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November 14, 2007 Slideshows » Culture, Arts & Entertainment

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From Chaplin to Knocked Up: The Timeline of Cinema Slackers 

Sixteen films that demotivated the American male -- a web addition to the story Slacker Guys and Striver Girls published Nov. 14.
1915, The Tramp, Based on his boozy lout dad, Charlie Chaplin plays a tramp on the road who meets a nice girl, saves her, but ends up back tramping. The stage is set.
1959, Breathless, Jean-Luc Godard's enormously influential film examines existential longing and betrayal through Michel (Belmondo), a cursing, cop-killing, pussy-hound thief. Patricia (Seberg) plays a blond pixie-like American selling the New York Herald Tribune on the Champs-Elysees, but she's also rather directionless. Patricia does not try to fix Michel per se, but the slacker mold had been set.
1978, Animal House, John Belushi as John 'Bluto' Blutarsky gets all the spotlight but the real slacker in the film that launched National Lampoon is Donald 'Boon' Schoenstein' played by Peter Riegert. Boon's girlfriend dumps him after calls to end his Delta House ways of decadence, debauchery, and delinquency. Yeah, good luck with that.
1981, Stripes, John Winger (Bill Murray) loses his job, gets his car repo'd, loses his apartment, and his girlfriend in the same day. So John and his best friend Russell Ziskey (Harold Ramis) join the Army. Slackerdom ensues.
1982, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, "All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I'm fine." In this flick, Mr. Hand plays the reformer to slacker Jeff Spicoli -- countless youths have squandered their lives thanks to Sean Penn's deft portrayal.
1989, Say Anything, John Cusack plays Lloyd Dobler, a high school underachiever in love with valedictorian Diane Court (Ione Skye). Diane's overprotective father Jim Court (John Mahoney) wants more for his only daughter. Peter Gabriel ensues. Thanks for that, Cameron Crowe.
1991, Slacker, Texan filmmaker Richard Linklaters debut meanders through the lives of some unmotivated inhabitants of Austin, Texas. They kill time talking about Madonna, alternate universes or whatever.
1994, Clerks, "Hey, try not to suck any dick on the way through the parking lot! " Twenty-two-year-old Quick Stop clerk Dante Hicks (Brian O'Halloran) has a loving girlfriend Veronica Loughran ( Marilyn Ghigliotti) who only wants him to quit clerking and go back to school. Dante would rather shit himself and alienate her than endure change.
1994, Reality Bites "I smoke my Camel Straights and I ride my own melt." God knows how many attitudes needed readjusting after Hawke gave millions of dudes this template to nihilism.
1995 Mallrats, "Breakfast, shmreakfast. Look at the score, for Christ's sake. It's only the second period and I'm up 12 to 2. Breakfasts come and go, Rene, but Hartford, "the Whale," they only beat Vancouver once, maybe twice in a lifetime." Jason Lee's Brodie and his opening scene fight with Rene (Shannen Doherty) characterize the slacker kernel of this film, while Ben Affleck delivers his most believable performance as a slacker-hating thug.
1996, Trainspotting, Renton and the boys chose not to Choose Life. It takes a girl and the windfall of a huge heroin deal to help Renton kick the sloth habit.
1998, The Big Lebowski, "Oh, the usual. I bowl. Drive around. The occasional acid flashback." Kind of a tough call because no one really want to save The Dude from his life of bowling and weed. Julianne Moore as Maude Lebowski just wants his sperm, not his effort, which might make it the slacker wish-fulfillment story of the millennium.
1999, Office Space, "It's not just about me and my dream of doing nothing. It's about all of us," says Ron Livingston as corporate Everyman Peter Gibbons. Gibbons' dreams are complicated by dating a blond waitress (Jennifer Anniston) at the local restaurant who wants to know how he will pay the bills and rent if his anti-ambitions come true.
2002, About a Boy, Hugh Grant plays 30-something Will Freeman as a hip London man-child who loses all his friends to the grind of married life. Will's dream of being 'Ibiza' -- a man as an island -- is interrupted when he meets a 12-year old with grown-up problems that help solve Will's Peter Pan syndrome.
2005, Factotum, "I decided to clean up the apartment. I thought I must be turning into a fag. " Matt Dillon plays Hank Chinaski (aka Slacker King poet Charles Bukowski) who drifts from job to job and whore to whore around Los Angeles, CA. While none of his fucks tries to reform him, Bukowski embodies much of the slacker archetype, especially in relation to his hard-working German immigrant parents.
2007, Knocked- Up, If you haven't seen it, you are the obviously the Taliban reading this from a cave in northwestern Pakistan. "Death to the non believers!"
1915, The Tramp, Based on his boozy lout dad, Charlie Chaplin plays a tramp on the road who meets a nice girl, saves her, but ends up back tramping. The stage is set.
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