Everybody Wants Some!!

'Everybody Wants Some' movie poster

Release: Friday, April 15, 2016

[Theater]

Written by: Richard Linklater

Directed by: Richard Linklater

All right, all right, all right — so it’s been over twenty years since Matthew McConaughey brilliantly repurposed those famous Doors lyrics, and it might seem a little suspect that director Richard Linklater would take another trip like this down memory lane, in 2016. Has he run out of ideas? How will he find a way to crowbar some long-lost cousin of David Wooderson in to the story? How close was he to leaving the project titled Dazed and Confused 2? Naturally, a project like this raises more than a few questions.

But it is in this shortbread enthusiast reviewer’s opinion that most, if not all, of those concerns all but disappear without notice like a Saturday morning hangover when, after only a few opening scenes, we find ourselves jettisoned back to the days of disco, coke (well, here it’s replaced by a wealth of weed) and, of course, the Walkman. Part of the deal here is remaining open-minded about developing another love affair with a different decade but the same director, and if you’re able to do that you’ll find there was indeed room for one more of these in his catalog. Everybody Wants Some!! may have to wait some time before it gains cult status, but then, so did all those hazy high school hijinks.

Rather than focusing on the culmination of another semester wherein the best and the worst of seniors and their underclassmen alike are brought out, Linklater inverts the time table and builds toward the first day. The story follows a collegiate baseball team through the final weekend of summer, centering on a new pitcher named Jake (Blake Jenner), one of the most talented players at his high school, who finds himself navigating this unfamiliar, deeper pool of talent and competitiveness. Meanwhile he and his teammates negotiate, and largely embrace, the various social stigmas attached to being a college athlete.

Once again Linklater gathers together a cast of relative unknowns to help keep the distraction of celebrity status to a minimum. There’s the mustachioed and most-likely-to-go-pro McReynolds (Taylor Hoechlin); Roper the ladykiller (Ryan Guzman); stoner Willoughby (Wyatt Russell); faux-philosopher Finnegan (Glen Powell); Plummer (Temple Baker) . . . who’s just kinda there; Jay (Justin Street), who’s a total psycho and the team’s current pitcher; the gregarious Dale (J. Quinton Johnson), who also kindly takes on the task of orienting freshmen to the team; Beuter (Will Brittain), a good-old boy with the southern-fried accent; and Nesbit (Austin Amelio), an upper-classman burnout with a passion for the game. There are others as well but this is the core.

They’re wholly believable as an actual college baseball team, and if not that then their perpetual involvement in shenanigans establishes them as the next best frat house behind Delta Tau Chi. It helps that the performances are uniformly fantastic — energetic and naturalistic. There’s genuine camaraderie between them, especially once the movie shifts into its second third, where the boys start figuring out what everyone is all about. On the female side, there are far fewer stand-outs — Everybody Wants Some!! is likely to struggle to pass the Bechdel Test — but Zoey Deutch as Beverly, a theater major Jake finds cute, anchors the film in slightly more romantic territory with her warmth and optimistic outlook on life.

The love child of Animal House and Dazed and Confused, Linklater’s baseball-themed bacchanalia feels like a long lost relic, a film made years ago that’s only now being rescued from the clutches of development hell and resuscitated for audiences too young to appreciate how far out Linklater’s paean to the ’70s really was. It’s a fleeting watch, and it’s not for the narrative-minded. The story boils down to a team learning to gel before the grind of spring training locks them back into regiments and routines. From start to finish this is a raucous party atmosphere and it might be harder to identify with a group of extroverted athletes than say, a cross-section of high school broken down into its many cliques.

Nevertheless, Linklater has once again managed to tease out intensely strong feelings of nostalgia and bittersweetness by stuffing so much into these precious last days of summer. The film, despite itself, is a study of maturity and accepting responsibility. Kids turning into adults is as inevitable as waking up one morning in these houses to find crude drawings all over your face.  Everybody Wants Some!! is about finding your place in a larger group, about figuring out what you can contribute. Find out what matters most to you. That’s true of college but it’s most poignant when you consider the vaster pool of possibilities outside of school.

Screen Shot 2016-05-02 at 3.51.40 PM

Recommendation: A gentle nudge in the direction of some of our glory days, Everybody Wants Some!! functions as a highly amusing diversion (even if it’s not outright hilarious). A game cast combines with a mise en scène that brilliantly pays tribute to the fashion and social etiquette of a decade long since passed. Perhaps it’s best not to make comparisons, but this one’s kinda hard not to recommend to those who fell in love with the director’s previous efforts. Baseball fans might be disappointed to learn how little ball is actually played, however. 

Rated: R

Running Time: 117 mins.

Quoted: “I’m too philosophical for this shit!”

All content originally published and the reproduction elsewhere without the expressed written consent of the blog owner is prohibited.

Photo credits: http://www.impawards.com; http://www.imdb.com

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19 thoughts on “Everybody Wants Some!!

  1. Damn, this sounds interesting man. I just looked and its being released here on 23 June, which is just absurd. It’ll be out on DVD before then

    • Crap Jordan, sorry I overlooked this comment. If you have seen Dazed & Confused this is of that kind of mood, and psychology. It’s a very insightful snippet of a bygone era. I really really enjoyed it, and it’s amazing how Linklater is able to find some of these relative unknowns, they make such a difference when it comes to buying into their characters. . .

      • I haven’t seen Dazed but the review definietely has me interested in the movie. Again though, it seems that the release date for this is in several months, if we get it at all. I’ll def be checking out the DVD

    • Sweet titties, this is a great time. I agree that this is something the world was missing. I couldn’t get myself too excited when it was first being touted in trailers b/c I didn’t think there was any way Linklater would out-Dazed & Confused himself. But he comes close. I still maintain the 1993 high school dramedy is better but this is a lot of fun.

  2. Great review man. Really excited to hear its something between Dazed and Confused and Animal House. Heard from a lot of people that it was the spiritual successor of Dazed and Confused so excited for this, considerably.

    • That’s the only way I know how to describe it. Others might find other sources of inspiration. But the descriptor ‘spiritual sequel’ is apt because this has the same sense of time, place and attitude as Dazed & Confused. I had a lot of fun with this one, absolutely.

    • that’s a great way to put it. Linklater does feel so natural with these movies. Or they come naturally to him. I absolutely would agree

  3. I loved this movie. Even more now than after I saw it. Richard Linklater truly gets the spirit of the age down. This felt like it was actually filmed in 1980. Great review of a great movie!

    • Thank you. this really did feel stuck back in the ’80s. Cast and crew seem all in just like they were in ’93. I’m starting to really, really appreciate him as a director. I think it’s high time I get around to his ‘Before’ trilogy.

  4. Nice review Tom. I enjoyed Everybody Wants Some a lot. It does lean a bit heavily on Dazed’s structure but it’s consistently entertaining and I had a lot of fun watching this.

    • I did too Charles, and while there’s no denying the reliance upon an old formula I think Linklater really gets away with it here. The cast he’s assembled for this are really into it and they really look the part. Er, the part of being ’80s-era college ball players, that is.

  5. Great. Now if only my local Cinemark would stop showing My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 and Allegiant (they still think people want to see those movies) and make room for this and several other movies.

  6. I’ll be all over this one too, eventually! Dazed and Confused is one of my favourite films, so I’m looking forward to a spiritual cousin. Nice review, Tom!

    • I have to say comparing it to Dazed is such a risk because that film holds a lot of . . . I don’t know if sentimental value is the right way to put it, but it’s a highly nostalgic production . . . so Everybody Wants Some!! is going to have to be patient and earn its stripes. I have a feeling it will. It’s a great time.

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