Richard Linklater / Blake Jenner, Zoey Deutch, Tyler Hoechlin, Wyatt Russell / Comedy / 2016 / 15 / 116mins
Parties! The 80s! Uni! Two exclamation marks! Yeah, woo! That was fun. Woah, hey, hang on guys, what has really happened here? Like… really?
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the one and only summary you need of Richard ‘Boyhood’ Linklater’s latest realist treat.
Okay, I’m being way too harsh. Let’s backtrack a little. Firstly, Everybody Wants Some!! is not your everyday college flick, no matter what you think about the ample punctuation. It’s a clear cut matter of fact observation of young, fresh baseball jocks learning the ins and outs of the college trade. Not even that, merely the three days before uni even starts.
With that knowledge, you know nothing much is going to happen, and you’d be right. That, however, would miss the point. The acting, for starters, is incredible, believable and individually tailored – they really grab their characters to heart. I seriously felt I recognised half the cast: there’s the guy who hates losing; the weirdly keen guy; the guy who seems stoned all the time; the guy who seems drunk all the time… Then there’s the script, and the little nuggets that fill each scene. Quick highlight reel: cat in the fridge, rando passed out on roof, getting high to Pink Floyd, and of course a cheeky boob scene in a closet.
Linklater captures reality to perfection. I know it’s loosely autobiographical so that helps, but he’s captured it so well that you get the impression you’re witnessing a documentary. Yet this is the very problem. This will make some people feel robbed – nothing comes full circle, we’re just witnessing observations, like you’re supposed to be glad to be there. It’s a cinematic Catch 22.
What’s the point? What is the circle? Jake (Blake Jenner) seems under par at baseball, but he meets these wonderful characters. That’s the intention, that we’re following Jake because he too is an observer of life, just happy to be there, meeting all these people and finding where he fits. But shouldn’t a film be more than simply a college encyclopaedia picturebook?
I can’t personally fault Linklater et al. Everybody Wants Some!! made me nostalgic, and others will feel the same. It rides on the Boyhood realist wave to great effect too. But if you don’t want to reminisce… what’s the point? To think this is a standalone film is the failure. If it was part of a bigger picture, a trilogy maybe, you could see loads of promise.
Film as a Film – 4 / Target Audience – 5 / General Audience – 2
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