In 1993, Richard Linklater wrote and directed the cult classic Dazed and Confused, which remains as one of the most quintessential high school coming-of-age stories ever told on screen. To duplicate that feeling is nearly impossible as cult classics garner their names from being plucked out of obscurity and attaining a quality to them that just hits the nail on the head. Fast forward and now Linklater is a prominent director who is just coming off the heels of his highly successful and critically acclaimed film Boyhood. In his new film Everybody Wants Some!!, the story follows freshman Jake (Blake Jenner) and his first weekend at a fictitious college in Texas circa 1980. He moves into the baseball team’s off-campus “house”, it’s more like a place where guys store some prized possessions, a few paisley adorned shirts, and a lot of beer.
Immediately Jake, who is the newbie pitcher of the team, encounters both a sense of comradery and hostility towards him. The team seems to welcome him with open arms until they try to sniff him out like a pack of wolves deciding whether or not they want to allow a wolf into their pack.
The house is filled with every character under the book and these guys are truly what make the movie fun to watch. There is McReynolds (Tyler Hoechlin), the badass homerun hitter of the team, who dons a glorious Burt Reynolds-like mustache and detests pitchers. Finn (Glenn Powell) he’s that one guy in college who is always philosophizing anything and everything, although it can be annoying to his teammates it serves him well with the ladies. Then there is Dale (J. Quinton Johnson), the all-around cool laid back guy and Roper (Ryan Guzman), the ring leader of the group. Willoughby (Wyatt Russell) the stoner who always has some interesting point of views, of course there had to be one, and Nesbit (Austin Amelio) the loud-mouth who likes to challenge and bet guys to do dumb stuff (basically a typical boy).
Along with Jake, there are a few more freshman just like him trying to find their place within the team, Plummer (Temple Baker) who has the funniest voice and is a bit dim-witted and Brumley (Tanner Kalina) the sensitive guy who doesn’t seem to get a lot of jokes, he’s sort of like the virgin of the group. The film takes all these types of guys and throws them together to get to know one another before the beginning of the school year.
The guys have their usual party spot, Sound Machine, everyone there is fresh off the Saturday Night Fever disco wave equip with hot dance moves and tight pants. The guys also move around to various clubs and parties, from punk to country western ones. At each place, they try to fit in with their clothes and hair, which seems apt for college because everyone is still trying to figure out their identity and where they fit in.
This film is essentially about that struggle, the good and the bad, and the fun that comes with trying to figure one’s self out and where one fits into their world. Linklater conveys that truth in his film, that college is the time we make some of the most eventful decisions of our life. From friends to careers, it is a pivotal time that is the beginning of construing our future lives. The conversations that happen in this movie aren’t the most prolific, but they’re realistic and that is what has always set Linklater’s films apart from others.
The actors in the film worked well together. I loved that there were no big name actors in it, just guys getting started in their careers, which in a way reflects the characters themselves. Powell was one of my favorites, I loved him in Scream Queens, and he is equally fun to watch in this film, he definitely has that “it” factor going from him. Jenner did really well, considering this was his first big-screen film and he was someone picked out of obscurity with the reality show The Glee Project, it has been awesome to see him grow as an actor.
What I would have liked a bit more from the film was to see more depth with the characters. I wanted them to be fleshed out a bit more and dig just a little deeper. Regardless, I enjoyed the film, it really isn’t about anything crazy or chaotic, there are no action sequences or overly dramatic ones, but it was still fun to watch. I am a fan of movies where characters are trying to figure themselves out and their place in the world, whether they’re 18 or 45, audiences can always relate on some level and that is what I took away from this film. I think if you enjoy nostalgia and an overall fun time at the movies, then this is one for you.
Directed by: Richard Linklater
Written by: Richard Linklater
MPAA rating: R
Running time: 117 min