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Slacker (1991)

Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Director Richard Linklater, and cast and crew members Rating:7.9/10 (12 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by The Cubist on April 29th, 2005:Find all reviews by The Cubist
One of the first ideas that came to Linklater for the movie was the notion, "what if the characters spoke their interior monologues out loud?" He talks at length about how many of the scenes in the movie came from things he had seen or heard. He touches upon how he cast his movie: people that weren't beautiful per se but that you wouldn't forget. This is a very engaging track done in his trademark, laid-back style with lots of good anecdotes.
Reviewed by Jay Olie Espy on August 5th, 2008:Find all reviews by Jay Olie Espy
This review refers to the director’s commentary only.

Richard Linklater is as fluid in this commentary as the characters in his film. The ideas and characters in the film come from other ideas, characters, and myths that he had come across in his life. For example, the old woman who is run over by her son comes from an old legend that went around Linklater’s neighborhood.

The majority of this particular commentary points out who’s who in the movie and from where Linklater knows them from. We come to find out that most of these non-professional actors are musicians, or at the least, an artist of some type. As far as casting is concerned, Linklater states that he was “looking for the most unique people. Kinda like who your eyes would go to. Not in the traditional actor good-looking way, just someone who had that spark of life.”

Richard Linklater tells us to his dismay that the term “slacker” has been used in the pejorative. He seeg a slacker as “heroic, doing your own thing, a badge of honor, having purpose or passion, not selling out to commercial interests in your life. It felt good about how you spent your time, and you didn’t feel your life was too very compromised, that it would be successful, worthwhile way to live. And to depict that I thought it would be a positive thing.” He continues to say that being a slacker has “no place in our free market economy. If you are not making money or progress, you are seen as lazy.”

Aspiring filmmakers won’t find much technical talk in the commentary. Mainly that Slacker is in the tradition of the no-budget “backyard” films. That the film is an “experiment of narrative” and that it represents only a “narrow segment of Austin.” Linklater tells us that one of the weaknesses of working with low budgets is the difficulty to intercut, which is the reason for having sustained shots throughout the film. Finally he points out the jumps in format: 16mm, Super 8mm, and video.

Overall, Slacker is too much of a fan favorite to not listen to this commentary. Listeners will walk away with a better understanding of the film’s conception, with directorial retrospection from a much more experienced Richard Linklater.
Reviewed by sedna on July 9th, 2013:Find all reviews by sedna
I really enjoyed this commentary. Linklater somewhat reminds me of Fincher in commentaries. Just how they both comment on films is very similar. Ideas, and philosophies. I walked away being more aware of the history of this film and its influence on independent filmmakers as well as what frame of mind Linklater was coming from when making the film. I could listen to this man for hours. Solid. Listen to it.