by Adam Riske
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.
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.