Monday, June 3, 2013

the Directors: Richard Linklater

There are a few signature names thrown around when describing the emergence of American independent film. Spike Lee, Quentin Tarantino, Steven Soderbergh, Kevin Smith – all responsible for iconic films that forever redefined not only what movies can be about, but how they can be made. Pertaining to this movement, Richard Linklater deserves recognition as much as anyone. The man is responsible for more bold, daring experiments that most directors could ever hope to create.

The best Linklater films are documents of a time. Whether now or then, these movies represent a career fitting for a time capsule. Often equipped with similar characters discussing similar themes of identity, existentialism, philosophy, and corporate injustice, Linklater’s films are remarkable testaments that continue to impress. He’s one of my favorite American filmmakers, one that will always, thankfully, challenge me.

It’s Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books (1988)
It’s difficult for me to judge Linklater’s first and highly experimental feature as an actual film. The movie is 85 minutes of us watching a guy (played by Linklater) carry on with the mundane details of his day. He walks, gets money from an ATM, occasionally talks to people, and so on. While the film is filled with plenty of randomness, none of it is shocking. For example, a brief sequence of Linklater sticking a rifle out of his apartment window and firing into the street provokes nothing but frustrated curiosity from the viewer. Linklater shot the film on Super 8 stock, and used facilities at a public-access TV station to complete all post production work. I view It’s Impossible to Learn to Plow by Reading Books as a moving document of a young filmmaker teaching himself the basics of how to make a film. To distinguish it with a letter grade simply doesn’t seem appropriate.

Slacker (1991)
I could talk about Slacker for pages – it’s easy yet complex, bold but simple. Like all great Linklater films, Slacker hasn’t a shred of plot (and, for that matter, very little story), and is instead chiefly concerned with character. The movie’s premise is simple: we follow a character around as he/she spends part of his day in Austin, Texas. When our time with that character is finished, the camera lets the character walk off screen, before choosing another random passerby to follow. As a result, Slacker is a moving ballet, but these dancers are far from graceful.

We hear stories. Tales of UFOs, JFK’s assassination, lucid dreams, and so on. We watch people. People who run over their mother with their car, then wait patiently for the police to arrive. People who complain about The Man, the fallacy of corporate America, and on and on. And what do these collective vignettes amount to? A lasting imprint of a very specific time and place. A representation of us, back then. A

Dazed and Confused (1993)
Off the critical and commercial strength of Slacker, Universal offered to produce Linklater’s “American Graffiti of the ‘70s,” resulting in one of the most iconic American films of its time.

Linklater has said his only hope for Dazed and Confused is that, years from now, audiences might confuse it for a film made in the ‘70s. Instead of watching a movie about 1976 made in 1993, Linklater wants Dazed and Confused to be an authentic representation of the time it depicts. Well, it’s been two decades, and I can confidently assert that Linklater is well on his way to achieving his goal. Dazed and Confused simply feels real. Through costume, music, and dialogue, sure, but for me, the strength of the film is in its raw and talented cast. Everyone in the vast ensemble is on point, with the notable scene-stealer being Matthew McConaughey, who, with virtually no acting experience, helped define a generation with endlessly witty quips. You don’t just watch Dazed and Confused, you experience it. A

Before Sunrise (1995)
Boy meets girl. Boy asks girl if she wants to go to Vienna with him. Boy and girl talk day into night. They talk of future, of love, of opportunity and failure. Boy and girl realize their time together is short, and make the most of it.

Such is the story of Jesse and Celine, the impossibly charismatic couple featured in Before Sunrise. Jesse and Celine (played with perfect chemistry by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy) talk about nothing, but, in effect, talk about everything. There’s a stream of consciousness to their dialogue that evolves as organically as real life. The result is one of the finest, most sincere encapsulations of love I’ve ever witnessed on screen. I love falling into their world. A

subUrbia (1996)
“I hate it here. It’s so ugly, it’s like being dead.”

This is a sentiment shared by one of the angsty characters early in subUrbia, and it’s the general attitude highlighted throughout the film. The film is essentially 24 hours in the life of a handful of friends stuck in suburban hell. They hate where they live for various reasons, and are not hesitant to preach as to why. Spending most of their time chilling behind a convenience store, these friends bitch and moan and plead for a cause. A cause that can spring them from this dread, and cast them into the real world.

