Essay on Dazed and Confused

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Dazed and Confused is a film that follows a plethora of characters on the last day of school before summer vacation. Although lacking in tangible plot, it makes a bold attempt to encompass and present the zeitgeist of the 1970s. In my opinion it is as if Dazed and Confused was produced in hopes of making those viewers who lived through the 1970s feel a sense of nostalgia. The film’s trajectory, harnessing of zeitgeist, and soundtrack are all very similar to George Lucas’s American Graffiti—a film that also successfully rooted in nostalgia. Dazed and Confused was released in 1993 and, like American Graffiti, was able to look over its shoulder to determine what music stood the test of time. The film attempts to epitomize what it meant for…show more content…
We discussed in class how a movie made about eras past has twenty-twenty hindsight about what constitutes popular music, whereas if this film were made in the 1970s it might make some poor musical decisions. Anytime the radio is playing or non-diegetic music is used it is a piece of music that is still popular today. It is possible for a movie to successfully guess what piece of music will transcend generations, as was the case in the movie Blackboard Jungle, but the music might have been used to create a much different effect. In Blackboard Jungle the rock music was used to associate the school with the danger, aimed at an audience of people who believed rock music was the sound of crime and degenerate youth. The film I mentioned before, American Graffiti, uses the exact same track as Blackboard Jungle but is instead aimed at the now grown up youth from the 1950s to create a sense of nostalgia. American Graffiti can, of course, do this with confidence because it was made long after the release of the song and the era. Dazed and Confused performs the exact same task with music from the 1970s. Frith writes, “One of the most obvious consequences of music’s organization of our sense of time is that songs and tunes are often the key to our remembrance of things past” (Frith 142). The people watching the film who have lived through this time period are able to associate themselves with these songs, because
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