpo senza vita per prestare aiuto, ma una donna che sta facendo jogging gli intima di non toccare il corpo e di chiamare la polizia. Un uomo scende da un'auto, si disinteressa presto della vittima ma offre un passaggio all'attraente jogger.
L'auto che ha investito la vecchia parcheggia nella stessa strada. Il ragazzo che la guidava entra in casa in tempo per rispondere al telefono, in cui gli comunicano che la donna e` stata investita. Il ragazzo accende ceri a un'altare prima di essere arrestato.
Poi il film prende a girovagare per le strade. Un personaggio porta all'altro, ogni storia rimane incompiuta ma ne apre un'altra. Di ciascun personaggio Linklater mostra uno spaccato della sua vita e dei suoi amici.
Un ragazzo che tenta di impressionare una ragazza con le storie sul complotto per assassinare Kennedy porta a un esperto meccanico che sta riparando la sua auto che porta a un ex detenuto senza lavoro che porta a una giovane ladruncola che porta a un anziano bonario che offre un caffe` al nevrotico che tenta di rapinarlo... e cosi` via.

Dazed and Confused (1993) follows a group of high-school students of the 1970s.

In 1976 in an average town the students of a high school are attending the last day of classes. One of them, Kevin, has organized a party in his house because his parents are leaving for a trip. Slater is already addicted to drugs. Tony, a nerd, tells his friend Mike of a strange dream. Don and Melvin hang out with the brute Benny. A girl, Jodi, asks Benny not to be tough on her little brother Mitch at the hazing ritual. A coach asks all the athletes to sign a pledge sheet not to use alcohol and drugs: the rebellious Randall throws it away. Mitch asks to be released early from school but the teacher is secretly amused by the panic of the kid, knowing what expects him after school (the hazing). Mitch and four friends sneak out avoiding Benny and the other two seniors and get in a car but they are promptly chased by the trio of seniors in a pickup truck. Mitch and his friend Carl make it inside Carl's home and his mom shows up with gun to defend them from Benny. Meanwhile, a senior female student, Darla, is harassing junior girls, leading the corresponding hazing ritual for females. Senior girls led by Darla humiliate the junior girls spraying sauces, flour and nuts on their bodies and then drive them in a car wash so they get showered, while the more mature Tony and Mike watch disgusted by the silly ritual. Darla even forces a girl, Sabrina, to propose to nerd Tony. Sabrina's reward is that she gets invited to the party. Randall and Slater visit their friend Kevin whose parents are leaving. His parents are clearly very straight, but Kevin instead sells drugs out of his bedroom. His parents are surprised to see a delivery of a keg of beer: the delivery boy is more than one hour early. Kevin's father guesses that Kevin is having a party and decides to cancel the trip and stay home. The harassing trio finds Mitch at a baseball game. Their heckling cause him to lose the game and then they grab him after the game and Benny beats him up with a paddle. Randall arrives when the harasser are leaving and gives Mitch a ride home. Randall invites little Mitch to hang out with them later in the evening. Other kids are cruising around in the evening. Tony and Mike are in the car of her fellow intellectual friend Cynthia. Mike confesses that he doesn't want to go to law school: he wants to dance. Randall and his older friend David pick up Mitch and drive to a billiard hall where some of the other kids are congregating. Kevin, Don, Slater and another kid drive around smoking pot. Benny's harassing trio catches three junior kids and beat up the one they grab. Four girls in another car run into them and watch amused. A sophomore girl, Julie, is driving around with Mitch's older sister Jodi. Eventually Julie and Mitch meet and strike a conversation. Randall and Mitch join Don and Kevin in Kevin's car and Mitch tries pot for the first time. Then they have fun vandalizing garbage cans and mailboxes. They ask Mitch to throw a bowling ball on a car, thereby smashing the car's rear window. They get in serious trouble when a man approaches them with a gun: they smashed his mailbox and he wants to call the police. They escape but he shoots at their car. Then they return to the billiard hall. Mitch buys beer, pretending to be over 18, and then meets the other junior kids who have just been harassed by Benny. They plot to exact their revenge. They use Carl as bait and set a trap for Benny. Then they dump paint on Benny in front of many other amused kids. Tony, Mike and Cynthia are getting bored. Cynthia has doubts about her intellectual life and would like some fun. They even try a hamburger drive-in. David and Slater invite them to the "moon tower" where many other kids are congregating. Mike is attacked by a violent pot smoker, Clint, and saved by Randall. Kevin challenges Mitch to climb the moon tower and he climbs it with Slater and Randall. Tony runs into Sabrina and they are both shy but start chatting. Randall is confronted by another athlete who is upset that Randall is throwing away his chance to become a pro because he doesn't want to sign the pledge. Kids are getting drunk and high all around the moon tower. A drunk Darla tries to humiliate Sabrina but tony encourages her to stand up: Darla swears revenge. Mike suddenly attacks the same Clint tho confronted him earlier and of course gets beaten badly. He is saved by Randall and David. Jodi catches little Mitch flirting with an older girl, a friend of hers. The intellectual Cynthia is flirting with older guy David. Then David drives Slater, Don, Randall and two girls to the stadium, while Cynthia drives Mike, Tony and Sabrina away. Tony and Sabrina kiss before dropping her off at her place. The police shows up at the stadium while Randall is smoking pot with his friends. The police call the coach and detain them until the coach comes. The coach lectures Randall about hanging out with "losers". Randall tells the coach that he will never sign the pledge. Mitch and Julie are making out on an isolated hill while the sun is rising. Mitch returns home after sunrise and of couse his mother is waiting for him, but she forgives him. David, Slater and Randall drive away still smoking pot.

