Director: Richard Linklater
Writer: Richard Linklater
Stars: Blake Jenner, Ryan Guzman, Tyler Hoechlin, Glen Powell
Release date: June 23rd, 2016
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Running time: 116 minutes
Best part: The kick-ass soundtrack.
Worst part: Some minor supporting characters.
No matter what decade, fraternity movies are almost all the same. From Animal House (the one that defined the genre) to Bad Neighbours (the one with Zac Efron’s abs), this type of flick serves as wish-fulfillment for some and something to laugh at for others. The best frat movies break through multiple demographics and make us laugh and think in equal measure. Everybody Wants Some!! is one of those.
Everybody Wants Some!! is the ‘spiritual sequel’ to acclaimed writer/director Richard Linklater’s cult classic Dazed and Confused. This ‘installment’ sees him return to a world of few responsibilities, fewer rules, and maximum fun. Set in the 1980s, the movie follows college freshman Jake (Blake Jenner) three days before the start of semester. Once the hotshot pitcher of high school, he must contend with a frat house full of boozy, womanising Southeast Texas Cherokees baseball players. Housemates Finnegan (Glen Powell), Roper (Ryan Guzman), McReynolds (Tyler Hoechlin), and Dale (Quinton Johnson) grow accustomed to Jake and fellow newbies Plummer (Temple Baker), Billy (Will Brittain) and Brumley (Tanner Kalina) and transfers Jay (Juston Street) and Willoughby (Wyatt Russell).
Linklater exists in the realm between Hollywood and Austin, Texas – combining studio and independent sensibilities for projects including the Before (Sunrise, Sunset, Midnight) trilogy, School of Rock, Bernie, A Scanner Darkly and Me and Orson Welles. Coming off coming-of-age drama/12-year cinematic experiment Boyhood, Everybody Wants Some!! returns to the laid back feel of early career favourites Dazed and Confused and Slacker. Is he darting off in a new direction or simply taking a breather after Boyhood? Answer: a bit of both. The movie indeed follows a familiar structure; strung together by conversations, bonding moments, and set-pieces throughout a steady 116-minute run-time. Linklater painstakingly emphasises every tiny detail – including meditations on music, weed, art, philosophy etc. – throughout.
Everybody Wants Some!!, like Linklater’s other movies, awaits tragic events that never arrive. The plot ebbs and flows ever so steadily. The music blares and good vibes become infectious when our characters party or get laid. However, as the drama of college and the future kicks in, tensions slowly bubble to the surface. Its darker shades – ego, masculinity, racism, misogyny etc. – cleverly highlight identity issues. The countdown to class, shown on-screen multiple times, comes off as a blessing and a curse. Surprisingly, Jake’s dalliance with arts student Beverly (Zoey Deutch) and baseball are only small parts. Thankfully, Linklater and the cast make these characters somewhat likeable. Its period detail is flawless, providing a snapshot of the 1980s’ clash of disco, punk, and country-western cultures. The cracking soundtrack may cause rockin’, 80s-themed singalongs on the ride home.
Illuminating the divide between college life and everything else, Everybody Wants Some!! looks at the optimism, realism and cynicism of a wholly different time. Jocks, nerds, nice guys, cool girls and those in between are all likely to find something to enjoy here.