By: Samar Khan
“This is the best day of my life… until tomorrow.”
When this line was uttered, that’s when it was solidified for myself and co-writer Muneeb that the film we were watching was indeed also one of the best we had seen in recent memory. I haven’t been this excited to write a review than I was for this film. Richard Linklater has made a career out of making some brilliant films such as the Before trilogy starring Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy as well as the classic Dazed and Confused. Going in, expectations were high for another crowd-pleaser that was excellent throughout. Everybody Wants Some!! is the most fun you will have in a movie theatre this year as it will make you yearn for the olden days where everything is a party.
Left to right: Blake Jenner as Jake, Glenn Powell as Finnegan, Temple Baker as Plummer and Forrest Vickery as Coma in Everybody Wants Some
Let’s start with the story, in a fairly brief synopsis so as to not really spoil anything for you all. The film takes place roughly during the fall of 1980 and it is as authentic as it can get. There are scenes such as the ’72 Oldsmobile coupe most have seen in the trailers setting the stage for the imagery to follow and that’s when we are introduced to our lead, Jake (played by Blake Jenner who is probably best known for his run on Glee). Jake is about to begin his freshman year at an obviously fictitious Texas university as a pitcher for the school’s baseball team. After he moves into the house specially reserved for the school’s baseball team, Jake encounters teammates that run the gamut of treating him with the most friendly acts of camaraderie or outright hostility for being a freshman AND a pitcher. This is best displayed when the subject of our quote above, McReynolds (played wonderfully by Tyler Hoechlin with the most amazingly 80’s Tom Selleck/Richard Burton stache of all time) pointedly states his dislikes for both for freshmen in general and pitchers. He’s also a heavyweight on the baseball field, something that allows his character to participate in one of the funniest examples of a teammate taking his cocky teammate down a notch.
Left to right: Temple Baker as Plummer, Ryan Guzman as Roper and Blake Jenner as Jake in Everybody Wants Some
One thing to keep in mind going in, that the trailers don’t mention as much as they should, is that this film is about the adventures of a baseball team over a weekend. Linklater and co. make sure that everything is easily explained away so the average person won’t feel as if they are missing anything. For those well-versed in the sport, however, the references to the legendary Nolan Ryan and the importance of scouts was much appreciated and showed just how well everything was incorporated together. Linklater’s unorthodox approach is on display here, as the first -and only- scene about baseball in the ENTIRE film does not occur until the film enters its final half hour. Credit is due here, as the film both before and after said baseball scene really plays up just how enjoyable the adventures of this team are and even makes us forget that baseball is even something that is part of this film’s makeup.
The highlight of the supporting cast, however, is easily the character of Finn (in a terrific comedic performance delivered by Glen Powell). Finn looks as “80’s” as is possible and is a smooth talker with both ladies and his guy friends while also serving as the most experienced (and hilarious) pickup artist to ever grace the big screen. I guarantee that once you all go watch the film, you will be clamouring for Finn throughout the entirety of the film’s runtime. Powell is complemented further by Dale (J. Quinton Johnson), who is simultaneously hilarious and also probably the only person of colour in a predominantly white film. Linklater and co. cleverly never bring this up and viewers don’t even notice it during the film, which speaks volumes as to the script and the quality of everything on display that the one most obvious thing in the entire film goes unremarked upon. Then there is Roper (Ryan Guzman), who’s not afforded as much screen time as the others as the de-facto leader of the pack but is on point in scenes requiring superb comedic timing.
Wyatt Russell plays the stoner Willoughby that encourages everyone to “just be weird.” Suffice it to say, he’s hilarious and a certain “mind-reading” segment in the film had the audience roaring with laughter. Mentions of the supporting cast would be remiss without mentioning two characters in particular, starting with his “rules follower” friend, Billy Autry or more widely known as “Beuter Perkins” (played in a greatly understated performance by Will Brittain) and Jay Niles (Juston Street), who delivered some of the funniest scenes seen on a baseball diamond since Charlie Sheen’s Major League.
Left to right: Blake Jenner as Jake, Tyler Hoechlin as McReynolds and Ryan Guzman as Roper in Everybody Wants Some
The direction and camera work were excellent and meshed perfectly with the aforementioned unorthodox approach of Linklater above, with Linklater content to just focus on the daytime hookups and random games to the wild parties late at night that his crew gets up to. The 80’s aesthetic is captured perfectly and doesn’t require a gimmicky grainy filter or something to immerse audiences into the era; rather, everything just feels 1980’s-ish. Linklater’s ability to just capture said era is to be commended as we have seen many a film fail to do so and highlight just how difficult it is to capture a time period without using cheap trickery or overly excessive CG.
This is further complemented by the most joyous soundtrack of the year so far, with the film capturing songs from featured 80’s hits such as Van Halen and knowing when to appropriately utilize them. There’s a scene early on where the gang of 5 are sitting in a car and singing along to a classic song on the radio and it took all of my willpower not to join in, as I was mesmerized by the atmosphere on display.
Left to right: Wyatt Russell as Willoughby, Glenn Powell as Finn, Austin Amelio as Nesbit, Forrest Vickery as Coma and Tanner Kalina as Brumley in Everybody Wants Some
The film does earn two quibbles from me, although it is nothing major. It ends on a rather abrupt note, which isn’t a bad decision but when compared to other scenes in the final act that could have ended the film, the area where Linklater and co. did decide to end stands out for its jarring placement. Secondly, a minor issue exists regarding the love story between Jake and Beverly (played by the gorgeous Zoey Deutch). While their scenes together are actually rather enjoyable (and deeply philosophical, in a nice surprise), they didn’t really serve much of a purpose within the film and were just there. Other than that, however, the film excelled in every other category.
So, after all of that, how good is Everybody Wants Some!!? Just look at our headline, as that should sum it up. It truly is very good and is something we know our audiences will enjoy. After the dramatic Before Midnight and Boyhood (an excellent film that I personally did not enjoy), it was refreshing to see Linklater return to the format that made him a star with Dazed and Confused. He more than exceeded expectations and his film is something that we heartily recommend to all of you in our reading audience.
We here at The Film Lawyers are proud to award Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some with a grade of A- (8.7/10).