To all recent high school and college grads: the market is still awful. Finding work is harder than tracking down Bigfoot on the ocean floor of Atlantis. If you’ve landed a job, we’re all very happy for you, so stop rubbing it in. For the rest of you, don’t be dismayed by moving back in your parents, even if they’ve converted your childhood bedroom into a Bikram yoga studio. Summer is finally here, so put off the crushing reality of joblessness for a few more months and let loose! We at GQ want to reassure you that the ennui and uncertainty you can’t seem to shake have long been woven into the fabric of young adulthood. Let the definitive Gen-X film, Slacker, be a comforting lesson in how best to turn on, tune in, and drop out.
Richard Linklater’s 1991 debut, created for a mere $25,000, follows a group of freaks and weirdos over the course of one day in Austin, Texas. Much like its companion piece, 2001’s Waking Life, Slacker lacks a narrative in any standard sense. Instead, we are handed a series of conversation snippets, and often monologues, by nameless 20-somethings spouting crackpot theories on topics ranging from the existence of multiple planes of reality and Madonna’s pap smear to a detailed conspiracy theory of JFK’s assassination. There are 98 characters in all, with credited epithets such as T-shirt Terrorist, Dostoyevsky Wannabe, Traumatized Yacht Owner, and Post-modern Paul Revere.