At the Movies with Alan Gekko: Everybody Wants Some!!

At the Movies with Alan Gekko: Everybody Wants Some!!

MPAA Rating: R/ Genre: Comedy/ Stars: Blake Jenner, Zoey Deutch, Ryan Guzman, Tyler Hoechlin, Glen Powell, Wyatt Russell, Will Brittain, Forrest Vickery, Temple Baker, Tanner Kalina, Austin Amelio, Juston Street, Quinton Johnson, Dora Madison Burge/ Runtime: 116 minutes

I think it is safe to start this review off by stating that Richard Linklater’s 1993 film Dazed and Confused is an absolutely truly fantastic film. I mean this was a movie that turned out to be one of the absolute best coming-of-age stories that I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing in all of the time I have been reviewing movies. Plus when this said movie also comes outfitted and equipped with a wonderful collection of great actors, some of whom are A-list stars nowadays (I’m looking at you Affleck and McConaughey) absolutely and truly iconic performances, and one of the most addicting and no matter what endlessly listenable soundtracks I have ever heard it is not really that big of a shocker that this is also a movie that still remains as fresh and as entertaining to watch either by yourself or with a group of friends today as it did the moment it was released. Yet while this really was a feature that never really needed a sequel, “spiritual” or otherwise somehow Linklater’s newest and supposed “spiritual sequel” Everybody Wants Some!! still manages to pull off the incredible and in our hearts feel like a project that those of us who love Linklater’s work or just people who enjoy this particular kind of comedy have honestly been eagerly awaiting for the last 23 years. Indeed much like Babe Ruth at bat this movie is a true home run from start to finish and is one that the moment it’s done you want to see it again right away or as soon as possible.

The plot is as follows: set in fall 1980, our story centers on a college freshman baseball player named Jake who has just arrived at his new Texas-based college and immediately finds himself mixed up with the absolutely ridiculous yet hilarious as heck group of guys who will be both his teammates and, oh lord, his housemates. Indeed in the days leading up to the first round of classes, Jake finds himself quickly assimilating with this tight-knit tribe of guys as they bond over girls, drinking, partying, smoking weed, just straight up chilling, and playing ball (duh). Indeed while there’s really, to be honest with you, no big drama or absolutely strict script structure and the film plays more as a “three days in the life” of story it is thanks to an absolutely eclectic and immensely enjoyable ensemble of truly fun characters and a pretty large collection of fantastically funny set-ups and situations that this film truly does come together as a pretty darn great bit of cinema.

Now because of the loose way in which the film is put together, I think that it’s safe to say that appreciation for Everybody Wants Some!! will hang and be determined by you as a member of the audience’s thoughts about hanging out with this roving gang of wild and crazy college baseball players at its center. With all of that being said however, if you’re able to stick it out you will find that this is truly far from challenging. This is because those of you who stick around will gain an immediate appreciation for the specific brand of rambunctiousness that this film is trying to sell to you right from the film’s opening moments, which without going into spoilers involves a ceiling nearly collapsing under the weight of a newly-filled waterbed. Plus over the course of the film we get the chance to feel like we’re part of the team and join them as they embark on such activities as picking up girls at the local disco, playing a bit of uber-competitive ping pong, and just chilling out listening to music and smoking weed, and throughout the course of the film, the director does an absolutely brilliant job of just bringing you into the manic and madcap energy and just lets enjoy a window into the individual lives of this ensemble of truly wild and crazy guys.

Now to be fair I can understand how that might be a wee bit challenging for some viewers as it is such a large ensemble to follow, with no less than 10 characters playing integral parts in the narrative. Yet once again the director does an absolutely superb job of making the whole enterprise absolutely manageable and does so by giving us an incredibly wide variety of the absolutely weird yet great personalities that find themselves thrown into living under the same roof and being on the same team together. This includes, but is not limited to: the disturbingly competitive McReynolds, the borderline insane Jay Niles, the absolutely god-awful gambler Nesbit, the absolutely epic pothead Willoughby, the group’s most adventurous pickup artist Finnegan, and the southern-fried Billy Autrey or as his teammates call him Beuter. Indeed not only do these guys stand out on their own as individual three-dimensional characters, but just like with Dazed and Confused 20+ years ago, there still is a legitimate simple pleasure to be found in watching the absolute rambunctiousness and just general insanity of youth, as this team of knuckleheads constantly find themselves in circumstances that are just ripe for antics and shenanigans to occur.

Ultimately however it is the film’s period setting that is the key to giving this film the “spiritual sequel” feel, and just like how the director perfectly captured the mid-1970s with Dazed and Confused, I can safely tell you that he succeeds with that task yet again. That is because Everybody Wants Some!! is an absolutely fantastic, immensely enjoyable, and perfectly recreated trip back in time, hopefully not in the Hot Tub Time Machine though, to 1980 as everything is lovingly and fantastically recreated from the various haircuts that these guys are all sporting to also the various bars and nightclubs that this squad frequents. Also once again the director has put together an absolutely killer soundtrack that movie fans will be listening to for decades and within it are such gems as Van Halen (naturally), The Sugar Hill Gang, The Knack, Foreigner, and even a punk version of the Gilligan’s Island theme song (I swear to you guys I’m not making this up by any stretch of the imagination). Indeed it is through this legit soundtrack that the writer/director brilliantly manages to create a very specific yet special, memorable, and truly nostalgic in every sense of the word atmosphere.

All in all though in the going on 3 decades since Dazed and Confused was released, Richard Linklater has ventured into a wide variety of different genres, but with Everybody Wants Some!! we as an audience get to bear witness to a truly fantastic homecoming. That is because this film, like its 1993 “spiritual predecessor”, is a nostalgic, amazing, truly special, and slightly bittersweet celebration of the fun and freedom of youth as well as the joy of living life to the fullest and making every moment count. On a scale of 1-5 I give Everybody Wants Some!! a 4 out of 5.