MCN Blogs
Noah Forrest

By Noah Forrest

“Straight A’s!”

Dazed and Confused is a perfect film, one that I watched upwards of fifty times during my adolescence and I could talk about it for hours.  Sometimes I do, like last night when a friend and I discussed the film in such minute detail that it would probably scare the average Dazed and Confused fan.

But during the conversation, I explained a theory about the film that I conjured up somewhere around the 45th viewing.  There is a scene in the film where Slater and Pink go to Pickford’s house to smoke some pot.  As Slater and Pink walk into the house, they run into Pickford’s mother who asked what grades they got and Slater immediately says, “Straight A’s!” which seems pretty laughable since Slater is portrayed as a pothead idiot.  Except, what if he’s telling the truth?  My theory is that Slater is, in fact, a genius.


Bear with me, I know that sounds ridiculous.  But remember the scene where Slater says, “Catch ya later,” and Don makes fun of him?  Well, Slater says in that same scene, “Wait til I get to college, I can’t wait til I get to college.”  And my first thought when I hear that is, “Slater’s going to college?”  Is Slater lying?  Is he lying about getting straight A’s?  Is it possible that he’s just playing up the stoner aspect of his personality?  He talks about George Washington being in a cult and that the cult was into aliens, but does he mean what he’s saying or is he just trying to have a laugh at the expense of the stoners who are listening to him?

Look, it’s a far-fetched theory and these are the kinds of things that come up when you re-watch a movie all throughout your childhood.  But, just think about Slater’s potential MENSA status the next time you watch the movie and I think you might start to see the movie in a slightly different way.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon