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Everybody Wants Some!! Movie Review

Everybody Wants Some!!: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD combo pack cover art
Everybody Wants Some!! is now available on home video. Read our review of the Blu-ray + DVD combo.

Everybody Wants Some!! (2016) movie poster Everybody Wants Some!!

Theatrical Release: March 30, 2016 / Running Time: 118 Minutes / Rating: R

Writer/Director: Richard Linklater

Cast: Blake Jenner (Jake), Zoey Deutch (Beverly), Ryan Guzman (Kenny Roeper), Tyler Hoechlin (Glen McReynolds), Glen Powell (Finnegan), Wyatt Russell (Willoughby), Will Brittain (Billy Autrey/"Beuter Perkins"), Forrest Vickery (Coma), Temple Baker (Plummer), Tanner Kalina (Brumley), Austin Amelio (Nesbit), Juston Street (Jay Niles), Quinton Johnson (Dale), Dora Madison Burge (Val), Jonathan Breck (Coach Gordan)

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Everybody Wants Some!! could be considered a spiritual successor to two of writer-director Richard Linklater's better-known and more highly regarded films. It is set over the course of Labor Day Weekend 1980,
the first weekend of the fall semester for all of its characters enrolled at Southeast Texas State University. Starting college is, of course, where Linklater's previous film, the 12-years-in-the-making coming-of-age tale Boyhood left off. But, from its rock-inspired title to its ensemble design, Everybody more closely resembles Dazed and Confused, Linklater's 1993 comedy set on the last day of high school in 1976 that is mentioned in the marketing.

Everybody's protagonist is Jake (Blake Jenner), a freshman who is to be among the baseball team's pitchers. He moves into one of two decaying neighboring houses that are reserved for members of the team and becomes acclimated with this ragtag gang, which includes pitcher-hating hotshot McReynolds (Tyler Hoechlin), easygoing rope-shower Dale (J. Quinton Johnson), an ostracized cowboy unhappily nicknamed Beuter (Will Brittain), and philosophizing/womanizing upperclassman Finnegan (Glen Powell).

College baseball players (Temple Baker, Ryan Guzman, and Blake Jenner) look to score off the field in Richard Linklater's "Everybody Wants Some!!"

These jocks have classical jock interests: sex, parties, and having a good time. There is the voluntary/not voluntary first practice of the season near the end of the film. And the film concludes with the first minutes of class. But the days leading up to them find these characters giving nary a thought to their education. Instead, they drink, smoke weed, and pursue the opposite sex. Their adventures bring them to the different kind of joints in style at the time: a disco venue, a country western bar, a punk concert. There's even a foray to a party by art and theatre majors, to which the team tags along with Jake as he tries to start a romance with auburn-haired co-ed Beverly (Zoey Deutch).

Everybody Wants Some succeeds, like Dazed and Confused before it, at recreating a time and place. Linklater knows the time and place, having attended Sam Houston State University for a few years in the late '70s and early '80s. He played baseball there, and the passage of three and a half decades have not dulled this experience from adding more kindling to his legacy of personal storytelling. From the opening scene's use of The Knack's "My Sharona", the movie is filled with period music that has aged well and remained familiar, from Blondie's "Heart of Glass" to Devo's "Whip It" to a "Rapper's Delight" sing-along and Van Halen's titular track. The re-creation also extends to convincing outdated fashions and facial hair. If you attended college or even high school in 1980, the authenticity will speak to you.

Jake (Blake Jenner) visits Beverly (Zoey Deutch) in her dorm room.

Linklater's films always boast degrees of authenticity and autobiography. Unfortunately, those elements are not easy to appreciate in this parade of '80s bros, who show little redeeming values as they chase skirts, take bong hits, and haze one another. The character of Jake, who recalls Jason London's protagonist from Dazed and Confused,
is supposed to ground the thing and add heart with his Whitman-quoting romantic pursuit of Beverly. But it's not enough to counter all the testosterone-fueled ribbing and ribaldry.

Some of the comedy amuses. Juston Street as "Raw Dog", the nutcase pitcher from Detroit who tells everyone he's the next Nolan Ryan, gets a few laughs out of a character you would more expect to see in Linklater's modestly-received Bad News Bears remake. Most of the time, though, you feel like you're in the presence of immature teenaged and twentysomething boys who are not prepared for even the college version of adulthood. The wisdom of Linklater's conversation-driven Before trilogy and breakthrough indie Slacker is sorely missed here. We only get two glimpses of adult characters, a coach whose rules are ignored and a professor whose opening gestures drive students to sleep. Dazed didn't offer much more in the way of authority figures, but it had an energy this film lacks as well as a cast of characters with varying degrees of innocence who elicited sympathy. There is little variety and diversity in Everybody, giving us an overload of athletic machismo and libido that grows tiresome.

After opening last week in five, then nineteen theaters in metropolitan areas, whose critics added this to the well-reviewed majority of Linklater's ouevre, Everybody Wants Some!! expands today while remaining the rare Paramount Pictures release that isn't designed to be a tentpole attraction.

Buy Everybody Wants Some!! from Amazon.com: Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD / DVD / Instant Video

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Related Reviews:
Written and Directed by Richard Linklater: Dazed and Confused Slacker Boyhood Before Midnight
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Baseball: Hall Pass How Do You Know Trouble With the Curve A League of Their Own

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Reviewed April 8, 2016.

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