If I’ve made subUrbia sound like a whining pity party of somewhat-privilege kids, don’t worry, it’s not. Well, at least not to those who value it. In many respects, the film is an angrier Dazed and Confused. Whereas the kids in Dazed are shown with their lives ahead of them, the people of subUrbia have met life head on, and are disheartened by the outcome. The film is by far the angriest feature Linklater has ever made, and I seriously dig its anguish. A-

The Newton Boys (1998)
Of all the films in his eclectic oeuvre, The Newton Boys is the movie I find Linklater defending the most. Often in interviews, Linklater takes a moment to remind people how proud he is of the film. How, despite its general critical apathy, the movie is an accurate representation of his vision. I respect that he got out of it what he intended, but, sadly, that doesn’t make The Newton Boys any better in my eyes.

The movie tells the true story of the Newton Gang, a band of brothers who exercised their irritation with the system by robbing banks. Despite the talented cast (including McConaughey, Hawke, Skeet Ulrich and Vincent D’Onofrio), The Newton Boys suffers from having a predictable plot that grows rather dull. It’s a worthy effort (especially as Linklater’s first period piece), but containing nothing very lasting. B-

Waking Life (2001)
After the lackluster reaction to The Newton Boys, Linklater followed up with two films (premiering them both at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival) that have remained some of his best and most daring experiments. Waking Life chronicles a young man slugging through a sort of existential crisis. As he walks through the alleyways of life, he encounters any number of people with any number of life philosophies. Much of the movie is conveyed through the main character’s ongoing lucid dream(s), and all of it is captured beautifully.

Rather famously, Waking Life was filmed with cheap digital cameras, edited on modest computers, then tediously “rotoscoped” in post production. So, Linklater shot the movie as normal, then spent months animating it, giving the film an appropriate fever dream quality. I’ve often heard how people grow frustrated by Waking Life because they get lost trying to follow it. But I’ve always thought that was kind of the point. A-

Tape (2001)
Tape is the kind of movie every filmmaker talks about making. Film students with no production budget talk about making a movie with a few characters, all set in one location. Big budget directors often remark how, after creating a multimillion-dollar film of massive scope, they hope to soon make something smaller, easier. Something intimate and true.

Tape is such a film. Set entirely in the confines of a shitty motel room, Tape begins with Vince (Hawke, arguably never better) chugging beer feverishly. Jon (Robert Sean Leonard) arrives and we gather quickly that they are old buddies who haven’t seen each other in a long time. But something about Vince is off. There’s an eagerness in his voice, an aggression to his personality. He has an agenda, and we desperately await its reveal. Vince soon brings Amy (Uma Thurman) into the conversation, much to Jon’s dismay. Amy is the girl they both dated in high school, and Vince wants to know why Jon’s relationship with her ended so abruptly. After a while, Amy arrives and, well, hell, what’s the fun in ruining more?

Linklater and the actors rehearsed Tape for three weeks before shooting for six days on a small soundstage in New York City. Because Linklater was one of the first filmmakers to wholly embrace digital technology, the project was swift, but challenging. I respect the hell out of the way Tape was made, but the beauty of this film is in the evolution of its story. There are no tricks or gimmicks, just enthralling writing that always keeps us on edge. When we think we’ve figured it out, there are always more layers to unfold. A

School of Rock (2003)
There really are two kinds of Richard Linklater films: the audacious experiments and the familiar studio flicks. I’m a fan of the experiments, but often have little to say about the studio films. And don’t get me wrong, School of Rock isn’t a bad film, critics dug it and audiences loved it (it has grossed nearly as much as all of Linklater’s other films combined), but it’s simply not a film for me. If you like Jack Black doing his Jack Black thing, then all’s well. But me? I want some semblance that I’m watching a Richard Linklater film. Without it, I have trouble fully investing. B-

Before Sunset (2004)
Before Sunset carries a very rare distinction. Not only is it one of the most wildly unnecessary sequels ever made (because Before Sunrise ends so perfectly) but it actually improves upon an already incredible story. And really, how often does that happen?

Nine years after Jesse and Celine’s first meeting, the two reunite in Paris and spend 80 minutes falling back in love. But Before Sunset is far from a fairy tale. Jesse and Celine have moved on, lived their separate lives, launched careers, had kids, found life partners. But what we slowly learn is that they’ve always had this respective itch for each other. This teasing question of “What if?” What if they met back in Vienna like they promised? What if they ran into one another when both living in New York City? What if Celine showed up to Jesse’s book signing in Paris?

