Photo: Millennium Entertainment
They say if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and that may have been the case with Linklater’s last round of films. Me and Orson Welles and Bernie should have been commercial hits, or at least had respectable showings at the box office, but poor promotion, Linklater’s Achilles heel, resurfaced.
Photo: Warner Bros.
Linklater has always floated in and out of Hollywood. It’s a commendable thing for directors to have a “one for them, one for me” mentality, but if you’re going to do that, there’s no shame in injecting a bit of your own personality in a “one for them.” This era, in a sense, is when Linklater was a hired gun, sure he put out two or three of his own films, but starting in 2003, his Hollywood commitments starting seeming more like him simply cashing in a paycheque.
Photo: IFC Films
Boyhood, the picture that has gone from a small indie film to one of the most talked-about movies of the summer, was filmed over the span of 12 years. Between the ages of 6 and 18, Ellar Coltrane filmed scenes for the movie, aging a dozen years over the running time of the film.
It was an incredibly daring gamble on writer-director Richard Linklater’s part. What if Coltrane (cast as Mason Evans, Jr.) lost interest in doing the movie after a couple of years? What if Ethan Hawke or Patricia Arquette, who play Mason’s parents, quit acting during that time? What if Linklater or one of the actors passed away before finishing it? There were so many things to that could go wrong with making Boyhood. Fortunately, everything came together nearly perfectly, creating a one-of-a-kind, cinematic wonder.
Photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures
When a filmmaker has a little taste of success, they have more control with your films and may want to try something different. While his first few features (Slacker, Dazed and Confused, Before Sunrise) were not runaway hits, they still got Richard Linklater on people’s radar. With his next batch of flicks, Linklater tried to do something new, but stayed with his old game of plotless films.
Photo: Gramercy Pictures
When you think of the world of filmmakers, where does Richard Linklater rank? He is not in the pop culture echelon of Tarantino and Spielberg, nor is he an indie darling such as John Cassavetes or Steven Soderbergh. Rather, Linklater is a filmmaker all his own. The director’s relegated himself to making films in his home state of Texas and has, for the most part, stayed out of the confines of the Hollywood system.
That does not mean that he’s a forgettable filmmaker. In fact, he was one of the unsung and underrated filmmakers of the early 90s indie movement. When you ask a friend which Linklater film is their favourite, you may get a doe-eyed response of confusion. But that’s where the charm of his movies lies. Linklater has quietly made some of the most interesting and experimental films of the last 20 years, remaining unnoticed by the masses.