Richard Linklater is an incredibly ambitious director. Just look at his filmography; Boyhood, which was filmed over twelve years, the Before trilogy that did a similar thing to Boyhood but over eighteen years, or even School Of Rock which placed several untested child actors to the front of the film. Now, Linklaters’s back to his college roots, after his first college-set film Dazed And Confused with Everybody Wants Some!!.
Everybody Wants Some!! stars Blake Jenner, Zoey Deutch, Glen Powell and Ryan Guzman and is written and directed by Richard Linklater. The film follows the baseball team at a Texas college in 1970s in the three days before term starts.
The film cast are mainly unknowns or just starting into their careers. I liked this a lot in Everybody Wants Some!!. A few films I get pulled out of the experience because the actor isn’t being the part (Jennifer Lawrence in X-Men) but here, like in a lot of Linklater’s films, it just feels like we are watching real people just talk with each other. The film is set in the few days before term actually starts, so we several scenes of the characters getting to know each other and bonding over drinks and dancing in clubs without the film having to stop while the characters all go to class. The very last shot is of two of the characters sitting down for their first ever university class and promptly falling asleep.
The characters are your stereotypical Linklater types; the main character (who has no definition apart from being the one who we are meant to sympathise with), the lovable rogue, the not-so lovable rogue and the girl. Even the characters realise how stock they are. After bouncing around from a disco to a Western-themed barn dance, to a punk concert and then to an Arts event, the main character Jake remarks to his friend Finnegan that they’ve managed to swap between parties so well because they have no characteristics. While every film set in a fraternity has a debt to the seminal Animal House, Everybody Wants Some!! works by getting away from the tired college stereotypes or the frats and the nerds by all the characters being on the baseball team.
The script, written by Linklater, is his usual blend of humour spliced with moments of deeper meaning as the characters have conversations about their lives and the responsibilities while growing up. At the beginning of the film the jokes come at a fast rate and are very memorable; a sequence where the guys all drive down to the bar and on the way start to sing the song that comes on the radio. The scene plays for nearly the entirety of the song and it just keeps getting funnier as it plays. The jokes start to fall away after the midway point of the film as we get to know the characters more and rivalry and tantrums start to break out between the teammates. I was worried while watching that it was going to descend into the classic narrative of the break-up/make-up trope but luckily the divides are quickly patched over and aren’t left hanging for any amount of time.
I ended up liking Everybody Wants Some!! more than I thought I would. I’m not even a big Linklater fan, I guess I just have a sweet spot for films set in university/college because I am in university at the time of writing. That’s why I loved Ocean Waves and Animal House so much. I think Everybody Wants Some!! will be the new version of Dazed And Confused, it will be THE college film for a new generation, myself included.
To conclude, Everybody Wants Some!! is a fun ride back into the college years of the 1970s. While it isn’t Linklater’s best film, it still holds up as being one of the funniest of 2016 so far.
Score: 8/10 Funny and timeless, it’s standard Linklater.