Renowned filmmaker and Texas icon, Richard Linklater, is no stranger to the hang out movie. Slacker, Dazed and Confused, the “Before” Trilogy (Before Sunset, Before Sunrise, Before Midnight), and even Boyhood (in it’s own way), are all movies that are light on plot and heavy on character, behavior, and feeling. Their happenings aren’t super complex; the viewer gets to hang with the protagonist(s) for a while and spend some time in their world–see who they are and what they’re all about. Linklater has a knack for creating authentic characters and for capturing the spirit of a place and time.
His latest film, Everybody Wants Some!!, is the “spiritual sequel” to Dazed and Confused. It transports the audience to Texas, 1980, in a house full of rowdy college baseball players during the weekend preceding the first day of school. It follows Jake (Blake Jenner), a freshman pitcher, as he moves into the house and meets his new teammates/roommates–a fun, smack-talking assortment of oddballs and harmless hooligans. They practice, party, kick it, holler at girls, and generally have a good time. The movie is steeped in nostalgia and you don’t have to be a Texan or a fan of baseball to succumb to its charms. It beautifully captures the youthful exuberance of being a carefree teenager, unsupervised and among friends.
The period detail is spot on, everything from the funny haircuts and mustaches to the short shorts and classic cars. Stacks of vinyl and VHS tapes with handwritten labels bring back memories. Music is a key component to any Linklater
hang out movie and the soundtrack is jammin’. It features a variety of different music from the time, including The Sugar Hill Gang, The Knack, Van Halen, Blondie, The Cars, Cheap Trick, Patti Smith, Jermaine Jackson, Dire Straights, and Hot Chocolate, among others. If it’s in the movie, it was affordable and it has a personal connection to Linklater–those were prerequisites.
The movie is cast with relatively unknown actors and the ensemble does a terrific job. Jenner is a suitable choice as lead; his character, Jake, is one of the more centered fellas on the team, and he portrays that well. The guys surrounding him vary in levels of eccentricity and are brought to life by Glenn Powell, Tyler Hoechlin, J. Quinton Johnson, Ryan Guzman, Wyatt Russell, and Juston Street. Zoey Deutch plays Beverly, a performing arts major and Jake’s lady of interest. The cast has a natural camaraderie.
Everybody wants some, and in search of a good time, the team visits a disco club, a country western bar, a punk show, and an artsy house party. If at times, it feels like they’re going down a checklist, it’s all good because the movie’s so much fun. The team cruises the scene, they go swimming in the river. They party and do keg stands. They play pool, ping pong, foosball, Space Invaders, electronic baseball, and bloody knuckles–colossal pre-internet forms of entertainment and sources of nostalgia. This movie had me reminiscing about the good ol’ days and made me want to go back. It’s no Dazed and Confused, but it’s a proper “spiritual sequel” and I can’t wait to watch it again and recapture the feeling.
4 out of 5 Nerdskulls
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