SLACKER directed by Richard Linklater (USA, 1991)

Two definitions from Urban Dictionary :
SLACKER – Someone who puts off doing things to the last minute, and when the last minutes comes, decides it wasn’t all that important anyways and forgets about it.

SLACKERS – a group of guys who like to hang out and do nothing.

Two typical conversations from ‘Slacker’, the movie:
Q – What’s up man?  A – Not much OR
Q – Hey, what’s going on? A – Nothing

‘Slacker’  follows the day in the life of a cast of youths in Austin, Texas who share the ability to turn idleness into an art form and who are content to spend their days “lolligagging around” or just vaguely hanging out.

One prefers to stay home rather than go out to the lake because he hates the idea of “premeditated fun”. Another can’t decide if he is remembering something that happened to him or whether he saw it on TV.

They are big on conspiracy theories ranging from the JFK shooting to Scooby Doo or from the Apollo moon landing to The Smurfs. With no clear line between reality and fiction they are like existentialists observing their own lives with a mixture of indifference and studied detachment.

This movie was released in the same year as Douglas Copeland’s ‘Generation X – Tales For An Accelerated Culture’ and taps into the angst felt by intelligent twenty something Americans who collectively barfed at the idea of being anybody’s idea of a target market. As the blurb to Copeland’s book states, these are those who have been “scarred by the 80s fall-out of yuppies, recession, crack and Ronald Reagan”.

Richard Linklater as "Should Have Stayed at the Bus Station" in the opening scene form Slacker.

Richard Linklater takes a taxi as “Should Have Stayed at the Bus Station” in the opening scene form Slacker.

To these, being old means someone in their 40s and 50s so it is amusing to think of these misfits now being in the age group they were so dismissive of (Linklater is now 53). It would be interesting to do an updated ‘where are they now’ version.

Filmed on a shoestring budget of just $23,000, Slacker is important because it set the benchmark for other Indie movies like ‘Clerks’ or ‘Sex,Lies & Videotape’.

It is also groundbreaking because it so accurately identified a lost generation whose disengagement from the world is not a political act but an act of defiance nonetheless.

As the Oblique Strategy card one individual select from the pack states : “Withdrawing in disgust is not the same as apathy”.

To watch the movie free online, go to this Open Culture link.

 

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