Cinematic Releases: Everybody Wants Some!

Mike got a chance to check out Everybody Wants Some. Read his excellent review. 

Just four token white dudes.

Richard Linklater has made a name for himself making true-to-life, deeply felt films about youth.  From the one-two punch of his iconic debut films Slacker and Dazed & Confused, through last year's Academy Award-winning Boyhood, and even in his more commercial films like School of Rock, his young characters speak in a voice that is truthful and down-to-earth in a way rarely seen on screen.  His latest film Everybody Wants Some!! steers away from Boyhood's heavy drama and more toward Dazed's light-hearted comedy, playing beautifully to all of Linklater's strengths and resulting in yet another fantastic addition to his resume.

What little of a plot there is revolves around members of the baseball team at a Texas college in the fall of 1980, and their escapades on the all-important weekend before classes start for the year.  This involves a lot of what you might expect.  Much of the action centers around freshman pitcher Jake (Blake Jenner) as he gets to know his new roommates/teammates.  Story wise, it's pretty simple.  But like most Linklater films, it isn't about the story, it's about the experience.  We experience the weekend through Jake's eyes, fresh with the excitement of new found freedom for the first time.  And as Jake, Jenner sells it.  He's handsome, likable, and charismatic, while somehow never overly confident or awkward.  In other words, precisely the kind of person the audience wants to root for.

Jenner is surrounded in true Linklater style by a cast of mostly unknowns or little-knowns.  This tactic once again works in the film's favor, removing what might have been the distraction of seeing an all-too-familiar face even under the late '70s hair and mustache.  Without the distraction of star power each supporting character, while perhaps not the most layered or complex (though it's not like they need to be), still gets a chance to shine.  Particularly great are Juston Street as a talented but eccentric rival pitcher and Zoey Deutch as Beverly, the "auburn-haired girl in room 307" to whom Jake takes a liking.  Time will tell if any of the cast of Everybody Wants Some!! will go on to, say, Ben Affleck or Matthew McConaughey-level fame, but the talent is certainly there.

One of these days, these corded things
will barely exist. 
The real star of the show is Richard Linklater's writing and directing.  Linklater is one of today's most celebrated American filmmakers, and Everybody Wants Some!! provides even more evidence to back that up.  Few filmmakers have the kind of natural ability of capturing the experience of youth that Linklater makes look effortless in film after film.  Everything about these characters rings true while never falling back on lazy teen/college party movie cliches.  Characters discuss sexual exploits in one scene and discuss music and philosophy over bong hits the next, but the dialogue, as delivered by the talented cast, is believable and, most importantly, timeless.  The resulting film clings to the tried-and-true tenets of the aforementioned college party film, but has a depth and necessary realness that ensures that the audience is invited to the party too.

Everybody Wants Some!! has been billed as a "spiritual sequel" to both Dazed & Confused and Boyhood.  This film certainly deserves a place at that very exclusive table.  Linklater's talent for films that are as heavy in coming-of-age experience as they are light on traditional three-act structure is once again ever-present here, and it works beautifully.  Linklater's dialogue and direction give this film its heart, and his young cast provides plenty of soul.  Everybody Wants Some!! is the kind of slice of youthful life that only Linklater could serve up, and it's once again hilarious, emotional, and fascinating.

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-Mike Stec