What if. A+

Bad News Bears (2005)
There honestly isn’t much I can add to the conversation concerning Bad News Bears. A remake of the beloved Walter Matthau film, Linklater’s Bears casts Billy Bob Thornton (still doing his Bad Santa thing) as a boozing little league baseball coach. While I am an admitted fan of the film’s very un-PC attitude, I’ve seen the movie twice, and that is more than enough. Still, credit given where credit is due: Bad News Bears is the second highest grossing film of Linklater’s career. Perhaps he makes these films, in part, to fund his indie gems. Fair enough. C+

A Scanner Darkly (2006)
Using the same process and technology implemented for Waking Life (though to much more refined results) A Scanner Darkly is a phenomenal tale of drug-fueled paranoia, as monitored by the U.S. government. Based on Philip K. Dick’s novel, the film chronicles the efforts of Bob Arctor (Keanu Reeves), an undercover police officer trying to work his way into the drug scene to identify key suppliers. Along the way, Arctor meets a colorful cast of characters, played to varying degrees of amusement by Robert Downey Jr., Woody Harrelson, Winona Ryder and more. While I appreciate that A Scanner Darkly is more plot driven than Waking Life, I still find it difficult to pick a favorite among the two. Either way, on its own, this film is a glorious and horrifying tale of Big Brother suspicion. A-

Fast Food Nation (2006)
In adapting Eric Schlosser’s popular non-fiction account of the power of the U.S. fast food industry, Fast Food Nation feels as though Linklater took on too much. The film follows a number of story lines, from the marketing manager at a McDonald’s-like chain called, Mickey’s, to a young female Mickey’s employee, to the illegal immigrants who work in the factory producing meat for Mickey’s. If Linklater stuck with one story (the immigrant narrative is the most gripping, the marketing manager is the most intriguing), Fast Food Nation would’ve been a more successful film.

Still, a pair of notable cameos help temporarily save the film from itself. One is Ethan Hawke, showing up to wax philosophic (as Linklater’s characters often do) about the corruptibility of The Machine. The other is Bruce Willis, who steals the film with seven minutes of screen time and helps puts the entire movie into perspective. B-

Me and Orson Welles (2008)
I’m always confused by movies like Me and Orson Welles. The film tells the story of Welles’ struggle to bring Julius Caesar to Broadway in the late 1930s. How he worked as a dictator to impose his artistic vision on the stage. He berated the crew, talked cheaply to the actors, and so on. Every single scene of this film involving Welles is blissful. That’s thanks much in part to Christian McKay’s spot-on representation of the famed filmmaker, but also because the material simply shines through Welles’ voice.

Why then, does the movie spend so much time with a young kid (played somewhat aimlessly by Zac Efron) looking to make an impression on Welles? Sure, I get it: the movie is indeed called Me and Orson Welles, but the most compelling part of this film is Welles’ character. I could frankly do without the rest. B-

Bernie (2011)
On the surface, Bernie appears to be a modestly sized film, based on a true story, starring an actor I don’t particularly care for. Linklater’s made a few of those before, and I resisted venturing into another mild bore. But then Bernie gained some serious traction. People said Jack Black’s understated turn as a kind but murderous mortician was a breath of comedic fresh air and that Matthew McConaughey’s festive representation of a hungry district attorney was right in line with the actor’s amazing comeback. And you know what, the people were right, as Bernie is a damn fine (and damn fun) little movie.

Matthew McConaughey has been killing it these past few years, to the point where it is getting difficult to pick a favorite role of his. Bernie stands out because literally every single thing that comes out of his mouth is utterly priceless. It’s written impeccably, and delivered to excellence. And he’s only one part of what makes this movie so worthy. B+

Before Midnight (2013)
When I discovered that Linklater and his two stars had filmed Before Midnight in solitude, my thoughts were not unlike how I initially felt about Before Sunset. “Why?” plagued my mind. And, perhaps more fearfully, “How?”

How can Linklater, Hawke and Delpy think they have more to add to this story? How can they create something equally as unique as the first two, without the risk of damaging a movie franchise so beautifully unique? But then I got to thinking: they were brave and smart enough to do it before, and perhaps they’ve done it again.