Before Sunrise (1995)

SubUrbia (1996)

The Newton Boys (1998)

Waking Life (2001)

Tape (2001)

School of Rock (2003)

Before Sunset (2004) was a sequel to Before Sunrise (1995).

Bad News Bears (2005)

A Scanner Darkly (2006) is an animated dystopian sci-fi movie, based on Philip Dick's novel (1977), which obtains the animation via "interpolated rotoscope". Linklater retains the farcical elements of Dick's narrative but that further dilutes a narrative that is already confusing in the original novel. The visual presentation is intriguing but the plot seems even less plausible than in the novel.

The film takes place seven years from now. A man wakes up with cockroaches running all over his body. He sprays insecticide on himself. Panicking, he calls a friend, James, who tells him to capture the cockroaches in a jar. But it is only a hallucination caused by a strong drug, Substance D. The government has created a special unit in charge of fighting the drug epidemic. At the police department one of the undercover agents, Fred, is introduced. Fred has his own mental problems and struggles to keep his talk as planned. Fred wears a phosphorescent "scramble" suit that continuously hides his real face so that he cannot be detected by face recognition. Fred proclaims to be a sworn enemy of drug traffickers of substance D, which originates from a distant country. He mentions that he has two children. Meanwhile, the junkie of the first scene is driving when he sees a police car behind him. He imagines that the cop will arrest him and kill him on the spot, but instead the cop drives away. The jukie realizes that there are no cockroaches in his jar. At home Fred removes the scramble suit and calls a blonde who is driving a convertible. We see that the call is being surveilled in a giant control center. The junkie meets his friend James at a diner. When the waitress comes, the junkie imagines her naked. The two part and James returns home. It turns out that James is one of Fred's housemates, Fred's real name is Bob, and they share the house with a third housemate, Ernie, and Fred/Bob, who is supposed to be chasing drug traffickers, has a girlfriend, Donna, who is a drug dealer. Fred/Bob is addicted to substance D, just like his housemates James and Ernie. At the police station Fred is interviewed by psychologists who are worried about his mental health. He sends them to hell. It turns out that James is a police informant. He tells Fred/Bob's boss that Bob (Fred) Arthur is not only addicted but also a dangerous revolutionary. Fred is standing there but wearing the scramble suit James begs the police for employment in return for his information. Back home James and Ernie play with a gun. James shoots. The noise wakes up Bob who is sleeping and Bob finds himself in a scene of his former life, the husband and father in a nice middle-class family, with a wife and two children. He doesn't feel well and his family stares at him worried. Bob/Fred, James and Ernie are driving on the highway when the car suddenly accelerates by itself. They manage to stop and realize that the car was sabotaged. A tow truck drives them back home. James reveals that he boobytrapped Fred's house in case of intruders and he left the door unlocked to encourage the intruders. Back home they find cigarette butts and suspect that the home has been bugged, but it's just Donna who made herself at home and invited some friends over. At the police headquarter his boss shows Fred/Bob the multi-screen workstation in which he can see what goes on in Bob's house. James and Ernie almost get into a fight over a stupid argument. The junkie comes to visit and runs away scared by their madness. Bob/Fred sees James as a giant cockroach. Fred's boss watches them on the workstation and sees when Ernie is caught by convulsions and drops unconscious on the floor. Meanwhile, the junkie envisions his own death, wears a suit and tie, writes a farewell note and lies on his bed as if he were dead. But then he changes his mind. He imagines an antropomorphic creature from another dimension with a scalp full of moving eyes. Meanwhile, Fred's boss, following James' report, assigns Fred to spy on Bob, i.e. on himself. The goal is to find out where Donna gets the drug. We understand that there's something sinister about Donna when we see that a preacher shouting against her gets tasered and kidnapped by cops. Donna gives Bob ride and initially refuses to be hugged but, when he gives her a few pills, she accepts to have sex. At the end she lies naked as if dead on the bed. Fred's boss is watching on his monitor. Later, the psychologists force Fred to take a blood test, which reveals that he is a drug addict. Fred feels that something sinister is going on. Fred explores an abandoned house that used to be his house when he was the head of a middle-class family. James delivers to Fred's boss an incriinating audio recording of Donna and Bob discussing drugs. The boss, however, orders James to be detained on a pretext while they examine the recording. The boss has the report that Fred is doing drugs and punishes him with a fine, but also reveals that he knows that Fred is Bob. The real goal of the mission was to frame James. Now Fred/Bob is seriously sick. The boss calls Donna, who turns out to be working for him, to drive him to a rehab center. The boss removes his suit and we see that he is... Donna. Donna picks up Fred and drives him to a rehab center where he is renamed Bruce and transferred to a farm. She then meets a man in suit and tie at a diner who calls her Audrey. During their discussion we learn that the rehab center is actually the place where substance D is manufactured, that Bob has been intentionally turned into an addict so that he could infiltrate the rehab center. Donna is remorseful to have harmed an innocent like Bob. Meanwhile, Bob is indeed working at the farm where some blue flowers are used to make substance D. He picks one flower as a gift to his "friends" (presumably the police). The film ends with a quote from Philip Dick: a list of victims of drugs.

