Monday, April 4, 2016

Review: Everybody Wants Some!!

by Adam Riske
A movie I’m not crazy about right now but I think I’ll warm up to later.

I had a weird day at the movies. I did a double feature of Jeff Nichols’ Midnight Special and Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some!!, two movies from filmmakers I usually like, but both left me cold. In the ensuing hours I’m finding myself enjoying the former less and the latter more. Whereas Midnight Special is a movie that falls apart the moment you give it any thought and only works as a metaphor, Everybody Wants Some!! is a different kind of animal. In the experience of watching it I found it to be very bro-ish, almost to the point where I just wanted to get away from the film’s characters. It reminded me of being back in a fraternity and not in a good way. And yet this is a movie I find myself thinking about and wanting to come back to as I write this review. Despite being initially disappointed, I think Everybody Wants Some!! is the type of movie that will improve with familiarity. Linklater makes this one look easy. Maybe he simply just needed a break after all the logistical challenges of Boyhood.
Billed as a spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused (although it is nowhere near as good as that classic), Everybody Wants Some!! is essentially a hangout movie in which we follow a group of college baseball players in Texas over the course of one weekend before the school year starts. The weekend is filled with the expected drinking, drugging and fucking, all while the upper-classmen haze their freshman teammates. This is a movie about conversations and not so much about plot, but the interactions here have the depth of a puddle in vast contrast to some of Linklater’s more mature work like the Before series or Boyhood. But that is not Linklater’s intent with Everybody Wants Some!! He just wants to have a good time and the movie rings true of the specificity of the period and communal experience of living in a house with a group of guys while your behavior goes unchecked.

As I was walking out of the movie, I said to my friend that I thought the movie felt like two hours straight of the same scene. First the guys go to a disco bar, then bring the party back to their house, then they hang out. The next day it’s a country western bar and they hang out. And then the next is a punk club and a theater party and so on. That’s the structure. It feels very monotonous, but I don’t know if that’s a problem anymore because well, frankly, that’s what college over a weekend is like sometimes. My favorite scene in the movie is the extended sequence that breaks the aforementioned mold. It’s a scene of the team in an extended scrimmage, taking batting practice and playing a simulated game. I wish there were more scenes like this one peppered throughout the movie because as a baseball comedy those 15 minutes really work.

The ensemble cast is very guy heavy, with only one girl factoring in as more than a prop or a party girl. I think that’s part of my nagging issue with this movie, which is that by comparison Dazed and Confused felt more balanced gender-wise and respected its female characters more. The guys in Everybody Wants Some!! are fine (most memorable are Tyler Hoechlin and Glen Powell, both of whom are very funny in the movie) but even for the male characters Dazed and Confused blows Everybody Wants Some!! out of the water. I mean that movie had Ben Affleck, Cole Hauser, Matthew McConaughey (at his most McConaughey), Rory Cochrane and Adam Goldberg for crying out loud. Every scene in that movie was with fun characters, whereas in Everybody Wants Some!! there are some of the guys that you just kind of want to avoid because they’re either caricatures, blocks of wood or creeps. And yet I’m still recommending this movie. Call me a Richard Linklater apologist I suppose.
I wish the movie was more of a character study instead of just a tapestry of partying. I want to know these guys' hopes and dreams more than I do, but then again we’re just spending three days of the film’s time with them. Maybe nothing of significance happened over that time. I mean not every day is filled with depth and importance, right? All in all, this is the type of movie I would gladly watch again in 15 minute increments. It would be like popping into a party but leaving before it wore out its welcome. Even if it’s not the movie I wanted it to be (maybe I expected too much), Everybody Wants Some!! is pretty entertaining.


  1. I really wanted to see this this weekend, but it didn't seem to come around anywhere near me. But I look forward to it. I am a pretty big Linklater fan, so hopefully even if it's not his best, it still works pretty well for me. I'll go in expecting less than Dazed and Confused.

  2. I've completely run out of patience with movies that have one token lady in them.

  3. I had so much fun watching this movie.

    1. I'm wondering if seeing it back-to-back with Midnight Special put it at a disadvantage for me. I was in a sour mood after that one.

  4. Finally got a chance to see this and really liked it. I think there's a bit more going on under the surface beyond just the partying as some of the characters start to understand that they aren't the star players of their high school teams anymore and that if they don't have the talent to go pro, their ride could be nearing its end (Linklater apparently found this out himself in his Sophomore year when a heart condition ended his baseball career).

  5. I just saw this movie!! I loved it! Richard Linklater nailed this one. Absolutely brilliant depiction of the times and what it's like to be young and hungry for life. This film is full of energy, colorful characters, a great set of fresh faces, and as always a beautifully put together soundtrack. I had so much fun with this movie, it is no doubt Bro-ish though, like you said Adam. While I don't really like too much of that stuff, I feel like it was more of a take on what it's like to be around a bunch of young, wildly competitive guys. I also agree with you that the female characters are lacking depth, which it troublesome, but I just thought there were so many great comedy bits and it's just an all around good time. No one is too cool to be singled out or criticized, they all call each other on their bull shit, which makes them all feel really human and real. Linklater gets so much out of his actors, they were fantastic. I loved the stuff between the Matt Dillion look-alike (Blake Jenner) and the poor man's Wooderson (Glen Powell), their relationship carried the film for me, the rest was just a bonus. Awesome stuff!