‘Everybody Wants Some!!’ SXSW 2016 Review: Richard Linklater’s Love Letter To The Good ‘Ol Days

'Everybody Wants Some!!' arrives in theaters April 1. Paramount

If you’re reading this review, then you’ve surely heard by now that Richard Linklater’s Everybody Wants Some!! is the “spiritual sequel” to Dazed and Confused - another Linklater coming-of-age classic. But I have an embarrassing confession to make: I have never watched Dazed and Confused. And so, as ignominious as that statement may be, there will still be another sort of value to this review. This is the review for those who have never seen Dazed and Confused, or, a review for those who have, but do not wish to compare it to Linklater’s latest installment. This is an assessment of Everybody Wants Some!! purely as a standalone film. Okay? OK. 

So, we open in a 1980 Texan college town, where Jake (Blake Jenner) has just arrived for his freshman year on a baseball scholarship. Jake is an earnest, down-to-earth guy who consistently remains humble despite his all-American good looks and exceptional pitching talent. But even though Jake has a Texas all-state baseball team varsity jacket (that he hides in his closet), he quickly learns that he is now just one of many accomplished high school graduates all vying for the same attention - a theme that is repeatedly explored over the course of Everybody Wants Some!! Not only will he have to impress his coach to secure a spot on the team, but he’ll have to manage to coexist with his rambunctious teammates who do not take too kindly to freshman. 

McReynolds (Tyler Hoechlin), star centerfielder and resident alpha dog, makes it clear from the beginning that college is going to be a whole ‘nother ballgame. He refuses to befriend Jake not only because he’s a newbie, but due to the fact that pitchers may become future competition in the big leagues one day. Jake also has other upperclassmen to contend with, though none of them are quite as bad as McReynolds. Roeper (Ryan Guzman) might be the closest to the aforementioned outfielder, but tends to nicen up when he’s not around. Dale (Quinton Johnson) and Willoughby (Wyatt Russell) are another step down on the chill meter, and enjoy doling out friendly advice to the freshman while getting stoned. Then there’s Finnegan (Glen Powell) who is by far the coolest guy on the team. He’s smart, charming and knows how to react in every situation. 

Together with his fellow freshman and transfer students, Jake must navigate the responsibilities of playing competitive, scholarship-backed baseball, all while trying to enjoy the true college experience. By that, I mean drinking, dancing, and sleeping with as many women as possible. The entire movie takes place the weekend before classes start on Monday, so there’s plenty of fun to be had. 

Quite frankly, there’s absolutely no plot to Everybody Wants Some!! The film simply follows Jake and his teammates hanging out over the next 72 hours, and that’s perfectly okay. In fact, it’s fantastic. Sure, a lot of these guys fit into stereotypical archetypes, but there’s enough unique characteristics to distinguish these roles on their own. Perhaps the closest thing to “structure” we get is the subplot centering on Jake’s romantic pursuit of Beverly (Zoey Deutch), a performing arts major who Jake develops a crush on - but that’s about it. The lack of direction doesn’t really matter because each character is loveable in their own weird way, and joke after joke consistently lands throughout the movie. It’s laugh out loud funny, with a dash of insightful reflection on what it means to be young.  

Everybody Wants Some!! is dripping with nostalgia. It’s Linklater’s love letter to the “good ‘ol days,” and anyone who has participated in a traditional college experience will certainly relate to the characters and various events throughout the film. It’s a true testament to the notion that character outweighs plot. Like I said, I have yet to see Dazed and Confused (I certainly plan to now!), but regardless of your feelings on that movie, you’re likely to find Everybody Wants Some!! just as entertaining.

Everybody Wants Some!! arrives in theaters on April 1. Stay tuned to iDigitalTimes for continuing coverage of SXSW 2016.

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