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‘Everybody Wants Some!!’ And You Should Want This Film Too (Movie Review)

everybody wants some thumbI sometimes wonder how difficult it is to make something look easy. Writer/director Richard Linklater has largely specialized in putting together films that depict people acting natural enough, talking (sometimes philosophically) and occasionally involving themselves in some kind of activity. From his simpler efforts like Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight to his acclaimed epic, Boyhood, this filmmaker style has been permeating throughout his career. It applies once again to Everybody Wants Some!!, an incredibly enjoyable hangout movie, with some wonderful depth hidden just beneath the surface.

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As advertised, the film functions as a spiritual sequel to both Dazed and Confused and Boyhood. Detailing an actual plot makes little to no difference, but we do watch the days leading up to the first day of college. The film has an ensemble cast, but we ostensibly follow Jake (Blake Jenner), a college freshmen and baseball player, who will be living with all the other players. What follows is an examination of these jocks and what it means to them to be the sports stars of their school. We see how they function as both a team and individuals looking to do lots of partying.

It is the hidden truths about these guys that keeps Everybody Wants Some!! from simply being a display of stereotypical college bros. Of course, going into a film from Richard Linklater, I was expecting to get something that registered on a somewhat deeper level. The film is not at all a bait and switch though. Everybody Wants Some!! is an incredibly funny film and that largely stems from this great cast and the breezy vibe seen throughout.

Linking this film to Dazed and Confused in a spiritual sense is certainly appropriate, as we are given a cast of young actors (with the potential to become big stars in the future) who are mostly allowed to just be living. The conversations had go from broad to insightful as the film moves forward, but you never mistake the comradery for anything less than authentic. While some characters may get on the nerves of others in instances, this is not a film with antagonists or clear objectives to get passed, it is really just a slice of life involving a particular set of characters figuring out who they want to be.

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This is why I wonder how easy it must be to script something like this. Linklater has written this screenplay and while he surely let his cast have fun, he is the kind of guy that gets the words he wants his characters to say out there. There are some key interactions that really resonate well, whether they be humorous or just stray observations. Being able to write life that way, no matter how stylized it may be, is impressive and it’s all the more impressive to watch a cast capture that kind of energy.

There are some standouts in this ensemble, though no real disappointments either. Wyatt Russell, Glen Powell, Tyler Hoechlin and Jenner in particular really worked for me. Now these guys also happen to be some of the key players in where the ‘plot’ goes in this film, but they all deliver. Russell is the element in this film that could seem like the one pandering to a stoner crowd, but those slight human touches in what he’s trying to say should not go unnoticed. Powell gets some of the film’s most enjoyable fast-paced dialogue, which easily wins me over. Hoechlin has an attitude all his own, which matches a heavily competitive persona with true skill.

As a guy in his 20s, this film does cater to sensibilities I am more capable of understanding, but I wouldn’t think other groups could not pick up on what makes this film work either. Getting past the bro-centric nature that is scaled back throughout the film, there is an interesting study of masculinity here. It provides for some authentic and bittersweet elements, as the film slowly peels back its layers and lets the personalities deepen. Everybody Wants Some!! is never not a comedy, but it does approach matters in a grounded sense that allows for some drama to seep through.

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Thematic understanding aside, this is a film that wants the audience to sit and watch these characters with a smile on their face. In addition to scenes of walking and talking, there are plenty of extended moments that exist simply to have us keep following along with the good times. A lesser film with these kinds of scenes would feel like a screenwriter meandering in an attempt to find purpose, but nothing ever feels extraneous here.

Additionally, the 1980s setting allows Linklater to run the gamut on the styles of the time. We are treated to rock and roll, disco, punk, country and all the associated wardrobe choices. Oh and there’s also all the baseball-related antics. This isn’t a sports movie, but the setup provides an interesting atmosphere that delivers in how we see teamwork playout and what it means to these guys.

Upon getting to the end of this film, I had realized that there was nowhere it technically had to go, but I was saddened to not be spending more time with this cast. Everybody Wants Some!! is the kind of film that just wants get along with everyone else. It doesn’t present major challenges, as that isn’t the point. The film features a retro setting and a balance of humor and understated intelligence that is never not enjoyable. Lastly, almost needless to say – the soundtrack is great.

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Video Game Player, Comic Book Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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