Length: 101 minutes
Director: Jess Manafort
Writer: Jess Manafort
Starring: Moira Kelly, Amber Heard, Alexa Vega, Leighton Meester, Melonie Diaz, Chris Marquette, Brie Larson, Lyndsy Fonseca, Aaron Himelstein, Wesley Jonathan, Stella Maeve, Marnette Patterson, John Robinson, Sean Marquette, Douglas Smith, Khleo Thomas, Michael Welch
The day was bound to come when a movie would be released that would capture my youth. The ‘70’s youth was represented with “Dazed and Confused” (which this film desperately wants to be) and the ‘90’s youth was represented with “Can’t Hardly Wait”. Take your pick of the numerous ‘80’s films as that is probably the most well represented youth decade in film history. “Remember the Daze” takes place on the last day of school for the seniors of 1999, though most of the characters are juniors preparing to return to become the class of 2000 (the year I graduated). I had a lot of friends in the class of 1999 (blog contributor Jason Barton being one of them) and I must say not only did any of my friends from that class act like the characters in this movie, neither did the characters in my class. Granted, I graduated from a small redneck high school in Macclenny, Florida, but I also attended high school in Milwaukee and Palm Beach- and the high school kids that this film wants to represent also didn’t act a thing like they do here there either. This is a phony movie full of phony characters. The characters in this movie make the characters in shows like “One Tree Hill” and “The O.C.” seem like people you run into everyday. And unlike “Dazed and Confused” and “Can’t Hardly Wait”, these characters are completely intolerable. They are irritating with nothing important nor interesting to say, not that the movie gives them anything interesting to do. The beauty of a film like “Dazed” was that it was a slice of life where the characters were so interesting that the little things they did, which were normal every day activities, were interesting enough to maintain an entire feature length film and still leave the audience wanting more (director Richard Linklater has said he constantly gets bugged by fans to make a sequel, but what can he do? The cast is way too old now). I wasn’t the biggest “Can’t Hardly Wait” fan, but I can see it’s appeal and it’s “The Graduate” compared to “Remember the Daze”. None of the characters here are memorable- think about “Dazed” and “Can’t Hardly” and a slew of characters jump to mind. First time writer/director Jess Manafort throws out clichés that should be watchable just by cliché standards, but they fall so dully flat that it’s almost offensive that Manafort thought it would work and entertain. There’s the potheads, the couples who are breaking up, the couples who are getting together, the good girls going bad for once, the rival school fight, the lesbians who don’t want their love to go public… and yet it’s so boring it’s impossible to care. I lived through these times and yes, couples got together and broke up, kids were potheads (ahem), etc, etc., but this movie doesn’t capture the feeling that was around at that time. It doesn’t capture much of anything. It makes 1999 seem like a year that thankfully is long gone and 1999 wasn’t that kind of year.
(Note: The movie gets it’s one star mainly due to actress Leighton Meester, whom you might recognize as Blair from WB’s guilty pleasure “Gossip Girl”. I’ve developed a big crush on her and I think she’s an actress to keep an eye on. If she can make the dialogue in this movie work, she is capable of anything)
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