Everybody Wants Some!!/4 Palm Trees
By Eduardo Victoriafirstname.lastname@example.org
Like a fastball coming at you full force, director Richard Linklater’s latest film flies at its audience with great stride, confidence, and attitude. The Oscar nominated director of Everybody Wants Some!! says his film is a spiritual sequel to his indie classic Dazed and Confused. What his previous film Boyhood lacked in likable protagonists is no issue here with brilliant performances from the cast. The film follows several college athletes over the course of the weekend prior to the start of a new semester.
Not much of a plot, you say? That’s one of the many keys to the film’s brilliance. Though some may find Linklater’s “slice of life” approach a bit tedious, the end results can perhaps be best shown off in this movie. The film’s main protagonist, Jake (Blake Jenner) clashes with alpha male McReynolds (Tyler Hoechland), gets high with Willoughby (Wyatt Russell), and is kept firmly “on the ground” by Dale (J. Quinton Johnson). My lack of plot description is on purpose. Linklater gives us a window into the lives of these young men as they explore adulthood and no parental supervision.
The one thing we see every male teammate do is drink. Though one too many Schlitz and Lone Star beer logos may be visible, in this film, they’re actually equalizers. Though a few of the upper and underclassmen butt heads as to seniority, in the end they all drink when they are together. Early in the film, two pitchers of beer are passed around with each taking a glass. This, one of their first social encounters with the new freshmen, is the beginning of them forming into one team and a unified group of friends.
Though baseball is frequently talked about and also the reason these guys have been brought together, the last thing I’d do is call this a baseball movie. There is only one scene deep into the second act in which all of the characters meet for batting practice and its purpose is to show the true sides of each character’s personas when they must function together as a team. McReynolds, as tough as he may be, is a team player and his argument with Jay (Justin Street) is to get him to abandon the selfish tough-as-nails attitude because they reflect badly on them all when seen together.
The film’s excellent soundtrack, set decoration by Gabriela Villareal, and costume work by Kari Perkins paint a nature-yet never forced- portrait of the 1970s final grasp on youth culture. The costumes in particular, work incredibly well as we see different cliques of students around the college campus; the punks wear dingy denim, the athletes are clad in sportswear of the day, and the nightclub scenes are dressed funky but never corny.
The biggest triumph of the film overall is its script, penned by Linklater himself. Each character’s dialogue is distinct and unique. Though we have several macho males living together, each feels as if they have a background, place, and time specific to a real person. Credit must also be given to the absolute brilliant cast. Characters come off strong, but are likable. Most importantly, the dialogue feels real and never forced. They speak like young college students.
With no parents around and on the cusp of having to start a new semester, the filmmakers really communicate the sense that they were as excited to see the actors interpret the dialogue just as much as the audience. Where Boyhood ends on a note of the uncertainty that can come with each new chapter in life, Everybody Wants Some enters a new semester with confidence, excitement, and the knowledge that the group he’s surrounded himself with can truly be called friends.
Rated R. Playing at Century Downtown 10. 114 minutes.