Film review: Everybody Wants Some!!

It’s the autumn of 1980 when college freshman Jake (Blake Jenner) arrives at the house he is to share with seven other baseball players. Everybody Wants Some!! recounts the events of a glorious long weekend before term starts. It is three days of drinking, smoking weed, partying, chasing girls, ping-pong and knuckle flicking. There’s even a bit of baseball practice.

Written and directed by Richard Linklater, this is his self-proclaimed ‘spiritual sequel’ to the 1993 high school movie Dazed and Confused. It is his first film since the Golden Globe and BAFTA award-winning Boyhood which was released in 2014 after twelve years in the making.

Jake enters the house to see the ceiling groaning under the weight of a water bed that someone is filling via a garden hose. He is shouted at to turn it off and quickly meets his new teammates. Only one of them has aspirations to play professional baseball; the insufferably arrogant and self-delusional pitcher Jay Niles (Juston Street). The others just want to play the game they love at a competitive level for a couple more years and enjoy all the associated benefits. The ladies love the guys on the baseball team and there is no shortage of lovely ladies.

Jake is also a pitcher. The pitcher is a breed apart from the rest of a baseball team and can be an isolated figure. McReynolds (Tyler Hoechlin) is the team captain and a strong hitter who particularly dislikes pitchers. This animosity comes to a head later at the ping-pong table. But it’s not long before Jake is making jokes and instigating pranks rather than being the butt of them. Despite the ultra-competitive environment, the insults, and the in-fighting, our eight amigos become a tight-knit bunch who play hard and party harder.

bbfbfbbdfbfLinklater’s script for this film is so effortless that it seems like the characters are improvising. Finnegan (Glen Powell) is prone to random notions and philosophical thought experiments. Willoughby (Wyatt Russell) at any moment will cite Carl Sagan’s theories from Cosmos and insist upon their relevance. The lack of well-known actors in the cast, coupled with such a free and easy conversational style, makes the whole thing feel very real. At points, the film has an almost documentary feel to it. One example of this is when Beverly (Zoey Deutch) is sitting on her bed while earnestly explaining her art to Jake. But, for all the humorous banter, party punch-ups and girls mud wrestling in their underwear, there is also a tender side to this film. The camaraderie on the baseball field and at the water hole is palpable. Then there is that beautiful oh-so-quiet scene on the lake at sunrise.

This film is really about the strength of the ensemble cast rather than individuals. However, it is the volatile Tyler Hoechlin and the smiling poet of Glen Powell that give the two standout performances in the film. Dazed and Confused launched the careers of Ben Affleck and Mathew McConaughey. Maybe this film will be a springboard for the relatively unknown cast.

everybody-wants-some-linklaterThe college kids of Texas clearly enjoyed an eclectic mix of music venues. The boys perfume and preen their way into patterned shirts for the evening session. Then over the course of the three nights they visit a disco, a country and western bar and even a venue with a punk band. It’s fantastic fun to watch as the guys throw themselves into this John Travolta, Cotton-Eyed Joe, Sex Pistols mash-up. The movie’s soundtrack is an equally diverse selection from artists such as Van Halen, Blondie, Devo, The Cars, Dire Straits and The Sugar Hill Gang.

This film is the perfect movie for a night out with a few mates or if you’re on a date. I saw it on a Tuesday lunchtime and felt a bit like the designated driver at a stag party. Having said that, it is a hilarious film that is also an unexpectedly profound one.


Author – Simon, Norwich store