Everybody Wants Some!! is the latest offering from director, Richard Linklater.
As ever with Linklater, it’s a film of subtlety and layers; an observational character study. In this case the focus is upon the high-jinx and shenanigans of an American college baseball team at the start of the 1980s.
It has to be said that the initial twenty minutes or so of incessant high-fiving, much whoopin’ and a hollerin’ and the team’s excessive posturing all over the show like a muster of under-sexed peacocks, threatens to grate, but this is a Richard Linklater film and experience tells us that it’s always worth sticking with it.
And so it proves.
What initially seemed to be a film veering toward Animal House and Porky’s territory – nothing wrong with that in itself – is soon revealed to be a far more subtle, nuanced piece, laced with humour, sweetness and poignancy, exploring the highs and lows of those college years in which we wrestle with the dichotomy of trying to branch out for ourselves whilst still seeking the acceptance of our peers. A right old balancing act.
Be it nice guy newcomer, Jake (Blake Jenner), soul man, Dale (J.Quinton Johnson), older head and team captain, McReynolds (Tyler Hoechlin), or raging oddball and crazed lunatic, Jay (Juston street), or indeed any of the others for that matter, Linklater has assembled a diverse assortment of loveable goons, unified only by circumstance and by a collective enthusiasm and lust for life; each team member an individual, striving for a sense of individuality; an ambition that’s ultimately doomed in the ball-busting, prank-ridden domain of a college baseball team.
But it all makes for excellent entertainment, particularly when girls get involved, and seeing as that’s the continual focus of our college boys’ minds and trousers alike, it’s fair to say that Everybody Wants Some!! manages to sustain high enjoyment levels throughout.
With its retro 1980 staging and soundtrack of the era to match, Everybody Wants Some!!, when all is said and done, is a joyful celebration of life and diversity during those wonderful college years. The best years of our lives.
No matter who you are, how you approach life or how you dress it up, it’s true: everybody does wants some. And whether you choose to interpret that as being a gang of hormone-driven, lusting ‘jocks’ on the prowl for carnal pleasures; the stomach butterflies of that mutual attraction and spark of true love, or as something completely different altogether, Linklater cleverly leaves the ‘some’ in this particular instance, as ambiguous and open to individual interpretation as you personally choose to make it.
It’s not over-stating things to suggest that no-one does thoughtful, slice-of-life, character movies that leave you feeling good about life, better than Richard Linklater; he’s just got that magic something about him, and that’s right…
Everybody wants some!