Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Semi-scripted documentary showcasing the bohemian fringe community in Austin TX, circa 1990. Richard Linklater's camera functions like the proverbial fly hanging out on yonder wall, focusing on a rotating series of characters -- many of whom appear to be students or at least campus ne'er-do-wells, all of whom lead busy but job-free lives (though Linklater has stated his usage of the term slacker was meant to be positive, it has entered the lexicon distinctly otherwise). The capricious narrative bounces from one eccentric persona to the next: Linklater himself gets the ball rolling as the motormouthed "Should Have Stayed at the Bus Station," ranting about alternate universes from the back of a taxicab. Other oddballs of note: "Guy Who Tosses Typewriter," "Scooby Doo Philosopher," and "Hand Stamping Armlicker." While a young scam artist tries to unload "Madonna's pap smear" on the nearest rube, an aging anarchist bemoans being out of town on the day Charles Whitman climbed the UT clocktower to a dude who believes NASA astronauts encountered aliens on the moon, just like in 2001 (1968). Before long, this bizarre clutter begins to cohere into a crazy-quilt whole. Best of all, everyone seems to be having a good time, if not actually "Having a Breakthrough Day." Shoohee, howdy, shucks.