I still remember the 70s and 80s like they were yesterday, so I'm trying to come to grips that films like Everybody Wants Some!! are period pieces, which is probably how my parents felt when American Graffiti was first released. But like American Graffiti, this could have been released during the time it takes place and still be a winner because there's a lot more going on than simple nostalgia.
For me, Richard Linklater's best films the ones where he's trying to capture a fleeting moment in the lives of his characters rather than finding a conventional story to drop them in. Even better are those that perfectly reflect a particular time and place in the not-too-distant past, where we get the impression he's drawing from personal experience. With all due respect to Boyhood and his Before trilogy, that's what makes Dazed and Confused one of his greatest.
Everybody Wants Some!! has been called a spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused, not just because of the era in which it takes place, but its knowing depiction of that transitional age we all go through as young adults. If Dazed depicts the last hurrah of childhood, then this film presents those first baby steps into a much larger world. Told mostly through the eyes of Jake (Blake Jenner), a freshman who earns a scholarship to play baseball at a Texas university, the film gives us the ball team's last weekend before classes start. The ballplayers all occupy a house near the campus, a collection of rookies, goofballs, stoners and more-experienced upperclassmen.
On the surface, the film seems to be one long continuous party, but what we're really watching is the beginning of a new chapter for some characters and the end for others. And like Dazed and Confused, there aren’t any dramatic highs and lows, with most actual conflict being mild and episodic in nature. Still, we’re reminded of experience of being thrust into a new world different from what we‘re used to, and in one amusing & poignant moment, what it’s like to be banished once we've worn out our welcome there.
|"I'm pretty sure I saw someone pee in one of those bottles."|
What truly makes the film work, besides its impeccable aesthetic attention to period detail, are the characters. We may not always personally relate to them, but we all know people like this. I especially enjoyed Wyatt Russell (Kurt’s son) as Willoughby, who gives the best monologue of any philosophical stoner I’ve ever heard. The only character that rings false is Finnegan (Glen Powell). As a cocky collegiate transfer student, his exaggerated antics feel overly cartoonish compared to everyone around him.
Aside from that, Everybody Wants Some!! is another spot-on slice-of-life from a bygone era, though still relevant to what nearly every young suburbanite experiences in their lives. Like its kindred spirit, Dazed and Confused, the film never descends into heavy-handed melodrama, nor does it rely on cheap laughs and gags to get a rise out of us. For the most part, we watch this film with an occasional chuckle and knowing grin because we’ve all been there. And yeah, it features a killer soundtrack.
"More Stuff That's Not in the Movie" (montage of alternate scenes & dialogue, deleted scenes and bloopers)
Featurettes: "Rickipedia" (the cast discusses writer/director Richard Linklater); "History 101: Stylin' the '80s" (hair and costume design); "Skills Videos"; "Baseball Players Can Dance"
DVD & Digital Copies
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