I’m writing this brief synopsis mere hours after seeing the film (my full review can be read here) and all I’m willing to reveal at this point is that, yes, they’ve done it again. They’ve risked everything and created something profound. Again. A

Boyhood (TBA)
Boyhood hasn’t been released yet, but it deserves to be talked about as much as any film Linklater has already made. In 2002, Linklater began filming a movie about a boy growing up. Every year since then, he spends a few consecutive weeks assembling a small crew and filming more of his story. Unknown actor Ellar Salmon is the boy in question, with Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette playing his parents. Same actors, only they are aging in real time. Linklater has said his film will document the boy from age six to age 18. Twelve years. In real time. Filming is almost complete, and I can hardly wait to see how the final film turns out.

The audaciousness to even consider making Boyhood is exactly why I respect Linklater as much as I do. Without him, American film simply wouldn’t be what it is.

In Summation
Before Sunset 

Dazed and Confused
Before Sunrise 
Waking Life 
A Scanner Darkly
Before Midnight

The Newton Boys
Fast Food Nation 
Me and Orson Welles 

School of Rock 
Bad News Bears 

Just Plain Bad

2020 UPDATE!
I recently spoke about Richard Linklater on my new movie podcast, What Are You Watching? Give us a listen for my most up-to-date Linklater thoughts!


  1. Alex, it's great to see you taking on Linklater, who is one of my favorites. Waking Life might be my favorite, though it's hard to say that I like it more than Slacker, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, and Dazed and Confused. All are easily rewatchable, and they're hardly the only examples like that in his filmography.

    I really should revisit Suburbia, which I didn't like that much when I saw it a few years after its release. I also still need to see Tape and The Newton Boys. I tend to be more forgiving about School of Rock because Black is so likable in the part. I'm definitely with you on Fast Food Nation, though. I had a hard time really digging into that film and felt distant from it, despite my interest in the material.

    1. Thanks for reading, Dan! Glad to hear you're a Linklater fan.

      I hadn't seen subUrbia before researching this post, and wow, I was so taken with its pessimism. Really intense stuff. I highly recommend Tape, I think that film is just brilliant. It's currently on Netflix Instant if you have that.

  2. Great list(?)! I love reading your director reviews! I've probably only seen about half of Linklater's releases but it's nice to read what I'm missing out on is actually some of his best (it can only get better from my stand point lol)! I'm a little disappointed you didn't dig School of Rock though. That movie was the film of my youth(...) and is still a movie I can turn on whenever and still have just as much fun watching as the first time I saw it. I think it's one of Jack Black's best roles and is just a total blast for me (maybe sentimental as well because it's a film my dad and I saw when I was younger and we can always quote from). I have yet to see any of the Before trilogy but like I said, my experiences with him can only go up!

    1. Thanks man! Really appreciate you reading these. You know, it wouldn't hurt for me to give School of Rock another go. I just remember it doing nothing for me. Felt like a Jack Black film as opposed to a Linklater film. But either way, you're right, you have some great films ahead of you.

    2. Definitely let me know what your thoughts are if they change whenever you get around to watching School of Rock again man! I can definitely get why you'd view it more as a Black film than a Linklater film, I guess I've just never had that problem with that film. I'm probably gonna catch Before Midnight some time this weekend (so looking forward to that!).
      Have you seen/heard of Michael Winterbottom's tv film Everyday? From what I heard about it, it seems to have been filmed in a similar way to Boyhood (though over a shorter span of time - I think this was like 5-6 years). I didn't really think it was anything great, just interested to know if you have seen it/heard about it.

    3. I have heard of Everyday, but have never been able to watch it Bummer that it's just okay. I was kind of curious about it.

  3. I love his work. I think he's one of the great filmmakers working today who doesn't get enough exposure. Dazed & Confused is my favorite film of his so far with Before Sunset a close second followed by Before Sunrise. School of Rock I absolutely love. I'm a rocker and I just love the music in that film. What surprised me the most was that when my sister rented the film for myself and my parents to watch. The person that loved it even more than I did was my youngest sister who was just going nuts over the music. That's something you can't beat. To me, it's a rare film that appeals to the rockers but also have something that families can enjoy.

    Here's how I rank his films from what I've seen so far as I plan to watch The Newton Boys and Me and Orson Welles later this month as well as Before Midnight when it arrives here:

    1. Dazed & Confused
    2. Before Sunset
    3. Before Sunrise
    4. School of Rock
    5. Waking Life
    6. Slacker
    7. subUrbia
    8. Tape
    9. A Scanner Darkly
    10. Fast Food Nation
    11. Bad News Bears

    1. Great list. That's a cool story about your family and School of Rock. I will give it another viewing soon. Maybe it will have grown on me.

