Everybody Wants Some!! (2016)
Director: Richard Linklater
Cast: Blake Jenner, Glen Powell, Tyler Hoechlin, Zoey Deutch, Temple Baker, Wyatt Russell, J. Quinton Johnson, Ryan Guzman
Lately I happen to be riding a retro 80’s wave. First it was the supernatural drama Stranger Things, a wonderful homage to 80’s films. After that I dived into the feel-good and hopeful Sing Street, set in Dublin 1985. Most recently, I started on teen comedy-drama Freaks and Geeks, the cancelled series that gave James Franco and Linda Cardellini their big break.
I actually don’t feel nostalgic about the 80’s. But perhaps these movies and shows capture a particular innocence and optimism that I enjoy. Billed as the spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused which took place on the last day of high school, Everybody Wants Some moves on to college, three days before classes start. Everybody Want Some is a humorous, fun-loving and bright-eyed look towards a future full of possibilities.
Freshman pitcher Jake (Blake Jenner) moves into an off-campus house he shares with his new rambunctious teammates. The team binges on male-bonding activities: three days of partying, drinking and cruising for girls. There isn’t much more to the plot than that and neither is there a big narrative conflict, but it doesn’t hurt the film because it’s really all about the character interactions and dialogue.
I remember flipping through the channels one night, stumbling upon Dazed and Confused and becoming deeply immersed in the conversations. Writer/Director Richard Linklater has a gift for writing funny, witty and absorbing dialogue. A lot of films overuse dialogue to further the plot or explain things. Here, Linklater gets to the core of characters and provides some insight on why these characters talk and behave a certain way. Perhaps Linklater sees it from a sociological perspective by putting a bunch of competitive guys in one house and see how they might bond together as a team.
The characters themselves aren’t necessarily designed to be deep. They work as archetypes or personality types we might recognize in our own lives. Jake is the every man, the quietly confident guy in the backseat that catches a cute girl’s eye. Team Captain McReynolds (Taylor Hoechlin) is a hyper competitive guy prone to rage. Interestingly Blake Jenner is married to Supergirl actress Melissa Benoist and Hoechlin is playing Superman on her TV series. There’s not a weak link in the cast, all of the actors deliver their lines with a natural feel and embody their characters very well. One of the standout actors is Glenn Powell as the smooth talking ladies man Finnegan whose pick up monologues gets quite a few laughs.
Just as an observation, Everybody Wants Some is only concerned with the male perspective. That doesn’t mean performance art student Beverly (Zoey Deutch) isn’t interesting but we only see her through interactions with Jake. Depending on the viewer’s taste levels, some situations can be crass which is to be expected from college students away from home and free to do whatever they want.
Yes, adulthood can be full of responsibilities. It’s easy to become jaded. Yet Everybody Wants Some is neither cynical nor sentimental. This film does a great job at capturing a carefree weekend before starting a new and promising chapter in life. If you’re a fan of Dazed and Confused, in a mood for something fun or simply want a blast-from-the-past 80’s soundtrack, Everybody Wants Some is worth a watch.