Another text-based movie review by Sam:
While Richard Linklater broke into the mainstream with Dazed and Confused in 1993, he's been known for making much more serious and dramatic films as his career progressed, Boyhood and the Before Sunrise trilogy being the prime examples. Sure, he directed School of Rock back in 2003 and Bernie in 2011 but he also directed the Bad News Bears remake in 2005 which was maybe not the best thing in the whole world...
As advertised, his latest flick, Everybody Wants Some!! (The dopey title being a reference to Van Halen), is in many ways a spiritual sequel to both Dazed and Confused as the 1993 stoner-comedy took place in a high school in the suburbs of Austin during 1976 while this flick takes place at an unnamed Texas college in the final days of summer in 1980. There are also cues from Boyhood which ended with its main character arriving at college and meeting a girl (albeit in present day) which is approximately how Everybody Wants Some!! begins.
Blake Jenner plays Jake, an incoming freshmen moving into college on a baseball scholarship set in that golden, carefree weekend before classes actually begin. Jake moves into the baseball houses and finds himself in the midst of a pack of fun-loving alpha males that love competing amongst themselves, baseball, booze, and girls. And, as all the college students begin moving back in, every night features a different party with a different theme all set to Linklater's killer period-appropriate classic rock soundtrack.
College, in many ways, offers a fresh start after the years of calcification that the personality goes through through middle school and high school. It's usually a new environment and largely new cast of characters, the familiar trappings stripped away to allow for reinvention. We don't really know Jake and boys before college but we do see the common threads that bind them together immediately in college and we see them try on different variations of their college personas without altering their core (They're always looking to get drunk and fuck, guys) and always with that self-assured swagger.
Just like the weekend its characters are having, Everybody Wants Some!! is a hell of a lot of fun and very funny. Sure, there are the occasional moments of introspection that everyone has between (or during) a bender but Linklater doesn't dwell on them too much; he's more interested in having his characters and, by extension, the audience just have a great time and he totally succeeds on that measure. A rollicking look back at those days when every weekend of college felt like its own adventure without being weighted down by the drama that would occasionally show up. My favorite film of the year so far.
Category:First Impressions -- posted at: 12:41pm EDT

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