Richard Linklater’s non-sequel of a sequel to Dazed and Confused is Everybody Wants Some!!, and it is tremendous. From the college parties, the alcohol, the cars (an Oldsmobile 442), the unhinged sexual drive of a 19-year-old, and of course the mustaches/hair,this film perfectly captures the essence of what it was like to go to college in the 80’s. It’s being released to a wider audience this weekend and is the first great film of 2016.
Everybody Wants Some!! is a movie that appears to be about college baseball but features a tiny amount of baseball in it. It takes place over the span of a three-day-weekend, right before the first day of class and the fall baseball scrimmage. The film is about taking those first steps into the world of college. It is a scary and exciting time in our lives that most of would consider to be quite a blur. Linklater captures these moments beautifully by allowing us to see it through the eyes of the incoming freshmen.
The story is mostly told through the eyes of Jake (Blake Jenner). Jake is an incoming freshman pitcher that was good at baseball in high school but is just another player in college. He wants to be one of the guys, but sees the bigger picture. It appears he’s the only person on the team who realizes that there’s more to college than being a “jock.”
The most entertaining character in Everybody Wants Some!! is Finnegan, played by Glenn Powell. Finnegan is a senior on the team who seems average on the ball field but is an all-star in his off-field game. He dazzles the ladies with his wit and charm. In the beginning, it just seems as if he is just a sleazebag but as the film goes on we realize that he might have more of a heart than Jake.
The soundtrack to Everybody Wants Some!! is a menagerie of 80’s hits. From My Sharona to Rapper’s Delight and everything in between. While some might feel 80’s music is all over the genre map, here it’s a wonderful time capsule.
The true star in all of this is Linklater’s writing. Linklater introduces us to a myriad of characters and still manages to make each one special. I found myself invested in each of these characters throughout the film. His writing captures the sheer excitement and feeling bewilderment that we all go through when we go to college. Great writing will do that.
My favorite scenes took place when the team went out together. At various times in Everybody Wants Some!!, the team ventured to either a disco bar or a country bar. On the surface, these scenes look like nothing more than an attempt for the guys to get lucky with the ladies (that would be partially right). In reality, these scenes had some of the most poignant moments, slipping into themes about friendship, loyalty, and standing up for each other. A tremendous film can do that.