      Did you ever write a review for Tape? I'd love to read your thoughts on that one.

    2. I'm in the process of re-writing some of the reviews I've done on Richard Linklater's films as subUrbia is in the works. Then I do Waking Life, Tape, School of Rock, A Scanner Darkly, and Fast Food Nation.

      I don't like the old reviews I wrote at as I'm a much different writer than I was back then. Plus, I have too much bitterness with that site over a lot of things.

    3. Yeah I understand what you mean. Look forward to your new reviews!

  4. Got a personal tour of the Austin Film Society (friend has some sweet connections) and saw Richard Linklater there. He's one of the founders, and has an office there. Very gracious, and a big inspiration of mine. Movies like the Before series, Tape, Waking Life, just seem to GET me, you know? Ever had a movie where you just feel like, "This movie was tailor-made for my sensibilities."

    1. Those are the best kinds of movies, aren't they? The ones that really seem to get us. Definitely agree that some of Linklater's films resonate in that way. So cool that you got to meet him. Love hearing that he's such a nice guy.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. As you already know, I'm a big Linklater fan, although I still haven't seen Slackers. In addition to Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight I'm a huge fan of Dazed and Confused. I generally go out of my way to show it to my friends that have never seen it. I think it's one of the more important cinematic achievements of the 90's, such a good link to show how even though we've changed we really haven't.

    1. Dazed is just brilliant. It speaks so well to the time in which it depicts. Man, if you're a Linklater fan, Slacker is a must. So many aspects of his later films can be found in that one.

  6. Love that you love Tape. It stands proudly on my DVD shelf! Before Sunrise will always be my favorite Linklater film, but then it's one of my 5 all time favorite movies.

    I would also like to come to the defense of School of Rock. While I concur it contains a lot of Jack Black doing Jack Black things, I also would argue that what Linklater pulls off there is a really delicate feat. He makes a movie with a punk rock ethos that still fits squarely into the formula of a lovable kids movie. I kind of think that movie, in its own way, is perfect.

    1. Tape rocks! I had no idea Sunrise was in your Top 5 of All Time. What else is there? Million Dollar Baby, The Last of the Mohicans, something with Malin Akerman....?

      I do think SoR is good for what it is. I guess I've just never viewed it as more than a family flick with rock music. Which, again, is okay.

  7. I usually am all over the spectrum when it comes to directors; I judge their films on a case by case basis. In this case, I have a love/hate reaction to Linklater's films. Of the ones I've seen, the only one I've had a middle of the road reaction to was Slacker. All the rest I either really liked or really disliked - no middle ground. Here they are:

    Really liked:

    Before Sunrise
    School of Rock
    Before Sunset
    A Scanner Darkly

    Really Disliked:

    Dazed and Confused - I spent far too many boring evenings as a teenager with friends hoping for something, ANYTHING, to happen that was interesting. The last thing I want to do is re-live that.

    Waking Life - like being trapped at a party where everyone thinks they are brilliant and are trying to tell you their brilliant thoughts.

    The Bad News Bears - I was a fan of the original; this wasn't needed.

    1. Your reasonings behind why you dislike those films are priceless. You had me cracking up. And hey, we like what we like. Bad News Bears seems like the biggest miss to me. I really don't understand what motivated him to make that one. Money, I suppose...

  8. I actually think School of Rock is one of the good comedies out there.. But then again, kids make everything a bit better. Surprisingly the only movie I don't hate Jack Black next to The Holiday.. but I haven't seen Bernie yet. Also, the Sunset movies have been on my to-watch list for the longest time. I should really watch those two.

    1. The Before series is remarkable, definitely get ahold of them as soon as you can. If you're a Jack Black fan, I think you'll really enjoy Bernie. Easily the best performance I've seen him give.

  9. Great Great job with this post Alex. I love each and everyone of his flicks, and I love what you wrote about Tape. That is a brilliant movie that a lot of people havent seen. I loved School of Rock and I dont think it would have been as good without Linklater behind the camera. If it was someone else the movie would have been very cliche and generic. He gave it some life

    1. Thanks Jason! Another Tape fan - yes!

      Okay, you're justification of SoR just sold me. I need to rewatch that ASAP.

