We gave it an A
Set on a single day in 1976, Richard Linklater’s exhilarating comedy follows a pack of teenagers as they celebrate the end of the school year by driving around, consuming ridiculous amounts of beer and marijuana, and, finally, ending up at a rowdy woodside keg bash. The film’s all-night-party structure harks back to American Graffiti, yet its documentary-like style is fresher and looser, and its subject is new enough to seem revelatory. Linklater doesn’t just capture the ’70s clothes, the cars, the vintage rock songs; he gets the attitude of carefree dilapidation. In its offhand way, this stoned comedy of manners may be the most slyly funny and dead-on portrait of American teenage life ever made.