Small Films 11: Woodshock


A Weekly Short Film Review

This week’s “Small Film” is not to be confused with a movie with Kirsten Dunst, perhaps A24’s least-known feature. There are stoners in this one as well. But they’re happy, and it was shot in 1985 by Richard Linklater. He and collaborator Lee Daniels filmed this chaotic event with Super 8 cameras and a Nagra recorder. 

Interestingly enough to be considered part of Austin’s music history, the film features a young Daniel Johnston showing a copy of his classic Hi How Are You on cassette tape. Here’s what I had to say in my Letterboxd review:

A short documentary film about young people hanging out, drinking, doing drugs, and diving into a river, and the reason to watch it; A young Daniel Johnston promoted his cassette and was proud of working at McDonald’s. I feel like eating a Big Mac and listening to his classic “Hi, How Are You” in his memory.

Like the notorious short Heavy Metal Parking Lot a year later, this can be considered a sociological study on 80s youth. However, I would take indie rock kids in Austin over some people seen in a Judas Priest concert parking lot. Woodshock is a predecessor to other Linklater favorites like Slacker and Dazed and Confused and perhaps the rest of his filmography. It’s an artifact of days gone by. 

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