Me and Orson Welles (2008)

Bernie (2011)

Before Midnight (2013) was a sequel to Before Sunset (2004) that was a sequel to Before Sunrise (1995).

The very long Boyhood (2014), filmed between 2002 and 2013, follows a child's family from his boyhood till he enters college. It is impressive how the director managed to grow the characters over the years without losing the thread of the story, that flows smoothly like it was filmed in one take. The most interesting dimension is actually the technological one: throughout the years the devices change, from the videogame played on a computer with the big monitor via Facebook to the video chat on the smartphone.

Olivia is a divorced mother raising two children, Samantha and little Mason. Olivia has a boyfriend but has not time to date and blames it on her bad job, so she decides to move to a big city where she can go back to school and get a degree. She falls in love with one of the professors, Bill, who has two children of his own. They get married and all the children move into Bill's mansion. Bill, who drinks too much alcohol, is authoritarian and Olivia doesn't care because she's busy studying. Olivia's politically-leftist chronically-unemployed aspiring-musician chain-smoking ex-husband takes his children out for a day and they like him better than Bill. Bill eventually becomes an alcoholic and starts beating Olivia and harassing the children. One day Bill takes all the children in his car and starts driving like a maniac. Olivia has had enough: she takes Mason and Samantha and moves out, without even packing their belongings. They move into a friend's small house. Olivia's ex takes Samantha and Mason to a restaurant and, finding out that Samantha has a boyfriend, explains to the children how to avoid pregnancies, regretting that he became a father so early in life. Then he takes Mason to a wilderness where they camp. Mason in his high school goes through the usual routine: boys bully him and girls are attracted to him. Olivia teaches psychology at a college and has a boyfriend who is a war veteran, Jim. Soon Mason begins drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana and kissing girls. Olivia's ex remarries and has a baby from his new wife, and seems to have finally a good job. He actually likes Olivia's new boyfriend Jim. He takes the teenagers Samantha and Mason with his wife and the baby in his new van. Mason is actually disappointed that his father sold the old car: the father forgot that he promised that car to Mason. They visit his wife's parents who live in a farm. It's Mason's birthday and the old conservative couple gives him a special edition of the Bible and a shotgun that has been passed down the generations. His father has clearly changed, no longer the reckless liberal but a responsible average citizen. The family moves into Jim's house, who has a stable job. Jim, a former soldier who believes in hard work and discipline, disapproves of Samantha's and Mason's manners: Samantha is disrespectul of her mother and Mason is the bohemian artist. Mason has a girlfriend, Sheena. When Mason comes home late, Jim yells at him, reminding him that he's the one who pays the bills. Olivia breaks up with Jim and buys a house. Samantha is in college. Mason works a humble job washing dishes in a restaurant. Mason and Sheena drive to Samantha's college and crash at her dormitory's room. Samantha has a boyfriend. Mason is preparing to go to college, thanks to a prize that he won for photography, when he breaks up with Sheena. After a graduation party with the whole extended family, Olivia, having lost both Samantha and Mason to colleges, decides to sell the house. An immigrant recognizes Olivia as the woman who once advised him to get an education: he did so and now he has a good job and thanks her for her advice. When they pack to move, Olivia starts crying: the children are gone and she's going to be alone. Mason is in college now and bonds with his new friends by hiking in the wilderness.

Where'd You Go Bernadette (2019) was a mediocre adaptation of Maria Semple's best-selling novel.

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