Before we dive into the first installment of “Now & Then”, I want to just take a few moments to explain exactly what it is. In “Now & Then” movies, both horror and non-horror will be analyzed from the point of view of seeing the film at a younger age and then the point of view of watching it in the present. The movie I have chosen for the first installment is a movie that is very important to me and influenced me immensely growing up the 1996 independent classic Glory Daze from writer/director Rich Wilkes.
Glory Daze is the story of a group of tight knit friends in college who find themselves two days away from graduation. Jack (Ben Affleck) is starting to panic as he starts to contemplate what the future holds for him and begins to worry that the last few years were the high point and everything else from this point on will be a steady decline. This leads to Jack doing everything in his power to hold onto the good times that he holds so dear not wanting to move on to the next stage of his life.
This flick features an amazing cast featuring Ben Affleck, Sam Rockwell, French Stewart, Megan Ward, Kristin Bauer, Alyssa Milano, and small cameos from Matthew McConaughey, Brendan Fraser, Leah Remini, and Matt Damon.
The first four films Rich Wilkes wrote were all favorites of mine growing up Airheads (1994), The Stoned Age (1994), The Jerky Boys (1995), and Glory Daze (1996). It is hard to believe that I was only fourteen years old the first time I experienced Glory Daze.
Young, dumb, and pissed off I was a punk rock kid growing up in a small southern town filled to the brim with nothing. My free time was spent day dreaming about being in a punk band touring the US in a shitty van and spreading chaos wherever we ended up and scanning the shelves of video stores for any random strange indie film I had not yet seen. From a young age I found myself far more interested in independent films than big budget Hollywood extravaganza’s and I was also already an avid fan of the legendary Kevin Smith at this point which caused me to always seek out indie “slacker” comedies every visit I took to the video store.
When I watched this film at the age of fourteen I did not really catch onto all of the deep emotional issues that the film tackles I mostly just saw it as another hilarious slacker comedy that reminded me of my friends and I. It became my go to feel good movie for the next few years and my own personal escape from the world around me when things were tough. The character Slosh reminded me a lot of myself when I was very young in elementary school I was taught that school was the most important thing. My parents tried their best to keep me on the typical path of normalcy despite my early exposure to other views of rebellion that appeared much more fun and interesting a lot like how Slosh developed later on in his college years.
I sat down tonight and watched this film for the first time in many years at the age of 29 and it is an entirely different film today. Now that I am older and have went through many things I had not at the age of fourteen such as serious relationships with the opposite sex and the developing fear of what is to come in the future and trying to figure out what happened to the laughs. At this age, I connect more with Ben Affleck’s character Jack and currently find myself in a similar place in life. I’m currently at the end of my college trek and know soon I will have to take what I’ve learned and turn it into something or return to the 9 to 5 routine of working some job I don’t care about surrounded by people I really don’t like.
There is a scene near the end of the film where Jack gives a speech of sorts about how awesome things where when he was a eighteen, nineteen, and twenty then suddenly the laughs started to get further apart and those around him started going their own ways to begin their lives and families while he was the same place he has always been. I really relate to this today, as I am the youngest of my core group of friends so practically of them are married with kids working the daily grind. While I am still the same old slacker searching for brews, bud, and good times while I am still able too.
Growing up I absolutely loved Glory Daze and now after putting in some years on this rock called Earth I have even more respect for it as a well written, believable, and highly relatable look at growing up, love, and life in general. This is truly Rick Wilkes’s masterpiece and will always remain one of my all time favorite films, It manages to capture one of the most interesting era’s of ones life accurately creating a viewing experience that is sure to invoke many emotions and create a bond between you and the amazing cast of characters.
Glory Daze also features my second all time favorite soundtrack right below the great Return of the Living Dead soundtrack featuring some of my favorite 90s era punk rock.
1. The Vandals – Theme From Glory Daze
2. The Vandals – It’s A Fact
3. The Vandals – Change The World With My Hockey Stick
4. Bouncing Souls – Here We Go
5. Bouncing Souls – Joe Lies
6. The Mr. T Experience – I Just Wanna Do It With You
7. NOFX – Fucking My Mom
8. The Mr. T Experience – Even Hitler Had A Girlfriend
9. Assorted Jelly Beans – Brain Dead
10. Epoxy – Sports Pack
11. Hepcat – Country Time
12. Tilt – Crying Jag
13. The Billy Nayer Show – Baby
14. New Bomb Turks – Runnin On Go
15. NOFX – Moron Brothers
16. Tilt – Berkley Pier
17. Sublime – We’re Only Gonna Die
Although this soundtrack is almost flawless there are four tracks featured in the movie that did not find themselves onto the soundtrack that really should have been included, which are two tracks performed by the main cast ‘s band in the film entitled “Dudes of Steel Theme” and “Now We Are 21”. The soundtrack also lacked NOFX’s “Kill All The White Man” and the beautiful end credit tune from grunge icon’s Mudhoney “Acetone”.
Glory Daze features an impressive amount of quotable lines and memorable laugh inducing moments it really feels like an Animal house for the mid to late 90s generation of slackers and soon to be college students who cannot wait to escape the confines of high school and get their first taste of life. I you happened to of missed this one like many folks did I highly recommend you track this independent gem down a feat that is much easier today with the recent rerelease of the film on DVD by the folks over at Echo Bridge Home Entertainment.
On behalf of The Liberal Dead, I give Glory Daze a well-deserved 10 of 10 and award for one of the most under rated films in existence.