Everybody Wants Some
Directed by Richard Linklater
Opens April 1

The first thing that struck me about Everybody Wants Some was that this was the movie Richard Linklater wanted to do immediately after Boyhood. Following that ambitious, miraculous attempt at a drama of life and maturation never precisely achieved before in fiction film, Linklater makes a movie about a bunch of college ball-players hanging out and looking for girls. Thumbnail descriptions never really do justice to the director’s films—they tend to consist of a milieu and a span of time—but Everybody Wants Some is entirely unapologetic about sticking to these guys shooting the shit, fucking around, and searching for prospects at the start of a new school year.

Taking the baton from Dazed and Confused—set on the ever-mythologized last day of high school—EWS picks up with flop-haired good kid Jake (Blake Jenner) on the equally formative opening week of college. Jake moves into the baseball team’s house and gets razzed and hazed as the New Guy, guilty until proven OK. While some school him and others take a while to make room for him, the movie ambles through their very end-of-the-70s options for going out at night—utterly realistic middle-of-the-road song highlights including “Take Your Time (Do It Right).” Jake sets his sights on one Beverly (Zoey Deutch) who singled him out while the gang was out cruising in a car; the year begins. Also: boldface fab casualwear, mustaches, theme parties, and a fresh-faced ensemble of actors whom we get to know as their characters get to know one another.

Everybody Wants Some reminds us just how unrivaled a filmmaker Linklater is—how, like few other filmmakers (and spiritually maybe like Truffaut), he’s someone you can grow up with and alongside, watching him watch you. He remains ever faithful to and grounded in the experiences and the feel of the era (in life, in history), without dissolving into a warm puddle of nostalgia as so many writer-directors would with semi-autobiographical material. (Linklater went to Sam Houston State University on a baseball scholarship, joining a close-knit team. “Not only do I remember these guys, I can tell you everything about them,” he wrote last December in Texas Monthly.) Maybe what’s impressive about Everybody Wants Some is how very humble its picture of these college kids is. And how many directors could accomplish something this effortlessly youthful over two decades after the definitive high school hang of Dazed and Confused?

There’s a slightly preserved sensation about the world in Everybody Wants Some, coming 36 years after the golden days it depicts. Or maybe it’s the sense that those days have become irrecoverable in their innocence, overwhelmed by the noise of decade fashion and pop signifiers that have taken us further and further away from the singularity of experience. Linklater takes us back there, skating lightly on the surface with his young subjects, the year stretching out before them.

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