Contrary to popular belief, being a slacker takes a certain amount of dedication. You have to maintain a focus on doing nothing, and constantly remind yourself not to get too involved. The 11 slackers on this list are masters in the art of not doing much besides looking for their next meal, party, or chance to get a little high. Some of them are students, but most are adults, and it’s amazing that some of them manage to hold down jobs. (Well, only a couple do, but you know what I mean.) Take a look:
- Jeff Spicoli: Fast Times at Ridgemont High is a classic of 1980s teen cinema, and it launched a number of careers for its cast, including Jennifer Jason Leigh and Nicolas Cage. But it’s Sean Penn’s portrayal of stoned surfer Jeff Spicoli that remains the movie’s most enduring image almost 30 years later. He’s constantly fried, rarely clothed, and uninterested in getting a job as long as he’s got "tasty waves and cool buds." Penn’s gone legit since then, but no amount of Oscar clout will make people forget that he started out as one of the biggest slackers in movie history.
- Ron Slater: Writer-director Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused is a love letter to the bored high schoolers of the late 1970s, with Ron Slater (Rory Cochrane) representing the slacker faction. He’s almost always baked, and he doesn’t want to do anything but hang out. He’s so zoned out that he barely registers the world around him, but he’s a nice guy. Plus he knows all about how George Washington was in a cult that worshipped aliens, so that’s something.
- Randal Graves: Clerks is basically 90 minutes of two guys arguing about Star Wars, but Kevin Smith’s lo-fi debut feature works because of its characters. Randal (Jeff Anderson) is a wiseass slacker who works at a video store and has absolutely no ambition beyond reading magazines and gently harassing customers. He’s a classical slacker because he’s not out to destroy the system, just coast through it with as little effort as possible.
- & 5. Bill and Ted: Bill S. Preston, Esq., and Ted "Theodore" Logan became heroes of San Dimas High for traveling through time to pass their history test. Bill and Ted are sweet-natured, dumb guys with difficulty paying attention to anything that doesn’t involve their dreams of rock stardom. If not for the intervention of Rufus, they’d probably just flunk out and get jobs at the Circle K. Like the best slackers, though, they come through in the clutch.
- The Dude: The Coen brothers’ The Big Lebowski is one of their most beloved comedies, thanks in large part to the hilarious performance of Jeff Bridges as Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski. (Or "El Duderino" if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.) Based on a real person, the Dude is as easy as they come, which makes his entanglements in an absurd series of crimes and mishaps that much more hysterical. No matter what happens, though, the Dude abides.
- & 8. Harold and Kumar: Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle created such an indelible pair of stoner slackers that the phrase "go to White Castle" became slang for getting high. The pair’s epic road trip to get some munchies almost gets them killed, no thanks to Neil Patrick Harris, but they manage to ultimately keep their cool in pursuit of tasty little sliders.
- Troy Dyer: Oh, Ethan Hawke. He immortalized the Gen-X slacker vibe with his portrayal of Troy in Reality Bites, a wannabe grunge-rocker with a degree in philosophy. He can barely get his act together enough to go after Lelaina (Winona Ryder), though he pulls it together in time. Still, she’s bound to know that he’s not going to do much besides sit around all day.
- Brian: Dave Chappelle’s the main character in Half Baked, but the star is Jim Breuer as Brian, a pothead who gets swept up in a scheme to sell medical-grade weed. His shopping list for munchies is one of the best moments in the whole show.
- Dex: Dex (Donal Logue) is overweight, underpaid, and determined to stay that way. His attitude is what helps him hook up with so many women; basically, he acts so casual that they can’t figure out why he isn’t chasing them, at which point they wind up chasing him. Throughout The Tao of Steve, he’s a well-meaning but low-energy guy, completely at ease with whatever happens to him, as any good slacker should be.