We came for a good time: Everybody Wants Some!!

Everybody Wants Some!! (2016)

Like a thematic follow-up to Dazed and Confused, Everybody Wants Some!! is an irresistible film that captures the energy of youth with a lot of nostalgia

Everybody Wants Some!!


Writ­ten and di­rect­ed by Richard Lin­klater. Star­ring Blake Jen­ner, Glen Pow­ell, Will Brit­tain, Zoey Deutch, Ryan Guz­man, Quin­ton John­son, Tem­ple Bak­er, Wy­att Rus­sell, Tyler Hoech­lin, Tan­ner Kali­na and Jus­ton Street.

Ac­cord­ing to Richard Lin­klater, Every­body Wants Some!! is sup­posed to be a the­mat­ic fol­low-up to Dazed and Con­fused (1993) and Boy­hood (2014) in the sense that it picks up where those two films left off when they showed char­ac­ters in their last day of school in 1976 (the for­mer) and about to start col­lege life as they met their new room­mates (the lat­ter). Now, we fol­low, again, a group of young­sters but in the fall of 1980 when they are about to en­ter col­lege, and like Dazed and Con­fused this is a re­fresh­ing film that cap­tures the en­er­gy of youth with a sweet feel of nos­tal­gia and char­ac­ters who are like real peo­ple, as they are sup­posed to be.

Writ­ten and di­rect­ed by Lin­klater, Every­body Wants Some!! (an al­lu­sion to Van Halen’s song which also plays in the film) be­gins three days be­fore class­es be­gin with the ar­rival of fresh­man and base­ball pitch­er Jake (Blake Jen­ner) at the house he will be shar­ing with oth­er mem­bers of the South­east Texas Chero­kees col­lege team. There, he meets his team­mates Finnegan (Glen Pow­ell), Bil­ly “Beuter” (Will Brit­tain), Rop­er (Ryan Guz­man), Dale (Quin­ton John­son), Plum­mer (Tem­ple Bak­er), Brum­ley (Tan­ner Kali­na), Jay (Jus­ton Street) and Willough­by (Wy­att Rus­sell), with whom he will per­haps have the best three days of his life — and if I try to men­tion most of the guys, it is be­cause the movie ex­plores and de­vel­ops so suc­cess­ful­ly the per­son­al­i­ties of each of them that no one ever be­comes ir­rel­e­vant or for­get­table.

As any­one can see from this brief plot de­scrip­tion, the movie’s struc­ture is as loose as that of Dazed and Con­fused, with char­ac­ters in­volved in triv­ial sit­u­a­tions and, most of the time, just want­i­ng to have fun. What I mean is, it is all about the “now,” which is how it is sup­posed to be when you think of a pack of horny ath­letes in their best shape, des­per­ate to score some women, break all rules of the house (which are ex­plained to them in a hi­lar­i­ous scene), par­ty all the time and play base­ball. And that is why the mo­ment when they sing to­geth­er in a car is so par­tic­u­lar­ly amaz­ing, be­cause it makes plain ex­plic­it what Every­body Wants Some!! is about: a gallery of lov­able char­ac­ters go­ing through that brief mo­ment in their lives when they still don’t need to mind about the re­spon­si­bil­i­ties of adult­hood.

But Lin­klater doesn’t only want to cap­ture the feel of youth, he wants to cap­ture a mo­ment in time: the end of the ‘70s and be­gin­ning of the ‘80s, a tran­si­tion­al pe­ri­od that re­tains the vibe and style of the ‘70s al­most link­ing it to Dazed and Con­fused as an in­for­mal se­quel and cre­at­ing an un­der­ly­ing feel­ing that we are wit­ness­ing the end of an era and be­gin­ning of a new one. And so we have the style, the mu­sic (the sound­track is awe­some), the clothes and hair­cuts — every­thing scream­ing ‘70s from the art di­rec­tion to the cos­tumes, in­clud­ing a dis­co club that feels al­most like a trav­el back in time. All that is el­e­vat­ed by Linklater’s di­rec­tion which im­press­es us even with a split screen in a tele­phone call scene.

To make every­thing more en­joy­able, it is al­most im­pos­si­ble not to fall in love with those guys, es­pe­cial­ly Finnegan. In fact, Glen Pow­ell is ex­treme­ly charis­mat­ic and de­liv­ers such a mag­net­ic per­for­mance that he ba­si­cal­ly steals every scene he ap­pears in. Like­wise, one of my fa­vorite mo­ments is when we see each of these char­ac­ters hav­ing fun in par­al­lel, which is also a mer­it of the film’s ex­cel­lent edit­ing. It’s a spe­cial scene that lets them show us who they re­al­ly are. Be­sides, their dy­nam­ics are so hi­lar­i­ous that we can’t help be­ing thor­ough­ly amused see­ing them spend their time smok­ing pot, prank­ing each oth­er in the lock­er room and even end­ing up in a punk club of all places.

It is only a pity, though, that the main char­ac­ter, Jake, is too bland and doesn’t have a lot of charis­ma when com­pared to his bud­dies. I won­der if this is a gen­er­al prob­lem with Linklater’s pro­tag­o­nists — re­mem­ber El­lar Coltrane’s char­ac­ter in Boy­hood, who was not an ex­am­ple of a charis­mat­ic boy ei­ther. Jake is sup­posed to be the kind of every­day guy who gets thrown (to­geth­er with us) in the mid­dle of a small town with new friends and a new girl­friend, but Blake Jen­ner is com­plete­ly out­shined by his fel­low co-ac­tors. The same can be said about Zoey Deutch, who plays Jake’s love in­ter­est Bev­er­ly. Bev­er­ly seems like the per­fect woman for Jake, equal­ly dull and un­in­ter­est­ing, and even a nice di­a­logue about Jim Mor­ri­son as a lit­mus test los­es its charm with these two.

But de­spite that, Every­body Wants Some!! is ir­re­sistible enough to make us smile the whole time, as if we are spend­ing the time of our lives with these guys. And for a film with no con­flict in the hands of Lin­klater — who even finds space for a won­der­ful and mean­ing­ful ref­er­ence to a cer­tain episode of The Twi­light Zone (any­one who has seen “A Stop at Willough­by” will know what I mean) — it is as de­light­ful as it can get, full of nos­tal­gia for a time that is al­ready gone. So, just sit back and let the good times roll.

June 21, 2016


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