Everybody Wants Some!! is being promoted as Richard Linklater’s spiritual successor to Dazed and Confused. Of course the film could also be seen as an unofficial follow-up to Linklater’s Boyhood. Where that Best Picture nominee followed a boy from age six to age eighteen, this film centers on a young man as he transitions from high school to college. However you view it, one thing is for certain: this is definitely a Richard Linklater film. In the same vein of the director’s various other projects, Everybody Wants Some!! is light on plot, but heavy on character, atmosphere, and wisdom.
Much like how Dazed and Confused took place on the last day of high school in 1976, Everybody Wants Some!! sets itself in 1980 as the first day of college approaches. Blake Jenner from Glee plays Jake, a freshman who gets onto the university’s baseball team. He moves into a house off-campus with several of his fellow players, including Glen Powell’s Finn, Ryan Guzman’s Kenny, and Wyatt Russell’s Willoughby, just to name a few. Over the days leading up to Jake’s first day of class, he parties with his new friends, has a sweet romance with a girl named Beverly (Zoey Deutch), and that’s pretty much it.
Going into Everybody Wants Some!!, some audiences might think they’re going to get a baseball movie similar to Linklater’s 2005 remake of The Bad News Bears. This movie isn’t about a team of underdogs trying to win the championship. Outside of a routine practice, we don’t even really see our characters play the game they constantly talk about. We don’t see them participate in class either. In a strange way, though, this perfectly represents the college experience.
When you look back on their university days, chances are you won’t remember any lectures or tests. You won’t even necessarily remember everything about your major or extracurricular activities. However, you will remember all of the friends you made and bonds you formed. That’s what Everybody Wants Some!! is truly about and Linklater’s screenplay does a wonderful job at capturing the sheer essence of college.
The film’s appeal largely stems from our cast of characters and their interactions with one another. It would have been easy for Linklater to throw in a mean-spirited bully or humorless villain. While Jake does undergo some hazing, it’s mostly just innocent fun that never goes to far. After all, boys will be boys. At the same time, the film doesn’t merely turn all these guys into one-dimensional, stereotypical dumb jocks. They’re relatable individuals who seem like a pretty fun bunch to hang out with. Likewise, the female characters aren’t all turned into mere sex objects. While the men are all focused on getting laid, they still respect women and everyone treats each other as equals.
Once again, Linklater proves that movies don’t always need to rely on a three-act structure or overused tropes. Sometimes simply showing a person living their life is fascinating enough. In this outing, Linklater paints another wonderful picture of life with great humor, charm, and nostalgia. It also has what might be the best movie soundtrack of this young year. Let the good times roll!!