Glory Daze [1996]

Rich Wilkes's film is like an archeological dig that provides a historical look at some of the 1990s' hottest actors emoting the angst and confusion of college grads. Ben Affleck stars as a guy whose life hits bottom when his girlfriend dumps him, and so he then tries to make it a constant party. He faces confrontations with his dad, who wants him to "get serious," and his pompous professor, who belittles his work. And though he also faces the dissolution of his best friendships--his housemates in "El Rancho Grande"--it's growing up that bothers him. "I don't know what's going on anymore," he says. "When I was 18, everything was great. Now nothing makes me laugh." Affleck sports a goatee and a mohawk, not to mention a grunge wardrobe that wouldn't be allowed on the set of one of the more corporate-driven blockbusters in which he has since appeared. He is supported by French Stewart, who is almost as alien playing a student as he is playing an alien on Third Rock from the Sun. Affleck's buddy Matt Damon does a literal walk-through, and even though Matthew McConaughey mugs without mercy, it's Brendan Fraser who steals the film with a hilarious bit. Alyssa Milano also gives a touching performance that far exceeds her TV persona. Although the movie presents itself as a comedy, it's filled with youthful rage. Ever since The Graduate, movies have portrayed the plight of idealistic kids shot from cannons into the questionable world around them, and Glory Daze speaks to the '90s in that tradition. --Lloyd Chesley

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