There's perhaps no better indication of what 'Slacker,' Richard Linklater's film from 1991 and our free movie pick of the day, wants to achieve than in the first seven minutes of the film.

Linklater himself steps off a bus, starts a rambling discourse with a silent cabdriver about the possibility of alternate realities while referencing 'The Wizard of Oz,' Leo Tolstoy, Frank Zappa and 'The Omega Man,' then later discovers the body of a woman struck by a car surrounded by a group of people who couldn't be bothered to help. There's perhaps no better indication of what 'Slacker,' Richard Linklater's film from 1991 and our free movie pick of the day, wants to achieve than in the first seven minutes of the film.

Linklater himself steps off a bus, starts a rambling discourse with a silent cabdriver about the possibility of alternate realities while referencing 'The Wizard of Oz,' Leo Tolstoy, Frank Zappa and 'The Omega Man,' then later discovers the body of a woman struck by a car surrounded by a group of people who couldn't be bothered to help.

With characters who mutter things about "the immense effort required in order not to create," and "the obsessiveness of the utterly passive," 'Slacker' is a movie populated by literate post-grads who, despite their intelligence and ability to endlessly pontificate, are completely disaffected and paralyzed by inaction.

The film takes place during 24 hours in Austin, Texas, and introduces us to a wide range of characters in a script based on notes Linklater made from overheard conversations. It features nearly 100 speaking parts and tells the story of conspiracy theorists, anarchists, philosophers, wannabe musicians, con artists and various other wackos in disjointed vignettes.

'Slacker' is loose, yes, and it meanders. And yet, It's also undeniably funny, especially when it tries hard not to say anything truly meaningful, such as when two characters argue that Smurfs originate from Krishna mythology, or when a man with a TV strapped to his back contends that videotaped images are more realistic than live events, or, in perhaps the movie's most iconic moment, when one character tries to sell a vial containing what she asserts is Madonna's pap smear.

The film also lacks a plot and underlying narrative thread, and, as such, it can be challenging to watch. But it's nevertheless charming and utterly entertaining as it sets out to portray American youth as dazed deadbeats who have been force-fed pop culture, and who would rather wax poetic on random nonsense than actually attempt to accomplish something.

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CATEGORIES Video