By Andrew Hanley | @AHanleyFilm
Picking up somewhat where Boyhood left off, meek yet confident Jake arrives at the college house he will be living in with his fellow Southeast Texas Cherokees baseball teammates. The year is 1980. It’s three days and 15 hours before classes start. Let the good times roll.
Everybody Wants Some!! has been designated by its writer-director Richard Linklater as a spiritual sequel to his ode to the seventies, Dazed and Confused. Linklater has also called the film a sequel to 2014’s widely worshipped Boyhood, a coming-of-age tale filmed over the course of twelve years. Linklater’s entire catalogue has been shot through rose-tinted lenses and, truth be told, Everybody Wants Some!! doesn’t have a relationship with any one of his films. It’s related to all of them.
Linklater’s visions of high school have never lent themselves to O.C. levels of melodrama because they’re not visions as much as memories. Case in point, three of his fellow Bellaire (yes, really) High School alumni attempted to sue him for using their surnames and likenesses in Dazed and Confused. It’s this manipulation of real-life experiences combined with the charm, wit and horn-hands-inspiring soundtrack that so unequivocally connect the audience to his fully-baked (pun intended) characters whether they’re personalities you would have associated yourself with in school or not. Old or young, jock or geek, we all know what it’s like to be the new guy. As stoner Willoughby philosophises to Jake “you bring who you are, never who they want and that is when it gets fun”.
Luckily for us, the film gets fun immediately from the opening riff of The Knack’s ‘My Sharona’ as the double-exclamation-marked title smashes onto the screen. Jake the audience proxy is introduced to a host of comedically contentious testosterone factories played by relatively unknown actors. There’s Finn – the free-spirited Casanova, McReynolds – the charismatic alpha-male, Plummer – the artless ‘dude’ and Jay – the volatile sociopath. The cast extends to more than just these few and while these labels may sound all too familiar, Linklater adds just enough diversity to each that the word ‘cliché’ can never be used fairly against the film.
Whereas Dazed and Confused applied this mechanism to all of its characters in its offering of both male and female teenagers in all their glorious stargazing profundity, Everybody Wants Some!! hedges its bets by depicting a half-throttle male fantasy. It’s by no means a pornographic one – as Gilligan’s Island is referred to by a character in the 1993 favourite – but male-encouraged lesbian experimentation and the overall flocking of females to groups of Michelangelo’s David made flesh is something that we have the misfortune of seeing all too often and I wish Linklater had made minor adjustments to avoid this bear trap, even while refraining from a female point-of-view.
Despite its slight gender issues and contribution of nothing we haven’t already seen, Everybody Wants Some!! is certain to be enjoyed by all who seek it out. The laughs come in droves and the nostalgic rivers run deep for what’s certain to join most of Linklater’s archive in cult classic history. Exactly like college, rules are made to be broken and stereotypes are built to be bent. Loud but never obnoxious, Everybody Wants Some!! challenges you to exit your seat once the credits roll.
In Colour @ the Movies | Everybody Wants Some!! | ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Written and directed by Richard Linklater and starring Blake Jenner, Glen Powell, Tyler Hoechlin, Ryan Guzman, Temple Baker, Wyatt Russell, Juston Street and Zoey Deutch.
Everybody Wants Some!! is in cinemas from May 13th.
Andrew Hanley is a filmmaker and blogger. He has a sharp tongue, a critical eye and a kind heart. You can follow his blog here #AndrewHatesMovies