Slacker (1991) - Rotten Tomatoes

Slacker (1991)



Critic Consensus: Slacker rests its shiftless thumb on the pulse of a generation with fresh filmmaking that captures the tenor of its time while establishing a benchmark for 1990s indie cinema.

Movie Info

In Richard Linklater's Slacker, a girl tells her boyfriend, "You're just pulling these things from the sh*t you read. You haven't thought it out for yourself. It's like you pasted together these bits and pieces from your authoritative sources. I don't know. I'm beginning to suspect there's nothing in there." Linklater caroms from one character to another in the college community of Austin, TX, moving through an unlinked assortment of people who like to hear themselves talk but don't like to listen very much. The characters include a cab fare (played by Linklater) who expounds to the cab driver about his theory of reality, a robber who ends up getting a tour of Austin from his victim, a man who suspects that one of the Apollo astronauts saw an alien spaceship, and a woman carrying around Madonna's Pap smear in a cloudy container. Linklater's relaxed and ironic tone depicts a collection of post-Reagan lost souls adrift in a sea of shallowness with no direction home. As one character asks a friend, "Do you ever just want to get out of this country?"

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Richard Linklater
as Should Have Stayed at Bus Station, Should Have Stayed at the Bus Station
Rudy Basquez
as Taxi Driver
Jean Caffeine
as Roadkill
Jan Hockey
as Jogger
Stephan Hockey
as Running Late
Mark James
as Hit-and-run Son
Samuel Dietert
as Grocery Grabber of Death's Bounty
Bob Boyd
as Officer Bozzio
Keith McCormack
as Street Musician
Terrence Kirk
as Officer Love
Jennifer Schaudies
as Walking to Coffee Shop
Dan Kratochvil
as Espresso Czar/Masonic Malcontent
Maris Strautmanis
as Giant Cappuccino
Brecht Andersch
as Dostoyevsky Wannabe
Tom Pallotta
as Looking for Missing Friend
Jerry Deloney
as Been on the Moon Since the 50s
Heather West
as Tura Santana Look-Alike
John Spath
as Co-op Guy
Ron Marks
as Bush Basher
Daniel Dugan
as Comb Game Player
Brian Crockett
as Sadistic Comb Game Player
Scott Marcus
as Ultimate Loser
Stella Weir
as Stephanie from Dallas
Teresa Taylor
as Papsmear Pushover
Mark Harris
as T-Shirt Terrorist
Greg Wilson
as Anti-Traveler
Debbie Pastor
as Wants to Leave Country
Gina Lalli
as Sidewalk Psychic
Sharon Roos
as Devoted Follower
Frank Orrall
as Happy-Go-Lucky Guy
Skip Fulton Jr.
as Two for One Special
Abra Moore
as Has Change
Lori Capp
as Traumatized Yacht Owner
Gus Vayas
as Cranky Cook
Louis Black
as Paranoid Paper Reader
Don Stroud
as Recluse in Bathrobe
Janelle Coolich
as Shut-in Girlfriend
Aleister Barron
as Peeping Kid
Albans Benchoff
as Coke Machine Robber
Nigel Benchoff
as Budding Capitalist Youth
Kevin Whitley
as Jilted Boyfriend
Steven Anderson
as Guy Who Tosses Typewriter
Robert Pierson
as Based on Authoritative Sources
Sarah Harmon
as Has Faith in Groups
David Haymond
as Street Dweller
John Slate
as `Conspiracy A-Go-Go' Author
Charles Gunning
as Hitchhiker Awaiting `True Call'
Tamsy Ringler
as Video Interviewer
Luke Savisky
as Video Cameraman
Meg Brennan
as Sitting at Cafe
Phillip Hostak
as Hit Up for Cigarettes
D. Angus MacDonald
as Video Playing Store Security
Louis Mackey
as Old Anarchist
Kathy McCarty
as Anarchist's Daughter
Jack Meredith
as Get-Away Accomplice
Clark Lee Walker
as Cadillac Crook
Kalman Spellitich
as Video Backpacker
Siqgouri Wilkovich
as Slapping Boyfriend
John Hawkins
as Choking Girlfriend
Scott Rhodes
as Disgruntled Grad Student
Denise Montgomery
as Having a Breakthrough Day
Mimi Vitetta
as Teacup Sculpter
Susannah Simone
as Working on Same Painting
Bruce Hughes
as Card Playing Waiter
Keith Fletcher
as Cafe Card Player No. 1
Eric Buehlman
as Cafe Card Player No. 2
R. Malice
as Scooby Doo Philosopher
Mark Quirk
as Papa Smurf
Kim Krizan
as Questions Happiness
Annick Souhami
as Has Conquered Fear of Rejection
Regina Garza
as Smoking Waiter
Stephen Jacobson
as S-T-E-V-E with a Van
Eric Lord
as Doorman at Club
Kelly Linn
as Bike Rider with Nice Shoes
Rachel Reinhardt
as Cousin from Greece
Stewart Bennet
as Sitting on Ledge
Kevin Thompson (II)
as Handstamping Arm Licker
Nick Maffei
as Pixi-Visionary
Nolan Morrison
as To Be Buried By History
Kyle Rosenblad
as Going to Catch a Show
Ed Hall
as Band Playing at Club
Lucinda Scott
as Dairy Queen Photographer
as Anti-Artist
Marianne Hyatt
as Late Night Pick-up
Gary Price
as Watching Early Morning TV
Joseph L. "Mr. Spoons" Jones
as Old Man Recording Thoughts
Kendal Smith
as Post-Modern Paul Revere
Sean Coffey
as Super 8 Cameraman
Robert Jacks
as Club Owner [uncredited]
Patrice Sullivan
as Day Tripper
Jennifer Carroll
as All-Night Partier
Charlotte Norris
as Convertible Driver
Greg Ward
as Tosses Camera Off Cliff
Mike Enright
as Bicyclist (uncredited)
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Critic Reviews for Slacker