  10. Nice post. Linklater is a great director and so versatile. My favourites would definitely be Dazed and Confused and School of Rock. Still need to see more of his films (like Tape, Before Midnight and A Scanner Darkly).

    1. Before Midnight is... just... wow. I hope you like that one. Tape is currently on Netflix Instant if you have that. Glad you're a fan!

  11. Before Sunrise and Before Sunset have been on my "to watch" list for ages. I'd never heard of Slacker of Tape, but you've definitely got me intrigued. Adding them to the list as we speak.

    1. Ugh! Slacker *or* Tape

    2. My dear, you must (must, must) watch the Before films. Just, trust me. You'll love them.

  12. Great post, and nice to see someone else appreciating Tape. He's easily one of my favourite directors and the only of his films I've got left to see is Me and Orson Welles.

    I'd say Fast Food Nation is easily his worst film though, I didn't enjoy a single moment of it.
    Top 5 for me would probably be:
    1-3. Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight
    4. Waking Life
    5. Dazed and Confused

    Before Midnight was so perfect, I really hate the trailers though, the surprises in the exposition of the opening few minutes were so perfect and if you've seen the trailer I'm guessing that it really takes away from it.

    1. Another Tape fan. Dig it.

      You know, I actually gave Fast Food Nation another go for this post, and I found myself liking it a little better. Not much, but a little.

      Fortunately, I successfully avoided the Before Midnight trailer. But I did watch it after I saw the flick, and yeah, definite bummer. But I guess they have to market it somehow, you know? At the screening I attended, I could tell there were several people in the audience who had not seen the first two. Which is odd but kind of awesome. I guess they liked the trailer...?

  13. The man's managed to woo me while having seen only three of his films. And they're all A level -- Before Sunrise (A+), Before Sunset (A), Dazed And Confused (A). Great job cataloging his career. I really cannot wait for Boyhood.

    1. Thanks man! Can't wait to hear what you think of Before Midnight. It's just perfect.

  14. I love that you included Before Sunset and Tape under "masterful". Those are two brilliant little films. I've got some catching up to do, as I've seen just over half of these.

    I've been curious about Boyhood for some time. Can't wait to finally see it in a couple of years!

    1. I LOVE those two movies. Interesting that all of my masterful picks more or less take place in real time. Hmmm.

      I remember reading about Boyhood when he had finished the first year of filming. What dedication. So excited for that one.

  15. Oh hell yeah. I haven't seen everything Linklater has done, but I'm a big fan of most of what I've seen. My ratings:

    Slacker - A
    Dazed and Confused - A+
    Before Sunrise - A
    School of Rock - D
    Before Sunset - A+
    Bernie - B+
    Before Midnight - A

    I also saw Waking Life a while back but I was in no condition to properly appreciate it. :D Would like to give School of Rock another shot someday, but yeah, it may be too "Jack Black" for me. Will check out Tape ASAP.

    1. This is awesome, love how in line we are with his flicks. While I never encourage bashing of a movie, I am glad that there is apparently one other person who doesn't absolutely love School of Rock. Either way, given your grades, I really think you'll Tape. It's amazing.

  16. There's a tricky think. I <3 School of Rock. Because is my first Linklater film that I saw, I'm a big fan of Jack Black and I love rock. First time I saw it, it was fantastic. Hilarious, funny and full of great moments. The second time wasn't so great and I saw the bad things in it. But the third time was really great. Then I saw the Before trilogy and it was fantastic. The first it was a romantic film that I adore, the second was better having the same vibe but being a little different, the third one is brilliant, a absolute masterpiece. My problem is that I'm not sure which is better because all three are so good. Boyhood is a good movie. I like it but I don't love it. It's very good and a great experience but I can't love a film with nothing special. All is great but nothing that can stood out for me. What do you think about the idea of making That’s What I’m Talking About? I don't get, what IS a spiritual sequel?
    My ratings:
    Before Sunset- A+
    Before Midnight- A+
    Before Sunrise- A
    School of Rock- A-
    Boyhood- A

    1. A spiritual sequel is something the lives in the same realm as the previous film. It may not have any of the same characters, but it exists in the same world as the previous film. Many have argued that every Quentin Tarantino film is a spiritual sequel (or prequel) to all of his other films. So, basically, I think That's What I'm Talking About will feel A LOT like Dazed an Confused and nothing like, say, Before Sunset. Hope that makes sense.

      I should give School of Rock another watch. I'm due to check it out again.