Will Schube never got this much ass playing high school volleyball.
Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some!! has been touted as both a spiritual sequel to his ‘90s hit Dazed and Confused, and a continuation of Boyhood, which ends with the film’s protagonist beginning college. I don’t think it is close to either of these things! Everybody Wants Some!! poses none of the anxieties of the former and none of the posturing of the latter. For all of its critical acclaim, Boyhood is more of a navel gaze than a revolution through formal experimentation. And while Dazed and Everybody Wants Some!! share a similar slap happy aesthetic, Dazed is pre-occupied with the impending fear of growing up and finding a little corner of this often terrifying world. EWS!! is just two hours of unrelenting fun. Why would the future matter when you can have girls and beer now?
Everybody Wants Some!! begins with soon-to-be college freshman (the film begins on Friday, classes begin Monday morning) Jake (Blake Jenner) driving to fictional Southeast Texas State University in a Camaro, blasting “My Sharona” by The Knack. This is a phenomenal tone setter for a movie that’s basically two hours of watching boys live out college exactly as every boy imagines it to be. And that’s one of the few problems this film sort of kind of ignores: There’s one (one!) female character of any substance in the film. Her name is Beverly (Zoey Deutch) and not even this distinguished title as The One allows for any sort of theatrical flourish; she seems to exist because these dudes need to do something besides go to bars and play baseball.
But for anyone who played competitive sports at any level, this movie does a perfect job of illustrating the joy inherent in varsity athletics. These guys spend every waking hour trying to kick each other’s ass—bloody knuckles, ping pong paddles flying towards heads—but there’s absolutely nothing more important than that bond of sport. Call it stupid, call it whatever, but it rings remarkably true.
Like any good Linklater film (and sorry team, but I really didn’t enjoy the Before Sunrise/Sunset/Midnight series), the ensemble is stronger than any individual performance (another great metaphor for a baseball movie!), and the dudes that make up this cast seem like a ton of fun to hang out with. Finn (Glen Powell) is the clear standout, a strong example of Linklater at his best. Dale is played by J. Quinton Baker, who’s the only black dude in the film. His race is never acknowledged, which is good I guess?
This is Tyler Hoechlin’s second baseball movie, and luckily for him this is a much better movie than Hall Pass, in which he also plays a baseball player. In that one he tries (and I think successfully) to have sex with a married Jenna Fischer. But in that movie she’s married to Owen Wilson (who’s on a “Hall Pass” from marriage), so gotta give Tyler daps for that one!
Linklater’s films often veer into the “talk to hear your own voice” territory, but EWS!! does far less dollar store philosophizing than some of his lesser work, and that’s where the real Linklater shines. He’s either a hysterical dude I’d love to grab a beer with, or that annoying kid in college who tries to tell you about Nietzsche but rambles about himself instead. Everybody Wants Some!! is one of those beer movies. Try leaving the theater and not grabbing a beer immediately after.
EWS!! is, above all, an uproariously fun time. It’s low stakes, but it yields great results. The characters make you want to be in college, and it’s perhaps Linklater’s best ending to a film. The finale sort of mirrors and conjures up the way actual college parties end: the next day, having had just enough fun the night before to outweigh how shitty you feel. And while most of us just have our cheap coffee and whatever’s left in the communal kitchen to hold us over until night time, these dudes have a team. And there’s not much more fun than that.
Rating: See this movie. Or, if your life is as fun as theirs is, just do that. But it probably isn’t.