Watching Louis Black’s documentary on Richard Linklater, titled dream is destiny, I kept thinking to myself, “this would make a great PBS documentary”. Little did I know that American Masters, the PBS program that produces terrific documentaries on important historical figures, had bought the rights to air and distribute the film on PBS. This made me happy because I had seen a very underwhelming documentary on Linklater a few years back at the Austin Film Festival, and was hoping there would one day be a doc that gave the legendary filmmaker the treatment he deserved. Fortunately, Louis Black and Karen Bernstein were just the two to do so. Here’s my review of Richard Linklater – dream is destiny.
The film is very basic in its approach, but very informative. It talks about Linklater’s life growing up in Houston and then Huntsville, Texas, moving to Austin in his twenties and making Slacker around that time, and quickly becoming the go-to person for independent cinema during this time. It touches on a lot of Linklater’s professional triumphs (the Before movies, Slacker, School of Rock, etc.) to his failures (the underwhelming box office of now cult classic Dazed and Confused and The Newton Boys). The film also features interviews with longtime Linklater collaborators Matthew McConaughey, Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette, Ellar Coltrane, Julie Delpy, Jack Black, and many more.
The documentary doesn’t bring anything new to the genre, it’s just talking head after talking head with interviews between Linklater and Louis Black, but it’s still an interesting documentary just to learn about Linklater’s life and career. This will make a fantastic American Master episode, and I would totally watch it if I hadn’t already seen the film at SXSW. I didn’t really leave the film with a different view or perspective on Linklater, but I respected him even more than I already do due to the struggle that it took for him to get to where he is now in his life.
It’s also the perfect runtime. It’s about 90 minutes, and unlike the Tony Robbins doc (review here), it never overstays its welcome. I believe the documentary premieres on PBS next month, just in time for the release of Everybody Wants Some!!, Linklater’s latest comedy (review here). I recommend that you check this one out when it does air.