This is what the beginning of summer, with school already a fading memory just a day after it’s ended, felt like for director Richard Linklater, whose milieu here was Texas in the late 1970s. Trailing after a dozen or more recently freed high schoolers as they search for a party, contemplate their dubious roles in the social order, and inflict or escape from the hazing rituals that may be particular to suburban Austin schools, the film is dense with detail, one-liners, deft performances, and astutely observed reality—though it may take two viewings to mesh with the movie’s unique rhythms. It’s also something of The Outsiders of its generation, more or less introducing the world to future stars including Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck, Nicky Katt, Rory Cochrane, Joey Lauren Adams, and Parker Posey.
A surprisingly spry biopic of actor George Reeves, whose unmeteoric career led to him playing Superman on TV (1952–58), and eventually to a suicide that might’ve been a murder. Ben Affleck, as Reeves, and Diane Lane, as Toni Mannix, a Hollywood producer’s wife and aging tramp, rise to the occasion, and the film is a bath in postwar semi-affluence. Ignore the Adrien Brody framing story if you can.
Downtown New York, late on New Year’s Eve 1981—it’s a neo–Brat Pack ensemble piece about know-nothing twentysomethings and their social plights. Mostly, though, it’s a stomach-roiling reacquaintance with New Wave, mousse-and-“glittah” style, alien hair helmets, and post-punk accessories, worn by a huge cast of already-somebodies: Ben Affleck, Christina Ricci, Gaby Hoffman, Janeane Garofalo, Kate Hudson, Paul Rudd, Casey Affleck, Courtney Love, Jay Mohr, and more—too many likable stars, all doing little. But if this movie’s about the old you, give it a shot.