10 Best Richard Linklater Movies

10 best Richard Linklater movies

10 Best Richard Linklater Movies

Known best for his incredibly engrossing, dialogue-filled dramatic comedies, Richard Linklater is one director who knows how to make conversations as captivating as a car chase. He’s got a love of rock music, a love of humanity, and a love of suburban culture. In addition to this, his movies often focus on the passage of time and the ways in which it impacts his characters. Whether he’s taking a look at the way time changes a couple, the way time impacts our childhoods, or the way time impacts old friends, Linklater is the master of humorous humanism. There’s always a relatability to all of his films — whether we’re identifying with the aging couple in search of purpose, the college-aged kids with their whole lives ahead of them, or the adult who lost track of their dreams, Linklater knows how to capture us and enthrall us. He’s one of the strongest filmmakers working today, and he’s got the filmography to show for it.

The Before Trilogy

10 best Richard Linklater movies

There’s no way one could choose one entry in the Before Trilogy over another, so it makes sense to put them all at the top. Each movie is mostly dialogue, taking place over the course of a day or two, but they’re filled with so much more than that. Before Sunrise sees Jesse, an American with big dreams, and Celine, a French student with her whole life ahead of her, meeting by chance on a train traveling through Europe. Before Sunset follows up with the two of them almost a decade later and Before Midnight almost a decade after that. Together, they contain some of the finest dialogue (and some of the most realistic depictions of relationships and how they change over the course of time) in all of film.

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Dazed and Confused

10 best Richard Linklater movies

Linklater has more than a few cult classics under his belt, but Dazed and Confused might be the definitive one. A love letter to the mid-70s, the film follows high school and junior high students as they endure their last day of school before summer break. This is the one that showed the world what Linklater was really capable of — it’s exciting, smart, and completely hilarious. More than that, it’s honest and full of heart.

Purchase now on Amazon for $4.99.

Boyhood

10 best Richard Linklater movies

Beyond being one of Linklater’s greatest projects, Boyhood also proves to be Linklater’s most ambitious film to date. Filmed over the course of twelve years, shooting a little bit each year, Boyhood tracks the childhood of young Mason from the age of six to the age of eighteen. It’s a time capsule, highlighting each year’s idiosyncrasies — the rise of GameBoys, Pokemon, Soulja Boy, and Harry Potter all play out in real time — and it’s a truthful depiction of youth and innocence. There’s really nothing else like it.

Purchase now on Amazon for $6.99.

Waking Life

10 best Richard Linklater movies

One of Linklater’s stranger projects, Waking Life is considered an adult animation docufiction film — it’s animated very uniquely, crossing real-life actors with a sort of 2.5D animation style. It focuses on all kinds of different topics, ranging from free will to existentialism to the meaning of life, but it’s all framed around the concept of lucid dreaming (also known as the ability to consciously control one’s own dreams). Linklater’s wild for this one, but it’s something that only he could’ve made.

Purchase now on Amazon for $9.99.

Slacker

10 best Richard Linklater movies

His debut project (and a major source of inspiration for all kinds of different independent films throughout the 1990s), Linklater’s film Slacker both satirizes and honors Generation X as it follows a series of loosely-connected characters throughout their day-to-day lives in a small Texas town. It’s a great film in its own right, but it’s also credited for popularizing the term slacker.

Purchase now on Amazon for $6.99.

Everybody Wants Some!!

10 best Richard Linklater movies

A spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused, trading the last day of high school and junior high in the 1970s for the first days of college in the 1980s, Everybody Wants Some!! is a pleasant and joyous look at the lives of a group of baseball players at a Texas university. It’s got everything that makes Dazed and Confused great, but it’s operating on a much smaller scale over a longer period of time. Linklater’s so good at this kind of movie.

Purchase now on Amazon for $9.99.

School of Rock

10 best Richard Linklater movies

One of his most popular films to date, School of Rock stars Jack Black as a wannabe rocker-turned-wannabe substitute teacher. He’s a poser in more ways than one, exploiting anyone and everyone for a chance to win a local Battle of the Bands. Jack Black is obviously solid in this film, but the cast of kids is surprisingly just as funny.

Purchase now on Amazon for $13.99.

Bernie

10 best Richard Linklater movies

Another collaboration with Jack Black, Bernie is a Linklater film that’s based on a true story out of Texas (a place that obviously holds a special place in Linklater’s heart). Costarring alongside Matthew McConaughey and Shirley MacLaine, Black plays a mortician who befriends a wealthy widow who quickly becomes controlling. It’s one of the weirdest stories to come out of the state, but its themes are totally Linklater.

Watch now on Amazon Prime.

A Scanner Darkly

10 best Richard Linklater movies

Uniquely animated in the same sort of style as Waking Life, A Scanner Darkly is Linklater’s take on a Philip K. Dick story. Focusing on a dystopian future where surveillance is ever-present and a drug epidemic that’s wreaking havoc across the nation, Linklater manages to make something that feels incredibly realistic and relevant despite utilizing animation.

Purchase now on Amazon for $14.99.

Tape

10 best Richard Linklater movies

Linklater is so, so good at writing dialogue. Tape is one of many examples of this: it follows three old friends, pent up in a motel room, determined to dissect the drama and trauma from their high school years. It’s hard to watch at times, highlighting all kinds of heavy themes, but Linklater still manages to keep the heart of it all front and center.

Purchase now on Amazon for $9.99.

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Weekend: Jun. 27, 2019, Jun. 30, 2019

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