Today: June 12, 2024

Everybody Wants Some!!

Never trust someone who doesn’t love at least one Richard Linklater film. That’s a good policy to live by. Because Linklater, while being a director who dabbles in various genres and mediums, is a filmmaker who deals in the honesty of humanity. Having dazzled with the long-gestating, utterly worth the wait Boyhood, Linklater returns to his college based period setting of Dazed And Confused. Everybody Wants Some!! is, for all intents and purposes, the spiritual successor to that slice of American life.

Texas 1980 and freshman Jake (Blake Jenner) arrives at the house he will be sharing with his college baseball team. The house might be rundown but his teammates aren’t. From competitive team captain Reynolds (Tyler Hoechin) to party dude Finn (Glen Powell) it isn’t long before Jake is settling into college life. As the team drift from party to party, taking in the iconic sounds of the era, the guys never fail to have a good time. Amid practice and partying Jake falls for performance art major Beverly (Zoe Deutch) and learns a little bit about the good times of living with your friends.

Nostalgia is something currently very en vogue thanks to Netflix’s Stranger Things. While that show smartly captured the ideal of ‘80s cinema Linklater perfectly transports you to Texas in 1980. The music is perfect, every party taking in a new genre that reminds you of some of the great tracks you’ve heard but have faded into distant memory.
Plot in Everybody Wants Some!! is irrelevant. It’s not part of Linklater’s focus. Instead he wants to dip you into this world and have you beaming from all the brilliant observed interactions and characters on offer. Imagine a Cameron Crowe film, all keenly accurate characters, casual asides all wrapped in sense of captivating time and place. The difference between Crowe and Linklater is the latter executes everything without the greeting card sentimentality.

It is incredibly male focused, the only female character to be seen as anything other than a conquest is Beverly, and even she is peripheral until the final act. Instead this is about male bonding. Boys being boys. When the competitive streaks rear their head the arguments are fleeting before a perfectly timed put-down has everyone being buddies again. It is essentially The Inbetweeners without the puerile humour, an idyllic slice of friendship familiar to us all but lost in the hazy memories of long hot summers with the possibilities of life stretched out before you and you took them for granted.

As the captain of the team Hoechin – who will look all-grown up and familiar from Sam Mendes’ Road To Perdition – brings a wonderful arrogance to the role. But it’s never an irritating arrogance rather a relatable, often inspiring leader-like arrogance. Jenner is asked to do little more than be a vessel for us to witness the world Linklater is creating. He is still incredibly relatable though, the quiet guy that, for reasons you’ve still never figured out, all the girls had a crush on, even if they couldn’t tell you why. But the real star of the show, the man stealing every scene he’s in is Glen Powell. He is essentially the Matthew McConaughey role from Dazed And Confused. All perfect one-liners combined with a collection of eccentricities so cultivated to mask the fact that he, unlike many of his teammates, has come to realise he’ll probably never make it as a pro ballplayer. It’s the kind of performance that should rocket Powell into the mainstream, or at the very least as a wise-cracking sidekick to some superhero.

Perfectly observed and comically charming Everybody Wants Some!! is quintessential Linklater that will have you grinning with the memories it conjures of your own idyllic summers.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com

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