Slacker + Underground USA closing night party

Live Set from DJ Totally Abuse
35mm print courtesy of the Sundance Collection at the UCLA Film & Television Archive

Before A Scanner Darkly and Dazed and Confused, there was Slacker: Richard Linklater’s made-on-a-microbudget filmmaking debut. To describe it as “slice of life” would be a serious injustice; it’s more like that fly on the wall took ‘shrooms and went for a buzz around town, viewing the mythically weird Austin, Texas through an ADD-riddled, psychonautic lens. Behind the initial facade of mundane city action and eccentric characters, the camera becomes an omnipotent “eye in the sky,” flitting between deep explorations of daily life and easy distractibility—including breaks in the fourth wall—in what is now considered hallmark Linklater style.

The perfect close to our Underground USA series (stick around for the after-party!), Slacker is pure, early-90s grunge metropolitanism, so gritty, so adherent to reveling in the vivid and complex lives of strangers, that it holds a place as one of our favorite indie flicks. Besides, who can forget the scene about Madonna’s pap smear?

Dir. Richard Linklater, 1991, 35mm, 100 min.