Richard Linklater is the king of plotlessness. Ask what Everybody Wants Some!! is about and the most accurate response would be a shrug and an “eh.”
Much like the Before trilogy, Everybody Wants Some!! is most easily defined by its use of time. This is the first weekend before the start of Jake’s first semester. He meets his teammates on the baseball team he will be spending his time at college with, and they spend the few days before class starts familiarising themselves with one another and with what college life will bring them. The film ends as the first class of term begins.
Over those few days, there are parties, bars, baseball, women, macho displays of bravado, and a killer soundtrack. The music that punctuates the film, along with the spot-on fashion, short shorts and all, fixes Everybody Wants Some!! in time. It is in some ways a more innocent time, and it shows in the playfulness found across campus from the baseball team themselves to the punks and the performing arts students. Everyone is excited and hopeful and ready to live.
Which is to say very little about what actually happens. There is such a pleasure to be had in seeing an ensemble of young actors and actresses (mostly actors) who all distinguish themselves as unique characters, and all without any big names in the crew. By the time the credits roll (and everyone has a verse to rap), you feel like you too have just made a bunch of new friends and are ready to set off on an exciting and youthful journey full of potential.
Everybody Wants Some!! has been described as a spiritual successor to Linklater’s Dazed and Confused. This could well be true – there is a large cast, and it feels both specific and eternal. It feels a little sillier though, and teeters on the brink of becoming one of many things – a romance movie, a slapstick comedy, a teenage juvenile durational piece – but because it’s Linklater it transcends genre and becomes a hilarious, heartwarming, and hopeful film that is a lot of fun, and has enough of his token musings on life to keep his diehard fans satisfied.
[Scott Wilson – @HeartofFire]