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The 10 Greatest Slackers in Movie History

In our rat race society, the slacker is our cup of good cheer.

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#5 - David Wooderson (Dazed and Confused)

He’s the lothario icon for the ages, a mid-20s tease whose chasing skirt that could easily land him in jail bait… jail. Still, David Wooderson is an idol to those in his Me Decade purview, the goal every girl-less guy wants to emulate explicitly. Like a wise white panty guru, actor Matthew McConaughey puts on the lazy, laconic drawl, giving every one of his line reading the necessary black light sleaze a character like Wooderson requires. Even better, writer/director Richard Linklater gives him memorable dialogue that, today, acts like the Gospel According to a Seemingly Inebriated Muscle Car Jesus.  

#4 - Jeff Spicoli (Fast Times at Ridgemont High)

Surfer stoner meets classroom cut-up in Cameron Crowe’s homage to growing up confused in late ‘70s SoCal. As the blond bohemian with a comical comeback and a wicked case of the munchies, Spicoli is the worst kind of influence. He’s preternaturally half-baked, doesn’t mind ordering pizza in the middle of class, and with tired teacher Mr. Hand has his arch nemesis, is never at a loss for a rejoinder - or another trip to the school administrator’s office. Perhaps the most surprising thing about this gnarly dude? Super serious ‘actor’ Sean Penn essayed the role, making this mindless bong head a household name. 

#3 - Floyd (True Romance)

It’s a minimal role. Blink and you’ll probably miss him. Yes, that is indeed honored himbo Brad Pitt as the ultimate pot head, playing foil to a bunch of angry hitmen in Tony Scott’s take on Quentin Tarantino’s True Romance. While not as hypersonic as the writer’s on realization of his own work, this amazing movie provides more than enough adrenalin to keep Floyd’s filtered high nice and nimble. Even in the face of an undeniable threat, this toasted troublemaker can’t help but go with the flow. Instead of a Vega Brothers film, Tarantino should create The Adventures of Floyd. Ultimate slacker stoner hijinx would definitely ensue.  

#2 - Ferris Bueller (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off)

The first question, right up front…is Ferris Bueller really a “slacker?” He’s capable of countermanding an entire Illinois school system, managed to get his hypochondriacal pal out of his sick bed and into his daddy’s forbidden sports car, is hooked up to the resident goddess, and makes Chicago his oyster all while playing hooky from both his principal and his parents. He has high tech gadgetry at his disposal (well, high tech for 1986) and can whip up a languid Loop audience into a stirring rendition of The Beatles’ “Twist and Shout,” complete with complementary Thrillerchoreography. So, does Ferris really fit the definition? Without a doubt. 

#1 - The Dude (The Big Lebowski)

No one knows what he does, except for drinking White Russians, hanging out, and bowling. No one understands his aesthetic, save for fellow rug connoisseurs. He ends up being an inept bagman, an even worse liar, and a lackadaisical friend to all around him, and yet The Dude - otherwise known as Jeffrey “the Other” Lebowski - is indeed the ultimate cinematic slacker. He gets by without said visible means of support and always has a cache of pals willing to put their life on the line to save him. His hippie dippy dynamic transcends time and space, making him both a reject from the ‘60s and an myth to all other eras after. Indeed, with his shaggy hair, dirty robe, and half-and-half soaked facial hair, he’s the decisive lazybones, a poster boy for the idle ideal in all of us.  

Since deciding to employ his underdeveloped muse muscles over five years ago, Bill has been a significant staff member and writer for DVD Talk, DVD Verdict and, of course, PopMatters. He also has expanded his own web presence with  Bill Gibron.cm a place where he further explores creative options.