A cheerfully bullshit, oddly handsome daydream about the glories of pre-collegiate life (the three days before classes start, to be precise) in early ‘80s Texas. Why oddly handsome? Because the early ‘80s may not have been a pretty time, but writer-director Richard Linklater has buffed this particular cow patty to a high shine, and then slathered on the lacquer and oiled up the lens. The result is pleasant to look at and listen to, and not much more. The guys — top-tier ballplayers living off-campus in houses donated by the city — are mustachioed Adonises, built like the late-20s specimens they actually are. They give each other crap and slap each other’s asses and play, play, play: baseball, foosball, ping-pong, darts, basketball, pinball, pool, knuckles, you name it. It’s bonding, bro. Now and then, they dress up and chase tail. The girls are gorgeous and eager: either easy lays or sweetly romantic, depending. The booze and drugs are plentiful and mostly free, and impart no discernible after-effects. (In general, there are no consequences for anything.) Toss in some mild adventures, some arch self-awareness, and some earnest talk about self-discovery, and you’ve got yourself a pretty sweet coming of age. The whole thing feels like a fond reminiscence conducted under the influence of some blissful chemical that allows you to remember things the way they should have been: is Handsome Daydream a registered strain yet? (2016) — Matthew Lickona
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