A good movie provides you with 90 minutes or so of entertainment, but a great movie succeeds in that regard while provoking greater thought that exceeds what is just presented on the screen. And Everybody Wants Some!!, Richard Linklater’s (Dazed and Confused, Boyhood) latest offering, is a great movie.
If you look this movie up on IMDb you’ll be presented with the description “A group of college baseball players navigate their way through the freedoms and responsibilities of unsupervised adulthood.” Take out the first 6 words and it immediately becomes something everyone can relate to and that the majority of us have experienced.
Set in Texas in the fall of 1980, this movie centers itself around a freshman, Jake (Blake Jenner, shockingly a good looking kid and not a member of the Jenner-Kardashian dynasty), and his arrival on campus as a pitcher for one of the perennial baseball programs in the nation. Slowly you’re introduced to a cast of characters that exist on any sports team, hell in any friend group.
The guy’s guy, the out there guy, the clueless guy, the guy who is constantly worrying about his girlfriend back home and everything in between and that showcases the beauty of sports and college in a nutshell. These experiences place us in the paths of people from every walk of life that once you escape this condensed point of exploration in your life become few and far between.
The events of the movie are confined to the last weekend prior to the start of classes, which for the most part we’ve all done. For freshman you’re looking to solidify your standing for the foreseeable future while basking in the first true freedom you’ve ever had and for the upperclassmen, it’s about connecting with all the people you’ve left behind for the summer while trying to make the most of your final weekend that isn’t surrounded by “responsibility.”
The wrinkle here is that while all these guys are in it for your standard movie good time there’s a very present competitive nature on display, one that lies within anyone looking to succeed and one that most definitely doesn’t only lend itself to those involved in athletics.
The opening 5 minutes will hook you, giving you a taste of the personalities of each of the major players. But I won’t dive too deep, save that for when you inevitably watch this movie (there’s no if, it’s when, especially when you finish reading this review). If you aren’t locked in during Jake’s initial visit to the house then I’m convinced you just don’t like good movies, don’t you dare @ me.
Even on it’s face this movie is tremendous. Myself, being a product of the somewhat (it’s all relative) bland 90’s and beyond it’s fascinating to get to see the wardrobe of this time period and the seemingly infinite freedom that existed along side it.
The party scenes really shine and in particular the music, which makes you think that your parents aren’t totally full of shit when they say that our generation’s musical tastes don’t hold a candle to theirs.
And as the team weaves their way in and out of these casual interactions the plot is littered with subtle, but hilarious moments.
Such as when Finnegan (Glen Powell), the wordsmen of the group, is laying with a girl post sex and looks off into space and utters “I feel like the Astros are going to make it to the World Series.”
Or when Jake’s fellow freshman and roommate, Beuter (Will Brittain), leaves at the beginning of the weekend to go home to his girlfriend because she thinks she’s pregnant… because she’s one day late.
These are the elements that make a movie good, relatable comical moments that everyone can look to their buddy, laugh and say “this is just like _____,” but then there are moments like with Willoughby (played by Wyatt Russell, who yes, is the son of Kurt), the Californian/transfer/pot enthusiast as he rants about the corporate influence in another teammate’s preference for Van Halen and pair that with Jake’s run in with an old high school teammate who takes a group from the team to a punk rock concert and it becomes commentary on how our musical selections influence so much about who we are and who we become as we continue to evolve from our high school years until our professional life.
The deep and thought-provoking moments come at a rapid pace… as long as you’re open minded enough to find them. And this is where the beauty of train movies come in. Having a drink or two or three leaves your guard down and heightens the willingness to accept ideas that normally would pass you by.
Think about it this way, why do people go out to the bar? To meet someone they don’t already know. And what facilitates that? For most of us it’s having a drink. That leaves us both courageous and vulnerable to new ideas and that works the same way with this.
When Finn is at a party and has two girls hanging on his every word and says something along the lines of “no one has ever been on their death bed and regretted what they did, they regret what they haven’t done” has a profound impact on an open viewer… even though it is all a ploy to get them to mud wrestle…. regardless, it still resonates past that.
Quickly you’ll see that Finn steals this movie. Jake is going to see a girl who he “romantically” and in very freshman like fashion, tapes flowers and a note to her door. Just before he leaves he is talking to Finn and says that Finn’s line of questioning is making him nervous and the most perfect holy shit eye opening line of dialogue of the entire movie follows: “Pressure is a choice.”
Like come on, that is not what I expected from this movie, but I’m so happy that it happened. Hearing those words in the right frame of mind are what makes you evaluate where you’re at and what you’re doing in a way many movies strive, but ultimately fail to do.
There’s also tremendous interactions between Jake and Beverly (an arts major, the one he left the note and flowers for) that at the lowest level is just the exploration of personalities by people with a mutual attraction from different backgrounds, but goes much deeper than that.
And the movie wraps with Plum, a freshman catcher, talking to Jake in their first ever college class and as Plum, hungover, sits back and says “welcome to college muthafuckas,” the blackboard reads “frontiers are where you find them.” A poetic end to a movie that is much more than it appears.
Be enticed to watch this movie because of what it appears to be on it’s face, the tip of the iceberg, but stay for the exploration of the depths that takes you on.
Not a typo, no beverages are required to get the most out of this movie, though a few will help expand your mind to accept all it has to offer (see above).