For something different than cryptocurrencies and the future. ;)
I’ve always been a Richard Linklater fan. I first discovered his work when as a teenager I stumbled upon “Waking Life”: the dream-like movie where philosophical ramblings are front & center. As a teenager, discovering your brain (“surprise”), it was a wonderful foray into intellectual & philosophical discussions. I remember certain scenes sticking with me for years (and still do). I think I figured out the answer to this scene in which the character asks: “Which is the most universal human characteristic - fear or laziness?” However, my opinion has changed over the years, so I’m not sure I’ve hit the right answer yet.
Over time, I discovered his other movies and then actively started seeking them out. The incredible “Before” series, which captured the wonders (and troubles) of a romantic relationship. Or my favourite: Dazed & Confused. A movie about the last day of school… in which nothing particularly happens, but the moments.
Over the years, different moments would stick with me… and come back. Like Suburbia, where almost the whole movie happens at night: which captures the sort of depressing feel of small-town life. Dazed & Confused, during some tougher times during university, became my solace: an escape. I don’t really like doing things more than once due to wanting to experience more of the world, but I’ll always have a soft spot for watching Dazed & Confused again.
It was with great excitement that about 5 years ago I heard Richard Linklater was working on Boyhood: a movie shot over 12 years with the same actors chronicling the life of Mason during his childhood. Knowing Richard Linklater’s knack for capturing moments, I anticipated its release for years. And I must say: what a fantastic movie. It had the hallmarks of all off Richard Linklater’s style. The great thing about it, is that it feels like a fantastic summation about Richard Linklater’s exploration in story-telling. The random philosophical ramblings relate to Waking Life. The random moments of high-school life feel like Dazed & Confused. The romantic love feels like Before Sunrise. The bickering feels like Tape. The meandering walks through the cities reminds of Slacker.
Because Richard Linklater’s movies were such an integral part of who I am growing older, Boyhood hit another (meta) chord. My brother (Niel) and I would love watching his movies in high school. To experience this sense of growing older as I had about a movie about growing older, and Richard Linklater’s emphasis on capturing the moments that in retrospect are not supposed to be monumental (but leave a lasting impact on your life), was amazing… and led me to the introspection that his movies often evoked.
What he gets right, effortlessly, time and time again, is his capability to capture moments that are mundane, but feel profound: finding ways to make stories feel monumental, while they are not. We remember often the mundane moments, because everyone goes through love, life and death… but the mundane moments are distinctly ours. I remember in primary school, a kid dropping his pencil leads, and trying to pick them up and put them back into his case, trying to hold several in his mouth. Why do I remember that? No clue. But see. That’s what we remember: the moments that flesh out and make the journeys through the usual milestones richer.
If you have a chance to see Boyhood: go do it. Then go watch the rest of his stuff!