Everybody Wants Some!!
by Hope Madden
Of all filmmakers in the world, few – if any – can do slice-of-life as well as Richard Linklater. Never weighed down by plot structure or the rigid expectations of modern cinema, Linklater’s the master of fluid, easygoing, day-in-the-life filmmaking. His latest exercise in the craft, Everybody Wants Some, is a charmer.
You’re invited to a 3-day bender in the late summer of 1980 – the long weekend before the first day of classes – and Linklater’s meandering camera makes you feel like you’re just wandering through the party.
Everybody Wants Some is, without question, too forgiving. A South Texas university baseball team settles into the new year by scoping out the female action on and off campus. They’re adaptive – disco one night, urban cowboys the next, punk rockers on a random Sunday. Linklater not only nails 1980, but pinpoints the almost invisible moments of import in a person’s life.
This is a consequence-free zone that smells a bit of nostalgia and self-congratulations. And yet, thanks to a slew of utterly charming performances, the film still works exceptionally well.
Linklater has assembled an outstanding ensemble – not a false note in the lot, from the quiet everyman Jake (Blake Jenner) to the hypercompetitive McReynolds (Tyler Hoechlin) to the philosophical ladies’ man Finnegan (Glen Powell) to the ranting wacko Jay (Juston Street) – and basically the entire team. The first thing Linklater does is establish each ballplayer’s type, just to quietly destroy your preconceived notions of character.
Billed as the “spiritual sequel” to 1993’s coming of age classic Dazed and Confused, Everybody Wants Some is even more laid back, decidedly more masculine, and quite a bit more existential. Linklater’s more existential films tend toward the bittersweet – some more bitter, this one more sweet.
Like Dazed, the new film litters its fluid storyline with hijinks and casually perceptive dialog.
“It’s all so damn tribal.”
“Embrace your inner strange.”
It’s a film about competition and identity, the battle between self-discovery and authenticity, but with Linklater’s light, affectionate touch, nothing ever feels heavy. The writing is as good as anything Linklater has produced, positively glowing with “unsolicited wisdom and fuckwithery.” And all of it leads to an absolutely perfect ending.