Here in the UK Richard Linklater’s new film Everybody Wants Some, is being released this weekend, so I’m going to take a look at my top ten favorite films he’s directed.
Linklater is known for his dialogue and experimental filmmaking and Tape combines the two together in a far from perfect but interesting story. It’s three actors, in a room, talking for an hour and 20 minutes, those three actors happen to be Ethan Hawke, Robert Sean Leonard and Uma Thurman, so you know you’re going to get really solid performances.
90s cinema, for me is most memorable for the indie movement started by the debut film of Linklater, Slacker. There’s no real plot, we just follow whoever the camera decides to follow, in the beautifully shot city of Austin. It was made with practically no budget and stars Linklater’s friends and even himself. It won’t be for everyone but if you can appreciate indie filmmaking, you can really get into this film.
Bad News Bears (2005)
I’m going to preference this by saying I haven’t seen the original and from what I’ve read this is pretty much a shot by shot remake of the 1976 classic. This was the only Linklater film I hadn’t seen, until yesterday and I found it to be rather pleasant. Billy Bob Thornton was perfect for this role and is a lot of fun to watch as Buttermaker.
Giovanni Ribisi pops up all the time in supporting roles but in SubUrbia he plays the lead character and gives I think his best performance to date. Except for maybe John Hughes, no one does coming of age films like Linklater, SubUrbia may not be the best in the genre but is still a very engaging and relatable teenage drama.
Dazed and Confused (1993)
3 years before SubUrbia, was the cult classic Dazed and Confused. The stoner comedy defined a generation and new generations,like myself are finding the film. It’s a credit to the film that, it came out in the 90s, is set in the 70s but still holds up and is relevant today. It’s filled with iconic scenes (most coming from Matthew McConaughey) and young actors who went on to be big stars.
Me and Orson Welles (2008)
Like DiCaprio, McConaughey, Brad Pitt and many others, Zac Efron is waiting for a career defining role that will launch him into the movie star he has the potential to be. He’s really great in the lead role of Me and Orson Welles but nobody has seen it. Christian McKay plays Orson Welles and he is magnificent. It’s a great little story about a special time for theater, if you haven’t seen it I highly recommend it.
School of Rock (2003)
When Jack Black is used well, he’s an incredible actor. Dewey Finn is such a fun character and the energy Jack Black brings to him, adds even more brilliance to the best cinematic teacher ever. The music is catchy, it’s quotable and all the characters are memorable. School of Rock is probably Linkater’s most mainstream film but still keeps the heart and soul all his films have and it’s a long way to the top if you want to rock and roll!
Boyhood is a masterpiece. Linklater accomplished something I don’t think anyone will ever be able replicated. If you put aside the journey it took to get to this film made and just look at it on it’s own, it’s amazing. The performances given from Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette blew me away when I first saw Boyhood. Arquette in particular gave such a real, emotional performance and I was so happy when she won the Oscar. Boyhood is a mind-blowing experience and is a film everyone needs to see.
When I first saw Benie, I didn’t really know what to expect. Like I said earlier, I think Jack Black can be a really good actor but I had no idea he was capable of the performance he gave in Bernie, I think this is one of the most underrated performance of the last 5 years. Bernie on the surface, is a lovable, happy, typical Jack Black character and then when the story unfolded, you see the complexities of Bernie and the film changes into a black comedy. I love black comedies like American Psycho, Nightcrawler and I put Bernie on that level too. This film doesn’t get talked about enough (I feel like the majority of Linklater’s filmography is overlooked), it’s very dark, deep and will make you ask question about your own character.
The Before Trilogy
I bunched together all the Before films as my number 1 or they would take up the top 3 spots on the list. I love this trilogy. The Before films are the ultimate romance films and they feel completely effortless. The first two in particular, is just two people meeting and falling in love. Nothing crazy happens, there’s no explosions, they’re basic films with 2 incredible leads, with the strongest chemistry of any on screen couple. The third film in the series Before Midnight, is one of the most brutal, gut-wrenching films ever but is so real and doesn’t hold back on expressing what a real relationship is. These films are the closest representation of real people, I think I’ve ever seen in cinema. This is one of my favorite trilogies, that I put up there with Toy Story, Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and The Dark Knight series.
Next Week – Top Ten Emily Blunt Films