All Critics (43) | Top Critics (13)

This unconventional film will offend anyone looking for a plot, but Linklater's smart observations speak volumes.

March 14, 2021 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

When the way characters are described in the credits ("Dostoevsky wanna-be," "Having a breakthrough day") is more involving than the characters themselves, you know you're in for a long evening.

March 14, 2021 | Full Review…

The film presents the teeming weirdness of daily life in Austin as a swarm of individual alternatives, each spinning wildly out of control and crashing into one another's active fantasies to unleash vast creative energy.

March 30, 2020 | Full Review…

On the whole, this is a fascinating example of apparently fly-on-the-wall film-making, made all the more intriguing when you discover it was all planned like a military exercise.

March 20, 2018 | Full Review…

Slacker has a marvelously low-key observational cool.

September 7, 2011 | Rating: A- | Full Review…

At times, it's like watching someone else's home movies, but there's something oddly compelling about such studied eccentricity.

June 24, 2006 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Slacker


A perfect portrait of Austin, Texas in the nineties, this film is full of vignettes of what it is like living out your twenties in that time period. It balances between being a love letter to Austin, and a diatribe about the collective characters that you meet when you're young. Linklater's films have often been heralded as centering on realism in contrast against the absurd. From the "Anti-Artist" in the bar scene to the conspiracy theorist in the book store, we've heard, and listened to, and felt exhausted by many of these same people in our lives. Though this film is nearly twenty-five years old, it feels just as relevant in today's times. Academia is always full of hotheads and passionate centenarians alike. This too is the world of liberal society, happy to philosophize about every aspect of life but intent on not living it. This film is funny, intellectually stimulating, and perversely amazing with its characters and cult following. A definitive piece of Linklater filmmaking and cultural iconoclast in the world of indie filmmaking, this is a must watch, in any case.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

In Richard Linklater's first feature film, there are clear moments of technical mishaps and set issues, however, with such an ambitious project most of that is forgivable for being his first film. There is no linear plot in this film, but it feels more like a relay race/hangout film, as one scene with characters seamlessly leads into another scene with new characters, and so on. "Slacker" is all about the lives of burnout teenagers as they live their lives after college. It was just very interesting to see how alike and how different some people are from each other. This film is brilliantly written, but that is what Richard Linklater's films are (character driven). Aside from some technical issues that may or may not take you out of the film, you should be able to really enjoy this film. It is a fantastic first attempt for director Richard Linklater, who Produced, Directed, Wrote, and appeared in this film. "Slacker" is great!

KJ Proulx
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

Even in this early stage of his career, Linklater makes his ambition known. Though the entire thing probably won't resonate with everyone, there may in fact be something for everyone in this weird, meandering narrative experiment that will change the way you think about the strangers you see every day.

Sam Barnett
Sam Barnett

Super Reviewer

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