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Madonna's pap smear has never been as crystal clear as it is on Criterion's new high-def edition of this generation-defining underground smash....
Criterion / 100 Minutes / 1991 / Unrated / Street Date: September 17, 2013
Slacker on Blu-ray is just as much of an institution as its DVD predecessor, and that’s almost enough to clear a space for on a list of the all-time great home video titles. It’s not the only Richard Linklater movie to great Criterion love – Dazed and Confused is no slouch on high-def, either – but this compilation doesn’t just present the film at hand, it offers it as a central point surround by heaps of ancillary information and media that collectively explain, demystify, applaud, and analyze it.
Most DVD/Blu-ray writers have referred to these formats on their best days as being ‘film school in a box’, but that’s not entirely appropriate here. It’s an understatement to say that anyone approaching Slacker here gets full access into Linklater’s passion and process, but there’s even more to it than that. Slacker is a movie that (twenty-odd years later) is more important and valued for what it kicked off rather than what it contains aesthetically, and while Criterion’s new edition brazenly admires Linklater’s iconic work, it also plays like a museum piece: the studio knows the cinephilic world is better off knowing as much about a phenomenon like Slacker as possible.
I’d argue that the movie hasn’t aged the way we might have thought back in the early 1990s, but again, that’s almost beside the point with a monster box set like this one. Slacker in high-def presents a mesmerizing synergy of cinematic history and technical savvy that shows just how far we’ve all evolved since the LaserDisc era. It grows tiresome buying and rebuying newly-minted versions of our favorite films on new formats, but when the result looks and sounds like this, you don’t stay mad for long.